Earlier this month, IT service provider Atrion Networking held its inaugural AlwaysOn Technology Symposium at the Cross Pavilion at Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots. The Warwick, Mass.-based company, which ranked as #39 on MSPmentor’s 501 list this year, invited several hundred clients, partners and employees to the symposium to learn how they can grow their businesses and become better partners.

MSPmentor analyzed Atrion’s blog to delve into some of the most important aspects from this year’s event. Read on for summaries from the morning and afternoon sessions.

Morning Session

  • Atrion CIO Chris Poe gave the first of several TED-like keynotes, in which he discussed how the traditional IT department is no longer the dominant force when it comes to making technology purchasing decisions. While IT has traditionally been thought of as the go-to group for all enterprise purchases, individuals and even C-suite level executives are now capable of researching and purchasing new solutions on their own. Therefore, Poe said IT needs to learn how to “sell” the appropriate technology to the rest of the organization and act as trusted experts for their company.
  • The next presentation by Erick Zarksi, Microsoft’s general manager for Managed Partners, focused on his company’s mission to empower organizations to achieve more through productivity and cloud computing. Zarski also touched on the growing expectation that employees can work together, no matter where they are located.
  • Atrion’s Director of Applications Joshua Cliff and Kevin McCarron, director of Atrion’s Business Innovation Group, discussed ways in which companies can foster collaboration, including a focus on modern computing experiences over legacy user experiences.
  • Next, Tim Nicastro,  Atrion’s senior engineer for Professional Service, discussed the growth of the modern data center and the challenges associated with meeting storage growth requirements, security practices and network latency, among others. Nicastro said the use of hypervisors, cloud applications and hyperconvergence are critical in enabling companies to grow their data center to meet user needs.
  • Finally, Alan Silverman, Atrion’s technical director for Data Center Solutions discussed the four factors organizations should consider when choosing a hypervisor. The familiarity, price, use cases and service provider are all key elements of choosing the right hypervisor for your organization, and the number of different options available makes this decision harder than it ever was before.

Afternoon Session

  • Cisco Vice President of Global ISV and Tech Partner Danny Trevett discussed his company’s vision for the future of IT. Trevett said CIOs are continually bringing business line unit owners into technology conversations as part of the digitization of different departments, which is a result of the dissemination of technology throughout the business organization. IT can manage these changes by acting as trusted advisors and experts to help companies integrate new technology into their environments.
  • Dave Oakman, Atrion’s chief engineer, spoke about the growth of cloud computing and the importance of building a hybrid cloud environment. This process allows companies to utilize the advantages of both private and public clouds without the associated drawbacks, according to Oakman.
  • Atrion’s Technical Director for Security Josh King discussed the industry-wide need to change how we think about cybersecurity to keep up with changing threat vectors. King urged attendees to adopt what he called an “assumption of breach” philosophy, so that employees always remain vigilant even when their solutions are safe.
  • Lastly, Bill Ellis, Atrion’s technical director for Foundations emphasized the importance of networks as the foundation of the modern business. While networks can help organizations to work at a pace and scale that was previously unheard of, network disruption has the power to bring business to a standstill, meaning that employees need to develop more specialized skills to keep the system up and running. To do this, businesses need to focus on skill development, strengthening their partner network, and educating employees to monitor analytics and application layer performance.