Online Tech Celebrating 20 Years Of Internet Leadership

ANN ARBOR — Michigan’s first private internet service provider Online Tech Inc. will celebrate 20 years in businses Dec. 2 with a party that also marks the launch of a new data center in Westland.

The company has evolved into a major data center, backup and disaster recovery provider — even to the point of having co-CEOs, so there’s always a backup. This year, it opened its first data center in Wayne County — and its first outside Michigan, in Indianapolis.

“I am so proud of the relentless focus on customers’ needs, and the complete evolution of the business model, that have resulted in Online Tech’s tremendous growth,” said Gary Baker, one of Online Tech’s original co-founders. “What started as a small, Michigan-focused ISP is today the leading data center operator in the state. The company is also positioning itself to be the dominant provider in the Midwest – Great Lakes region. What the team is accomplishing is a testament to the vision and leadership of Yan Ness and Mike Klein. Online Tech is a true Michigan success story, a case study that should be taught in business schools.”

Online Tech was founded as Online Technologies in 1994, a few months before the launch of the Netscape browser that led to explosive growth in the use of the Internet.

“But as we all know, the good times didn’t last,” recalled co-CEO Mike Klein. “Hundreds of ISPs across the country eventually went out of business as they failed to respond to changing technology and an evolving competitive landscape.”

In 2003, Yan Ness, now Online Tech’s other co-CEO, bought the company from Baker and his partners. Ness transformed Online Tech to a managed data center company, where it met emerging demand for data center services and achieved double-digit revenue growth.

“In hindsight, brilliant decisions often look easy,” Klein said. “But, it’s important to look at that decision in the context of the post dot-com crash to understand just how brave it was. Yan was able to implement a strategy that led directly to the 30 to 40 percent annual growth that we have experienced ever since.”

Added Ness: “Security and regulatory compliance have become enormous priorities for companies, and Online Tech has expertise in these areas that is unique. We have methodically and purposely built our services to meet the needs of businesses whose IT operations must be highly secure and compliant with federal regulations.”

These organizations include healthcare companies, financial service firms, Software as a Service businesses and retail companies. They are required to protect confidential patient and customer information while also adhering to regulations such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Safe Harbor and PCI.

The Dec. 2 grand opening event for Online Tech’s Metro Detroit data center will run from 3 to 7 p.m. Individuals from organizations interested in taking a behind-the-scenes tour, networking with hundreds of their IT and business peers, enjoying great food and drink, including a champagne toast, and more, are invited to attend. For additional information about the event, and to register to attend, visit

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