Tell us a little about your background. What industry experience do you have? And what did you do before your company?
Prior to founding FireHost, I was the founder of and partner in an interactive marketing and web development company, TargetScope, which oversaw hundreds of websites containing critical data, applications and ecommerce. After seeing time and again that clients’ websites were not adequately protected from new hacker threats, viruses and other malicious cybercrimes, I began offering hosting services that addressed the client’s security and performance needs. What emerged was FireHost. In 2008, I took the company from being a one-off solution that was offered to customers of TargetScope to being a whole new, and fast growth company all on its own.
I started my career as a paratrooper in the storied 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army. Even back then, I had the entrepreneurial spirit and a knack for web development. While Based in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, I was selected to build some of the Army’s first private and secure websites and completed these duties in addition to my paratrooper responsibilities.
What is the History of your company and what has led to your success in the hosting industry?
While leading TargetScope, I saw firsthand that sophisticated hacker networks were on the rise. After watching one brand name customer get hacked on their biggest retail day of the year, I knew that there had to be a better way to keep customers secure online. I did countless hours of research and numerous inquiries with hosting providers and became further dismayed. Their practices simply were not keeping pace with the increasing application layer risks. The seed for FireHost was planted.
After realizing the void, we built a better mousetrap. We began offering hosting services backed by application development expertise to address the ongoing security and performance needs of the changing market.
FireHost is now recognized as a leading Secure Web Hosting company. The company has combined the best of dedicated hosting (performance and reliability) with the advantages of cloud hosting (scalability, flexibility, and resource accountability) to provide a virtualized, secure managed hosting platform. This offering includes the added benefit of security and compliance at less than half the cost of traditional dedicated hosting.
Tell our readers about your company, your products and services.
FireHost, Inc. is a Dallas, Texas-based secure managed hosting company that delivers enterprise-quality web hosting solutions. Specializing in protecting websites with compliance and high traffic needs, FireHost makes hacker prevention a standard part of every hosting plan. Advanced security combined with a comprehensive portfolio of hosting solutions helps FireHost protect companies of all sizes from threats to their websites, applications, and other valuable data.
We believe secure, high-performance web hosting is a requirement for all companies – regardless of size or budget. Since cybercrime has become a common occurrence, even for small companies, we deliver secure managed hosting solutions at affordable rates so no one has to sacrifice speed, quality, or security. FireHost works especially well for sites that have high-traffic, are high-target, and house critical, confidential data (such as banks, ecommerce, and healthcare application providers).
Every one of FireHost’s Secure Servers is protected by 10 points of protection that you may not find at other hosting companies. Hardened Network Design, Redundant Managed Firewalls, Multi-level Intrusion Prevention, Policy-based Web Application Protection, SSL VPN for Administration (DB | RDP | VNC | SSH), Encrypted Server Backups, Security Event Monitoring and Alerting, Secure Physical Datacenter Monitoring, Dos/DDoS Protection, and Change Management Protocols are all standard inclusions for every customer. We take web hosting security seriously so you can provide the highest level of protection for your company’s valuable data, applications and assets.
Do you have any other changes or additions to your service in this coming year?
We’re going to be rolling out with our FireHost Secure Server Management. This will allow customers to see their server resources being used over time, restart their servers, add more resources, view backup, bandwidth and virus protection history. All within our MyFireHost.com customer portal.
How does your company fit into the web hosting industry? What makes you different?
FireHost provides secure and affordable hosting solutions to companies of all sizes. Businesses that have hacker-targeted data like financial information or mission critical web-based applications like billing software or customer portals find our services to be a good fit. We are a premium, managed hosting provider founded on the belief that security and protection from malicious hackers should never be an add-on.
In addition, we are completely transparent with our service portfolio, capabilities, and rates; they are all visible right on the website. Many other hosting companies rely on complicated, custom quotes to get the job done. These ploys have caused too many businesses to pay too much and too many trusting buyers to get roped into buying a dedicated server (or two) with resources they don’t need. FireHost is changing that. We’re out to prove that overpriced, insecure hosting tied to a lengthy contract is a thing of the past. In doing so, we’re making a name for ourselves among industries with stringent compliance needs such as PCI, HIPAA, and banking.
How many customers does your company currently have and what have you found has been the best way to grow your customer base?
We have hundreds of customers, and as a relatively new player in the hosting marketplace that number grows aggressively every day. Here are a few names you might recognize; Kevin Mitnick, the famous hacker from the early 90s has been protected by FireHost since his previous provider kicked him out. Johns Hopkins and Duke Universities host web applications in our environment. Several “household names” like ABC Broadcasting Company, Payless Shoes, Fossil, and ColorTyme rely on Secure Servers for protection.
I’d like to address your second question in two parts – Philosophies and Technicalities.
Philosophically speaking, we’ve found under-promising and over-delivering is the best way to grow any business. We’re honest about our limitations and confident in our capabilities. Most importantly, we consistently deliver the service as promised and have happy customers to back that up. In fact, we frequently have customers (voluntarily) talk about us on personal and company blogs as well as other social media outlets.
Technically speaking, we use the full spectrum of marketing strategies and initiatives available to a company doing business in 2010. Web presence, search marketing, traditional advertising, tradeshows, business development, sponsorships, vertical partnerships, PR, and so on. Each is an absolute necessity, and we do a great job of communicating a consistent, understandable message across all mediums.
Do you currently have your own datacenter and where are they located?
Our data centers are in Dallas, TX and Scottsdale, AZ. Dallas is home to all our customers and we use our Scottsdale facility for disaster recovery plans and for customers who require physical redundancy.
Do you have multiple backbone connections to the Internet?
Yes. We have:
- Level 3
- Time Warner Telecom (TWTC)
- Global Crossing
- Cogent Communications
- XO Communications
As far as support goes, do you offer true 27/7/365 support with live technicians?
Of course. Our Support Engineers are ready to provide fast, accurate and complete resolution via telephone, ticket, or live chat from our secure customer portal around the clock. Whether you have a simple question or are dealing with an emergency, our support staff has the knowledge and skills to keep your hosting environment running smoothly and securely. We treat every issue with honesty and transparency to resolve complicated problems as fast as possible. And we don’t give up until you say the situation is completely resolved to your satisfaction.
Can you tell us more about these support mechanisms and to what lengths will you go to satisfy customer’s needs?
This was answered above, also check out: http://www.firehost.com/secure-hosting/customer-portal
The hosting industry has changed a lot in the last year, what predictions do you foresee for this coming year?
I see more focus on solutions rather than network/hardware. At the end of the day, people need ecommerce hosting or hosting with a CMS, etc. You’re seeing providers partnering with leading software like Magento, Drupal, WordPress. Hosting products will start aligning to business needs. Our success has been based on us solving the business need for security. Our customers have server speed and features on the bottom of their priority list to security.
Lastly, what is your favorite website and the most recent book you have read?
I’m split between WSJ.com for most of my news and then DarkReading.com for my security updates.
Most recent book is Term Limits by Vince Flynn and looking forward to reading the rest of his books.