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Making Connections

After a chaotic start, the pandemic has proven to be good for business in the IT world, where professionals were deluged with requests from clients to set up remote networks for their employees, not to mention a flood of new clients seeking network services for the first time. More than perhaps anyone, these IT pros have seen first-hand how COVID-19 has changed the way companies are doing business. And some of the changes, they say, may be here for the long term.


By Mark Morris

As the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, many businesses that survived are trying to understand what the new landscape will look like.

Right now, many business owners are trying to figure out when and if their employees should return to the office or continue to work from home. Either way, access to technology plays an increasing role in getting the job done.

For example, said Delcie Bean, CEO of Paragus Strategic IT, before the pandemic, many businesses were getting by with outdated communication and collaborative tools and depended on e-mail and phones to support their working environment.

“When the pandemic hit, they had to suddenly adopt new technologies like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other virtual platforms to keep doing business. Almost overnight, we had to set up about 4,000 people to work remotely who weren’t previously set up to do so.”

“When the pandemic hit, they had to suddenly adopt new technologies like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other virtual platforms to keep doing business,” Bean said, noting that, as employees in many industries were sent home to work remotely, local IT firms saw a huge influx of work. “Almost overnight, we had to set up about 4,000 people to work remotely who weren’t previously set up to do so.”

Delcie Bean

Delcie Bean

Sean Hogan, president of Hogan Communications, said the last time businesses experienced this much disruption was October 2011, when a surprise snowstorm knocked out power for thousands across the region. This time, the disruption has had a more profound and lasting impact.

“The pandemic woke up a lot of people and forced them to understand they’ve got to change the way they do business,” Hogan said, explaining that, while the pre-Halloween storm a decade ago encouraged investments in backup generators, the pandemic has shown many the importance of storing data in a remote data center, commonly known as the ‘cloud.’

In Bean’s estimation, the idea of a business keeping a server at its facility to host its network is already a legacy model that was on its way to being phased out in the next five years.

“COVID dumped gasoline on that timetable and made converting to the cloud a much higher priority,” he said. With cloud-based technology, employees can more easily access their company’s network from multiple locations and devices.

Resistance to change comes natural to New England business owners as many prefer to keep their data on a server in their office. Hogan often explains to these reluctant clients that cloud-based data centers have spent millions of dollars to make sure there is a disaster recovery set up, as well as backup systems for power, internet and HVAC.

“The average business owner couldn’t afford to make that type of investment to keep their data safe,” Hogan said. “So when people say they don’t trust the cloud we point out how much more reliable it is compared to their office.”

BusinessWest spoke with a number of local IT providers about what several of them called the ‘roller-coaster year’ we’ve just had and what’s on the horizon. As business owners themselves, they, like their clients, have had to figure out how to keep things running during a pandemic and anticipate what that means in the long term.

“I’m looking at the service tickets we’re completing while working remote, and they are right on par with where they were when we were in the office. In fact, we might be a little more efficient.”

As an IT-services vendor, Bean believes firms like his should be a little ahead of the curve so they can test new technologies before they recommend them to clients. For example, Paragus employees have been on the cloud and set up to work from anywhere since June 2019.

“So when the pandemic struck, moving our staff remotely was pretty seamless,” Bean said. “About 80% of our people work remotely, and 15% to 20% come into the office on any given day.”

Jeremiah Beaudry, owner of Bloo Solutions, said his employees are working so well from home, it’s not necessary to come into the office. He noted that productivity has not suffered, and employees have less stress.

Jeremiah Beaudry

Jeremiah Beaudry

“I’m looking at the service tickets we’re completing while working remote, and they are right on par with where they were when we were in the office,” Beaudry said. “In fact, we might be a little more efficient.”

One important thing businesses have learned from the pandemic, according to Charlie Christianson, president of CMD Solutions, is that it’s OK to work from home.

“We can do a lot more than we thought we could outside of the office,” he said. “People are far more open to remote work, and there’s no mystery to it anymore.”


Change of Scenery

While some of Hogan’s employees have always worked remotely, the percentage has grown, and their efficiency allows them to escape the daily commute. “They don’t need to be behind a windshield for an hour and a half each day just getting to and from work,” he said.

When companies first sent workers home, IT providers spent most of their time helping clients integrate employees into their respective networks. While they suddenly had a huge amount of work, IT professionals did not see much revenue because many clients had contracts to cover this extra work. Increased revenue soon followed, however, as many new clients sought these services.

“We signed more new customers in 2020 than the previous two years combined,” Bean said, adding that much of the new business came from companies that found their dependence on technology had suddenly increased and their IT capabilities couldn’t meet these new demands.

In addition to new clients coming on board, Christianson explained that many of his current clients, who at first only wanted a “down-and-dirty” setup for remote access, were now looking for a more permanent solution for their network.

“We can do a lot more than we thought we could outside of the office. People are far more open to remote work, and there’s no mystery to it anymore.”

“Those of us in the IT industry are very fortunate,” he said. “We have done well during this time and were not hit hard like so many other industries were.”

With the end of COVID in sight, businesses have begun looking at what comes next. Those we spoke with agree on one thing: it will not be business like it was before or even during the pandemic.

“Most of our clients want some hybrid between those two options, where there is more in-person interaction than during the pandemic, but probably not as much as there was before,” Bean said. Once people started learning videoconferencing and Microsoft 365, he noted, they saw how helpful these tools can be even when everyone is in the office.

As IT providers continue to transition their clients from premise-based servers to the data cloud, they also predict other big shifts on the horizon. For example, with so many companies using smartphones and laptop computers to make calls, the company phone system may soon be a thing of the past.

“A few years from now, the idea of having both a computer and a phone on your desk at work is going to be a very strange concept,” Bean said, especially when companies consider the economics of supporting two systems that make phone calls.

While the demise of the office phone seems inevitable, office space itself could be in for a big reduction, Christianson added. “We’ve seen a lot of instances where people are moving from bigger spaces to smaller ones. They are making the calculation that some people are not coming back.”

Charlie Christianson

Charlie Christianson

Even if it’s in a smaller space, Hogan asserted that an office presence is still vital. “I don’t think we’ll go back to the way it was before, but many people still want to return to their offices, even if only for collaboration and camaraderie.”

Because Zoom and other virtual platforms make it easy to meet with people anywhere, companies have begun to look more closely at their business travel budgets, too. CEO clients have told Beaudry they will not eliminate business travel, but will look to reduce it to only what is necessary.

“One CEO who used to travel 40% of the year said he plans to move most of his meetings to virtual platforms,” he said. “He figures to be 10 times more efficient and save his energy from traveling all over the country.”

As much as Bean would like to see some of the fatigue and expense of travel go away, he also admits that important interactions happen in person that just don’t occur in a virtual setting. He gave an example of logging on to hear a keynote speaker versus attending the event in-person.

“Oftentimes, the person sitting at my table is more valuable to me than the keynote speaker,” he said. “That person might lead to a great networking opportunity where they need my services, or maybe they have a service I need.”


Safe at Home

While working at home can provide many benefits for employees and their companies, IT providers say it comes with a whole new array of challenges. Looking at a business with 30 employees, Beaudry gave an example of how quickly technology issues change when working remotely.

“If half the employees work from home,” he said, “the company has gone from managing one network to dealing with the struggles of 15 home networks.”

Common issues when working at home include internet signal strength and the different types and capacities of home modems. Topping all those concerns, however, is the increased vulnerability to a company network getting hacked.

All it takes is one employee to click an attachment in a suspicious e-mail, and the whole network can be damaged by a cyberattack. When working from home, Beaudry said, employees are less likely to ask the simple questions when they confront something that looks suspect.

“You don’t have someone turning to their co-worker, saying, ‘hey, did you get this e-mail? It looks weird,’” he said, adding that he encourages his clients to call whenever they see anything suspicious. “If you take 30 seconds to call and ask, it can save you a week of losing your computer.”

Christianson said cybersecurity is a never-ending battle. “Hackers are always looking for ways into your network. They only have to be right once; we have to be right all the time.”

That’s where IT service providers come in. While today’s technology tools are better than ever, Bean said IT pros can set up a company’s system to make it work best for its needs and stay current on all the security threats.

Beaudry compares his work to that of a plumber. “People need computers for business just like they need water in their home and business,” he said.

And, just like plumbing, if security on a computer network isn’t handled properly, you can have a real mess on your hands.

DBA Certificates

The following business certificates and trade names were issued or renewed during the month of September 2019.


Lorin Starr Interiors/Lorin Starr Consulting
34 Main St., #7
Lorin Starr

Shanghai Gourmet Inc.
104-106 North Pleasant St.
Kan Fang, Yanlong Yang

Shmuel & Associates
P.O. Box 228
Stanley Rosenberg


Christ Community Church
1255 Federal St.
Emmanuel Haqq

Country Stylist
171 Federal St.
Marianne Abuselmi

Dave’s Lawn & Garden, LLC
70 South St.
David Sajdera

281 Chauncey Walker St., #143
Mark Bell

Gramarossa Consulting
39 North Main St.
Gail Gramarossa

Maine Dynomining & Minerals
90 Federal St.
Jonathan Spiegel


Black & White Inc.
367 James St.
Viktoriya Mukha

Friends of Comp Hockey
42 Access Road
Mark Farrey, Lynn Robinson

Hems Express -n- More Sewing
291R Front St.
Amy Quinteros

Mr. Clean Auto Detailing
904 Meadow St.
Evelyn Roman

Veteran Auto Services
238 Meadow St.
Pablo Morales

Westover Communities
62 Griffith Road
AMCC Property Management, LLC


The Deli
39A Thayer St.
Alex Gjekaj, Julia Gawrys

Jessica King, LMHC
110 North Hillside Road
Jessica King

Trailhead Psychotherapy, LLC
110 North Hillside Road
Melissa Eich-Richardson


16 High St., Apt. 2
Christopher Monn

Pioneer Valley Home Staging
6 Applewood Circle
Laura Macchia


Abacus Aviation Group
119 Industrial Dr.
Jerry Grassetti

Artistic Dance Conservatory
143 Shaker Road
Jennifer Dubilo

Bretta Automotive
20 Dorset St.
Roland Bretta

Lori A Bousquet at Obsessions
10 Center Square
Lori Bousquet


63 East Realty, LLC
63 East St.
Babak Gojgini

110 Westgate Center Dr.
Apple New England

Interskate 91
367 Russell St.
Rinky Dink Inc.

Kelley Farm
111 Stockbridge St.
William Kelley

325 Russell St.
Marshalls of MA Inc.

Mobile Robotics
110 North Maple St.
Charles Brown

Stockbridge Farm, LLC
113 Stockbridge St.
William Kelley

454 Russell St.
TJX Cos. Inc.


Cecaelia Press
16 Maple Crest Circle, Apt. B
Leah Plath

Francs McKane
254 West Franklin St.
Charlotte McKane

Piercing Pagoda #487
50 Holyoke St.
Zale Delaware Inc.

Saints Bounce House Rentals
134 Cabot St.
Steven St. Amand

Totally Pagoda #627
50 Holyoke St.
Zale Delaware Inc.

Upasana S.
48 Holy Family Road, Apt. 208
Upasana Samaddar


Law Office of Alesia H. Days
10 Wildwood Glen
Alesia Days

OASSA Lean Quality Consulting
253 Pendleton Lane
Muhammad Awais

Sharpe Shine and Detail
19 Cobblestone Road
John Sharpe II


Balance Professional
77 East St.
Lori Miller

Gift Ideas by Alda
733 East St.
Alda Balbino


Agreeable Agony
221 Pine St., #145
Kiernan Gulick-Sherrill

Euphoria Float Spa
241 King St., Suite 117
Lori Schott

7 Old South St.
Rosa Guerra

Green Earth Computers
20A Crafts Ave.
Kiernan Gulick-Sherrill

Jamecia Estes
71 King St., Second Floor, Suite 1
Jamecia Estes

Kunhardt Financial & Insurance Strategies
351 Pleasant St., Suite C
Daniel Kunhardt Jr.

LandscapeInteractions, LLC
16 Center St., Suite 426
Evan Abramson

Phoenix Upholstery
221 Pine St., Unit 212
Brian Gross

Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters
124 King St.
Curtis Rich

Unique Lodging, LLC
74 Bridge St.
Todd Marchefka

163 Conz St.
Roger Allcroft


AAGGO Movers
2039 Bridge St.
Gerard Charette

A-ZAP Pest Control
106 State St.
Aimee Henn

Internet Auction Management
4 Springfield St., Suite 510
Emily Cartier, Brandon Girard

Karnavati Express Inc. at Jane Alden Convenience Store
1469 Main St.
Mukesh Patel

1152 South Main St.
Oleg Loginov


Ace Taxi
295 Allen St.
Yasir Osman

Advance Roofing and Construction
478 Newbury St.
Yiad Aoukal

Alfaro Home Improvement
54 Narragansett St.
Alexis Breton

Bumpy’s Natural and Organic Foods
908-914 Allen St.
Derryl Gibbs

Calisa Simone Kennedy
160 Maple St.
Casila Kennedy

Cantina Curbside Grill
1242 Main St., Suite 211
Rashad Ali

Clean Green Trash Removal
48 Summit St.
Jorge Santos

Dunkin’ Donuts
3065 Main St.
Belmont Donuts

Dust Away Cleaning Service
155 Maple St.
Juan Vargas

Eye Seafood
810 Cottage St.
Jodanne St. George

Halloween City
356 Cooley St.
Party City

Heather Marie
13 Rodney Smith Circle
Heather MacDonald

Hipress Corp.
432 Belmont Ave.
Ramon Espinal

IBL Studios
49 Campechi St.
Charles Lewis

Jay’s Awakening
328 Union St.
Jovanni Rodriguez

Microplan and Associates
116 Breckwood Blvd.
Obukohwo Akporovwo

Magnetiq Marketing
21 Van Horn Place
Nelson Soto

Mamma Sass Stitches
54 Kane St.
Danielle McCauley

Modern Belt Co.
768 Belmont Ave.
Alex Wytas

Racing Mart Fuels
612 Carew St.
Rick AA Inc.

Rincon Restaurant
332 Main St.
Dario Grullon

Rite Aid #10062
126 Island Pond Road
Susan Halliday

Rite Aid #10063
381 Cooley St.
Susan Halliday

The Safe Place Project
37 McKnight St.
Barbara McKenzie

Sheba Construction
22 Central St.
Roy Miller

Shiningstar Pics
53 Scott St.
Obalaji Munto Boyd

Smith & Wesson
2100 Roosevelt Ave.
Smith & Wesson

Team Work Painting
1 Federal St.
Lewis Boynton

Tek-Niq Transportation
40 East Bay Path Terrace
Elmer Rodriguez

The Tickled Pig
270 Albany St.
Steven Lauzon

U & L Pavers
157 Florence St., #1
Sara Umana

Unique Beauty Salon
363 Boston Road
Suanne Murrell

Walgreens #02268
50 St. James Blvd.
Susan Halliday

Walgreens #02311
1919 Wilbraham Road
Susan Halliday
Walgreens #03625
707 State St.
Susan Halliday

Walgreens #03736
501 Sumner Ave.
Susan Halliday

Walgreens #10127
625 Carew St.
Susan Halliday


Aim Star
9A Pumpkin Lane
Vladimir Djosan

ALB Computers
140 Union St., Apt. A2
Burim Bajrami

Donna Carmel Artist/Printmaker
399 Little River Road
Donna Carmel

EL Services
32 South Maple St.
Elzbieta Ethier

334 Buck Pond Road
Vitaliy Zakharchenko

Jeffrey C. Leger Appraisal Services
121 Colony Dr.
Jeffrey Leger

Kerr Bears Creations
146 Sackett Road
Kerri Adamczyk

Mike Bernatchez Painting
30 Valley View Dr.
Mike Bernatchez

PNG Electric
465 Montgomery Road
Pavel Gorobinskiy

Projects & Beyond
44 Hillside Ave.
Nicholas Gaudio Jr.

R & R Flooring
74 Union St.
Richard Navin

Simmons Brook Construction
229 Montgomery Road
Francis Gaetani

Valley View Property & Management Services
65 Deborah Lane
Steven Morse


Auto Kraft Service Center
44 Mulberry St.
Frederick Fruwirth

Baystate Home Health
30 Capital Dr.
Martin Degen

Liquori’s Pizza Inc.
659 Westfield St.
Antonio Liquori

Logan’s Lawn & Landscape
646 Westfield St.
Logan Bielanski

1267 Riverdale St.
Robert Fuller

Titan USA Enterprises Inc.
140 Baldwin St.
Alex Colby

Tri Enterprises
20 River St.
George Lucas


Armored Landscaping, LLC
268 Burleigh Road
Jose Gonzalez

Assembly Required
421 Dipping Hole Road
Ronald Muns

Cutting Edge Heating and A/C
24 Tinkham Glen
Jason Comes

DBA Certificates

The following business certificates and trade names were issued or renewed during the month of August 2018.


ATI Physical Therapy of Western Massachusetts
25 Bridge St.
Robert McKenzie

Oasis Senior Advisors, Unit 91
121 Barton Ave.
Eric Aasheim


Cumberland Farms
31 Elm St.
Cumberland Farms Inc.

Oddfellow Coffee Co.
31 South Main St.
David Nielsen


Household Solutions
64 North Maple St.
Lynn Nester

Wildaness Woods
10 Hadley Place
Frank Wilda Jr.


A to Z Construction
33 Luden St.
Gregory Preston

A.C. Painting
33 Fresno St.
William Carter

Algarin Trucking
118 Carnavon Circke
Omar Algarin

The Braider’s Touch
186 State St.
Charlie Santiago

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts
104 Brookdale Dr.
Baystate Gas Co.

D & F Food Service Inc.
355 Belmont Ave.
Aleandro Mirabal

Guac This Way
One MGM Way
Blue Tarp Redevelopment, LLC

The Hair Connection
1142 State St.
Nicole Sanders

Hernandez Pavers
131 Larkspur St.
Ermie Hernandez

Home Metro Realty
208 Belmont St.
Metro Apartments, LLC

Lux Permanent Cosmetics
888 Sumner Ave.
Rebeca Ruiz

Magnetiq Convenience Store
178 Oakland St.
Benjamin Blake

Magnifica T
1245 Dwight St.
Valerie Gonzalez

Paulino Jewels
81 Robert Dyer Circle
Joel Paulino

Perez Landscaping & Snow Removal
1157 Sumner Ave.
Edwin Perez

R-K Historic Homes
1090 Worthington St.
R-K Historic Homes

Sublime Plus Inc.
152 Belmont Ave.
Usman Malik

Tropical African Market
810 Main St.
Nana Lawrence

Tubac Miguelitois Construction
31 Spruce St.
Miguel Tubac

VisionMerge Productions
32 Fairfield St.
Bridgette Baldwin


A & D Homes
126 Old Stage Road
David Okhrimenko

Absolute Mechanical
47 Jeremy Dr.
Vitaliy Kazimirov

Germaine’s K-9 Kuties
22 Church St.
Germaine Ruffo

Kismet Brewing Co., LLC
66 South Broad St.
Richard DeSousa

MBB Professional Services
592 Loomis St.
Maryann Burke

Purdy Property Management
8 Brentwood Dr.
Craig Purdy

River Song Farm
2 Delancey St.
Ann Barone

Shoe Repair & Alterations
4 School St.
Sergey Klimenko

Ski’s Landscaping
708 North Road
Mike Szewczynski

T & T Cleaning Service
6 Crestwood Circle
Therese Trottier

WSULiving, LLC
127 West Silver St.
WSULiving, LLC


413 Seal Coating
1353 Riverdale St.
George Armani

Amedisys Personal Care
138 Memorial Ave.
Associated Home Care

Bowlen’s Carpentry
19 Overlook Dr.
Thomas Bowlen

Century 21 A-1 Nolan Realty, LLC
776 Westfield St.
Patrick Nolan

Express Brows & Beauty Style
520 Main St.
Pam Mehta

Frank’s Auto Repair
25 Sumner St.
Agostino Frank Demaio

Gargun Apartments Co.
33 Birnie Ave.
Vladimur Gargun

Imperial Barber Shop
715 Main St.
Eric Ruiz Adorno

K.M. Curran Co.
201 Park Ave.
Kenneth Curran

Red Light Lounge
125 Capital Dr.
Barry Tabb

Shallot Thai Cuisine
1455 Riverdale St.
Jirawat Ninsri

Shtarker Moving & Storage, LLC
203 Circuit Ave.
Robert Kushner

A Taste of Lebanon, LLC
553 Main St.
Maher Awkal