Steven Goldblatt & Leaf – A Pragmatic Approach To Tech.

Nowadays one of Northern Ireland’s leading IT Managed Service Providers, Leafwas born out of humble beginning, in common with many in the sector. “It all started in my garage in Bangor and it began as a hobby rather than a business,” says Steven Goldblatt, Leaf’s Founder and CEO.

“20 years later and we’re right up there with the leading managed service providers in Northern Ireland, but also working in the Republic and GB.

“We call ourselves an IOI operation these days – we’re growing this business all over the Island Of Ireland. But everything comes back to Belfast. This is very definitely our base.”

Leaf, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a spectacular night for clients and friends at

The MAC in Belfast, is based at Weavers Court in the centre of Belfast and has a current team of 30 employees, which Steven Goldblatt expects to rise above 35 in the coming year or so.

“When I left the garage in Bangor and started to build this company, I took on three people fairly quickly,” he says. “What makes me particularly proud is that two of those three people are still working here and the other probably would be too if she hadn’t moved to live in Spain and got married.” Twenty years might not be long in the history of some larger organisations, and might not mean much in some sectors. But, in technology, it’s a very long time indeed. Steven Goldblatt reflects on just how much has changed since 2004. “There was no such thing as the cloud. The only clouds we knew were the ones above our heads. Back then, it we wanted to store data or anything else, we had to have big, lumpy pieces of hardware in our offices.”

Nowadays, Leaf is a major provider of cloud services and consultancy to its varied client list which includes some of our leading private sector firms as well as some in the public sector, notably in local government.

“We didn’t have iPhones back then and none of us would have thought of holding meetings by Zoom or Teams.”

Steven Goldblatt is clear that its customer service that has been the lifeblood of the company over the past 20 years. “That’s what this business is all about,” he says. “We have an excellent support team here working day in, day out with our customers ranging from smaller firms with 10 users through to larger organisations with thousands of users. Our support staff sell Leaf and what we do better than anyone or anything.”

Today’s tech agenda for most organisations, he says, is dominated by the issues of cybersecurity
and disaster recovery.

“Both have as real fear factor built into them,” says Steven Goldblatt. “And both can impact on businesses of any size and in any sector.

“When it comes the cybersecurity, it’s clear that there are all sorts of threats out there, and that the criminals are always moving, always developing, always trying to stay one step ahead of their victims.

“The old idea that the perpetrators are young people hiding away in darkened bedrooms isn’t a reality any more. Cyber attacks are carried out by sophisticated organised

crime gangs and they can work in a whole range of different ways.

“Cyber attacks are about money, of course, but for a lot of companies out there, they are also about reputation and the damage to corporate reputation as the result of an incident,” he adds.

“Here at Leaf, we’ve worked really hard to develop our expertise in cyber security over the years and we were delighted to win a global award recognising that expertise.”

Leaf was one out of 44,000 global partners chosen by ConnectWise, a Florida-based provider of cybersecurity software solutions and support, as its Cybersecurity Partner of the Year for 2023. Leaf was the only company from the Island of Ireland to receive an award at the group’s annual awards held in Orlando.

“The second threat with a real fear factor is disaster recovery, what happens after a major IT crash or something similar strikes your organisation. It can happen and it does happen,” says Steven Goldblatt.

Most local organisations will already have IT partners and many will already have considered or bought insurance against cyber attack and major IT crashes. But Goldblatt warns that it isn’t always easy to secure insurance cover these days.

“There is no doubt that the risk factors are huge,” he says. “The internet has revolutionised how we do everything. But the downside is that it comes with risks and threats.”

Another issue rapidly impacting on many business is AI or artificial intelligence. “In the case of some businesses, AI can become a very useful and productive tool. But, on the other hand, it will impact on jobs and it will impact on people’s livelihoods. We all need to assess how best it can work for us, if at all.”

Assuming that the next 20 years will deliver the same pace of change as they 20 just past, it’s hard to predict where we’ll be in terms of technology for both business and personal life.

“I wouldn’t want to be the one doing the predicting,” says Steven Goldblatt. “But I’d like to think that Leaf will be around to continue to guide its customers through the maze.”

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