ThinkGard, LLC

CEOCFO-Members Login

August 7, 2017 Issue



Q&A with Paul Franks, CEO of ThinkGard, LLC providing Total Data Security with Back-up and Disaster Recovery Solutions for Government Agencies in the Southeast United States



Paul Franks

Chief Executive Officer


ThinkGard, LLC


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – August 7, 2017


CEOCFO: Mr. Franks, would you tell us the vision for ThinkGard?

Mr. Franks: I started out owning a managed services company before ThinkGard. We did the all in one pricing model. We learned that one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle was back-up and disaster recovery. Once we sold the MSP, we were started ThinkGard where we only worked companies of a certain size, around 25 million and up that had an IT staff. We learned that segment was being passed over as far as from a back-up and disaster recovery standpoint, understanding and learning how to back-up their systems right with disaster recovery planning, testing and certifying the results was very hard for them to grasp.


CEOCFO: Is there something about that particular group that makes a standalone service attractive as opposed to part of a larger offering?

Mr. Franks: Any private company or public sector that we deal with could have one IT person or twenty six people in an IT group. One of the biggest things that they do not understand well is back-up and disaster recovery. They understand how to manage servers and how to manage networking and appliance servers. The biggest piece missing with the IT groups was back-up and disaster recovery. Sure they could go ad purchase hardware and or software but what about replication and testing. It was always a struggle for them. So we would go in there and educate them so that they understand it take more than buying hardware and software. That is why we are so attractive to that side of the business.


CEOCFO: You mentioned working with governments and that brings its own challenges always. How have you learned to navigate the waters?

Mr. Franks: Getting everyone on the same page, from the IT department, the mayor, city administrator and counsel to get approved. Then you have the whole RFP process. Sometimes it is subject to how the legal counsel or the board deems it; they may give us the approval due to our sole source status or send it out to RFP because they are afraid of other vendors challenging our sole source status. There are just a lot of moving parts that have to come together at one time to get the deal approved and signed. Those are the most difficult parts and our biggest challenges, getting it to a point where someone can just sign the agreement.


CEOCFO: How do you work with an organization to determine what they need?

Mr. Franks: We try to consult first, understanding what their current environment is and how are they backing-up as well as their DR strategy. They might have compliance needs that bring us in, could be that they got hacked with Ransomware, etc. We try to paint a broad picture of where they are at today, where they should be adhering to rules and regulations. If it is HIPAA compliancy or if it is PCI compliance or a bank, we try to figure where they are today and where they should be and then we develop a plan to get them to that level. Maybe they will need to store seven years in the cloud or store one year in the cloud or if they need a system that will give them this or that. We build our system to spec per client not try to box a client in to our thinking. 


CEOCFO: What about changes in regulatory issues or security threats?

Mr. Franks: That is a moving target and unfortunately the people that write these rules and regulations have no clue. A great example is this entire ransomware hacking that goes around and its hard for them to monitor ransomware at the parameter of their networks, it is going to be very difficult to stop ransomware. We are there to clean up ransomware when it happens. One of the things that we were able to do in our system is we can detect if a server has ransomware. Once we backup our clients servers our system looks at that data set and if it sees the characteristics of ransomware, we can alert the client that there is a possible ransomware detection on the server and help to remediate. That was one of the things we changed because ransomware is such a big deal right now. We encrypt all of our data in transit to datacenter and we keep it encrypted at the datacenter. We can also encrypt the whole backup appliance if their compliance says to. We just have to look at each and every piece that comes our way. There are not many changes that are made but as they come to us we review for compliance reasons.


CEOCFO: What is your geographic range?

Mr. Franks: The majority of our clients are in the Southeast.


CEOCFO: Are companies of the size and type that should be using your service aware of ThinkGard?

Mr. Franks: We are definitely getting there. We go to a lot of Government IT tradeshows so that we are able to visit our clients that attend and visit potentially new clients. Other than that, we make a lot of phone calls and send a lot of emails and postcards to get aware that ThinkGard is around. We are a unique company that focuses only on back-up, so that get a lot of people’s attention.


CEOCFO: How do you standout with so much noise in the area you serve?

Mr. Franks: Most of our competitors are just selling hardware and software, unlike ThinkGard where our system is fully monitored, we give unlimited cloud storage for their DR replication, write their DR documentation, test/certify the results yearly and can spinup any and all of their servers locally or in our cloud to maintain business. That is the biggest difference between ThinkGard and the rest. There is no overages and we do not charge them if we have to restore files locally or if we have to restore filed from the cloud. There is no charge if they have to run their servers locally or run their servers in our cloud. We truly give our clients one invoice per month so they can budget for our services and that never changes.


CEOCFO: What kind of feedback do you get from people?

Mr. Franks: I think the biggest thing is just the simplistic approach we take. Making it a turnkey solution where all bases are covered sets their minds at ease. We are an extension of their team.


CEOCFO: What, if anything, has changed in your approach since you started?

Mr. Franks: I do not think anything has changed. Our story line has always been the same, our product has always been the same other than it evolves technically and gets better and more efficient. Our story is we want to take you out of the back-up business. IT departments always tell us to take it from them because they do not understand.


CEOCFO: How is business today?

Mr. Franks: Business is just wonderful and we are very blessed. We are in our fourth year of ThinkGard although we have had this system in place for twelve years before that as we were perfecting it to start ThinkGard. We have many proposals out there and a lot of RFPs are being developed right now to certain cities and counties. We are growing 60% a year basically.


CEOCFO: How do you handle the growth?

Mr. Franks: The beauty about handling the growth is the simple part. We are a monthly recurring revenue model and service company so it is predictable billing. We know when we hit a certain amount of devices and clients we hire more engineers, it’s that simple. The trajectory is a bit more challenging because we are heavily in the government sector. Our sales cycles are very long so we may go months and months without a deal and then six or seven deals get signed. As any organization, you have your revenue goals for the year so we try to push with our sales reps those revenue goals and get them sold. Keeping a 60% plus growth model every year gets a little difficult sometimes but we seem at the end of the year to pretty much hit it.


CEOCFO: Why choose ThinkGuard?

Mr. Franks: You want a company that focuses 100% on the most important asset to your business which is data security. Use ThinkGard because that is what we do.


“You want a company that focuses 100% on the most important asset to your business which is data security. Use ThinkGard because that is what we do.”- Paul Franks


ThinkGard, LLC



Paul Franks








Any reproduction or further distribution of this article without the express written consent of is prohibited.



Data Security, ThinkGard, LLC, Disaster Recovery Planning, Paul Franks, Data Security with Back-up and Disaster Recovery Solutions for Government Agencies in the Southeast United States, CEO Interviews 2017, Technology Companies, Government Services Company, Backup, Backup and DR, Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, Data Protection, Ransomware, Hacking, ThinkGard, LLC Press Releases, News does not purchase or make
recommendation on stocks based on the interviews published.