Anil Sharma, CEO
For those too young to remember the late ‘90s, the Y2K threat for computer operations had the world on edge. “Will computers meltdown? Will society?” wrote a Time magazine cover about ‘Y2K insanity.’ It was during this alarming time, 22nd Century Technologies was established as a single-member company in 1997 to assist organizations that lacked the appropriate technical expertise to tackle the Y2K bug. Even after that the company kept providing consulting to help insurance, finance, and telecom industries customers at a small scale, and in turn underwent its own metamorphosis during the tragic 9/11 incident and the 2007 economic meltdown. Later in 2008, the company decided to focus on the government market solely. Today, 22nd Century supports 14 out of 15 Cabinet agencies and all branches of DoD along with providing solutions to 34 states and more than 100 local government bodies. “Our first contract was with the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir, which we successfully completed ahead of schedule,” says Anil Sharma, CEO of 22ndCentury.
The success of the project led 22nd Century to provide IT infrastructure support services to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Although it was a small assignment of USD 85,000, 22nd Century ensured a level of service pertinent to the Bureau’s requirements. Building on these early accomplishments, the company started focusing on quality processes and earned a CMMI Level 3, and ISO 20000 & 27001 certifications in offering managed IT services, IA & cyber support, help-desk support, network management, and data center operations to Federal DoD, civilian, and state agencies in all 50 states.
Especially with U.S. Navy, 22nd Century at present holds over 11 active Navy contracts that constitute a collective value of USD 350 million. In fact, today, the company is one of the fastest growing IT service integrator supporting many of the nation’s mission-critical programs in areas of cybersecurity, IT infrastructure, IT transformation, artificial intelligence (AI), DevOps, AppDev, application modernization programs, and cloud migrations.
Notably, as a leading information technology company, one of the critical areas where 22nd Century wields its expertise through and through is in the cybersecurity space by combining AI with cyber defense to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure.
Even if its contract does not include cybersecurity services, the company makes sure that security is integrated in every task of the contract. “With a rise in the number as well as types of cyberattacks today, robust cybersecurity initiatives are paramount to every organization’s core strategy,” says Sharma. On that front, the company currently serves as a major cybersecurity partner for Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD). 22nd Century’s offering for NAWCAD encompasses the whole gamut of cybersecurity solutions and services, facilitating exceptional support to mitigate the risk of data loss and breaches that could compromise information privacy. “We provide cybersecurity solutions right from the application design to operation level by combining NIST, DoD’s Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), and DISA standards and industry best practices,” states Sharma.
Apart from providing cybersecurity solutions and services, 22nd Century also helps NAWCAD manage its IT infrastructure and network engineering processes. To that end, 22nd Century performs risk analysis and reduction function that independently assesses the programs and projects from a risk management, security compliance, and operational requirements perspective. Today, from the effective implementation of solutions to guiding the client through the compliance process of risk management framework (RMF), 22ndCentury’s team of professionals supports NAWCAD at all levels.
Making it all possible is the company’s talented team of professionals with a solid background in information technology, blended with an equal measure of creativity and dedication. According to Sharma, “Business success, for us, is having partnerships with customers and our employees that result in growth for everybody. We achieved this by investing in the right talent and providing the right solutions at the right price to our customers.” This philosophy has helped the company to significantly grow from 34 employees in 2008 to more than 5,100 in 2020. Presently, 22nd Century has twelve offices all over United States, including corporate office in NJ, public sector headquarter in VA, and office in Pax River, MD—which further substantiates its growth.
Another factor that differentiates 22nd Century a cut above the rest is its closely-knit partnerships. To help achieve higher cost efficiency and operational excellence, 22ndCentury partners with leading technology companies such as Salesforce, AWS, Microsoft and Oracle to develop efficient solutions through rigorous R&D processes and by leveraging high-end technologies and methodologies.
On this front, the company is now laser-focused on making the most of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) technologies to not only help clients provide better customer experience but also bolster its cybersecurity programs. Furthermore, to achieve effective automation of cybersecurity programs, the company is also incorporating DevOps and DevSecOps models. By combining these leading-edge technologies with industry-best practices, the company would be able to facilitate effective code development, improved testing and infrastructure configuration, and enable organizations to achieve speed without risking stability and governance.
Elaborating further on 22nd Century’s unique approach, Sharma notes, “Modern-day IT infrastructure comprises multiple systems and interconnections, all of which need to be available 24X7 for seamless operations. This, as any IT expert will tell you, is simply not possible. IT systems cannot be completely perfect all the time and deviate from normal functionality every now and then.” As such, without a self-healing mechanism in place, organizations are bound to face system downtime. Mission-critical applications might malfunction or fail to run entirely. This leads to hampered productivity, heavy data losses, and lost business opportunities. To combat this complex issue, 22nd Century incorporates self-healing systems in its clients’ IT infrastructure that can proactively monitor and identify a potential variance from its standard parameters, validate it with a degree of confidence, and resume normal operations without human intervention. With this in mind, if one considers the technical prowess 22nd Century has continually been showcasing, the company is truly ahead of its time—just like its name suggests.
With such proven capabilities, 22nd Century is also showcasing its agility to quickly stand up and support governments during the present COVID-19 pandemic by providing healthcare solutions and medical staffing support to DoD hospitals and other medical facilities nationwide. On the other hand, the ensuing lockdown is forcing many organizations to aid their remote workforce, even if they are not familiar with distributed operational models. To help such entities leave their physical presence behind and move to the cloud, 22nd Century is developing user-friendly cloud infrastructure services that include on-demand virtualized servers, storage, memory, and bandwidth. Through these innovative services, the company enables its clients’ IT teams to scale quickly and match resources to business needs more effectively and cost-efficiently. With such state-of-the-art services and enthusiastic attitude, 22nd Century is poised to transform the information technology landscape.