Costel Cristea: We are some of the most experienced Cisco partners
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Interview Costel Cristea, Crescendo: “We are some of the most experienced Cisco partners”

Interview Costel Cristea, Crescendo: “We are some of the most experienced Cisco partners”

By constantly supporting new technologies, the CRESCENDO, IT&C Solution House has emerged in the local IT market by developing innovative security and virtualization projects. In a discussion with the Market Watch team, Costel Cristea, Business Unit Manager Communications Solutions la Crescendo, said that imposing these technologies is critical as IT becomes the backbone of any business.

Market Watch: How heterogeneous is CRESCENDO’s solutions portfolio? What attention is paid on information security?

Costel Cristea: Over the years, we’ve been looking to bring in our portfolio the best solutions in the market, most of which are positioned by Gartner in the leaders / visionaries quadrant. Along with these solutions, we have developed what we call complementary competencies, so we can offer a complete, perfectly integrated solution to suit customers’ needs. Our portfolio is rich and varied, with security solutions occupying an important place in the entire puzzle named system integration.

You recently completed a project at Italo Romena Bank, which was based on Cisco technology, namely: Cisco IronPort Security. What qualities have led to the choice of this product within the project and what other Cisco security products are recommended to local market customers?

For Italo Romena, Cisco IronPort WebSecurity has proven to be the solution that best responds to the requirements of the institution – the protection / prevention against web threats, against the backdrop of the increase in attacks. Following the adoption of the solution, the institution’s representatives have estimated that over 60,000 IP attacks are blocked daily, 16,000 potentially malicious sites are restricted, and around 3,000 malware or spyware downloads are prevented. In short, it benefits from the comfort of feeling safe.

As far as the portfolio of Cisco security solutions is concerned, they cover a wide range, ranging from network protection, unified communications, to data center solutions. Our recommendation for a Cisco portfolio solution or a solution from another vendor comes only after a detailed assessment of the situation and consultation with the client to understand his / her needs / expectations.

Are the financial and banking institutions the main consumers of security solutions on the communications area? In what other areas there are considered critical requirements from this point of view?

As a particular feature of the banking industry, the focus is on data security, a requirement embedded in almost all developed IT & C projects. In our case, whether it was about consolidating and upgrading the data communications network – such as the Intesa Sanpaolo Bank project – or unified communications and contact center projects through Cisco Unified Contact Center from Procredit, Volksbank, VB Leasing or the consolidation of the data center through Cisco Unified Computing to another bank, security has been a key component of the project.

Such critical requirements exist in all companies for which information is vital, and the IT & C system is the backbone of the work being carried out. These include companies with which we work and operate in other sectors of activity such as energy, utilities, industry, services and the public sector.

CRESCENDO seems to have a special relationship with Cisco: an active presence at events like Cisco Expo, two important recognitions at the Romanian Partner Summit 2011. What are the common plans for the next period?

Indeed, in the first year after the start of the crisis, we set ourselves as one of the objectives to strengthen the relationship with traditional partners, such as Cisco. Because in a market dominated by uncertainty and many risks, partnerships are even more important.

After more than 10 years of partnership, we can state without being modest, that we are among the most experienced Cisco partners in Romania, with many projects developed and implemented in various fields / industries. Together, we target the market (both the enterprise and SMB) with communication architectures and advanced Cloud Computing solutions, data center, contact center, unified communications, etc., our team being ready to complete the most complex projects where a high level of expertise is needed. Of course, in the technological solutions we choose and promote, we take into account the customer’s experience and preferences, promoting and integrating the technologies from Cisco and other partners with whom we work.

One of the above-mentioned awards is “Virtualization Partner of the Year”. In the context of increasingly intense discussions on cloud computing, private cloud, etc., how consistent is this business line (as reference, value, people involved …)?

In our organization, at the beginning of the crisis, a series of books were shared, the common theme of which was change. We live in a world dominated by change, we operate in a market whose main engine is change. For the IT&C industry, Coud Computing is change. A change in the organization and functioning of IT departments. Over time, we insisted on aligning IT to the organization’s business goals. Through Cloud Computing, this can be implemented more quickly. And the benefits that come from this approach are multiple.

In this context, we have concentrated a lot of resources on the development of this business line: training, investment in lab and testing environments, developing partnerships and new skills, etc. At this time, we have advanced competences in implementing Cloud Computing solutions based on Cisco technologies and other partners. In fact, we can boast of one of the most important private Cloud implementations in Romania, a project that required us the expertise and experience in implementing and integrating data processing, storage, networking and data virtualization technologies. In conclusion, we adapt to change, giving our customers multiple options, including Cloud Computing.

An increasingly important business line for Cisco becomes “collaboration” that includes several technologies, from conference systems to contact center solutions. CRESCENDO has several relevant projects in this area, including integration between Cisco Unified Communications and CRM solutions. What perspectives exist in this direction?

In the context of a globalized market, together with Cloud Computing, collaboration remains one of the areas where IT & C technology brings value to organizations. Collaboration without frontiers, without deadlines, from anywhere and with minimization of costs. This is the message we send to our customers, and the implemented projects (IP telephony, video / audio conferencing, Unified Contact Center) for companies in most areas of activity reinforce this message. From our point of view, the direction is clear. There is no way back, but only development.

Interview published in Market Watch

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