What we care about: We are all connected. Technology is the current that runs through our businesses and global villages. Higher State Technology (HST) serves SMBs in a “Techno-city” where we can focus on what matters – taking care of employees and clients. Cyber Resilience is at the heart of our vision. We meet people where they are to get the ‘technology out of the way’. Business leaders and their teams can then bring their goods and services to market with efficiency, security and clarity to focus on purpose. We love the art of getting technology to work for our clients (instead of our clients working for their technology). As small businesses leaders, we are being called to support our teams and clients with better preparation and a values-first approach to service. HST stands on this foundation as certified Barrett Values Center consultants to weave thought leadership on values into all we do.
We believe business is a Living System; this is a cornerstone of our business philosophy. From our origins in 2004 when HST began as a small ‘break and fix’ IT shop for SMBs through the vast evolution of changes in technology, we’ve been here to keep business ‘alive and well’. This starts with the well-being of our team and extends to our clients. This results in clearer thought, creativity, sense of belonging, active service, and worker and customer serenity. We believe we are all here to serve. Work is our service. Service is our work. The world is a better place when we care in this spirit of possibility with one another.
A brief timeline of ‘lessons learned’ and experiences we’ve traversed shares some of our innovations in responding to the ever-changing world of tech.
2014 What: HST becomes Managed IT Services Provider Results: Standardizes on the SMB IT Stack (which we call the “IT Ecosystem”)
We began serving as the IT department (or augmentation thereof) for solopreneurs to large internal IT departments for every day and project needs. Enterprise-grade IT environments for SMBs monitor, identify, protect, detect, respond and recover with a full suite of applications and partners aligning to the mission and Cybersecurity Framework of NIST: https://www.nist.gov/ (The National Institute of Standards and Technology).
2017 What: Growing through Acquisitions
Lesson: Nope. Health of the final, merged business system must be considered from the beginning –not just from the bottom lines (talent and treasure). We realize what a challenge this can be for our industry – or any business. This lesson showed us our ‘sweet spot’– such as the types of clients and team members we want to have in our community.
2019 What: Ransomware Attack. HST becomes MSSP (Managed IT Services and Security Provider)
Lesson: In June, the ransomware called Sodinokibi hit us and six of our clients. In 3 days’ time we had all impacted businesses operational. Had we waited for the ‘white knights’ of the insurance and cyber world, clients could have gone out of business or suffered extreme financial loss given their RPO and RTO*. Further, we learned a great deal about how cyber insurance does and does not actually support emergency restoration and loss of business income for SMBs.
*RPO (Recovery Point Objective) indicates the amount/type of data (updated or created) that will be lost or need to be reentered after an outage. Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the amount of downtime a business can tolerate.
2020 What: Covid 19
Results: Almost overnight, companies who had been talking about “going remote” had to. We swiftly equipped clients with hardware, software and applications and then provided training in the new applications and modes.
We traveled alongside our clients as a fellow SMB struggling with layoffs, better use technology to automate processes, and accommodations for remote and smaller staffs. In addition, we ‘gifted’ IT Services to many of our clients (especially the smaller and hard hit with Covid shutdowns). Many folks needed to ‘keep the lights on’ but could not afford both their offices and IT Services for abandoned locations.
Present Day: [email protected]
Results: In late 2020, Co-Founder, Doug Miller, left his role as CEO of HST and co-Founder, Anna Miller, took up the mantle officially. Over the last 7 years, HST has invested heavily in learning and development through a special lens focused on humans being well within the technology pervasive in our lives. With a certification from the Barrett Value Centre (https://www.valuescentre.com/), HST has taken an internally developed program called [email protected] to prime time. First programs internally were for staff development, hiring and apprenticeships. Our seasoned team has been key to the mentorship of Apprentices and the onboarding of Veterans as team members who have gone from protecting our country to now protecting our clients. This is through partnerships with the SkillBridge program and the Dept of Labor. HST has plans for sharing [email protected] and Flourish University with our clients, their teams and other business leaders.
So, we have work to do. We are (all) here to develop “islands of coherence” in our own villages – and connect with other islands as called into service with one another individually and collectively. Technology is a connector to our playgrounds. HST will be adapting our Cyber Resilience program and offering consulting services to support leaders in managing the health of their teams within the evolving Noosphere and tech revolution. We believe a healthy, living system is best filled with full-spectrum-consciousness. This elicits innovation…let’s start here.
“When a system is far from equilibrium, small islands of coherence have the capacity to shift the entire system.”
– Physicist and Noble Laureate Ilya Prigogine