Law firm embraces pandemic IT challenges with virtual C-suite technology
Clearly the pandemic has changed the way business is conducted. It wasn't long ago when working from home was frowned upon and considered unprofessional.
Today, it is a necessity. As a result, business owners want their networks and intellectual property protected as employees use company systems and share sensitive information remotely. Nineteen months into the pandemic, businesses are reconsidering their office space requirements because working virtually has proved to be efficient, cost-effective and secure.
That's why Rick Biagi, managing partner with Neal & McDevitt LLC, an intellectual property and marketing firm, began dialogue with David Avignone from The Isidore Group. Biagi approached Avignone following a networking group call during the shutdown. Biagi already knew that conducting business virtually was working well since his firm has been working remotely for some time, especially with many employees out of state and clients scattered throughout the country and around the world.
"Cyber security audits are standard fare in our line of work, and we take cyber security and data privacy very seriously at Neal & McDevitt. It wasn't long before I knew we would be a great match with Isidore as we rethink and refine our business practices," Biagi said.
Since working with Avignone at The Isidore Group, Neal & McDevitt took a second look and made positive customized solutions for workflow using Microsoft SharePoint to better manage projects and automated additional back-office functions.
"As a managed service provider that functions as an in-house IT department; we are essentially a planning organization," said Sebastian Abbinanti as he describes The Isidore Group of Burr Ridge, the firm he founded in 2014. The Isidore Group provides all-encompassing technology solutions for small and medium-sized businesses; a virtual C-Suite tech officer to its clients. "We make plans by understanding risk and planning for it."
According to Abbinanti, cyber security is ever-changing and there are risks taken for granted in a brick-and-mortar network organization.
"Those working remotely must account for that risk from a security and budget perspective by understanding the impact of a catastrophic event."
The level of technology The Isidore Group offered Biagi and Neal & McDevitt has enabled the company to become 100 percent virtual with each user securely connected through a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A thorough analysis of how technology fit into Neal & McDevitt business processes was completed and Abbinanti identified how it can best solve and improve issues.
"Simply put, we pull from our giant tool bag with the ability to standardize processes by supplying technicians versed in very specific areas. This leverages the economies of scale that would be too costly for a small or medium organization to pursue on its own," Abbinanti said.
With the Isidore Group employing highly trained engineers and certified technicians to monitor a company's infrastructure, issues are often resolved before the business is impacted.
Also, over time, The Isidore Group helps businesses decrease capital expenditures and increase productivity. Such as with Neal & McDevitt, starting with migrating completely to a virtual server, not only is the capital cost of purchasing such an expensive piece of technology eliminated but the maintenance of it too.
Plus, when you factor in the move from CapEx to OpEx for IT, businesses free up capital and save money by fully deducting IT expenses in the tax year the expense is incurred -- no longer having to depreciate hardware purchases over two to 10 years. Then there are the ancillary costs of maintaining such devices in an office setting. Primarily, the termination of the utilities that serve and support technology -- primarily the electricity to power and cool -- save companies in ways they never factored in the first place. Lastly, without physical hardware to protect, business save on physical security expenses.
We lead with expertise to walk your company through this process, finding the right mix of solutions, including IT Managed Services, Managed Security Services, Unified Communications and Cloud Computing, to name a few, so you can differentiate your business, while decreasing costs, and improving the end-user experience.
The Isidore Group functions as your firm's in-house IT. By managing everything technology related for its clients there is no limit to service. Managing relationships with your existing technology providers, procurement purchases for clients and providing managed security services is also part of the plan.
With regular business reviews, The Isidore Group works with their clients to identify opportunities to adapt to the changing business and technological environment.
"Partnering with clients is key to transcending the traditional vendor relationship," Abbinanti said. "We become a part of their organizations; there are no one-offs."
Neal & McDevitt was cloud computer-based and using Zoom for video conferencing long before the pandemic hit. With employees and clients in other states, firm members were never tethered to being at their office and were used to working remotely.
"While human interaction is important, working completely remote presents challenges, yet we recognize that law firms aren't going back to normal any time soon. Pre-pandemic, it was challenging attracting talent to work in Northfield," Biagi said.
"Many wanted to work at firms or companies located in downtown Chicago. Now, we were able to cast a much wider net across the country for talent given our ability to work remotely in this new virtual environment. Remote work also presents challenges onboarding people, but it can be done and the folks at The Isidore Group have helped us manage this process effectively."
• Rick Biagi is managing partner with Neal & McDevitt LLC. Sebastian Abbinanti is founder of The Isidore Group. David Avignone, The Isidore Group