Workplace Innovation

As founder and director of Storm Internet, Salim Benadel has a passion for doing things right. It’s not often you come across someone with such a level of drive and determination to succeed, but Salim wants to succeed to help his growing number of clients succeed, to make their lives easier…it’s the mantra of Storm.

Without doubt Salim is positive, energetic, engaging and incredibly inspiring and a welcome addition to the B4 community.

Salim: “We exist as a company to achieve three key goals when it comes to the hosting of business’ websites, corporate email and internal company applications such as CRM systems and shared network drives. Security; Availability; and Disaster Recovery.

“By providing cloud hosting for the last 10 plus years, we have found, as a managed host, that these are the three most important things that our clients care about and that we need to do very well. That’s what we’re about and what we specialise in.”

B4: “We talked off camera about the bigger organisations providing these sorts of services and we undoubtedly all get confidence in a brand like Amazon and what they do, but you have different thoughts?”

Salim: “What you say is true. The interesting thing we have found is that Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure platforms are used extensively for general hosting purposes etc. But when it comes to anything sensitive, that’s where we are finding businesses, particularly in the UK, are a little more unsure about using these conglomerates.

Their brands are powerful, but also, in my opinion, there’s now a lot of scepticism about these brands when it comes to data storage. People are wisening up more to the cloud these days. They want to know things like where their data is, who has got it, how secure it is. The larger American companies in particular have received a certain amount of stick in recent years and aren’t, perhaps, viewed with the same level of trust as they once were.”

“So, what we are finding is that a lot of companies are moving to organisations such as Storm where we can provide a dedicated, personal service and system that is highly reliable, secure and fully managed by our own team 24/7/365. We can take our clients to our data centre where they can see for themselves where their data is housed, actually touch the equipment and that delivers a high degree of trust and reassurance. It’s a very powerful exercise and just one of the ways that we can give our clients the confidence that their data is secure rather than just being ‘somewhere in the cloud’.”

B4: “When you came to the B4 offices for your personal profile visit recently, it was quite clear you have a high level of passion for your business and for life generally. You say you bounce out of bed every morning and you’re on a high for the rest of the day. Tell me more about your philosophy at Storm and how you take your personal passion for health and wellbeing into your business.”

Salim: “For me life is about two things; 1) personal growth and 2) about what you can do to help improve the lives of others. I live by these principles.

I believe that you have to find what you love doing and then pursue it with everything you’ve got. Storm was just an idea at one point but since then has grown year-on-year and we’re now serving customers all over the UK and in several countries too.

To see an idea that you came up with go from concept to a reality is already something that’s truly rewarding. But what I find even more satisfying is being able make a real difference to someone’s business and even their own work-life balance in a positive way. Storm may be an IT company but IT is useless unless it’s doing something to make your life better. For me, there’s nothing more rewarding than a client being truly satisfied with something that we’ve done for them. If we can ultimately save our clients time, money, hassle and worry when we’re doing our job well.

This viewpoint also leads through to a number of charity initiatives that we’re involved with and that we feel can make a real difference to our local community and beyond. Our new partnership with Oxfordshire Mind will support the charity and helps build awareness around mental health issues. We’ll also be taking the Kidlington Comets Under 7’s football team under our wing to help inspire skills in the young including fitness, teamwork, discipline and leadership. And we’re encouraging new tech skills by helping towards North Kidlington School’s goal of becoming a “Chromebook” school – something that has proven to have significant benefits in helping prepare children for the modern world.

As we grow more as a business, we’ll be increasing our charitable work further. Being in a position to be able to do that and make a difference gives me immense pleasure. My view is that those who are in a position of power, need to use that power for the purpose of good. Give something back and doing your part to help create a better world.”

Salim’s appetite for a busy day of problem solving is sparked by an early morning routine that would make your average professional athlete blush, but it’s a tried and tested routine that is reaping rewards personally and for Storm.

“I start most weekdays at 6am with a 5km run around Kidlington and Begbroke, and then hit the gym (the fantastic Vida gym in Kidlington) straight after the morning school run. It’s my priming routine for the day ahead: it fires me up and puts my mind in a very positive place. Taking that energy and focus into the work environment I believe is essential to help propel the business forward.

Success in life doesn’t just happen or come about from one or two big lucky moments. It comes from chipping away at the small stuff day in, day out. Then one day you look back and find that all those little tasks you did well have now amounted to something quite significant. So for me, it’s all about pushing yourself to try and be better each day and stepping out of your comfort zone. In fact, I find the irony of a comfort zone is that it’s ultimately the most dangerous place you can be.”

B4: “What’s the ultimate ambition for Storm?”

Salim: “I’ve got a vision for Storm and I’d really like to see how far we can go on this journey. It’s exciting and it’s an adventure! However Storm’s not yet reached its full potential and there’s a lot more I believe that we can still achieve. Continued growth is obviously important. However I don’t tend to look at that in terms of number of sales, but more by the number of people we can help. I feel that’s the right way to do business and if you do that, you grow naturally as a result. Ultimately if we’re not making someone’s life better then we’re wasting our time.”

About Storm

Business continuity. Data protection. Service delivery – quintessential qualities which define managed hosting and deliver lasting customer satisfaction.

Storm Internet provides a cutting-edge world-class managed hosting infrastructure that takes care of the technical heavy lifting so that the customer has more time to focus on their business.

Their innovation is focused on making solutions used by the corporate big guns available to small and medium-sized businesses; with Storm you’ve got a bigger arsenal of simple solutions to complex problems at your disposal than anywhere else.

More importantly, Storm will manage it for you so that you have more time to build the life you want.

Storm’s role in your business:

Moving in-house digital resources to the cloud cuts IT costs and reduces the resources and time required to efficiently scale operational systems. That’s why many businesses nowadays prefer cloud-based local area networks, shared network drives, internal CRM systems, and internal databases over conventional in-house systems. An added benefit is that staff members can securely access internal company files, folders, documents and information from anywhere in the world using a simple internet connection.

But there are also threats and other technical considerations which require skilled personnel to help carry the technical load.

Storm Internet’s solutions come with peace-of-mind built in; pro-active support means that they resolve server anomalies before these become problems, while multi-layer infrastructure security virtually eliminates threats. Customers are assured that the data they host is protected and available at all times. These measures are backed up with thorough disaster-recovery procedures which allow lost information to be recovered swiftly.

Business email and managed website hosting are among those services for which the Oxfordshire-based host has won awards in the past. Simplified compliance and online security eases customer concerns, while 24/7/365 ‘Big Brother’ support watches your back and lends a helping hand when needed. Should things go south (this is the Wild Wild Web, after all), recovery is painless and straightforward.

Storm’s credentials and the awards they have won consecutively over the past few years serve as proof of their die-hard commitment to customer success:

Storm Internet is an ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 certified company
Six-time winner of the UK Internet Industry (ISPAs) Best Managed Hosting award

Storm Internet is UK-based and serves businesses of all sizes across the globe. Their extensive client portfolio includes businesses like Elizabeth Shaw chocolates and YKK Europe. While achieving year-on-year growth, Storm also takes the time to offset their environmental impact through various green initiatives.

Storm Internet

Storm Internet are specialists in managed hosting. We understand how important your hosting infrastructure is to your business and that you require quick and knowledgeable responses.

Salim Benadel

Founder & Managing Director

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