"EMA’s goal is to be the world leader in 3D simulation, and a company that with test and measurement capabilities can prove out what we do.
A lot of the work we do is really complex, so the people that build it have to spend a lot of money in order to build prototypes, or first versions of it or prove it out. In order to do that we need to have really powerful computers with really good access. Our business is spread out across the US, we have our headquarters out in Lakewood, Colorado and have offices out here in Pittsfield. Being connected is a huge part of that. Being able to store and retrieve lot’s of data, and being able to do so securely. We work with a lot of companies that take privacy very seriously, and so aggregating all of that makes us, more so than many, a very technology-dependent company."
CMMC, IT Support and Cybersecurity
We sat down with Justin McKennon, Principal Scientist I at Electro Magnetic Applications, Inc. at the Berkshire Innovation Center, to hear their technology story, and what they think of working with Synagex.
"It's like having an IT department down the hall"
"...without really having one. Synagex is part of the team, they understand what we’re doing, we understand what they’re doing. They’re usually really proactive with coming to us with solutions and suggestions for things to do better. They came to us with a cybersecurity assessment that we knew was on the horizon, but we hadn’t really gotten around to it.
Having someone take the lead with that was really nice."
"We’re engineers, so we like to focus on the stuff that we’re good at. We know enough to be dangerous with IT, we did a lot of that internally for a long time. When we hired Synagex, they came and did a full audit for us and we found a lot of areas that we really weren’t even aware of that we weren’t doing particularly well, and then we found a lot of ways to do it better. Being a big supporter of the aerospace industry, and working with a lot of DoD customers — they’re coming out with more and more stringent security requirements that we don’t have the time to become experts in. Having a company like Synagex that specializes in that is really valuable for us."
The Business Relationship
"It’s been great, we really have had no issues with anything there. We know that if I email Synagex anything from, “My internet’s down”, to, “Hey we need to look at these CMMC requirements, we’re looking at what the department of defense requirements are and we want to do a security audit—what do we do with all of this stuff?”. Synagex will take a day and come back with a fully architected solution for us, and it’s just cut and dry, and saves us a lot of time. We don’t really have that down time, waiting. They’re responsive. If I email Synagex late at night, or early in the morning—or if anybody does—they’re super prompt to get back to us, and it’s really nice to have that"
"It’s not necessarily just the federal standards, there’s a lot of folks that are in those quasi government organizations, without saying names of companies—it’s not limited to just the government. Having controlled access to certain types of computers, certain computing resources — how you store your files, how you have your passwords secured. The list is like 100’s of pages of what you have to do, and if you’re not doing it on a day-to-day basis—for one, it’s daunting, and some people don’t even have the architecture in place to solve that even if they could solve it. So, really, without any expertise in that area, it’s almost an unclimbable hill. When you have someone that has not only done it before, but has deployed solutions for a number of different customers, they have a lot of cards in their hand that they can play to find something that works."
"The flexibility is something I can't stress enough."
"If we have an IT person, we’re beholden to only what that IT person knows. Our IT architecture is getting more complicated by the day. With the new remote environment it’s necessary to have that flexible capability there. We don’t have IT needs on a day-to-day basis, what we really want to have is something that’s built from the ground up so that we don’t have problems, and when Synagex came to us with, “this is how we would architect your system”, we said, “That’s a perfect fit for us”, because
a good IT system is built with a good plan, and if you have a good plan you don’t need to mess with it all the time. That was really something that spoke to us."
On Simple IT
"Synagex has simplified IT quite a bit for us. They’ve done it because we know we have an inbox — a catch-all to put all of our IT considerations in. We don’t have to go to different departments, we don’t have to call different phone numbers, we can email anybody on the Synagex team, and if they can’t handle it, there is someone 10 feet away from them that can. The responsiveness and the catch-all for everything that we come up with really takes the place of having an entire team. We have one solutions provider that meets everything that we’re doing."
How Synagex Compares
"When we started shopping around for IT we really had two options. We were going to look for a service provider, or we were going to hire someone to run our IT for us. We found Synagex was the perfect intersection of cost for us—being affordable, you know, we’re not going to skimp on the IT budget because we’re smart enough to know that if we do that it’s going to cost us a lot more in the long run—but when we found that it’s not just one person at Synagex, it’s a whole team and all of them are capable of filling in for one another, and the responsiveness—and plus just being a small business ourselves out here in the Berkshires, finding another small business that matches up well with us was a no-brainer."
On Our Modern IT Subscription Model
" I think it works great, it really challenges Synagex to make sure that we’re set up really well. If Synagex does their job really well, we don’t have to call them. It really makes it seem like the incentive is on Synagex to do a really good job, and that’s a business model that speaks to us.
[Before Synagex] We had somewhat of what I wish was an on-demand one there, but they were really expensive. We paid them a yearly fee and then they would charge us to come on-site. It seemed like we were paying to have access to them, and then paying for their time, and then still doing our own IT on top of it. So, it just didn’t work, it wasn’t a very effective solution for us."
Your IT Should Be Unique
Our customers are all different, we all do different things — we are involved with the department of defense, we are a finance company, we are a construction company, we are retail-focused, or healthcare —each one of those businesses has a unique need for technology.
We like to focus our time, at the strategic level, on those differences.
Watch the video!
"You’re not going to get a 1-stop shop that can handle everything. Synagex has been working with us for about a year and a half now and we see this as something that we’re going to be doing for quite a while. Really, if you’re looking at other IT providers, the question is, “Are they going to have the breadth of expertise that Synagex does?”, and I don’t think that’s true. I think that if you are looking for a ground-up IT solution, if you have something that’s in place and you need a different set of eyes on it — they can fill all of those roles.
Really easy IT—from day 1. It’s been a pleasure working with Synagex, they’ve made our lives a lot easier in a lot of different areas."