WashingtonExec Q&A With Thomas Asefi of GAITS: IT and Cyber Security Certification for Better Process-Oriented Solutions
FAIRFAX, Va., March 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Meet Thomas Asefi, co-founder and CEO of GAITS, an IT firm that provides turn-key solutions and services in Information Assurance, Systems Engineering and Software Engineering to improve business efficiency, security and mission effectiveness. His expertise has led him to work for federal, state and local governments, Fortune 500 corporations, and IT consulting firms, and has garnered him the honor of being named one of the 50 most influential minorities in business in North America.
Asefi shared with WashingtonExec his thoughts on the importance of IT and cyber security certification, the challenges of using personal mobile devices on corporate networks and the future of GAITS.
WashingtonExec: Please tell us a little bit about your background and position at GAITS.
Thomas Asefi: I started in the federal government market 18 years ago and my vision was to explore the dynamic environment of Information Technology. I noticed that there was a tremendous need for unique companies which provide the customers with process-oriented IT solutions. That’s when we established GAITS and started the process of becoming ISO certified. Today, we are ISO 9001, ISO 20000 (ITIL), and ISO 27000 (Cyber Security) certified and are able to provide process-oriented efficient information technology and cyber security solutions.
WashingtonExec: Do you view mobility as a large potential investment or just a phase? What about social media?
Thomas Asefi: I do view mobility as a potential investment. You never know how things will change over time, but you have to keep up with the latest trends. As far as social media goes, it is here to stay. In fact, a few years from now, I think we will be amazed at how pervasive this is in all our lives.
WashingtonExec: How has cyber hacks from unknown sources (like Anonymous, etc.) changed your business model or how you approach a contract?
Thomas Asefi: Cyber Security and protection of data is part of our culture both from a corporate and client perspective. We consider this in all that we do. In fact, we invested the time and resources a few years ago to be ISO certified for Cyber Security. That standard is ISO 27000. We have found that this certification gives our customers the confidence that we understand IT Security Management and are well qualified to help protect their data from the pervasive threats that exist today.
WashingtonExec: Many organizations (as well as the federal government) are talking about or are already implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. Where do you see the line between maintaining secure networks, but also keeping up with technological innovation?
Thomas Asefi: That’s an interesting question and one that companies are grappling with on a daily basis in different manners. Everyone has their own favorite device that they like to use whether it is a PDA phone or tablet; it is a matter of preference. However, there are some very real security considerations in the injection of personal devices on corporate or client networks. The overwhelming preponderance of our business occurs on sites where personal devices may not be used because of the nature of the data to be protected. So for us, I guess I would say we have not had to deal with that yet and will defer to those who may have a more experienced viewpoint.
WashingtonExec: What do you think will be your company’s biggest challenge over the next five years?
Thomas Asefi: Attracting and retaining the best talent in an austere budgetary environment. There are sure to be price pressures in the near term with the deficit reduction efforts in the federal space. This will lead to margin pressures amongst all us contractors doing business with the Federal Government. Talented people are the engine that make IT service businesses like GAITS invaluable to our clients. We are committed to ensuring that we maintain the high quality workforce that we have supporting our clients and making sure that we are training and compensating them fairly which will be a challenge, but one we will overcome.
WashingtonExec: What is something most people don’t know about you?
Thomas Asefi: Well, I’m a real family guy. I enjoy spending time with my wife and 3 kids. Sometimes it’s extremely hard to find time because of the busy schedule, but when I do, I cherish ever moment of it. Helping unfortunate families and kids is something that I really pride myself on. I want to go to bed knowing that I’ve done something wonderful for others.
GAITS (www.GAITS.com) delivers process-driven performance for mission areas. We provide the premier Information Technology, Cyber Security, and Energy Technology services that are of direct benefit to federal civilian and defense agencies in today’s and tomorrow’s eras of heightened security and results centered e-government. GAITS risk-aware management approach facilitates enhancements in program quality, cost control, and security posture. GAITS currently holds an ISO 9001:2008, ISO/IEC 20000-1:2005 (IT Service Management) and ISO 27001:2005 (Cyber Security) certification at the corporate level, as well as an appraised SEI-CMMI (SW).