Lekker Foods keeps remote employees connected and productive with Atera!
When it comes to improving a company’s IT management and maintenance, there are usually two options available for SMBs: forming an in-house IT team or employing a managed services provider (MSP). It’s common for small companies to feel overlooked in the latter.
The team at Lekker Foods, a food distribution company based in Victoria, BC, Canada, faced quite a few technical challenges while supporting their three physical locations and 85 employees, including remote employees and on-the-go drivers. We sat down with Lekker’s IT manager Robert Dick to look behind the scenes into the needs of a company that makes ‘delicious’ part of their daily routine and to hear firsthand how they brought their IT management in-house and all the benefits that came with that move.
Getting the IT attention Lekker deserves
Lekker Foods is a small business that has been operating for over 50 years, starting in the 1960s. Like several other small businesses, Lekker Foods is run with heart and passion for delivering the finest foods to consumers in Western Canada. They distribute product lines for top-quality meats and sausages, cheese, beverages, food service ingredients, and more. Regarding IT management, the management team at Lekker Foods had difficulty finding an MSP they could trust. With food distribution competitors and their own customers being on the receiving end of cyber attacks, Lekker needed personal attention to prevent attacks from happening to them.
Lekker’s business model involves employees spread across a few physical areas and departments using various technologies, devices, and systems to do their jobs. Employees in their warehouses use scanner guns to find and pack orders and printers for receipt printing. Delivery drivers need to access servers for accurate deliveries and routes. And office employees must access their computers, email, VPN, servers, and other tools, whether working in the office or remotely.
One of Lekker’s competitors closed its doors and shut down the business, so Lekker took the opportunity not to buy out the company but to buy out some of its product lines and hire some of its employees. This event proved to Lekker’s owner that what was more important than focused attention from an MSP was full control—control over the speed of solutions, control over priorities of issues, and control implementing new tools and employees. These needs led Lekker to bring their IT management in-house, bringing in Robert as their go-to IT superhero.
Assessing the state of Lekker’s IT
When Robert joined Lekker, he knew they had to improve their security posture. With some of their own customers being victims of cyber attacks, his first idea was to make Lekker Foods look as unappealing to attack as possible, starting with the employees.
The employees were already making efforts to manage the risk. “The biggest challenge, frankly, is educating users. Technology aside, you know, ensuring users have enough information to make intelligent decisions about things they see on their screen. They’ve learned that you don’t have to reply to any email – no matter what it is. If there’s a weird pop-up, let me know about it. Those kinds of things have gone a long way to make things a little more secure for us because people are asking those questions.”
While knowledge is power, it’s not enough. Since the nature of the food distribution industry is slim profit margins, Robert had to ensure his solutions were cost-effective. Robert took drastic measures to be budget-conscious while protecting Lekker. “We’re 24/7, 5 days a week. Then 12 hours on the sixth day. So the seventh day is really the only day I get to manage, get to do patching systems, maintenance, and things of that nature,” Robert relayed.
Atera’s in-house solution for every challenge
A cost-effective, user-friendly RMM
Robert needed a cost-effective IT management system to protect the company more efficiently. He tried other Remote Monitoring and Management systems, such as ITerian, and continued using their free version, which was just “OK.” But the system eventually forced him to pay to continue use. “What they offered for the money they would be charging was just ridiculous.”
Fortunately, Robert found an ad for Atera and decided to check it out. “The thing that caught my eye was the pricing structure. Atera’s cost factor was phenomenal,” Robert recounted. For Robert, the pricing of Atera was just the beginning of his great discoveries while using the platform.
Being an IT manager is demanding, as something is always going on. Ease of adoption and use was a priority for Robert. “It was actually straightforward and easy to use you. You look at some of the other systems, and they’re just so confusing. Atera was essentially self-explanatory. I had Atera up, and the agents pushed out to all my systems within three days of signing up.”
Always the #1 priority
As aforementioned, the Lekker Foods management team was concerned about getting overlooked by an MSP. By switching to an in-house team that uses Atera, Lekker Foods can have an in-person conversation with their IT manager (or a remote call) as soon as something comes up. The boost in reply speed is paramount for preventing attacks while keeping employees’ systems and devices up and running. With Robert in charge, waiting is now kept to a minimum.
Customizable security stack and tools
With Atera, you can easily implement various security software and tools smoothly. Companies, including Lekker, can build custom solutions for every business need, from network monitoring and backups to billing and remote access via easy integrations and add-ons. Atera ensures that your company’s security and tech stack is up-to-date across all systems via alerts and automation.
As for his Sundays, Robert praised the patching capability. “The patch management automation has been a godsend.” Atera’s automatic patching drastically reduces the risk of a cyber attack by updating software vulnerabilities that hackers hear about. Robert now deploys patches with a click of a button and gains back hours of his life.
An easy remote experience for being an IT superhero on-the-go
Robert described Atera empowering him to make the most impact a human can possibly have: “It extends my reach; it makes me bigger than I am.” Robert’s ability to sync all systems, devices, and tools together was only possible with Atera. Robert takes things to the next level using the Atera mobile app, available in Apple’s app store and Google Play and is free for users. “Because I can do things remotely, I could sit in the car on a back road and take care of issues. That’s an absolute win for a small company where there’s no other backup.”
Solving IT issues on a back road isn’t a metaphor—it’s a true story. Atera’s remote capabilities include performing restarts, shutdowns, and logouts from anywhere. Robert was able to fix an IT crisis for a colleague, managing everything remotely through the Atera app. “I’m sitting in my car, literally on a back road. She’s going: I can’t get into the server. I was able to do everything from my phone. Rebooting and whatnot. it was just easy, and it’s just there, and it works.”
When IT managers of small businesses deal with so much, they must get as much support as possible. For Robert, Atera is that support. “I think it’s core to my ability to support the company as we grow.”
“I can only see it being used more and more.”