Sponsored by CMIT Solutions of Centreville
Anyone who knows Chris Albright, owner of CMIT Solutions of Centreville, knows he’s no slacker. The Gainesville resident, who retired from the United States Marine Corps after serving for 20 years, earned a BS in IT Management, an MS in Cyber Security and an MBA. It was about five years ago Albright decided it was time to put his experience and education to use. He opened CMIT Solutions of Centerville and hasn’t looked back since.
With an office based in Manassas, the name of Albright’s company is slightly misleading. He and his team provide custom-tailored IT solutions to small and mid-sized business owners from Centreville, Chantilly, Gainesville, Manassas and the surrounding areas. Albright talked about his company and his experiences in a recent interview with Prince William Living.
PWL: How did your military career prepare you for launching CMIT?
Albright: I worked in many positions over the years, which helped prepare me for leading my team and making my clients my top priority. For example, as the Logistics Chief for a battalion, I managed the detailed logistics of teams as large as 200.
As the Detachment Commander and senior enlisted Marine at an overseas consulate, I had to make sure my team followed the rules. My nearest boss wasn’t close, so I had to learn to run things solo. This provided me with the opportunity to take ownership and solve complex problems independently and with the help of my team.
My last job was a Marine Corps Funeral Director at Arlington Cemetery. That was a tough job. I had to coordinate memorial services and in many cases present the flag to grieving family members.
PWL: CMIT Solutions of Centreville is now in its fifth year. Congratulations! In terms of services and focus, what has changed over the past year or so?
We are still the go-to in the Managed Service Provider (MSP) world. We will support your organization in the day-to-day and periodic maintenance of servers, workstations and systems, as well as data backup and storage. But we also have steered our focus more towards cyber security. External threats are always an issue, but employees and anyone using your systems can easily make an error, often without even realizing, and expose vulnerabilities. We do the tech work to keep your business running, but we also can provide security audits to make sure everything and everyone is working as safely as possible.
Albright: What are some current security issues all businesses and organizations should be aware of?
Hacking is at an all-time high. At some point, every business, no matter the size, will get hacked. Every business should assume there will be a breach and plan accordingly to minimize the damage and to recover quickly. Phishing, spoof emails, malware, viruses – these are all issues people need to be aware of.
PWL: What piece of advice can you offer small and medium sized organizations and businesses?
Albright: Be prepared. If you don’t have a maintenance plan, you are destined for disaster. I’m not trying to be dramatic but, in this day, and age data is valuable, and hackers will do whatever they can to get at it and sell it. It’s big money for them, and there are plenty of people who will buy it. Most organizations can’t afford a tech disaster or a data breach, and they can’t afford the down-time. So, don’t let that happen to you.
PWL: What does your day-to-day life look like as a IT business owner?
Albright: My priorities come by asking, ‘Who can I help today?’ or ‘Who can I partner with to help my clients?’ My daily schedule is determined by my clients’ evolving needs. Anything pressing is addressed and trouble shot. The rest of my time is invested in creating custom solutions and monitoring our existing clients’ data and security.
PWL: How do you work with clients?
Albright: Our first step is to learn more about your business and how you utilize software and technology. Then we get to work designing IT solutions that are secure and proactive. Since technology and online security are constantly evolving, we ensure all of your solutions are up-to-date. If for any reason I can’t deliver a fix, I have a team of technology experts who can reach out to you directly to get things back to full speed. We are small and local but large and national. We have access to hundreds of techs who can help when the need arises.
When the phone rings during regular business hours, you can expect a live person to answer the phone ninety percent of the time. In most cases, I’m the one who picks up. I enjoy working directly with my clients and the entire CMIT team is dedicated to helping you resolve your needs quickly. We are relatable and understand that not everyone knows ‘geek speak’ so we answer all questions in a way that you can easily understand.
PWL: What do you enjoy most about owning your own business?
Albright: I have always been analytical. I love to solve problems. I love to get people back on track. You can’t prevent all problems but when they come up, we’re here to address them.
Albright must be doing something right. Bob Oveissi, owner of Freeman and Sherburne, an insurance agency in Gainesville, says, “Chris is very responsive and has accommodated my hectic office schedule to integrate changes in the system without interrupting the workflow of the office. Chris’s passion shows in how he truly wants to resolve issues and not just handle symptoms. He has the small-business flexibility but offers the big-business capabilities. That gives me confidence that he can handle my business as grows.
“Once I started working with CMIT, I only had one service. Now I have all IT services outsourced through them – VOIP phone service, exchange hosting, onsite backups, offsite backups, server and all PCs being managed, as well as installation of computer hardware and the occasional issue that crops up. We have definitely grown with them over time. That’s how my confidence has grown with their abilities.”
For more information regarding CMIT, visit cmitsolutions.com/cmit-solutions-of-centreville.