At the time of writing, VirtuWorks has surpassed its 25th anniversary, marking a quarter of a century spent serving the South Florida area and beyond. We have had the privilege of growing from a two-person company to one that employs over 25 and serves hundreds of fantastic customers.
With eyes still misty from nostalgia, we’re going to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the key points in VirtuWorks’ history – from our start as a humble ISP to a leading force in the IT Services Industry. It’s our hope that this will give you a better idea of VirtuWorks as a company and our long-term commitment to pushing technology forward. Let’s start with an important year for computers – 1996.
1996 – When it all started for us
The first Java development kit is released, W3C publishes the first CSS specification, and VirtuWorks’ parent company, GISnet., is established. At the time, founders Omar Armenteros Jr. and Matt Mehler are 19 years old providing network support, dial-up internet access, email, web hosting, and server colocation to the Miami area.
That year, the number of internet host computers snowballs from one to ten million, which is the start of the explosive growth that’s to come. The average American, however, is more enraptured by the world’s first proper flip phone – the Motorola StarTAC. Those with home internet access spend fewer than 30 minutes a month surfing, pay for internet by the hour, and have to sacrifice their phone line to do so.
1997 – A new mission
IBM’s Deep Blue defeats a chess champion, NASA Pathfinder lands on Mars, and VirtuWorks (then still GISnet), is gearing up for the impending Y2K catastrophe. The looming threat causes us to formally establish our mission to proactively manage customer IT environments to better weather rapid changes in technology, security landscapes, the financial markets, and more.
This mission has helped us, and our clientele, survive and flourish through Y2K, the .com crash, the 2008 financial crisis, and countless other security threats.
2004 – Ahead of the curve
Laptops continue to outsell the desktop PC, paving their way to dominance. New in consumers’ pockets is the Motorola Razr V3, as well as some of the first one-megapixel phones.
On the negative side, phishing emails get more sophisticated, making use of website design flaws and browser bugs. The fastest spreading worm, My Doom, ravages the internet, infecting 250,000 computers. “Andy; I’m just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry,” it reads. VirtuWorks’ team is also doing its job, working to protect clients against such threats. Years ahead of most of the IT Support Provisions industry, we switch from hourly billing to flat-fee managed services. This enables us to better facilitate our commitment to customers who are part of our proactive maintenance and technology partnership.
2006 – Proprietary Cloud Infrastructure
Twitter and Facebook launch, beginning the age of social media. Skype reaches 100 million users. BluRay disks are announced. Microsoft releases Windows Vista.
At VirtuWorks, we’re working on technology of our own. We begin the construction of our proprietary cloud infrastructure to provide hosted Microsoft Exchange, Hosted SharePoint, and Virtual Private Servers.
2007 – Becoming VirtuWorks
While thousands revel in the release of the iPhone, VirtuWorks is celebrating the migration of hundreds of customers from on-premises servers to our proprietary cloud. The migration provides scalability advantages that will become crucial during the following year’s financial crisis. 2008 The VirtuWorks name is formally registered. It signals our full embrace of the virtualization and cloud technology that is now the foundation of today’s computing landscape.
Unfortunately, it also comes as the world is hit by a global recession and the stock market crashes. While very few were completely immune from the struggles this would inflict, VirtuWorks was integral to the survival of many of our customers by giving them the ability to scale down quickly to weather the storm. What's more, they were poised for a rapid comeback once things started to pick up again. Spotify, however, is just getting started, as is Airbnb, and, crucially, Microsoft’s Hyper-V software.
2011 – Creating WebsitePanel
As Microsoft acquires Skype and partners with Nokia for Windows Phone, VirtuWorks is also taking on projects. We assume leadership of WebsitePanel, an open-source project formerly under the supervision of Outercurve and Microsoft. It enables IT admins to manage Exchange and SharePoint implementations with relative ease. Over the next four years, improving WebsitePanel becomes a core focus. VirtuWorks spends countless programming hours improving WebsitePanel, which will prove instrumental in our future offerings.
2015 – Evolving with MSPControl
VirtuWorks forks the WebsitePanel project and creates our proprietary offering, MSPControl. Over the coming years, MSPControl is heavily developed to include RMM, Microsoft Cloud, e-commerce, virtual infrastructure management, and Advanced Security features. Meanwhile, the Ashley Madison hack is revealing far more than some wanted, and Amazon Echo takes over the name Alexa.
2019 – 2019 – ISO 27001 Certified
Watching closely the progression and eventual adoption of legislation governing data security and privacy, like GDPR in the UK, VirtuWorks obtains ISO 27001 Certification, the international standard that describes best practices for an ISMS (Information Security Management System). Achieving accredited certification to ISO 27001 demonstrates that VirtuWorks is following information security best practices and delivers an independent, expert assessment of whether customer data is adequately protected. Along with our status as a Microsoft Tier 1 CSP and Gold Partner, this has become a great source of pride for our company.
To 25 More
As you can imagine, keeping our clients happy during these tumultuous 25 years has been challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. We have many plans for the future, but in the present moment, we’d simply like to thank you all for your continued support. We hope to serve you just as well in the decades to come.