End User Computing with Evolve IP’s Kevin Sullivan

Author: Scott Kinka

The Bridge Podcast - EvolveIP LogoOn this episode of The Bridge, I’m joined by my friend Kevin Sullivan, Director of Solutions Engineering at Evolve IP. We’re questioning how we do end user computing and more.

Evolve IP partners with IT professionals to bring together their essential productivity and communication tools into a single, secure cloud-based solution, fine-tuned for the hybrid workforce and delivered as a service. By integrating these disconnected systems and filling in the gaps, they improve both productivity and security, increasing uptime to make the future of work better for everyone.

During our conversation, we’re rethinking end user computing, reconsidering the disjointed structure of the security vendors and products IT leaders are leveraging to secure the widest part of their footprint, the importance of recovery and its unsexy but crucial role in the technology landscape, and so much more.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Why Evolve IP’s superpower lies in the realm of the hybrid workforce.
  • How Evolve IP emphasizes the ability to optimize solutions regardless of the underlying platform, promoting platform agnosticism.
  • Why the pandemic fundamentally changed work dynamics and industry norms, leading to a continued evolution of strategies.
  • How the pandemic caused a shift in technology adoption, especially in DaaS and VDI.
  • Why the ongoing effects of the pandemic have led to uncertainty and fluidity in strategic planning.
  • Why differentiating data sets based on their importance to the business operations is key.
  • Why businesses should be skeptical of providers who try to dictate their recovery priorities.
  • Why the role of solution providers is to present the “art of the possible” rather than prescribing specific solutions.
  • The relationship between compliance and recovery.
  • How the impact of the event and its consequences define the extent of the disaster in recovery scenarios.
  • Why recovery plans need to extend beyond server workloads to consider employee work capabilities, such as communications, endpoints, and user computing.
  • How the hybridization of the workforce due to remote work offers a built-in business continuity plan for organizations.
  • How DaaS was pivotal in maintaining access to secure applications during challenges like the pandemic.
  • The significance of optimizing real-time audio and video in remote work scenarios.
  • Predictions for the future.

The Bridge Podcast - Kevin Sullivan EvolveIPABOUT KEVIN SULLIVAN

Over the course of my journey in corporate IT and cloud services that started all the way back in 2006, the most important thing that I have learned is that context drives progress. Whether it comes to understanding an organization’s needs, ensuring client satisfaction, designing a solution, implementing services, or the myriad of other IT initiatives we undertake on a regular basis, the WHY matters just as much as the WHAT and HOW (if not more-so). This mentality has helped me to serve as a trusted advisor to help both clients as well as partners throughout their digital transformation journeys as they embrace new technology to address their ever-evolving needs.

While technical in nature, I am a huge proponent of the concept of ‘Outcome Oriented IT.’ Putting the nuances of the technical solutions aside, what are the business challenges, regulatory requirements, and organizational pain-points that we are, ultimately, looking to address? Let’s begin with the end in mind knowing that, as an industry, we have a massive technical toolbox from which we can pull solutions, but what ultimately matters is applying that technology to put our customers, our partners, and/or ourselves in a better position than where we started.

Over the last few years, I have used these approaches in the Cloud Services space to serve as a Director of Solutions Engineering, specifically focused on providing analysis, planning, design, solution building, and product education to my colleagues in both direct and channel sales as well as assisting in developing our forward-looking technology roadmap, developing and articulating both our solution and organizational value propositions, and striving to contribute to industry thought leadership in our space specific to end user computing, edge security, general cybersecurity and compliance, and end user experience.

I am extremely fortunate to have served at various levels on both sides of the client/vendor relationship throughout my career from Systems Administration to Director of IT on the client side and Project Management, Solution Architect, Client Success Management, and Director of Solutions Engineering on the vendor side. This multifaceted experience helps with understanding and empathizing with all aspects of the digital transformation journey and enables me to function as both a trusted advisor and advocate for both the clients and partners with whom I am fortunate enough to work as well as the sales professionals whom I represent.

Interested in cloud services, security, or compliance? Please reach out; I’d love to talk!

CONTACT KEVIN

LinkedIn

Web

 

 

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Scott Kinka:

Well, hello and welcome to the Bridge. My guest today is my friend, Kevin Sullivan, who is the Director of Solutions Engineering at EvolveIP. Good morning and welcome to the Bridge Studios

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Good morning, Scott. Thank you so much for having me, man. I really appreciate it.

 

Scott Kinka:

Perfect. It’s not nearly as glamorous as you thought it would be here

 

Kevin Sullivan:

I don’t know. I’ve been dying to see the Kinka Home Office and Kinka homestead for a long time. This is like seven years in the making.

 

Scott Kinka:

And seven years, that’s how long you’ve been at Evolve?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

It is, it’s hard to believe.

 

Scott Kinka:

Wow. Okay. And for those who don’t recall, just to, in the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the founding partners at EvolveIP. Kevin and I worked together for a long time, and after private equity came in, it was sort of my time to take my lead. But it is a great company and we’ve had a lot of success at Bridgepointe in working with EvolveIP, super exciting there. But before we get into it, as we do on every episode, we haven’t had Evolve on the show, we haven’t had you on the show. I just wanna know, tell us a little bit more about Kevin, how did you arrive seven years at EvolveIP? Give us some stuff before that, and then I know the answers to the test, but you gotta tell me a little bit more about you personally

 

Kevin Sullivan:

I think you guys had Tim on from Evolve the last time, right? You majorly traded down for today, the EvolveIP stack. But no, I appreciate the opportunity to come on here and, like I said, Kevin Sullivan I’m the Director of Solutions Engineering at EvolveIP. A little bit of a catchall, right? That means work in sales work and marketing work and engineering. A little bit of everything. But, I’ve been there for seven years. You actually brought me in. You shepherded in a fresh new mild, optimistic, eager young solutions architect from another cloud provider. And you ruined me, Scott. It absolutely ruined me. But no, joking aside, I absolutely love the time working there. Love the time working on the cloud side. I’ve been in the cloud space since about 2012. But, I always like to think I have a semi unique perspective and having had the luxury of being on the client side of the cloud equation first. I was with a financial services company, a consolidated back office for a number of large real estate investment firms in Philadelphia and actually worked at every level of their IT department. Came in, was a help desk employee for two days prior to getting bumped up to assist in that day.

 

Scott Kinka

A whopping two days. Okay.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Inadvertently went in on my second day and did a mass distribution of an antivirus application to everybody in the organization without asking permission. I knew it was something that they wanted to get done, and figured I was either gonna, I figured I wouldn’t be working in the help desk one way or the other by the end of the first week. So, I moved into systems administration with them and ended up as their director of it actually for a couple year span as well. I just really love that I’ve gotten to see cloud adoption specifically, and that we moved our disaster recovery to the cloud, then eventually did a production migration. Got to shepherd that project along. And as a result, I feel like I have a connection to our customers that come to us looking to do those same types of things still today.

 

Scott Kinka:

And we’ll explore that a little bit because, not jumping too far ahead, the genesis of you being the on this time was actually a LinkedIn post that you made, which we’re gonna come back to in a minute. I’m just glad it wasn’t Twitter, or X these days. We’re not exactly sure. We had a discussion about it, we got our marketing stats back, and I had a discussion with our Director of Marketing, Maria. She was like do I have to relabel the report X at this point? And will that look funny? That’s a whole other story, okay, we get that. What about you personally? What do you dig? What are the things you do?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

You’re a man after my own heart. I’m very, very much into music. Had the, for the good fortune, and sometimes misfortune of being a gigging musician the last few years. Very much that Philadelphia guy born and bred similar again to yourself. Sports, of course, courses through these veins. Depending on the season of the year, bleed green, blue, red, black and orange, you name it.

 

Scott Kinka:

Rough night for the U last night.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Oh, let’s not talk about soccer. For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m a diehard Philadelphia Union supporter. I’ve been there since day one. Back prior to having a team, and regrettably last night faced inner Miami with Messi, making his debut appearance in Chester, PA, and it didn’t go well.

 

Scott Kinka:

It did not go well. No. We’re just gonna leave it at that. We have had Evolve on before. And as everybody knows, this isn’t obviously the intent of the show is not to make it commercial, but super important that people just understand that background. In case folks haven’t caught the previous episode with EvolveIP, which we’ll put in the show notes to make sure that people have the opportunity to do. Can you just give us, give us the elevator pitch, give us the commercial on EvolveIP?

 

EvolveIP’s Journey into Realtime Optimization

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Absolutely. So, EvolveIP, we are a managed cloud services provider who really specializes in our white glove implementation and support. And we work primarily across three main solution silos. Those being unified communications, where we are Microsoft teams and Cisco WebEx shop with BroadSoft is our underlying dial-in platform. We have our own contact center solution, ECS and then my area of personal focus, which is our compute offering, that is fronted by our desktop as a service and infrastructure, as a service solutions as well as business continuity, disaster recovery, backup, and then the managed services arm of that. And I have to tell you, Scott, it’s very, very weird having that conversation with you because I feel like I have a contractor who just built a house for me, and then I’m like, come on, let me take you on a tour.

 

Scott Kinka:

I think you did good, man. I think you did good. No, I appreciate that. And that spends a couple things. I mean, we have all kinds of providers on this show, suppliers of multiple types. We’ve had, kind of, traditional network providers who are figuring out what they’re gonna be in this new hybrid work reality. We’ve had all of the major UCaaS specialists, many of the CCA specialists, you guys are in a couple buckets here. What’s the superpower? If we have to classify EvolveIP, where do you put it?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

For us, it’s definitely in the era of the hybrid workforce, really kind of leading into, and certainly post 2020. For me, it really comes down to realtime audio and video optimization in a desktop as a service solution. So, obviously EvolveIP, we have a very deep technical background on the unified communication side of things, right. Back before it was uc when it was just VoIP. And same thing on the DASS side, right. Before DASS was a coin that was termed in the industry. We were a VMware view provider, right? I just posted a desktop provider when we talk about the intersection of unified communications, right? Running things like Zoom, WebEx, Teams in a virtual desktop, that, for us, is the perfect intersection of the two things that we do and do well. It’s really taking that CX focused experience and applying that to other technology solutions like DASSs, ias, business continuity.

 

Scott Kinka:

Got it. Set a slightly different way, you could certainly participate in the DASS conversations, you could certainly participate in the uc conversations and the contact center conversation. But if a customer is looking basically to sort of containerize the entire experience device independent at the edge, just give you everything from the start menu to the comms as a service baked, and able to be delivered to a hybrid worker, that’s really where you guys fit.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Absolutely. And the piece that I think has been missing for a long time, or rather, was missing for a long time. It used to have to be that if you wanted to do all that stuff, you had to do all of it with the same provider, right? It would be easy to say, look, if you buy your UC from us and your CC from us and your DASS from us, and we host your servers, of course we can do all that stuff and it’s gonna work. The missing link, I think, is now being able to do that optimization with some form of platform agnosticism too, right? If it was our UC platform, our CCA platform, our DASS platform. We’re more than happy to do all of that for a customer. But if they’re working with another UC provider, there’s really no reason from a technical perspective that we can’t still work with ’em to optimize that realtime audio video experience on our platform.

 

Scott Kinka:

And I mean, I think in a lot of cases, like it’s really, UC is one thing. It’s really hard to jack out a CX system, you know what I mean? Like, they’ve got queues built and structures built and all those things. You work with the other CX, even though you are a CX platform yourself or CCS platform, you work with the other providers as well.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Correct. Under the hood, we have the benefit of technology. It’s really the technology, right? Whether it’s web RTC based, whether it’s HTML five based, if optimization works, it should conceivably work as long as the client supports it.

 

Scott Kinka:

Got it. Did the pandemic change that story for you guys?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

A hundred percent.

 

Scott Kinka:

Alright, tell me how.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

I mean we certainly see waves of how adoption went, especially on the DASS side or, or VDI side. I know we kind of use those terms interchangeably sometimes in the industry. But the reality is, we used to view those technologies, the solutions themselves haven’t changed much in the last 10 years. But we used to view them primarily as a remote access means, right? You would have, ‘Hey, all my people come into a branch office location, or their headquarters, they do their work.’ And then, ‘hey, if you need to do something off hours, you need to do something on the weekend, use Citrix, use VMware, use RDP, use RDS.’ Those things became the norm for how our folks work, regardless of when they’re working, where they’re working from. We really adopt that because of the pandemic and the hybridization of the workforce that work from anywhere, from any device and maintain that same level of user productivity, user experience, and client experience.

 

Scott Kinka:

I mean, it’s wild how I feel like we end up getting to this point in every episode. And it doesn’t matter, even if it’s a traditional network provider, and you’re like, all right, well you are in the business of connecting shiny buildings and now you’re in the business of getting people on the network. And if they’re a security vendor, obviously that was, hey, you were in the perimeter business and now you’re in the endpoint business. It was like, every single conversation gets to this point where we’re like, we wanna stop talking about the pandemic, but we kind of can’t stop talking about the pandemic. Let me ask an interesting question before we sort of jump into my LinkedIn thing that I wanna jump to. I feel like often customers are still figuring out where they’re at on their hybrid work journey. And that makes it really hard for it to build sort of a strategy for anything. You know what I mean? We’re hardening these plans, but when you meet with clients, how often do you feel like they have a really refined, like, this is our strategy, two days a week we support this? Or is it still all over the place?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

I’d love to say that the goalposts are moving, but in reality, I think there’s still many folks that don’t even necessarily have the goalposts to move Yet . And that’s not a reflection on those organizations, right? It’s hard. And the world has fundamentally changed. Like you said, I think a lot of providers, or especially in the channel community are starting to get maybe tired of that message of, oh the pandemic changed everything, but it did, right? It fundamentally altered the way industry works. It fundamentally altered the way we all work. And we’re still seeing ramifications now coming out of that, right? Like, certainly not gonna get political, but the economics of our times are interesting. Let’s just say. As a result we see it got a lot of capital injection immediately following the pandemic to go out and solve many of these problems. Now, a lot of that spending is coming back, right? Its budgets across all verticals seem to be going down in the next year, except for two key areas: security and client experience, or cx. Since those two areas are trending up, I think the industry now is starting to kind of adopt our terminology, the way we speak about these things, to really focus on those things, right? How can I look at DaaS not as a client computing solution, but a security enablement tool to help my edge become inherently more secure? How can I look at it as an enablement tool to make my CX better by making my CA and UCAS solutions perform better? I definitely think all of that spawns out of 2020. But I feel like that set us on a path that we’re still very much winding our way through, and our customers are the same way.

 

From Identifying Critical Data to Climbing the Recovery Mountain

 

Scott Kinka:

Well, you hit something super interesting there, which is probably a good segue into the conversation that spawned this whole thing, right? Which was, you posted something on LinkedIn a couple weeks ago, and we were already planning this episode. For those who don’t understand the inner workings of the stuff, like we have to schedule these, we’ve got 40 some-odd episodes committed for the year. We had to schedule them out months in advance and get everybody’s schedule. This episode will probably air in four weeks, plus we started scheduling it four weeks ago, probably. I would venture to guess your post was sometime after that because we were sort of scheduled to have a broader group. We’re gonna have you and Gary Cobin, who’s a character and a half I would’ve loved to have had on the show. I probably still will, just for the sheer comedy. I love Gary to death. But you posted this and I said to Gary, I’m like, you know what? I’m just gonna do Kevin, because it’s been a conversation that’s come up a handful of times. I had Dante Orsini here who is the Chief Technology Officer at 1111 Systems. And it went there. I more recently got into one with AO Gonzalez, who is the Head of Alliances at Expedient. Like this conversation about the super important, but unsexy conversation of recovery kept coming up in those. And you posted something to the effect of everybody’s talking about security, and then you kind of gave this little story that I thought was, like, really, really funny. Do you remember what you said?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Vaguely. But let’s take a trip down memory lane .

 

Scott Kinka:

I actually printed it right here. It was this that I love. Do you remember it?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

I do. I was channeling my inner, if Sun Zoo were in it, guy in 2023. That’s not pompous to say, I’m like one of the greatest philosophical thinkers of our time. But, no, it’s this whole mentality of, look, if you can avoid a problem, avoid it. Right? If you can’t avoid it, protect against it. If you can’t protect against it, recover from it. And if you can’t recover from it, it’s probably you that were the actual problem. And I just feel like that applies much in technology. Because as you said, edge security is the childhood game of cops and robbers. And the robbers always had the advantage because they’re the ones that get to set the path. And you as the cops have to then chase them and follow ’em. You’re always playing catch up. And we still see that today in this industry, right? It always, I don’t wanna say a losing proposition, but the advantage certainly goes to the attackers, not the defense.

 

Scott Kinka:

I’m gonna read that back ’cause It was really good. It was exceptional. You basically said, if you can avoid a problem, avoid it. If you can’t avoid it, defend against it. If you can’t defend against it, recover from it. And if you can’t recover from it, it was you who was the problem. And it’s just really interesting because we’re talking much about the defense side, but you’re right. The robbers have the advantage. I love the cops and robbers analogy. The robbers have the advantage, and if they’re really organized, they’re going to find a way. Human engineering, they’ll find back there, they’ll find something. The issue is just sort of how well you are in a position to recover from it at the end of the day. So I love the analogy, and I’m sure if our producer Gene was here today, he’s taking his daughter to school for college. Sorry Gene, we missed you today. He’d be scribbling down back there ’cause usually when the interviews are going on, he’ll write down like, oh, that’s the thing we’re gonna call it on social media. We’ll have some fun with that. Maybe we can make you into Sun Zoo or something. We’ll figure that out. But, now let’s just say you had the opportunity to say that to, you’re in front of a customer, or maybe this was your thought process when you were on the customer side, right. Day two, your jamming security protocols and what have you. But I mean, how do you start the conversation? Because I think we all got a free pass. Every supplier, every technology company, certainly every customer got a free pass in 2020 and potentially in 2021. And then we started thinking about what we look like when we grow up in 22 and 23, and we’re still really not there. You’re meeting with a prospect or customers and they’re like, okay I need to get into recovery, pun intended, like how do you start that conversation with them?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

I mean, that’s the tricky part, right? It always starts with identification. If I’m a customer, the most important thing is coming into those conversations, having your proverbial ducks in a row. Understanding not just what you have from a systems perspective, but really understanding the nuance of what data do I have to protect to different levels? Because it’s the easy answer to say, well, I have to protect everything the same. But there’s a reason that somewhere in this home, you probably have a safe, right? You probably have your more valuable things in that safe that’s in a room, that’s in a house that’s locked, that has a security system. You don’t put every single thing you own in the safe because it’s impractical to do so, and frankly not necessary. If I’m a customer, that same thing applies to my internal data, right? If I’m in healthcare it’s my EHR, it’s my PI, it’s my PHI, if I’m in financial services, or finance, it’s maybe my core banking platform or my investor relations records or things along those lines. Identifying what is my most business critical data? What is my most privileged, most secure data? And then branching out from there. Once you have a firm understanding of that, then it becomes a numbers game around, okay, if the worst were to happen, how long can I afford to be without X? How long can I afford to be without it again. Easy to say, I’d love to have everything in my environment come back up seamlessly within 10 minutes. There are solutions where you can probably do that, but it’s gonna be completely financially impractical to do so, that identification, understanding, and having some semblance of not necessarily a plan, because a provider can work with you to help figure out what that plan should be based on what the solution will make available to you as far as options, but having some sense of really where you want to come out of that realistically, and not just going into it with the intention of like, let’s protect everything to the same level and recover it all at once.

 

Scott Kinka:

Of course. And I’ve been in many of those conversations myself. It’s like I need everything to be amended old, and I need it to be back in a minute.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

And my budget’s $10. Right.

 

Scott Kinka:

So, that’s good advice. What you’re saying to our listeners is, if you’re embarking on this plan, start with just knowing what all your data sets are. That’s number one, identification. Number two, it’s sort of staging them in terms of what’s important to the running of the business. This is hyper critical. This is moderately critical. This we can wait a couple days for, and then they don’t have to come up with a plan. They can lean on a provider, but the provider can tell you what’s important and what’s not important to your business.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Correct. And far too often folks are looking for that extra assist over the top. And the word of warning I’ll put out there to them is there are a lot of folks who would be very eager to jump at the chance to tell you what in your business is most important to protect. Don’t listen to them. Please. Like, don’t worry if someone thinks that they can come in and tell you how the nature of your data and what your organizational priorities should be for your applications. Approach that with some level of skepticism. Because, in my opinion, everybody talks about a consultative selling approach, and that’s fantastic. It’s good to be a consultant in addition to doing all the things that we’re doing from a solution perspective. But no one can really identify and solve a hundred percent of those problems for you. You have to have some institutional knowledge of what you want out of the solution, in order for it to actually serve your needs, not the provider’s needs.

 

Scott Kinka:

It’s funny, we have this as you are aware, we have at Bridgepoint, we have a division, Bridgepoint CX in there, it’s a group of consultants. There’s the consulting thing you’re talking about. Where we are paid to give advice on how people are supporting their customers in the simplest way I can describe it. But we subscribe to a very similar format. One of our heads of state over there is constantly saying we explain the art of the possible, which I think is a little bit of what you’re talking about. Like, it’s not our job to tell you how you should be communicating with your customer. That’s not our job. Our job is to basically say, this is what is available to you, and then sort of workshop with that with you. But you gotta know, you have to come into it saying, I know what’s important. I know what’s critical. It’s a very kind of a very similar conversation.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

It sounds like we’re the technical Sherpas. Right. But you have to climb to the top, the summit of that mountain yourself for it to count, or you have to decide to climb.

 

Crafting a Comprehensive Business Continuity Plan

 

Scott Kinka:

Right. At the end of the day, I’m gonna hit you with two more on this recovery topic. And you have some great graphics on this, and we’ll try to attach some of that in the show notes and we get to the end of the show. We’ll talk about how best to maybe get in touch with you if interested. But I want to harken back on one thing you mentioned. I asked you to speak at our tech summit in the fall on a panel. I believe at this point, pardon me, that I’m gonna be running around compliance and you rattled off a bunch of them in the middle of your description about the criticality of data and some of the standards that are out there. And they constantly stress to people around compliance that compliance doesn’t require you to be perfect. It requires you to have a plan, operate on a plan, test to plan, and hopefully be able to recover when the plan doesn’t work. How often when you’re having these sort of top to bottom recovery conversations, are you glancing into their co-compliance conversation?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Oh, I mean, the two things a hundred percent go hand in hand, because as you said, compliance is in the definition of protection against something happening. It’s the definition of the things you do in reaction to something happening, right? That’s how you react to an event. And to quote Mike Tyson, everybody’s got a plan until you get punched in the mouth, right. That holds true in the technology space as well, as crazy as it is. And that’s why I I tend to look at business continuity and disaster recovery conversations is look, have a plan. And formally enact the way that you intend to fail over the solutions that you want to use, what the intended timing of them is. But just like we talked about, a provider not being the one who can help you identify your data and things like that, the best thing a provider can do for you is present you with a number of options and not just options when it comes time to purchase a solution, but options in the course of that recovery. Because in the cases that I’ve seen where a customer’s recovered from ransomware, recovered from lost data, recovered from malicious employees, torching things before they leave. It’s never quite been the recovery scenario that they envisioned. It’s not that we’re standing up the entirety of our environment, it’s that, hey, 85% of my systems are fine. I need a way to recover the 15% that are negatively impacted. And I don’t want to negatively impact the other 85% in doing so. Being able to really kind of shuffle those puzzle pieces around to put together the exact picture that you need in the situation where you need it. All that said, compliance dictates that you have all the formal language, all the policies, all the procedures around what those plans for that full recovery. Recoverability is really the name of the game

 

Scott Kinka:

In a lot of ways, the descriptor of disaster in front of recovery is probably bad, right? Because most recovery events are not disasters. They’re just a kind of course of business and you’re kind of deciding on individual systems that need to come back, right?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

I mean, those things in and of themselves can, can be disastrous, right? But I guess it’s a combination of the qualifiers for what caused it and what the consequences of not properly navigating it are.

 

Scott Kinka:

A hundred percent. I got a bunch of sound bites outta you on this one. I really love that . Let me ask you, we’ve talked about server workloads mostly in our descriptions here. We’ve talked about EHRs and we’ve talked about banking systems, and we’ve talked about critical billing data and things of that nature. But to what extent does the plan also need to extend into the recoverability of the employee’s ability to work. Tell me a little bit about how you think about the kind of communications and endpoint and user computing and all those areas you consider as part of the plan.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Oh, a hundred percent. And so, two things here, right? One, I’m gonna work my way toward a shared experience that you and I have. Which I think perfectly illustrates this, and I know you already know what I’m talking about.

 

Scott Kinka:

But you’re gonna share it

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Before I get into that one though, I think we talked about the hybridization of the workforce and the challenges that it poses. One of the coolest things about hybridization of the workforce is it has given every organization that’s embraced it, a build in business continuity plan for how their people work. Because if your folks aren’t coming into a centralized location, if that centralized location has some form of an issue, an outage we have to all go home for two weeks. Guess what? There’s no interruption to your services because your folks are already connected to some form of a cloud-based solution in order to do that work. So, that said, right now, I think that’s a nice segue into what was our shared experience. This would’ve been back in what, 2019, 2018 maybe?

 

Tech Resilience in the Face of Adversity

 

Kevin Sullivan:

So for those not familiar, Scott and I are in the greater Philadelphia area and we had a shared office space out in a little location called King of pro Pennsylvania. I lived in the city of Philadelphia. It should be about a 35 minute commute on a Monday morning. It can take anywhere north of two and a half hours. I am out the door at the crack of 7:45. On my way to work ready to get there a couple minutes late and midway through my commute very responsibly. I checked my email. We weren’t going anywhere at that point anyway. But I checked my email and I have an email from our HR out of all IP saying, Hey, turn around and go home. Please do not come to HQ. No real description as to why. Come to find out, we had a very significant stormfront that moved through the area. Our office location was in a corporate park, which somehow had some form of geological nuance to it that it existed below.

 

Scott Kinka:

Geological nuance. I love it.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

It existed below the mean water level of the area. And we had a major flash flooding issue that actually caused pretty significant damage to our workspace. The great thing is, I don’t like the expression that we eat our own dog food. Right? Maybe we go with like, we drink our own champagne. But because we utilize the solutions that were out there selling and the things that we’re talking about on a daily basis, we lost zero productivity. Our users turned around and went home. Whatever time they were in the car doing that U-turn, that was what their negative impact from a work perspective was because they had a desktop as a service. They used our DASS solution, they had our unified communications tools. This was pre-Teams. This was back in the Cisco UC 1 day, but everybody was up fully and working. And I think it took us a day or two before we were able to get back into our office space and work effectively. But that to me is the perfect illustration. Having lived it firsthand as a user of how those types of solutions like DASS, like VDI can lend themselves to that business continuity conversation.

 

Scott Kinka:

And it’s interesting too, because I think people are very accustomed to it. I think the Renaissance of collaboration was the impending event, the pandemic. But Teams and Zoom and WebEx and the tools that came along with the other UCaaS platforms that are out there all saw their heyday then and everybody was talking. But one of the areas that did fall apart was in getting people access. You get people, you could make the phone ring, but you couldn’t get them access to the secure application that they needed to actually do anything, because there was insufficient VPN to get back to the office, there were critical applications that fell under co-compliance that needed to run on a desktop that was owned by the business. You couldn’t run it on your kids’ school laptop that kind of stuff. And that’s really where DASS was a savior, certainly in that situation, and then again, in the pandemic for us was compliance, I think, and DASS around application portability go hand in hand.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

The missing piece was that real time audio and video optimization and interestingly enough that was really just starting to come to fruition towards the end of 2019 into 2020. From that perspective, the timing couldn’t have been better. That gave us the opportunity to then mature that technology fast, because necessity is the mother of invention. Of course, once the pandemic hit, it’s like, okay, we have the capability to do this. Let’s figure out how to do it, do it well, and be able to repeat it often so that we can leverage things like VMware and Citrix to deliver team zoom, WebEx in an optimized fashion.

 

Scott Kinka:

Perfect. And I think that’s a great segue into our fun, because this was really good, I enjoyed this conversation. I feel like this is a total back to the future right now, because we’ve had this banter about how to speak about these things. You have improved some of the sound bites. I gotta give you that from a marketing perspective. I’m gonna take some of that stuff out of here and we’ll market it well, but I’m gonna add some of it to my lexicon. I appreciate that.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

That’s absolutely the tail wagging the dog because every day I’ve woken up as a professional the last few years. I think, how can I be more like Scott today?

 

Scott Kinka:

No stop. No, but I appreciate it. That was great. We’re gonna have some fun though. I want a shameless prediction from you for the next, call it 18 to 24 months. And it can be about work, it can be about tech, it can be about Philadelphia sports, it can be about music, it can be about politics. Although nobody jumps on that grenade. Throw it out there 18 to 24 months.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Well, I’ll give you two. I’ll give you the joke first. I feel like I have to do the Philly sports thing, right? So, Scott, for the first time called our long-time listener, I’ve enjoyed the show for a while now, but Birds are gonna be 16 and 0 this year. The Eagles are gonna run it back to win the Super Bowl. No questions. They ask you what hurts MVP not only of the season, but the Super Bowl too. Go Birds.

 

Scott Kinka:

Okay. Love it. For those of you who don’t live here, that’s basically nearly every caller into the radio shows in Philadelphia in the morning, but okay. Got it. Good.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

So the real one from a technology perspective, I hope this is not too pragmatic. My prediction is we’re gonna be solving the same problems 18 to 24 months from now that we’re solving today, but using different terminology to describe them. And the reason I feel that is because right now we’re solving the same problems we were solving 18 to 24 months ago. We’re using different terminology, and at that point, we were solving the same problems we were solving. It’s an ever evolving cavalcade of language. But the core things that we’re doing from a problem solving perspective and the value that technology brings to organizations when it comes to their business doesn’t change.

 

Tech Insights and Summer Reads: Exploring Cybersecurity and Beachside Literature

 

Scott Kinka:

That could be a whole episode in and of itself.  We’ve watched tech in many terms. Everything was as a service then everything was cloud. Now everything’s a CX technology now. Half the stuff that is not actually AI is being called AI because No, it’s just the analytics that you were doing before, but it’s not, and it’s not actually machine learning. You can call it AI, that makes your marketing department happy. I get you. That’s a really interesting hot take. We don’t have time to explore it much deeper than that, I’ll just leave it there. Alright. Whatever the next disaster is, zombie apocalypse, the robots take over, Skynet descends, whatever it is. And there’s only one application that continues to work on your phone. And there’s been some interesting answers to this one. What would it be?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

This might shock you. Mine’s actually gonna be Strava, and I know this is not okay. This is not a runner’s physique.

 

Scott Kinka:

But you wanna train yourself to be able to run from the zombies.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

You hit the nail on the head earlier. You’re talking about LinkedIn, right? Like patently unsexy. Right. That’s not just my LinkedIn post. Right. That’s gonna be the title of my autobiography someday. But no. About a year ago, I started doing a catch to 5K program, and I actually fell in love with running. Especially if I’m gonna start logging miles running from the zombies and the robots, I might as well get some credit for them.

 

Scott Kinka:

I love that. Strava. It is certainly one of our more unique answers to that question. All right. This one’s a little less jockey. Is there something that you’re reading right now that our listeners should be reading?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

I actually just finished maybe a week or a couple weeks ago. Kim Ziers countdown to Zero Day. That was an amazing eye opening, thought provoking read all about the stocks net virus, its development, how it was found, how security professionals reverse engineered it to really understand the nature and nuance of what that attack was. A little bit harrowing, but a really good read. And then on the non-technical side, I actually just finished my annual summer reread of Jaws. I have a paperback that I’ve had since I was in high school that has probably spent more time on New Jersey beaches than some of the lifeguards down there, that’s practically disintegrated.

 

Scott Kinka:

And if you’re in Philly, you’re a Jersey Beach person, you are a salty dog, got a boat, you fish the whole nine yards. This is basically your summer homage to Jaws.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

That’s the head clearing kind of annual reset at this point.

 

Scott Kinka:

Could you actually need to read it or can you just go sort of section by section and know what’s about to happen?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Probably. I think I could give a pretty convincing book report. Definitely B plus.

 

Scott Kinka:

Getting back to the earlier, the other book Countdown to Zero. I got the title right.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Countdown to Zero Day

 

Scott Kinka:

Countdown To Zero Day. Okay. Too heavy for most people for if you’re not like a tech nerd, or is it one of those like, just for our listeners, if you are sort of either a technology executive or a business executive, super nerdy, or is it

 

Kevin Sullivan:

No. It’s interesting that you asked that because actually as I started to read it, I got maybe a third of the way into it and started thinking, this might be too academic for me. It might be a little too dry, a lot of footnotes. You could tell it was like academically put together. But then once I kind of cracked into the actual human aspect of how folks were going through reverse engineering and finding out about it it became a super compelling read. It is daunting to start and look at, but the way the author tells the story it actually reads in a very narrative approach for the majority of it. And the approach to the subject matter is extremely understandable. They put everything very, very kind of generic, basic, approachable terms

 

Scott Kinka:

That’s awesome. Okay, well that’s one I’m gonna have to pick up. I appreciate that and I appreciate your time joining us here on the Bridge. My guest today was Kevin Sullivan, a friend for a long time and thrilled to have him on the show today. He’s the Director of Solutions Engineering at EvolveIP. Kevin, if our listeners wanna learn a little bit more about EvolveIP, you’d recommend they go to the website, I’m assuming?

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Absolutely. You can find us online www.evolveip.net. A lot on LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m actually strongly considering launching out into the Twitter X face with a professional account. You can find me on there at TheDaaSGuy. There’s not much on there yet. Mark that down. Okay. There will be soon, hopefully.

 

Scott Kinka:

Okay. Well, I’m thrilled to have had The DaaS Guy on the show. Kevin, thank you very much for your time.

 

Kevin Sullivan:

Thank you for having me, Scott. I appreciate it

 

 

 

 

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