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I cringed when Misty Quaintance, Technical Director of Terrapin Technology Group, talked about phishing emails and “spear-phishing” – even “ransomware” – and how common it is for people to click on the link provided in these emails. The potential damage to not only that user’s computer but the entire network made this packed house squirm a little in their seats.

2016 - terrapin july lunch

The Terrapin Team: Nathan, Marni, Misty, Betty, Joe

Yikes!

At least it doesn’t only happen at my law firm (and I would guess from all the squirming most administrators at the luncheon had that same thought).

Fortunately, Misty did not just present problems but she provided solutions. Educating users is a huge first step. Nathan Johanson, President of Terrapin, jumped in to stress the importance of regular, frequent system back-ups and recommended backing up the system at least four times a day.

Misty definitely lived up to her “nerd guy” nickname (in a good way) and her presentation proved how knowledgeable she is regarding technology.

Next up, Betty Nelson, Practice Support Coordinator, and Marni Beach, Technical Engineer and Instructor, talked about Best Practices. While neither have a nickname (at least not one they shared with the group) they both were just as knowledgeable and dynamic.

luncheon - July 2016 - Betty

Betty Nelson

Betty has been in the legal business since Cyndi Lauper told us Girls Just Want to Have Fun and boy does she! Betty not only has passion for helping us create an environment in our firms that encourages technical proficiency but she has the most enjoyable and infectious laugh!

Marni talked about competency skills and offering training and testing (oops! “assessment”) without scaring the staff out the front door. With Marni’s enthusiasm and can-do attitude to back up her training and technical expertise she proved to be a dynamic, motivational speaker.

Luncheon - July 2016 - Marni

Marni Beach

Marni and Betty suggested firms find internal power users to be mentors to other staff that don’t have the natural inclination to have computer proficiency. They stressed the importance of putting a positive spin on training and assessments and suggested a monthly training “lunch and learn” that can focus on areas people are struggling with. Their ideas for incentives were original and creative (for instance, spot bonuses or creating a passport that people use to collect competency stickers).

They stepped back and encouraged each table to discuss our technology challenges and then made us talk about what we discussed (but not in an annoying, classroom-style kind of way). The discussions were lively and informative and about real issues that each of us struggle with in each of our firms.

Many of us might find technology dry (not to name names or to make any confessions) but the energy of Misty, Betty and Marni was infectious and made me (I mean some other person) forget about that. The luncheon was fun and informative and left us with actionable items that we can implement in our own firms.

The Terrapin team (which included Joe O’Donnell, Technical Engineer and Instructor leading the discussion at my table) did a terrific job putting together an engaging presentation and roundtable. Their support of the SVALA as a Platinum Business Partner and as educators for our firms is much appreciated.

The lunch ended with a raffle with gift cards donated by the SVALA and a few more donated by Terrapin. I would list the winners but I was listening so intently for my name to be drawn I forgot to write down who won. (No, I didn’t win.)

luncheon - july 2016 - group 3

July 2016 Luncheon Attendees

Also, many thanks go to Kellie B. Narayan for putting together a lunch with such high attendance!

Thanks again to Terrapin! If you want to learn more about Nathan and his company, please read about them in the Business Partner Spotlight.

Coming up: watch this space for information about the August luncheon.