What We’ve Done

We have been fortunate to have the opportunity to do some remarkable things since we started, and wanted to share them with you. We hope it will offer you another way of getting to know us a little better, and provide a different perspective of what we are capable of doing for your business. The events we have chosen highlight and underscore our commitment to excellence and our innovative spirit. And in turn, these events have had an impact on how we do business and why we care for our clients.

We appreciate you taking the time to see what we have done and hope to give you an insightful look into Pier64.

Thinking Outside the Box

In the mid 1990's we worked with startup ISPs in Las Vegas, Dallas, and Los Angeles to help them reduce capital expenditures for their web hosting service. We architected a way to virtually host multiple websites on a single server when software, like Apache, at the time did not have the capability to manage virtual website hosting. Modifying Apache would have been a very large effort, so we chose to modify a handful of lines in the operating system kernel to map a website IP address to a specific port number on the server. When a new kernel was released, we were able to reapply our code without prolonged downtime allowing our clients to effectively maximize their hardware.

Enterprise Security

In 1998, we served as Enterprise Architects at Toyota. We were tasked with designing and fully managing their firewall infrastructure. With the scale and complexities of the environment, we focused on completeness, fault tolerance, security, and scalability requirements. This allowed us to systematize and establish longstanding security policies and standards which are the foundation of our Perimeter Protection Solution.

Innovative Solution

Toyota had a time critical project we were brought in on that had significant visibility. During safety recalls, dealerships needed a way to install critical car flash updates quickly. The devices used to apply the flash update could only hold one image at a time. This meant technicians had to download a new image from corporate every time they worked on a different vehicle which took approximately 20-30 minutes since the link to corporate during this time was only 128K. The download process, in turn, rendered their corporate web applications unusable since they shared the same link to corporate. With multiple downloads occurring throughout the day, it was critical to design a solution that sped up the update process without hampering other dealership operations. We solved these challenges by developing a custom proxy solution where we used secured pinned assets preloaded into cache. Technicians were now able to download images locally in seconds while the link to corporate was still available for the web applications. In addition, this solution facilitated the Green effort of distributing paperless technical manuals. Paperless manuals were both quicker and more accurate. By the completion of the project, over 2000 dealerships had their own proxy server. The success and effectiveness of the solution exceeded Toyota's performance and ROI expectations by 7 years.

Indentity Management

In mid 2000, we were asked back to Toyota to head up their identity management and web security framework. The goal was to maximize security in a regulated environment making identity management the primary driver focusing on ZeroDay Start for business efficiency and ZeroDay Stop for security.

ZeroDay Start was achieved by modifying HR's PeopleSoft system. When they created a user, the system would trigger a change to the Enterprise LDAP identity store. Events were then automatically triggered to provision the user in all other systems that could not read LDAP. When further entitlements had to be granted outside of the user's job role, we created an authorization application that handled this task. The final piece to the puzzle was to minimize changes to corporate applications, so we designed and implemented a seamless web security framework that would protect them. This meant putting a layer in front of the existing applications through a Policy Enforcement Point (PEP) and a Policy Decision Point (PDP) to intercept all user requests and decide if it was authorized.

ZeroDay Stop is critical because things don't always go as planned. ZeroDay stop isn't normally highlighted or even considered by most when considering security, however we take security seriously and ZeroDay Stop is essential in the design. Upon termination, a user is immediately removed from all systems at the direction of HR.

Enterprise Experience for Everyone

Most people perceive Enterprise level services as being big, costly and complicated. Our experienced team has spent years developing services and tools so we can provide all the benefits of Enterprise level support. The goal has always been to seamlessly integrate with any environment, now, enterprise businesses can easily bring us in to implement advanced projects or supplement existing staff or small businesses can benefit from enterprise services, such as vulnerability scans with expert analysis. From this effort, it is now possible for any size business to receive the expertise or services they need without expensive subscriptions, exorbitant infrastructure costs, or going through the arduous process of hiring the right skill set.

Extreme Monitoring

Service uptime is crucial, so we go to great lengths to monitor our client's systems. In the past, we went as far as sitting at our desks obsessively clicking the mouse every minute to verify everything was running. At the risk of getting carpal tunnel, we began exploring other options, but discovered there was a glaring lack of cost effective high quality monitoring software on the market. We decided to take matters into our own hands and developed our own kick ass monitoring software. We now have a solution that significantly reduces our reaction time to any changes with our client's services and assets.

Cloud Scalability

One of our marketing clients needed to double the number of servers to handle the increased traffic their advertising would generate for Super Bowl 50. In less than a week, we were able to deploy all the necessary infrastructure needed to meet the requirements. We were able to do this since we have spent a significant amount of time designing all the components necessary for rapid deployment of instances, such as; creating secure custom OS images, defining role-based security groups, designing efficient networking structure and building all the server configuration scripts. The day after the Super Bowl we were able to remove the additional servers and returned the client to a normal operating state without having to invest a lot of capital in additional hardware for such a short event.

Performance Optimization in the Cloud

Many think the cloud is magic, where everything always works perfectly. Transitioning into the cloud has brought many new challenges, one of which, was addressing latency issues of database transactions. The challenge was to replicate traditional hardware performance utilizing what the cloud had to offer. We succeeded in replicating the performance by using the local storage as a cache which caches read data, then sending all the writes to the persistent storage. This caching system preserved data integrity while increasing speeds tenfold.

Security in the Cloud

Our Healthcare clientele were dying to move to the public cloud, but HIPAA regulations prevented them from making the transition in it's native form. Therefore, we worked diligently to address the security compliance issues stated HIPAA, so our clients could begin leveraging the benefits of the Cloud. By 2013, we were one of the first companies to create a HIPAA certified public cloud infrastructure. Our healthcare clients finally had a competitive advantage to grow and develop unencumbered by infrastructure.

Reporting

Transparent communication is vital, so we decided to prepare a monthly assessment report for each client. The assessment allowed us to provide an executive summary of the overall state of their networks while at the same time giving us a system of record for historical tracking. Our clients always know the state of their network and the assessment has become a crucial piece of documentation for those clients who are audited regularly. Reporting is now a mainstay in all the services we offer because of the value it has added.


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