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In 2018, Antwerp-based accounting firm VDV consultants decided to play it safe by having Combell handle their internal servers for them, which provides a higher level of protection and more flexibility. Employees can now work for customers remotely or on premises, and ICT is no longer an obstacle to the further growth of the office. “Above all, it brings us peace of mind”, says director Marc Van Gysel.
Good advice is definitely worth paying for. With advice on business, tax, accounting, bookkeeping and legal matters, the ‘Van der Steen, Diels, Van Gysel’ firm focuses primarily on companies and liberal professions. The medical sector and SMEs are a special target group. “It ranges from holdings and family-run SMEs to international subsidiaries”, says VDV consultants director and ICT manager Marc Van Gysel.
As an SME employing eleven people, the company itself has rather ordinary ICT needs. “In the past, it was customary to have an in-house server. I myself have a background in ICT, more specifically for an accounting software solution that was used by SD Worx and the then Rijkswacht (the national police force). In our office, I was in charge of management, making sure there was enough digital storage space, system upgrades, backups... But what if I was out of office for a while? What about cooling when it got very hot in the summer?”
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“We always had to keep an eye out for software updates, storage capacity, regular backups... Now, those concerns are all gone. The switch to Combell mainly brings us peace of mind.”
For its internal applications such as accounting, CRM, time registration and invoicing, auditing and preparing annual accounts, tax, e-mail and document management, VDV consultants used to manage its own server and backup infrastructure. “We had our own hardware with five Virtual Machines running on it. And we had to take care of some maintenance tasks ourselves, which was quite a challenge. We always had to keep an eye out for software updates, storage capacity, regular backups... Now, those concerns are all gone. The switch to Combell mainly brings us peace of mind.”
“We examined various in-house solutions. Virtualisation is an interesting technology for our needs, but it was actually too complicated, technically speaking. On the other hand, there are plenty of cloud services, but such solutions often lead to smaller organisations and intermediaries, which make it difficult to estimate in advance what the benefits will be. We definitely wanted to work with a Belgian company. I want to be able to drive there, if necessary. And that is how we eventually ended up collaborating with Combell.”
VDV consultants opted for hosting on a new server infrastructure managed by Combell. “We are now using fast SSDs (solid state disks). This will keep us going for some while in terms of performance. Backups are now running fully automatically. And when a hard disk is almost full, we receive a timely warning.”
“In our firm, management depended on one person. That was a risk anyway. What if a fire broke out? Or if a burglary occurred? How fast would we ever be able to restore all the data? We are now using new hardware that runs in optimal conditions and is constantly monitored. And if it is really necessary, Combell has an immediate backup infrastructure and the right standby technicians.”
“I prefer not to be involved in infrastructure anymore. That is a lot of stress for nothing. I would no longer want to work any other way.” - Marc Van Gysel, director, VDV consultants
The employees of VDV consultants use most applications in a browser or via Terminal Server. With a secure connection, this is now possible from anywhere. “In practice, our people rarely work from home, because we still often work with paper files. Thanks to the switch to Combell, this is now possible, which is definitely an improvement. When I want to log in at home, or on holiday, I see exactly the same screen.”
“What if we want to start a second office in the future? What if we see opportunities for a collaboration or an acquisition? Thanks to the current solution, we can very easily integrate additional locations.”
“I knew Combell from our domain names and our e-mail server. Previously, we already talked about migrating all our infrastructure. And we eventually took that step in February 2018. Their people are very helpful, friendly and can be reached quickly. Technicians help us with everything that has to do with the SLA – and sometimes even well beyond. Before the migration, they had a thorough consultation with our other ICT providers, for network management, security and a few applications. The migration was completed in three days, without any significant disruption to our business.”
“We are ISO certified. And so is Combell. This makes it much easier for our own ISO procedures.”
“Quality is our main concern. ICT should therefore not be a weakness in this respect. We are also ISO certified, and so is Combell. This makes it much easier for our own ISO procedures. If I had to make a new choice again today, I would do exactly the same. I prefer not to be involved in ICT infrastructure anymore, because that is a lot of stress for nothing. If you are having a problem, all you have to do is call Combell. I would no longer want to work any other way.”
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