Top Winnipeg chartered accountants trust 365 Technologies to keep their IT systems efficient and their staff members productive.
Magnus, LLP is an accounting firm that primarily services small businesses in BC, Ontario, and in between.
They handle corporate accounting tasks such as tax reorganization, audits, planning, and more. With a staff of 20-25 employees operating both in the office and remotely, Magnus, LLP relies on a cloud environment to maintain convenient and secure access to client data.
While they originally handled their IT management in-house, they eventually grew to a point at which they required more capable support.
“We’re always looking to be more and more efficient and reduce our administrative needs,” says Brian T. Highfield, Principal CPA, Magnus, LLP.
That’s why they hired 365 Technologies.
Prior to working with 365 Technologies, Brian handled the lion’s share of IT support for Magnus, LLP. He could handle most minor requests, and when needed, they would contract an external IT company to handle more major projects.
However, it wasn’t long until this arrangement no longer suited Magnus, LLP’s needs. Their firm was growing and their IT requirements were becoming more complex.
Continuing with their established IT support model would have been untenable. It would require Brian to spend even more of his time on IT rather than on his work as a Principal CPA for the firm, and they would have had to spend even more money contracting external IT support on an as-needed basis.
“Our need for services was well outpacing our abilities,” says Brian. “We were looking at options beyond our scope and knowledge.”
Brian and the Magnus, LLP staff knew they needed to find a new way to handle their IT needs. This left them with two options:
For a number of reasons, Magnus, LLP determined that outsourcing their IT support needs was a more cost-effective and efficient arrangement…
Brian knew that while an in-house IT staff member may be more immediately present and able to address local IT support requests directly, they would present efficiency and continuity issues.
The fact is that hiring even one staff member to handle IT support requires the company in question to take on a range of expenses and management tasks:
An in-house IT team can cost a lot to have on staff. To be effective, IT service and support require up-to-date skills and expertise.
There are additional expenses on top of the salary to consider. For example, holidays, and the coverage needed while a network administrator is away. When you consider all of this, just one IT staff member can cost even more than a standard salary.
With cybercrime and other threats to your business, you must ensure your IT staff is trained on the latest cybersecurity tactics. In addition, software, hardware, and cloud solutions are constantly evolving.
To provide the most cost-effective IT solutions, your IT personnel should attend vendor training and stay up on certifications that expire. These training and certification expenses can really mount up and may involve travel expenses as well.
By partnering with 365 Technologies, Magnus, LLP doesn’t need to invest time or money in managing an internal team. For a monthly rate, Magnus, LLP gets a complete IT team, without having to worry about training or managing them.
Having determined that they wanted to work with an outsourced IT support provider, Magnus, LLP then had to find the right partner for their firm.
They began their search and met with a few local IT companies. However, when they connected with 365 Technologies, they were immediately impressed by what President Michael Anderson and our team had to offer.
“They were very honest,” says Brian. “They didn’t oversell their services.”
One of the reasons Magnus, LLP chose to work with 365 Technologies in the first place is that we didn’t try to embellish our service offering.
In Brian’s experience, IT companies are rarely honest about the turnover rate they experience with their staff. Most claim that their staff members stay on for decades when in reality, it’s 2-3 years at best.
Michael was very forthcoming about this reality, as well as the steps he and the 365 Technologies team take to mitigate threats to the continuity of service. 365 Technologies ensures that multiple technicians are familiar with a given client’s IT environment and support needs, which ensures that the loss of one staff member doesn’t affect service quality to that client.
Once hired, 365 Technologies immediately streamlined the basic support services that Brian had been managing for the Magnus, LLP team. We established a comprehensive support system, ensuring the Magnus, LLP staff had the help they needed whenever they needed it.
When compared to the majority of the accounting industry, Magnus, LLP very quickly moved to a cloud environment. Brian and the Magnus, LLP staff had realized that the cloud would provide more flexibility, scalability, and a range of other benefits.
“The main focus for us was to not be in a static environment,” says Brian.
At the time, most accounting firms relied on hard copy documentation, or, at best, a local server at their office. Magnus, LLP didn’t want their staff tied to a local infrastructure. By basing their data in the cloud, they could establish the necessary capabilities and comprehensive security for in-office and remote workers alike.
When they hired 365 Technologies, Magnus, LLP wanted to leave cloud management to us. We took stock of their needs and their end-user experience goals, and determined that migrating their Active Directory to Microsoft Azure would be the best path forward.
“365 Technologies really understands our needs,” says Brian.
Azure is Microsoft’s enterprise-grade cloud computing platform—Magnus, LLP’s team can rely on this solution to help them cut costs by hosting off-site, as well as benefit from a totally scalable configuration that fits their needs.
This premier service offers a range of benefits for all types of businesses:
Stay focused on the parts of your business that really need your attention. You don’t have to babysit your servers any longer—take the resources previously devoted to service maintenance and apply them where they can have the greatest effect.
Beyond the managed services, Azure has a range of further tools to help your team do what they do even better. This comprehensive set of development, deployment, and management tools includes local development and debugging via Visual Studio or the Azure CLI, continuous deployment with Azure DevOps tools, and live monitoring thanks to Application Insights.
No matter when you need them, Azure offers easy access to the solutions you use. Whether you’re on-premises, working in a hybrid environment like Azure Stack, on IoT Edge devices, or in other clouds, you can access functions as need be.
Microsoft Azure data is stored in data centers that offer an industry-leading combination of physical and logical safeguards, from high perimeter fencing and 24/7 surveillance to multi-factor biometric locks.
Azure Active Directory has built-in security features including authentication tools, access control, and identity management in addition to their own top-notch network and system security.
One of the core tenets of Magnus, LLP’s approach to business management is efficiency. Through both their use of IT and the arrangement of their staff, they try to do as much as they can with as little as possible.
Whereas most firms would have 3-5 administrative members on their staff, Magnus, LLP manages everything they do with just one. That’s why, for years, Brian handled the firm’s IT needs.
“When it was done in-house, there was a big lag compared to what we could get from 365 Technologies,” says Brian.
Brian estimates that he spent anywhere from 5-10 hours a week directly on IT tasks before the firm began working with 365 Technologies. When you consider Brian’s value to the firm and to his clients as a Principal CPA, that’s a lot of time and money spent on IT.
For all the reasons explored above, they eventually chose to outsource their IT needs to 365 Technologies. Doing so freed up a lot of Brian’s time, and eliminated him as a bottleneck for the staff’s IT issues.
“Productivity is the real value,” says Brian. “You really couldn’t qualify how much value working with 365 Technologies adds.”
“Protection of data is critical,” says Brian. “Cybersecurity was not in my scope of knowledge.”
The gulf between what you know and what you don’t is where cybercriminals operate. That’s why cybersecurity expertise is so valuable—it helps you better understand where your business’ most severe cybersecurity issues are.
“We don’t know what we don’t know,” says Brian. “We don’t want to have to be experts in the field.”
This is another key benefit of working with 365 Technologies. Magnus, LLP can rely on us to manage, optimize and improve their cybersecurity posture.
“We rely on 365 Technologies for security, and that way, I don’t have to think about it,” says Brian.
The fact is that Magnus, LLP can’t commit the same resources to cybersecurity that the “big four” accounting firms can. Businesses around the same size as them are often key targets for cybercriminals, because they have enough clients to be of value, but not enough to invest in cybersecurity.
“Usually, players of our size are very vulnerable,” says Brian.
A clear example of 365 Technologies’ effect on Magnus, LLP’s cybersecurity is their staff awareness. The fact is that what you (and your staff) don’t know could hurt you. If your staff isn’t up to date on the latest cybercrime scams, then they’re putting your data and reputation at risk, simple as that.
Case in point: phishing, a method in which cybercriminals send fraudulent emails that appear to be from reputable sources in order to get recipients to reveal sensitive information and execute significant financial transfers.
Phishing attacks are mass emails that request confidential information or credentials under pretenses, link to malicious websites or include malware as an attachment.
In 2021, Google had registered 2,145,013 phishing sites, a drastic increase from 1,690,000 the year before. The average phishing attack costs businesses $1.6 million.
Unfortunately, businesses aren’t learning to protect themselves, which is why the number of reported phishing attacks has gone up by 65% in the past few years. Today, 1 in 99 emails sent is a phishing email.
That’s why we set up Magnus, LLP with a phishing training program, which teaches their staff about the way these scams work, and then tests them on what they’ve learned.
“Getting these extra services are things that we would never think of,” says Brian. “Our team needed it—I’m sure everyone gained further knowledge by going through it.”
Since switching to 365 Technologies, the Magnus, LLP staff hasn’t had to worry about their IT.
They can trust that 365 Technologies is taking care of them day in and day out, providing a high-quality, local service their team can rely on.