Desmond Lo needs to keep everything running properly for the hundreds of Realstar employees that rely on IT to get their work done every day. It’s a lot of work.
As IT systems manager for Realstar, Desmond works with a small staff — there are just two other members in the IT department. Realstar manages 160 properties across Canada, relying on a growing and complex IT network to keep everything running smoothly.
Given how critical IT is, Desmond knows he and his team can’t handle everything on their own. That’s why they work with Sysoft Computer Consultants.
Over the past thirty years, Realstar has consistently grown in size. As they added more properties to their management portfolio, they hired additional employees and grew their IT network.
However, despite the organization-wide growth, Desmond and his team have stayed the same across three decades.
“In my department, including me, there are only three people, and we need to respond to the staff in terms of simple computer-related problems,” says Desmond. “In the head office, there are about 200 people, so our workforce has expanded, but my department has been 2-3 people for thirty years or so.”
How do Desmond and his team manage to stay on top of the IT workload?
For years, they’ve been relying on Sysoft to assist with IT tasks and manage major projects. Desmond originally connected with Sysoft’s President Scott Weingust through Learning Tree International.
“I had an opportunity to take some courses in Learning Tree International, and Scott was an instructor,” says Desmond. “I got to know him, and I found him to be very knowledgeable in Windows and Exchange, and he was very friendly.”
Recognizing a critical resource that he could use for Realstar, Desmond hired Scott and Sysoft to help manage the organization’s growing IT needs. From setting up active directories to creating domains, Desmond knows he can rely on Systoft to help.
“When there’s something we need help with, that’s where Sysoft comes in,” says Desmond. “Systoft has been able to help us resolve some of the challenges we’ve faced. If there are any special projects where I need their help, I will call them and ask.”
In the mid-aughts, Desmond and the leadership at Realstar realized that email was too critical of a system to host on-premises. Continuing to do so would put them at risk of email downtime due to an outage or other onsite issue, and so, they looked into migrating to a cloud-based solution.
“As email became more and more critical, it became clear that if something happened to our server here, having no emails, even for an hour or so, we wouldn’t be able to deal with,” says Desmond. “We decided to migrate to Microsoft 365 and Sysoft helped us.”
This type of migration is a big process, and if it’s not handled correctly, it can be error-prone and overly expensive. Despite these benefits, the migration to Microsoft 365 can often be complicated and risky. An improperly managed migration can result in a range of negative consequences:
Luckily, Desmond and Realstar had Sysoft to rely on. The Sysoft team managed the migration, carefully moving hundreds of email accounts to the cloud to achieve greater availability and reliability.
“I think the decision to migrate from the office to the cloud was a good decision, and that the owners are happy with the services from Microsoft 365,” says Desmond.
For some time, Realstar used a tape backup to protect their organization against data loss. Once the standard for backup, compared to modern alternatives, tape backups are largely inferior.
“We had backup services on-premises, but sometimes, tape backup was not as efficient as we thought,” says Desmond. “As our storage needs grew, the tape backup was taking longer and longer.”
Conventional backup solutions present a number of risks and issues for small to medium-sized businesses like Realstar, including:
In light of these issues, Desmond asked Sysoft for advice, which led them to a Datto cloud-based backup solution. With their backups now automated and in the cloud, Realstar doesn’t have to worry about the risk of data loss.
“They’re very professional, very friendly, and willing to help,” says Desmond. “When we present a problem to them, they always come back with a solution.”
Over the course of their many years working together, Realstar’s team has come to rely on Sysoft for all things IT. Whether he needs advice on a solution to a problem, or needs a full team to handle a big project, Desmond knows he can call Sysoft for help.
“I’m really happy with their staff, and their professionalism and the service,” says Desmond. “They always respond back to you in time.”