GlobalMac-ess Stories: Aaron S. Gilbert
If managing your firm’s technology has gradually taken more and more of your time while making you feel less and less secure, you are not alone.
Escalating cybersecurity threats and a shift to remote operations have complicated legal IT beyond the comfort zone of most attorneys; after all, you studied con law, contracts, and civil procedure, not encryption, authentication, and networking.
I speak with many lawyers whose IT duties regularly keep them from practicing law or growing their businesses…and whose IT worries keep them up at night.
One example is client Aaron Gilbert, a tax attorney who runs a small firm in Morristown, New Jersey, that was founded by his father before computers were even a concern.
A self-proclaimed “dabbler” in technology, Aaron managed the firm’s systems for years — valiantly weathering waves of ever-advancing tech before finally conceding he was over his head.
Aaron knew it was time to outsource the firm’s IT but wasn’t sure where to turn.
He tried local service outfits but found them to be understaffed, unreliable, and utterly impersonal. Then, based on a colleague’s recommendation, he signed on with GlobalMac IT in 2014…and has been with us ever since.
Like many of our clients, Aaron first turned to GlobalMac IT to minimize headaches, downtime, and non-billable hours but came to appreciate a true partner in his practice. He realized that personalized, responsive, comprehensive, flat-fee IT protection not only eliminated problems (while paying for itself)…but provided stability, time, and peace of mind that freed him to concentrate where he was most needed.
We spoke at length with Aaron during a recent client check-in — read on for his perspective on the current state of law-and-technology and to see whether his story might sound familiar.
“I’m aware of technology and read about it,” Aaron explained as we started our chat, “but by 2014, running our office, IT was taking up too much of my time and interfering with the practice. I’d be working on a file or consulting with clients when a tech problem would come up, and I’d be the one who had to fix it or find someone who could.”
“I needed to step away from that role and concentrate on the legal and tax issue business.”
He tried the Yellow Pages but with little luck.
“With local tech shops, it would be a one or two-person operation…and maybe they’d come over and service the computers, maybe they wouldn’t. The downtime was dramatic, and pricing was erratic.”
That’s when he followed up with GlobalMac IT.
Skeptical at first about enlisting an out-of-state provider to service his network, Aaron was quickly won over. “The fact that you guys can take care of everything remotely is tremendous. In seven years, I’ve never met any of your team in person, but every problem has been resolved.”
Instead of constantly wondering if/when a repair team might show, Aaron’s firm now had instant access to assistance. “What really sold me was the simplicity and the fact that I had people — real people — that I could contact at any hour. I loved the fact that I could see somebody and talk with them and get feedback almost immediately.”
Quickly, Aaron felt less pressure and more freedom.
“At first, I asked my staff to CC me on all the support tickets so I could make sure everything was dealt with,” he told me, “But then I heard that you guys were just fixing everything as it came through. I’d see monthly reports and discover that you were taking care of all the little things like printer connections and software updates without me needing to be a point of contact, and it’s been incredibly helpful.”
“Now we have very little downtime, and I have great peace of mind,” Aaron continued, “Not having to worry about these issues anymore, not being the person that everybody comes to with every little issue has saved me several hours a day.”
“I just let you guys handle it, and I focus on the legal work.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
I was thankful to hear Aaron’s story and endorsement but wanted to pick his brain on specific topics, so we continued.
“I’m very concerned about security,” Aaron admitted.
His fear is well-founded; with attorneys handling so much sensitive information, they’ve become a particular target of hackers in recent years.
Aaron is well aware: “Handling tax prep stuff, we’re dealing with people’s livelihood. We have social security numbers, dates of birth, bank accounts, brokerage house information, retirement information…everything that goes into a tax return.”
His fears heightened after a recent attack hit close to home. “An accountant we work with in our building was hit with ransomware, and he had no idea what to do,” Aaron recalls, “he just went out and bought new computers but didn’t have anything backed up, so he lost all of his information. Something like that would be a death knell for us.”
GlobalMac IT helps make sure that Mr. Gilbert’s data is safe and restorable.
“This past year, our tax prep has moved to remote hosting, and you helped us get the data in the cloud with security measures and two-factor authentication,” Aaron points out, demonstrating that he still stays on top of technology issues.
With so many tech challenges and changes brought about by the pandemic, I wanted to make sure that GlobalMac IT had kept the Gilbert firm ahead of the curve…so we spoke about that a bit.
“We were already planning to switch to laptops after tax season – in May 2020,” Aaron recounted,” but then everything turned upside down.”
COVID had struck, and offices were suddenly closed.
“You guys were able to keep us online and shift to remote working – even getting a computer for one of my employees, and then she was off and running at home. That worked out tremendously.”
“We have two office locations, but last year worked remotely. I’ve been working from a couple of different places: I have a house down in Long Beach Island, and then I was up in Vermont for a while, and everything’s worked. I can’t thank you enough for making that happen.”
Glad to help, Aaron!
On Personal Touches
One of the most rewarding parts of our conversation came when Aaron fondly discussed our team’s work with his father, Stephen, who’s still practicing law after nearly 50 years.
With a laugh, Aaron remembered how his father resisted the transition from Windows to Mac and believed that remote working was a veiled effort to phase him out…but with GlobalMac IT’s guidance, he has taken to the new set-up.
“He’s been able to reach out to you guys, and you helped him set up his machines and even use a VPN — the flexibility you’ve provided has allowed him to work from anywhere,” Aaron proudly relates, “He hasn’t missed a beat; he loves the work, and now he doesn’t have to give it up.”
As we spoke about his comprehensive service plan and how we could tie it to our new Security+ program, Aaron took the opportunity to express his appreciation for the flat-fee pricing structure of both.
“I never worked in a big firm – I came here straight from a clerkship, so I never got the whole hourly billing thing ingrained in me, and I don’t bill hourly,” he said.
After discussing the unpredictable costs of one-off service calls and how comprehensive plans encourage reporting issues without hesitation, it was clear that we were on the same page.
Aaron summed up the bottom line like this, “The less I have to pay attention to this tech stuff, the better. Practicing law and taking care of tax work is where I make money, so, whatever you guys are doing in the background, keep on doing it. Because it helps me out tremendously.”
Let us help you tremendously with comprehensive service and security packages that will keep your firm safe and your efforts on-task – we’d love to make you another GlobalMac-ess story.