By Client Success Manager Ryenn Gaebler
*Names have been changed in accordance with our commitment to privacy and security.
What areas of your business hide behind the barrier of “how it’s always been done”?
We hear this sentiment so often it might as well be a small business calling card. Small or family-owned businesses can be tricky to navigate if someone who’s been with the company since its inception has ownership over systems that need refreshing. While it may have worked at onset, sometimes a new perspective discovers that “how it’s always been done” could be so much better.
Linda* is an accountant at Cardude*, one of our managed IT services clients, and she knows the challenges of convincing business owners that their technological approach needs work. But before we get into the story of Linda’s battle for better IT, there’s a unique element to her situation. Before her time at Cardude, Linda worked for another Anderson Technologies client.
“After three and a half years,” Linda says, regarding her experience with Anderson Technologies through her previous employer, “when I started with a new business, you were the first people I called, because I know I can trust you.”
“Computer Hopping” and Other Annoyances
Before hiring Anderson Technologies, Linda’s previous firm also had technology issues. In that environment, Linda was one of the team members responsible for troubleshooting day-to-day IT issues.
“I would go ‘computer hopping,’” Linda explains, “from computer to computer checking if major updates went through and helping people fix issues.” This type of work is typically delegated to in-house IT staff, and though the firm had an IT vendor at the time, they weren’t responsive when it came to solving IT service tickets. So, it was up to Linda.
Things changed for the better when the firm teamed with Anderson Technologies. “When I couldn’t figure [an issue] out, I would call Luke [Bragg, IT Director] or Eric [Dischert, Senior IT Project Manager]. Those were my guys,” she says. “They would walk me through it, or if they had to come onsite, they would show me how to do it on one PC and then I would go do it on the others.” This relationship allowed Linda to get to know Anderson Technologies’ staff on a professional level. “When I would think of something that I would need or needed someone I trust to teach me how to do it, I would run it by them.”
The first thing I think I need to do is call Anderson Technologies. They can help me figure out what it is that we do need.
“I Feel Like I’m Losing My Mind”
Fast forward to 2021, Linda found herself in the accounting department of a new employer, an auto body shop called Cardude. The family-owned and operated business was founded in the early 2000s and had relied on the owner’s family members to sustain their web presence and technological infrastructure.
Flexing her on-the-ground experience with business technology, Linda knew Cardude’s IT needed an overhaul from day one. “I was working on a computer that’s probably 15 years old,” she laments. “It had 96 updates [pending] when I first started. We were on analog phones that were literally 26 years old. They didn’t have a firewall, only used computer-level antivirus. Everything was just patched together.” This was far from what Linda had come to expect from a firm with IT managed by Anderson Technologies.
On top of the outdated hardware and systems affecting Cardude’s productivity, Linda’s position as the accountant left her especially prone to cybercrime. “I’m dealing with a lot of vulnerable information,” she describes. Her role made her responsible for handling the private and payment information of her customers, and her keen eye for technological hiccups helped her notice clues pointing to fraudulent attempts at accessing their server. “‘I feel like I’m losing my mind. I don’t feel safe,’” Linda remembers thinking. “I love my job, but I wasn’t going to continue [with the status quo].”
How can a business rely on its operations in such a counterproductive and insecure environment? “It needed to be [secure], and they wanted it to be,” Linda says. “I just don’t think they realized that in order for it to get there, certain things had to be done.”
Thankfully for Cardude, Linda had a secret weapon in her back pocket. “When I got here, I’m like, ‘I don’t even know where to start with this mess, but the first thing I think I need to do is call Anderson Technologies. They can help me figure out what it is that we do need.’”
Driven to Make a Change
The final incident that brought Anderson Technologies into the picture turned out to be part of what helped get her boss on board.
“What started it all was they wanted me to fill out this paperwork for them so that they could get cybersecurity insurance,” Linda says. “I started reading them like, ‘I am not signing this. If we fill this out today [when] I checked ‘no’ on all these [security requirements], your premium is going to be through the roof. They may not even take you on because you are not compliant on any of these areas.’”
The key to getting the business owner to hear her out? “Just a little bit of convincing, really making him understand the process more and why it was so important.”
Trying to explain these detailed concepts, especially to a supervisor or other high position, can be a challenge. “It wasn’t super terrible,” Linda recalls. “The owner understands the concepts [of IT], but he doesn’t understand the details. He just sees the total cost.”
In every area of Anderson Technologies, everybody’s super kind, super willing to help whenever. I love that. You don’t get that a lot. Anybody that answers the phone, 10 times out of 10, they’re kind and they’re going to get the help you need.
A proposed IT budget that doesn’t toe the bottom line may look hefty at first, “but if you break it up, it’s really not,” Linda says. Anderson Technologies’ analysis of the unauthorized server access would reveal that the bottom line hadn’t been protecting Cardude at all. “I think once [Anderson Technologies] did their test of our system, a few of our people realized, ‘Hey, you have like 88 people signed into your network, and you legit can only tell me who ten of them are.’”
Another element of her pitch involved negotiating with the Anderson Technologies team, where she asked for a three-month trial period before signing a year-long contract. This wiggle room allowed her to prove to her boss that the investment would be worth it. After the trial period, “if we absolutely hated it, we could always get out of it,” she told the business owner.
It didn’t take much more persuasion at that point. “Coincidentally,” Linda says with a laugh, “the phones broke as we were doing all this [onboarding with Anderson Technologies]. We didn’t have to do too much convincing to push Vonage service; [the owner] was just fed up [with their failing hardware].” After tossing the ancient phone system, the rest of the company began to come around.
Though Anderson Technologies has taken the reins with a managed services agreement, she continues to share her business IT wisdom with the rest of the company. When asked how the new systems are holding up, Linda is clearly pleased with the effect she’s had on her business’s security. “When we first tightened things up, I discovered numerous fraudulent attempts and charges,” she shares. “But since we’ve had our firewall up, we’ve had little to none. That proves right there half of the reason why I needed [Anderson Technologies].”
The difference is clear. “It has taken so much off my back, alleviated so much,” she says. “In every area of Anderson Technologies, everybody’s super kind, super willing to help whenever. I love that. You don’t get that a lot. Anybody that answers the phone, 10 times out of 10, they’re kind and they’re going to get the help you need.”
Are you going to leave cybersecurity to the rest of your company, or will you step up and make the call? Anderson Technologies is ready to help you meet your goals.