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Chester Inc. IT helps businesses, schools thrive in remote work environment

By: Curtis Hankins Last Updated: September 16, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck, many businesses scrambled to shift their operations to accommodate remote work. Companies around the Region turned to Chester Inc.’s Information Technologies (IT) team to help them make an emergency leap. Chester’s Inc. was ready with everything they could need, since they were already experts at establishing remote work setups.

“Our focus is on security, it’s not just about getting connected to your office or your system’s, it’s about doing it safely and securely,” said Chris Kotul, Information Technologies Division Manager at Chester Inc. “Our teleworker offerings and expertise include remote access devices that guarantee a secured tunnel to the remote systems, monitored and managed endpoint security to protect your PC’s when they’re not in the office, and tools like Microsoft Teams that allow collaboration conveniently and securely.”

While the emergency jump to telework might have seemed like an inconvenient necessity at the start of the pandemic, Kotul noticed that many of their clients are changing their perspectives. They are seeing opportunity, instead of a hassle.

“In March and April, the focus may have been mostly on surviving,” he said. “By May, it went from ‘how to survive’ to ‘how to thrive.’ We assisted in refining and streamlining e-commerce systems to make it easy for their customers to purchase one way. Some clients are even reconsidering the size of their office or moving out of it all together. These are just some of the things we’ve helped our clients do over the past 6 months.”

They have also done things like shifting applications and systems over the cloud permanently. For their healthcare and legal clients, they set up systems to allow for remote consultations. Everything they do is based on individual client needs.

One of their clients had to entirely shut down their office and shift 35 full-time customer service employees to telework. Chester Inc. helped them adapt through this process.

“Their phones could not follow their employees home at the time,” Kotul said. “We assisted in implementing a full Voice over Internet Protocol system using Microsoft Teams. We were able to route their desk phones to their new Teams Voice systems within 24 hours. That same client has since completely moved on from their traditional phone system and is using Teams Voice for 100 percent of their inbound and outbound calling.”

Chester Inc. also worked with a number of school corporations around the Region who needed to find ways to make sure every student could get connected to their education in a remote learning environment. One way they helped was by procuring devices that students could use to connect to their online classrooms. They also helped schools expand their wireless internet access outside of their building’s walls.

“Unfortunately, too many students don’t have a reliable internet connection at home and had little or no options with local schools and libraries being shut down,” Kotul said. “Through the CARES Act, we were able to help many of our K-12 and library clients extend their wireless networks to the parking lot. Students were able to sit in their car (or a parent’s car) and get a robust, secure internet connection. All of this was done at no cost to the schools.”

The pandemic created a lot of uncertainty, but Chester Inc.’s IT crew is continuing to find ways to help their clients thrive in a remote work environment.

“Our clients are the beginning and end of everything that we do, and without them we wouldn’t exist,” Kotul said. “I’m just happy that Chester’s IT team is fortunate enough to be in a position to help them adapt to this new landscape. Change is hard and scary, especially when it’s forced on you and the business you’ve worked so hard to build. I’m proud that our clients trust in us to help them through those changes.”

To learn more about Chester Inc. and their IT services, visit www.chesterinc.com.