In the 1960s when PMI Sales and Marketing was founded, computers were not yet in existence. Everything was done by hand, on paper. Sales calls were typically face to face. A work environment free from cybercriminals was ingrained in their culture.

Building the business in a technology-free environment, along with their experience providing services face to face, made PMI executives slow to change when new technology came down the line. As a result, when the time came, the company was behind in its adoption of technology.

As Mike Manus and Robert Zvanut took over the management of PMI in the early 2000s, they knew that PMI was behind on technology. And when its software and hardware stopped being compatible, they knew it was time to put some real effort into upgrading everything.

Initially, all of PMI’s IT was taken care of by a young intern in-house. Naturally, the intern grew out of the role in some years and wanted to move on. When the intern expressed his intention to leave, Robert decided to transition the company’s in-house IT department to an independent contractor. At that point, Robert referred to a marketing flyer he had received that caught his eye. It was from Divergys.

As it turns out, Divergys had an association with one of PMI’s customers. Robert reached out to that customer and received much positive feedback about their responsiveness, availability, and lack of “geek speak.” He decided to call Divergys up and give them a try.

When Robert sat down with Divergys, he felt that his company was in an okay position IT-wise. “We were not as bad as some,” says Robert. “We had somebody inhouse, we had done a lot of the structural stuff, and we had the right servers. We just needed everything updated, plus day-to-day support and security improvements.”

Divergys performed a formal assessment and presented a professional plan of action for PMI. Security was also a pressing concern. A number of PMI’s servers and applications were not protected with the latest cybersecurity measures and software. This became a priority for Divergys.

Divergys provided security training to everyone in the company and prepared PMI for disaster recovery with backups of all of the data on the company servers. Although PMI did have a backup system already in place, Divergys filled in the cracks and ensured that everything could be easily restored in the event of a natural disaster or cyberattack.

“It just brought our entire system up, and now we’re maintaining it in a correct and professional manner,” Robert says. For example, instead of waiting until a laptop crashes, they are replacing it when it reaches a certain age. “With Divergys’ hardware management, we are keeping all our equipment and servers up to date,” says Robert.

When a problem needs fixing, PMI has found Divergys to be friendly and responsive, often resolving the issue the same day.

In new initiatives, such as the transition from a traditional landline phone to voice over internet protocol (VoIP), Divergys has played an integral role in training the team and managing the overall process.

“That’s probably been the quirkiest of any of the things we’ve done,” Robert says. “I don’t want to say difficult but challenging.” At first, PMI tried to manage the transition to VoIP in-house, but it quickly became too complicated for one person to manage. When they started working with Divergys, PMI abandoned their current vendor in favor of one recommended by Divergys.

Over a period of time, PMI and Divergys accomplished all of the goals set out in the original plan and added some new ones. Together, the partners perform a review of the plan and all of PMI’s equipment, infrastructure, and training each quarter.

In three words, Robert would describe Divergys as proactive, reactive, and easy-to-reach. “If I call and need to talk to Tom or Raquel, they are there to help us,” he says.

Although breaches are always on his mind, Robert rests easy knowing all of the information technology at PMI has been handled proactively and that his staff are trained to be a line of defense against cybercriminals and not a cyber liability.

PMI Sales and Marketing has offices in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas and is 39 employees strong. Not a day goes by when PMI does not receive a phishing email. “It’s not once in a while. It’s every day now,” Robert says. Thanks to tools like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and Proofpoint, PMI’s data is safe and secure. “Even if they figure out the password for the computer,” explains Robert, “they still can’t get in because we need to agree on our phones for them to login.”

PMI has also had a laptop stolen on two occasions this year, from two different employees, and MFA saved the day. In both cases, the employees had MFA enabled on their laptops, so when the thieves tried to gain access, they couldn’t because they didn’t steal the employees’ cell phones! After both incidents, Divergys worked with PMI to quickly and seamlessly purchase, set up, and secure new laptops for the affected employees. They were back online quickly.

To other owners of medium-sized businesses who currently have IT handled in-house and are looking at moving to an MSP, Robert says, “Your in-house person doesn’t have the experience that a team like Divergys has and all the things they’re exposed to.” He highly recommends working with an MSP that can provide a holistic approach that can’t be applied by just one person.