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The Step: "Our collaboration is a hit"

De Stap, a Centre for Childcare and Family Support (CKG), was struggling with outdated hardware, a server that was often unreachable, e-mails that did not arrive, slow connections... The situation became untenable, so the non-profit association entered into a collaboration with VanRoey, which renovated the entire infrastructure. De Stap's new IT infrastructure is always and everywhere available, faster and more secure, allowing staff to work much more efficiently.
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De Stap staff are constantly visiting the families they assist. For administrative follow-up, they used to work in the office with desktop PCs with which they logged into the central server in an external data centre. The whole setup desperately needed an update. "We had to log in to our server via an internet connection, but it was often very slow or even dropped out," says Adelheid Hoewaer, Director of CKG De Stap. "Because of these technical problems, we were absolutely unable to work efficiently. Moreover, there were sometimes emails that didn't even arrive, which caused poor communication with our partners."

An IT expert who speaks plain language
For Adelheid Hoewaer, it is clear: "IT is not our thing and we don't want to deal with it ourselves at all. So we were looking for an IT partner who could offer us a good solution. After talking to several companies, the choice fell on VanRoey. They were the first who could explain everything very clearly so that, as non-IT people, we still fully understood it." De Stap has no IT specialists in-house, so working with an external partner is a must.

For the project, there were two essential aspects that VanRoey had to take into account: the security of confidential data and a fast connection. "The data of the families we support must be very well protected," explains Adelheid Hoewaer. "At the same time, they have to be readily available to our staff, which used to be a problem. In consultation with VanRoey, we decided to switch back to a local server located here at our premises. VanRoey advised us on the most suitable technology and transferred and installed everything.

E-mail in the cloud
The project proceeded in several phases, which was important for De Stap to keep the IT budget, which is quite limited at a non-profit organisation, under control. Since there were mainly a lot of problems e-mails, this problem was tackled first. "We do have our e-mail in the cloud, with Office 365," says Adelheid Hoewaer. "VanRoey searched for the Office 365 version that was most suitable and economical for us. "That cloud software also offers a lot of additional features such as calendar sharing and online collaboration on documents.

Moreover, it is a very user-friendly system. For example, we can very easily create a new user ourselves. The two of us received training for Office 365 at VanRoey, after which we passed on our knowledge internally." For employees at De Stap, Office 365 was a bit of an adjustment, but overall the transition went smoothly. "We are especially happy that there are no more technical hiccups," says Adelheid Hoewaer. "The users themselves also notice that everything works much better than before, there are now far fewer frustrations about IT. With Office 365, everyone now has the same layout for e-mails, with an identical signature and our logo. That immediately gives a much more professional impression."

Internal server for sensitive information
In a second phase, De Stap switched to its own in-house data server for everything to do with household information. VanRoey installed the server and also continues to provide maintenance. "It's quite an investment for us, but this way we can be sure of a good service and we need to be minimally occupied with IT ourselves," explains Adelheid Hoewaer. "VanRoey comes by four times a year for half a day to check the server, go through a checklist and answer our questions. That way we avoid IT problems. We can also always call the VanRoey helpdesk with urgent questions."

Given the importance of security, VanRoey also ensured the watertight security of the server and of the IT network. Access to confidential information is protected with passwords for each team. To avoid losing important data, an automatic backup is made every night on a second hard disk in the server. Moreover, there is also an external backup in the cloud, so that even after a fire, everything is recoverable.

Working more flexibly with laptops
The third step in renewing the IT infrastructure at De Stap was to replace the outdated desktop PCs with laptops. Only the employees who are always in the office, such as the accounting people, still work with a desktop. The others can work more flexibly on the move thanks to the new laptops. For example, after a home visit, they can quickly and securely log on to the server from home or another location to write their report.

The Step employee for server rack

Wifi for visitors
In a final stage, the non-profit association also wants to provide wifi for visitors. "We regularly have meetings in our offices with external partners and these people often request wifi access," Adelheid Hoewaer clarifies. "At the moment, we do not yet have wifi in the meeting room, but we would still like to have it. Again, it is important that it can be done in a secure way, with a separate guest circuit so that visitors certainly cannot access our data. VanRoey can definitely help us with this."

Working with VanRoey was clearly a hit with De Stap. "We wanted an IT partner with a lot of knowledge, expertise and a professional but personal approach. We really found that with VanRoey," concludes Adelheid Hoewaer.

About The Step

De Stap vzw is a Centre for Child Care and Family Support (CKG) that offers guidance to families with children aged 0 to 12 who have questions about parenting.

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"We wanted an IT partner with a lot of knowledge, expertise and a professional but personal approach. We really found that with VanRoey."
Adelheid Hoewaer
Adelheid Hoewaer

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