Secure-24 Uses Red Hat Certifications to Attract Customers, Recruit Talent

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September 26, 2013

Secure-24, an information technology (IT) outsourcing leader, has been in perpetual growth mode since 2000 and is always looking for qualified personnel to join its team.

Customer: Secure 24

“Our customers are larger enterprises that look to us to have the right expertise on staff. One way we show them that we are prepared to handle their environments is the large number of Red Hat Certified Engineers we have.” Sean Millichamp enterprise architect for Secure-24

Geography: North America
Country: United States


Business Challenge:

Secure-24, an information technology (IT) outsourcing leader, has been in perpetual growth mode since 2000 and is always looking for qualified personnel to join its team.

Solution:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Red Hat Satellite Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform

Hardware:

Intel-based x86 machines

Benefits:

A large number of Red Hat certified personnel makes Secure-24 more attractive to large enterprise customers.

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Background:

Seeking High-Quality People to Manage High Growth

Since 2000, the IT outsourcing firm Secure-24 has experienced periods of rapid growth. At one point, the firm signed up a large financial services customer that doubled the size of its Linux environment. "We needed to hire people to meet those challenges, and we needed to do it quickly, all the while continuing to deploy new systems for this customer," said Sean Millichamp, enterprise architect for Secure-24. "As part of the recruiting process, we had to find the right people. Not just people, but the right people for the job."

Secure-24 depends on a number of Red Hat products to run its business. First, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the No. 1 Linux distribution the company uses. Red Hat Network Satellite helps with patching and package distribution to all Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers. And the company also has some very large Red Hat JBoss installations.

Millichamp worked with Secure-24 recruiters to identify what to look for on resumes and in initial phone calls with candidates. "I said, 'If they have RHCE [Red Hat® Certified Engineer] on their resume, I definitely want to talk to them.'"

Recruiting, however, has been a challenge. The Detroit area, where the company is headquartered, is experiencing a high demand for IT talent. On the upside, a lot of companies are looking to attract engineers, increasing jobs, and helping the local economy. "But on the downside, there are more companies competing for the existing talent," said Millichamp. Again, it’s the RHCE candidates who are in greatest demand, he said.

Secure-24's partnership with Red Hat and the Red Hat Certification Program continues to help it with recruiting. The firm is able to hire individuals directly out of college programs and put them through its IT academy — an 18-month training program. From that point on, employees are primed to achieve Red Hat certifications and advance from positions in customer service to engineering. "We've been able to add a tremendous number of resources to our staff using this model, by training junior engineers up into fantastic senior staff members," said Mike Jennings, CEO of Secure-24.

Secure-24 runs such a broad range of Red Hat products that candidates have to demonstrate versatility. "Which is another reason we look for candidates that have Red Hat Certified Engineer or Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator® credentials," said Millichamp.

Business Challenge:

Red Hat Certification Program: Hands-On Testing of Red Hat Experience

RHCE is a Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) who possesses additional skills, knowledge, and abilities required of a senior system administrator responsible for Red Hat Enterprise Linux® systems. A RHCE is capable of a broad range of tasks, including configuring static routes, packet filtering, and network address translation; setting kernel runtime parameters; and configuring an Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) initiator.

It's not easy to pass a RHCE, RHCSA, or other Red Hat certifications exam. Book knowledge isn't enough.

Said Millichamp: "One of the things I like most about the Red Hat Certification Program is the fact that, from the entry-level certifications all the way up to RHCE-level certifications, it involves hands-on, experience- and results-based testing."

No one could pass a Red Hat test by trying to memorize answers to rote questions, Millichamp said. "The combination of time management, knowledge, and ability to execute at the keyboard is what really distinguishes the entire Red Hat Certification Program from any of the others."

The Red Hat Certification Program is also comprehensive. "Everything you need to know as an engineer about Red Hat Enterprise Linux products—from storage, to printing, to NFS [network file systems] to basic systems administration—is all covered within the Red Hat Certification Program," Millichamp said.

Solution:

Red Hat Certifications Critical to Secure-24's Success

Because so many of its IT workers have Red Hat certifications, Secure-24 is much better able to market and sell to enterprise customers. The training is so rigorous that enterprise customers feel confident that their IT systems are in good hands.

"Our customers look to us to have the right expertise on staff,” Millichamp said. “One way we show them that we are prepared to handle their environments is the large number of Red Hat Certified Engineers we have."

Secure-24 customers tend to be $1 billion to $50 billion international companies, and Secure-24 supports those companies' most critical systems—everything from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems all the way down to order tracking.

"Whether they come to us for mission-critical hosting of their ERP application, or whether they con- what we're doing and that we have the right partnerships established," said Jennings. "And having a partnership that's as solid as the one we have with Red Hat—which has now stretched over a full decade—is something we can point to and say, 'Look, we've got the Linux stuff handled. Red Hat is behind us, and we’re behind you.'"

Jennings is very proud that Secure-24 was one of Computerworld’s 100 Best Places to Work in IT. "This has helped us considerably when hiring, and I think our relationship with Red Hat has absolutely made this a more attractive place to work," he said.

Millichamp agreed: "Even if you are a super engineer who doesn’t think you'll ever need to call for support, knowing Red Hat is behind you is a fantastic resource and a fantastic safety net."

Benefits:

In 2012, Millichamp was honored with the title of Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year, something he called "quite amazing." There was a buzz throughout the office, he said. “It was very exciting to have that level of excitement and attention. My inbox got crowded with messages from recruiters, which I just had to keep deleting. And I know that our own recruiters here now will mention that I am on staff when they talk to potential Linux candidates, because smart people like to work with other smart people, and it’s something that they can point to."

"By having Sean Millichamp, the Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year, on our staff, it’s allowed us to not only have a fantastic mentor for the rest of our Linux staff, but also to recruit great talent because of that certification and that honor bestowed on him," said Jennings.

About Secure-24

While the dot-com bubble that burst in the early 2000s left many IT firms adrift, Volker Straub and Matthias Horch, the German founders of Secure-24, still believed in their vision of bringing innovative IT outsourcing solutions to the United States. The two chose to stay in the country after their employer, TDS AG, the largest SAP hosting company in Europe, decided not to open an office here. They founded Secure-24 in 2001.

What began as two entrepreneurs with a strategic vision soon became a leading company in enterprise hosting and cloud services. Today, Secure-24 has remained true to its original vision by providing quality IT infrastructure solutions to hundreds of clients around the globe. As a premier provider of managed IT operations, hosting, and cloud services, Secure-24 provides highly available environments, expert management, and support for enterprises’ business critical applications.

Today, Secure-24 is a SAP certified Hosting and Cloud Provider with a broad SAP Basis Competency Center and an Oracle Gold Partner for hosting Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions such as Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Hyperion.

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