Michael Fox is the director of Carpathia Government Solutions, the government division of Carpathia Hosting. Carpathia is a leading provider of complex, compliant managed hosting services for enterprises and federal agencies.
Fox is a innovative thinker and leader. He has many years of experience in the federal IT industry helping to protect online assets and defend from clients from cyber threats. He accredits some of his success with his understanding of the internet.
“I had the luxury of seeing the Internet at its earliest stages. I immediately understood the potential power of the Internet”
He has a passion for selling to the federal government. Fox is most well known for his involvement in driving significant federal business as part of the NTT/Accenture partnership where his efforts resulted in wins totaling hundreds of millions of dollars to Accenture and NTT. WashingtonExec recently had the opportunity to interview Fox about security, government and success.
Michael Fox: At Carpathia, we always try to differentiate ourselves when it comes to security, because we work with customers like federal agencies and health care enterprises who require extremely high levels of security. Carpathia owns and operates the Vault, which is one of the most secure, federally compliant hosting facilities in the industry. The Vault has a multi-level, comprehensive defense-in-depth approach to security, which includes armed guards, perimeter fencing, firewalls, cleared personnel on site, background checks for all visitors and specific construction methods built into the structure.
We also have an IT infrastructure called Federally Compliant Application Platform (FCAP). It’s built from the ground up to be 100 percent compliant with a many of the federal mandates. The applications we use on FCAP inherit the system compliance, which enables us to guarantee 100 percent certification and accreditation up to the operating system level.
WashingtonExec: Physical security is also important for moving data virtually. Can Carpathia’s data center, the Vault, withstand physical damage in the event of a major disaster?
Michael Fox: The security of the Vault starts at the exterior of the grounds, with perimeter fencing and armed guards. Heavy steal and concrete were used in construction, making the structure impenetrable. It can withstand major hits from hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
All of the systems, devices, servers and firewalls are secured in physical vaults within guarded and encapsulated rooms that are impenetrable to temperature, humidity and electricity. The rooms are extremely secure, and the walls are incredibly thick. It could be up 1,000 degrees on one side of the wall, and the other side would experience a temperature change of less than one degree.
WashingtonExec: What is the key to success in the federal IT industry?
Michael Fox: I think about this question often because it’s an important aspect of my role at Carpathia. The key is to provide government agencies with comfort and security in moving data outside their walls. In other words, the key for agencies is to no longer be trapped by deploying and managing complex IT systems.
If the agencies outsource that function to experts like Carpathia, they’ll get a higher level of security. Implementing and managing complex systems is our business; it’s not the primary business of the agency. We provide systems and environments that allow agencies to focus on their core mission. At the start of any new project, we always ask ourselves two questions: What is the agency’s primary mission? What services can we provide to help them focus on that primary mission to achieve success?
WashingtonExec: If you look back at your entire career from the beginning until now, what is your defining moment that got you to where you are today?
Michael Fox: I studied engineering in college with the intent of getting into technical sales. The PC was just hitting the market, and I had the luxury of seeing the Internet at its earliest stages. You could send zeros and ones to India in a matter of seconds – you couldn’t even do that over the phone. I immediately understood the potential power of the Internet.
Then when Peter Weber, CEO of Carpathia, invited me to join the team as the director of CGS, I felt that validated my place in the industry. It validated that moving toward working in the Internet market was the right move. I’m privileged to work with an executive leadership team that understands the power of the Internet and its ability to deliver services that clearly impact the economy, our nations security and position as a leader in the new global economy.
WashingtonExec: What is the best business advice you’ve received and why?
Michael Fox: I had a marketing professor in college who had a phrase I still use today. He would start class by dimming the lights, walking slowly up to the microphone and pausing as the students sat in anticipation. He’d say, “A percentage of a lot is more than a percentage of a little.” That statement resonated with me and it shaped my sales strategy and the way I manage my team. I advise my team on their markets and what they sell – go after big-ticket items and grab that percentage of a lot versus the percentage of a little.
My father also gave me some advice that’s greatly impacted my career. He’d say, “The only thing you take out of this world is your integrity.” From that I took away that when you go to work you must work with purpose and vision. It should be your passion. Fortunately, I’m in an industry that I’m extremely passionate about, so it never feels like work.