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INTERVIEW: How One Company Is Highlighting Tech Policy Issues to Lawmakers
From:
Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Arlington , VA
Friday, June 17, 2016

 

It’s important our lawmakers hear from people and businesses affected by their decisions. That’s why the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) brings its members to Capitol Hill for face-to-face meeting in Congress. We spoke with Richard Feller from

on tech issues and how CTA’s Lobby Day helps his company communicate with elected officials.

How was Hedgehog Hosting created? Was there a problem you were trying to solve ?

We started Hedgehog Hosting in May of 2001, as we saw traditional hosting companies failing at providing the basic services that clients wanted and needed. At the time, mergers and acquisitions were the norm for quick growth. This meant that services were continually being devalued, while products and equipment were being overvalued.
In those early years, where more and more businesses were coming online, my business partners and I saw this need for the traditional services of a web hosting provider, even while the “look and feel” of a traditional web hosting provider was becoming passé. So we did what most successful companies do and have always done. We did a very expansive market research plan, we formulated a business plan around those results and came up with a plan that had already been around for some time but was being forgotten in the wake of this new M&A business model. To that end, we did not reinvent the wheel, we just improved on it. 

We started a completely client-focused web hosting company that upheld the highest levels of custom architecture and security, while providing an unprecedented level of high-tough customer support.  We continue to provide this level of service by staying true to our original beliefs that what we do is important, relevant – and remembering that IT infrastructure and the support of that infrastructure continues to be the heartbeat of our clients companies and, as such, it is the heartbeat of our company too.

What kind of services does your company provide?

Hedgehog Hosting provides world-class, customized hosting platforms for our client’s web-based technologies. This includes cloud services, specialized computing architectures, application and software management, security protocols and edge of network protection services. We do this at our facilities in Northern Virginia and at other data center facilities all over the world.

What technology policy issues are most important to Hedgehog Hosting?

The reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) would be a huge win for technology companies like Hedgehog Hosting. As I wrote in a recent blog post, “I have spent the better part of the last three years educating our elected officials on the importance of strong digital rights for Internet users. A strong digital rights platform strengthens the position of Internet companies located within the United States and allows us to better compete in today's global marketplace." I am hoping that the Senate stops delaying discussion about ECPA reform, especially since it has such a broad coalition of support from the right to the left.

Patent reform is another area where we at Hedgehog Hosting are strongly encouraging our elected officials to take action. Technology companies — but to be more specific, startup technology companies — are being crippled by the outright extortion that Patent Assertion Entities are inflicting on these new and emerging technology companies. Companies like Hedgehog have grown and flourished on a free and open internet.  The technologies that have come before us have made us stronger.

That being said, we feel the need for proper protections of intellectual property are paramount as well. To that end, we feel that weeding out the bad actors that are falsely representing claims need to be on the forefront of starting to address this issue. We are very proud that the Commonwealth of Virginia has taken a direct role in combating this through the Office of the Attorney General.  The Attorney General's Patent Troll Unit has been “empowered to investigate cases of patent trolling and seek financial penalties and injunctions against those who assert patent infringement claims in ‘bad faith,’ even if those persons or businesses are based outside of Virginia.”

How did CTA’s Lobby Day help your company?

CTA’s Lobby Day has been one of the main, if not the main, venue that I have been able to talk to my elected officials about Hedgehog’s policy issues. I have become embedded with my elected representatives in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, which has allowed me to convey my concerns, my satisfactions and my grievances when it comes to tech policy. 

The support of the Consumer Technology Association and our membership in CTA have elevated and strengthened my voice and given me the proper audience within the offices of my elected officials to get the proper attention to the issues that are important to Hedgehog Hosting and our industry at large. 

What’s next for Hedgehog Hosting?

2016 is a big year for Hedgehog Hosting, as we just celebrated our 15-year anniversary this past March. Turning 15 years old in the IT industry is like turning 100 years old in traditional industries.  With this great milestone, we have launched our expanded Technology Services division. Hedgehog Technology Services has already begun working with many new hosting and cloud services clients and providers outside of our physical infrastructure. We now support these externally hosted platforms, while still fostering the unique values that we have brought to our Managed Hosting client's for over 15 years.

Today, there is an increasing effort to productize our service-based industry. Cloud computing companies are more focused on the hardware and software needs rather than the service needs of businesses today. My business partners and I have never been more focused on ensuring that our clients and our future clients will be able to expand their technology platforms, and that our world-class service and our world-class services will continue to support that expansion.

We are celebrating Hedgehog Hosting and all of our CTA members all month long. Visit

for more information.

 
Gary Shapiro
Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
Arlington, VA