Our Solutions

WHAT WE DO

Open Approach is a full-service IT company. A one-stop shop. A round-the-clock, do-it-until-it’s right company. Our list of services is broad — and looks just about like what you’d find at any good IT company. Yet while we may be jacks-of-all-trades, we’re a master of one: Making IT systems work to leverage and advance your business.

But let’s make this clear: We may be a Managed Service Provider offering many options similar to what you’d find elsewhere. But we don’t just cobble together a bunch of services to make you some kind of “one-size-fits-all” service plan. We get to know you and your needs first, then craft a customized solution that meets your needs (and leaves you room to grow).

Here are a few of the tips and tricks we’ve employed for some of our clients in the past — but just because you don’t see it here, doesn’t mean we don’t offer it. We’re always willing to add something new to the mix if it solves a problem for you.

Seamless Integration

Proactive Maintenance

Rather than subscribe to the break-fix mentality that can weigh down many businesses, we preemptively and actively maintain your infrastructure to ensure it stays up and running. Regular patch cycles, firmware updates, and scheduled cleanups ensure system uptime stays high, and so does productivity. Read more about Proactive Maintenance

Network Security and Protection

We build protection into everything we do, whether that’s robust firewall configurations that secure a network from both the outside in and the inside out, a network-wide (and centrally managed) deployment of one of the best antivirus engines in the industry, or specific, custom-tailored network policies that cut risk without cutting ease-of-use. We know security, and we know how to protect you without making you feel like you’re living in a bunker. Read more about Network Security and Protection

Servers and Services

Servers provide network “services” and those services can come in a variety of forms, delivered by a variety of means. Our job is to ensure that server hardware, server virtualization, Cloud services, and other options work economically and reliably for you. There is no one-size-fits-all infrastructure out there—and that’s a good thing. Hybrid server systems can cost less and provide more processing capabilities, while retaining more reliability than ever before. Read more about Servers and Services

Helpdesk Support

When you need a hand resetting a password, connecting to the Internet, or getting your email to work, our helpdesk is easily accessible, happy to help, and amazingly efficient at solving issues. A quick phone call or email puts you in touch with a friendly, live tech, who you will come to know (and ask for) by name. No tiers, no queues, no machine automation. Just us. Read more about Help Desk Support

Backups

Data backups are arguably the most important component of any company’s IT budget, but often the most neglected — many times until it’s too late. We pride ourselves on employing complete backup solutions that provide reliable protection with multiple checkpoints and physical locations, including our off-site data center. When utilizing modern technology, backups can become a quick solution for minor errors on a daily basis, a stalwart security ally, and the fallback when disaster strikes. Read more about Secure Data Backups

Internet Activity and Content Filtering

Limiting users’ access to certain sites and throttling bandwidth not only increases individual work performance, it also helps keep the entire network healthy, promoting a safe, appropriate work environment without feeling like a burden. Whether it’s a network-wide request or a granular one, we make it easy to find an effective middle ground between freedom and function. Read more about  Internet Activity & Content Filtering

Phone Systems

VoIP (Voice over IP) phone systems have become a business standard over the years, and we are proud to offer solutions that increase call quality and reliability while greatly reducing cost. We handle the conversion from start to finish, from porting all numbers, extensions, and settings, to providing user education and training. Phones and computer systems have merged, so there’s no longer any question over who to call for support. Read more about VoIP Phone Systems

E-mail Security

Spam clogs inboxes, lowers user productivity, and when it contains malicious content, can be downright dangerous to a network. With an industry-leading spam filter deployed, daily spam reports delivered directly to users’ inboxes allows them to customize settings on their end, while a robust backend makes system-wide policy changes swift and effective. Read more about E-Mail Security

Third-Party Support

With our scope and breadth of supported clients, we have seen a great deal of applications, configurations, and environments — and we’ve got the knowledge to back it up. We’re able to solve just about all challenges we’re presented with, but in the off-chance third-party vendor support is required, we’ll take the reins and work with these companies directly. The end result? Less back and forth, and faster resolutions. Read more about Third Party Support

Cloud Services

Just about every application has a cloud-based offering these days. The challenge for many businesses is to weigh the cost of a subscription over time with limitations and benefits a cloud-based system can offer. Our goal is to help you make that decision based on one factor alone: what’s best for your company? If and when it’s time to migrate a service to the cloud, our experience ensures it’s a smooth transition. Read more about Cloud Services

 

Desktop Virtualization

Whether it’s a solution from Microsoft, Citrix, or VMware, leveraging your network’s backend resources to deliver a virtual desktop — no matter where you’re located — is one of the most rewarding investments a company can make. This ensures an “always on” workstation, remote access from anywhere, and, with the right application, a quicker return on investment than any alternative infrastructure rollout. Read more about Desktop Virtualization

Detailed Network Monitoring

New clients are usually (pleasantly) surprised when they call in with a network connectivity issue, and we tell them that not only did we already know about it, but that we’re actively working to fix the problem. Our monitoring software, with thousands of probes deployed across our clients’ networks, helps us to monitor, analyze, and alert (when necessary) important network functions, allowing us to stay on top of any potential red flags before they become an issue. Read more about Detailed Network Monitoring

Infrastructure Design

Servers, cloud, hybrid-cloud, virtualization, high-availability, clustering, etc. With all of the technologies and terminology floating around today, choosing the correct combination of solutions to run your business can be daunting. We take a pragmatic approach to infrastructure design that starts with a deep understanding of your business and the challenges facing your users. Our goal is to deploy adequately sized and scalable systems that work economically and reliably for you with as little downtime as possible. Read more about Infrastructure Design

Systems Migrations and Upgrades

Migrations and upgrades are often one of the most costly IT expenditures a company makes. It’s easy to put these necessary — but daunting — projects off, until years later you find your company with a complex, aging, under-functioning network. This is where we thrive. We can effectively take these networks and modernize them by combining all of the services mentioned above in an impressively synergistic way. P2V (Physical to Virtual) server migrations, OS rollouts on workstations, and mass deployments of the latest Office or critical applications are just a few of the many ways we can bring your network back from the brink. Read more about Systems Migrations and Upgrades

BENNINGTON POTTERS

Bennington Potters designs, produces, and markets beautiful, heirloom ceramics. Founded by David Gil in 1948, employed potters continue to follow David’s
legacy, embracing his technical creativity, commitment and tenacity, acting as the driving forces to build the remarkable company that thrives to this day.
Today they operate out of Bennington Potters Yard in southern Vermont, where they give guided tours 7 days a week, as well as a retail-only store in
downtown Burlington!

SOLUTION

Working with a jumbled web of computers, files, and encountering painful drops in network connectivity, Sheela Harden, owner of Bennington Potters, knew
productivity was suffering. They needed a change, but more importantly, they needed guidance. Looking for someone to work with them on their day-to-day
challenges, Bennington Potters reached out to Open Approach in 2006. From switching and firewall upgrades, to server and computer replacements, Open
Approach was able to bring stability and efficiency back to the pottery.


“Working with Open Approach is fluid and conversational, and their work feels that way too; everything works, projects are simple and streamlined, and
issues are resolved quickly and effortlessly.”

— Melissa Colon, Marketing Manager at Bennington Potters

HUBBARDTON FORGE

From its humble beginnings in 1974 operating out of a 19th-century barn, Hubbardton Forge has grown to become the oldest and largest commercial forge in the United States, generating more than $35 million in annual sales. Located in Castleton, Vermont, the company produces thousands of high-end, hand-forged lighting products – “Art that Lights up” – marketed through residential lighting and home furnishings retailers as well as contract distributors. In its highly competitive industry, Hubbardton Forge has distinguished itself as the preeminent design shop with a product line that is anything but common.

SOLUTION

Hubbardton Forge was one of Open Approach’s first clients, and the two companies have figuratively grown up together. As the demands on the Hubbardton Forge network grew, Open Approach worked hard to not only meet these demands, but to help shape the future computing environment to match their corporate vision. Like all visionary companies, Hubbardton Forge works toward opportunity and avoids reacting in fear toward challenges. Open Approach embraces this philosophy, and the result has been a network that is flexible, functional, economical and equal to the demands of this growing company.


“Open Approach has a way of projecting ‘calm’ in the midst of an IT ‘storm,’ and I never have to worry about their professionalism when they interact directly with our users.”

-Dale Carr, MIS Manager at Hubbardton Forge

VERMONT LAND TRUST

Working to protect the productive, recreational, and scenic land that gives Vermont its rural character, Vermont Land Trust (VLT), a member-supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is a land conservation organization operating five regional offices throughout the state. Established in 1977, Vermont Land Trust has permanently conserved more than 1,900 parcels of land covering more than 550,000 acres, or about nine percent of the private, undeveloped land in the state. They provide technical and legal assistance to individuals, communities, and local land trusts to help them achieve their conservation objectives.

SOLUTION

VLT and Open Approach began working together after VLT experienced network connectivity issues at one of its remote locations. Later, VLT engaged Open Approach for full systems support, which has included migrating to a highly available cluster of servers, introducing necessary redundancy into a previously aging infrastructure. Along the way, VLT was able to retire its deteriorating tape library for backups, as well as move to Microsoft’s Office 365.


“From the first interaction with Open Approach, communication has been very clear, friendly, and thoroughly professional. They really listen and respond to my concerns and ideas in designing solutions that work for us.”

— Teija Huttunen-Green, Director of Operations & Technology at Vermont Land Trust

MERIDIAN TRUST FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union is a multi-branch organization that has been catering to its customers’ financial needs since its inception in 1954. Originally founded by a dedicated group of state employees, Meridian’s goal was to establish a not-for-profit, financial cooperative that would be built on the philosophy of people helping people. That ideology has held through to today, as Meridian has grown both internally and physically throughout the 1970s and 1980s, with the fifth and most recent location opening in 2004 in East Cheyenne, Wyoming.

SOLUTION

Part of Meridian’s growth yielded some growing pains, one of which was the loss of their network administrator in early 2013. Unhappy with another nationally known technology company, they utilized Open Approach in parallel while waiting for the contract to run out. “After only a few months of working together, we soon realized that going with OA was the best thing we ever did. We were treated like partners,” noted Huda Hussain, Director of Business Analysis.

Since joining the team, Open Approach has worked with Meridian on a complete network overhaul, including server virtualization, backup implementation, Active Directory restructuring, and network infrastructure optimization. They deployed a robust network monitoring system, a Citrix XenApp environment for more than 50 users, and an aggressive web filter, which increased productivity, security, and efficiency — all while being located more than 2,000 miles away.


“Despite the distance, Open Approach is in in contact with us all the time. We are kept in the loop of events, issues, etc. They are like our very own virtual IT staff.”

—— Huda Hussain, Director of Business Analysis at Meridian Trust

HELEN PORTER HEALTHCARE

Nestled into farmland bordering Middlebury, Vermont, Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center is a comfortable, secure residence where loved ones are assured of skilled nursing care and assistance. Privacy is honored, individuality is respected and residents can choose to dine, socialize, play games and activities, or exercise with staff and fellow residents. With accommodations for 105 people, Helen Porter is a nonprofit that is licensed by the state of Vermont and certified by Medicare and Medicaid.

SOLUTION

Open Approach and Helen Porter have been working together since 2002, when they teamed up to move their systems from paper files to electronic medical records while ensuring security and complete HIPAA compliance. From migrating non-redundant physical servers into a high-performance server cluster, replacing and standardizing an ever-growing list of workstations and laptops, to performing regular security audits of firewall, networking, and wireless configurations, Open Approach has worked diligently to help keep security and performance optimal, while also keeping costs minimized in support of Helen Porter’s non-profit mission.


“Cost containment in medical delivery is a major driver, and Open Approach has consistently delivered great value while also being one of our best partners. They work tirelessly on our behalf and feel more like fellow staff to all of us.”
 

— Jim Darragh, Facility Administrator at Helen Porter Healthcare

CHAMPLAIN VALLEY EQUIPMENT

Champlain Valley Equipment (CVE) is a Vermont-based company that represents Kubota, New Holland, Polaris, STIHL, Yamaha, and others to provide world-class parts, sales, service and after-sales support to customers for agricultural, light construction, and residential needs. Incorporated in 1970, Champlain Valley Equipment continues to evolve rapidly, and has undergone significant expansion of its product sales and geographic reach.

SOLUTION

“Growing to meet your needs” is Champlain Valley Equipment’s motto, and growing they have been, now with five different branches spanning the entire state of Vermont. To simplify the expansion, CVE wanted to quickly unify all of their separate stores under one network, and called upon Open Approach to do so. By building an interconnected network of firewalls, switching, and servers, Open Approach took five disjointed stores and brought all users into a single domain with minimal interruption or changes to their desktop environments. Open Approach addressed CVE’s increased reliance on email as they migrated to Office 365, and in response to the growing mobility of their users, they deployed a unified wireless solution between all stores, allowing users to seamlessly move between networks with minimal effort.


“Growth and change are the constants here. We are always looking to expand to meet the needs of our customers. That puts a lot of pressure on our systems. Open Approach has really helped us to take on as much as we have. It’s been a great partnership.”
 

— Jennifer LaRock, Office Manager at Champlain Valley Equipment

NORTHERN TIER CENTER FOR HEALTH

Northern Tier Center for Health (NoTCH) is a primary-care practice serving multiple locations throughout Vermont’s Franklin and Grand Isle counties. A federally-funded nonprofit corporation, Northern Tier’s team of compassionate and devoted health care professionals and support staff offer a full spectrum of health care services, including family medicine, obstetrics, internal medicine, behavioral health, pharmacy, lab, and general dentistry.

SOLUTION

Open Approach began working with NoTCH mid-2015, filling the void when a critical internal IT employee left unexpectedly. Work commenced quickly with a sizable project to restructure NoTCH’s backup environment, simplifying and automating backups for their entire server infrastructure, including offsite replication of vital data. Next up was a deep evaluation of network security and firewall configurations, resulting in a significant simplification and hardening of the rule set, which in turn reduced complexity and increased manageability. Along with this came enhanced flexibility for users to roam freely across their multi-site network — and resulted in more than $20,000 in annual savings.


“We needed a resource with the appropriate skillset who could come up to speed quickly, cost less money and have greater availability. The Open Approach philosophy matches ours to a tee.”

— Andrew Hoadley, IT Manager at NoTCH

NSA INDUSTRIES

Founded in 1982 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, NSA Industries was built on a reputation of excellence in quality and performance. The company grew from its initial customer, the manufacturer of the Garden Way Garden Cart, to become the largest metal fabrication, machining, and powder-coating operation of its kind in Northern New England. Today, NSA works collaboratively with customers to develop manufacturing solutions, specializing in metal fabrication, machining, powder coating, engineering and prototype development, and assembly.

SOLUTION

Open Approach has worked with NSA since 2008 to support the systems infrastructure required to maintain the reputation that they’ve built. Early on, a high availability virtual environment replaced their collection of outdated physical servers. This paved the way to support a variety of business demands, such as remote access, a robust phone system, standardized workstations, and multi-site networking for all users across the entire organization. As NSA grows, OA’s latest work has been to facilitate the integration of acquired companies by extending the computer environment into new locations.


“Open Approach has become part of the NSA team. Our concerns become their concerns and are worked through together.”

— Jeff Keyworth, Process Engineer at NSA

MARINE ENGINE

Marine Engine is an online retailer in Brandon, Vermont, that provides boat motor repair information and parts to both boat owners and mechanics across the country. Marine Engine has had a large online presence for over 17 years, selling everything from boat motor parts to engine repair manuals, accessories, and supplies. They also maintain an active discussion forum that provides a wealth of knowledge for boat owners everywhere.

SOLUTION

Open Approach teamed up with Marine Engine nearly a decade ago when their IT needs began to overwhelm the quickly growing business. Due to the important nature of Marine Engine’s online presence, Open Approach established redundant internet circuits from different providers with automatic failover to serve those high-availability needs. They were able to perform an email migration from in-house Exchange to the more dependable and robust Office 365, and built up a modern virtual infrastructure as the company backbone. Today Marine Engine is sailing smoothly, and OA continues to monitor, maintain, and be readily available should any needs arise.


“We recognized the need for network support beyond what we could do on an ad-hoc basis, and we wanted a solid business to cover that realm for us. OA is always available for discussion surrounding issues or whatever comes up, and there’s nothing out of bounds.”

— Andrew Menkart, owner of Marine Engine