Leadership, Uncategorized

Join Rocket IT vCIO Eric Henderson for our Inbox Zero for Executives Webinar

Rocket IT

 

What is Inbox Zero?

Today’s professionals have an albatross around their necks, preventing them from staying focused on what’s mission critical and crippling their productivity. This weight is your email.

As an executive, you receive so many emails in just an hour that it’s easy to get distracted and weighed down. How many messages do you currently have in your inbox? How much time do you spend just sorting through them?

The fewer items you have demanding your attention in your inbox, the more time you have to stay focused on more productive tasks. It’s time to work towards your own Inbox Zero.

Join Rocket IT vCIO Eric Henderson on June 6th, 2017, at 1:00 PM EST for our Inbox Zero for Executives webinar.

Eric Henderson is the virtual CIO for Rocket IT, a technology company based out of Duluth, GA.  He received his B.S. in Management from Georgia Tech in 2003, and has worked in a variety of industries.  Eric serves on the National Board for 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to creating websites for other nonprofit organizations, and on the Endowment Board for the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. He is passionate about technology, leadership, and seeing people and their businesses thrive. 

Eric lives in Atlanta with his wife Heather, and their two sons, Thomas and Jonas. 

 

 

 

 

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Press Releases

Rocket IT Named 2017 Impact Regional Business Award Finalist

Rocket IT

DULUTH, GA – Rocket IT has been recognized as a leading area organization by becoming a finalist for an IMPACT Regional Business Award.

Designed to be reflective and unique to Gwinnett and across metro Atlanta, the program pays tribute to premier organizations in top industries that are driving economic development and job creation, while enhancing our quality of life.

“At Rocket IT, we’re striving to change the way people think about outsourced IT and what they expect from their IT partner,” says Matt Hyatt, Founder and CEO of Rocket IT. “It’s a huge honor to be endorsed by the Gwinnett community.”

Rocket IT is a finalist for the 2017 Impact Regional Business Award in Information Technology. Recipients will be selected in other various sectors such as AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction), Healthcare, International, and more.

“Bringing together leaders across these important industries is another example of how the Gwinnett Chamber can fulfill its mission to serve as a community forum,” said Dr. Dan Kaufman, President & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “We are honored to provide a platform that showcases these excelling organizations, which are what makes the metro region a leader in so many areas.”

The awards ceremony will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10 at the Infinite Energy Forum.

An overall IMPACT Regional Business Awards recipient will be selected from the category winners.

 

 

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MEDIA CONTACT

Jacque McFadden | 770.441.2520 ext. 781 | jmcfadden@rocketit.com

 

PROGRAM CONTACT

Cally D’Angelo | 678.957.4958 | CDAngelo@GwinnettChamber.org

 

 

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Technology

From the Desk of the vCIO: How to Choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Rocket IT

Setting up a new office, adding a secondary Internet connection, or replacing an expensive/poor ISP is a daunting task.  The variety of services, contract types, acronyms, and other traps in the buying process can be overwhelming and leave you stuck with a bad contract.

When selecting the right ISP for your organization, there are four basic questions you’ll need to answer. Let’s break down the various options to help you hone in on a provider:

 

Question 1 – What type of Internet Connection is even available to my building? – Fiber, Cable, T-1, Wireless?

Before we dive into the plethora of vendors, costs, and speeds, we need to determine what types of service can even be delivered to your building.  If your building is in a bustling office park, you can expect to have a wide range of choices.  If your building is in a rural location, you may be limited to only T-1’s or Wireless connections (we’ll talk about what that means to you in the next section). Do some research on what’s available in your area so you know what you have to choose from.

We can help with narrowing this down for you!  Give us a call.

Question 2 – How is the Internet Connection delivered to your building? – Fiber, Cable, T-1, or Wireless?

The biggest factor in cost, performance, and reliability in an Internet connection is the medium by which it is delivered to your building. Now that you know what’s available, here’s what the difference in those options means to you. You may have more than one available, so pick the best one for your needs and budget.

  • Fiber – highest cost, highest bandwidth, highest reliability. Recommended when the Internet connection is a critical part of your business.  Costs range between $600 and up.
  • Cable – recommended as a secondary connection. Low cost, high bandwidth, mediocre reliability.
  • T-1 – high cost, lowest bandwidth, highest reliability. An older technology at this point, and should only be used if no other reasonable options exist.
  • Wireless – moderately high cost, moderate bandwidth, ? reliability. In some areas, it’s possible to do point-to-point high-speed wireless signals.  Most appropriate when other technologies don’t exist.

Question 3- How much bandwidth do I need? 

The bandwidth is your pipeline, so it determines the speed of your connection. We measure that in megabits per second or Mbps. For an office staff relying heavily on the Internet, a rough rule of thumb is to expect that each employee will require 1 Mbps of bandwidth for a smooth experience.

  • Fiber’s bandwidth generally ranges between 10 and 2,000 Mbps.
  • Cable is generally 50-200 Mbps.
  • T-1’s are 1.5 Mbps each (which is why they are poor options, being so low!)
  • Wireless is in the 10-100 Mbps.

The more devices you have connected to your network, and the more active they are on it, the more bandwidth you’ll want. This isn’t just limited to your employees’ desktops anymore. This also includes smartphones, tablets, and anything else that communicates with the outside world. Also, if you work with large files, stream video or audio a lot, or use cloud services, then you’ll want more bandwidth available. When looking at what you’ll need, keep in mind that you won’t want to just focus on how much you download, but also on how much you upload.

Question 4 – Do you need phone service on your ISP connection?  Which type?

Nearly every ISP offers optionally-bundled phone services with their Internet Connection services.  These can often be secured at a reasonable cost alongside Internet.

If you do need Internet, you’ll need to know how many concurrent phone lines you require – what is the maximum number of users who will be on the phone with external parties at once?

You’ll also need to know what type of phone system you have. Your phone vendor can assist with this, and help you make the right decision for your organization.

 

Now that we know what the choices are, what type of connection, how much bandwidth is needed, and what type of phone service you need, we can now move to determining which provider is best for you.  Consider the following when making your final decision:

  • Peer Reviews of Provider – being saddled with a poor provider is an incredibly frustrating and time-consuming problem. Talk to your IT provider, business contacts, and neighbors in your building to learn how their experience has been with their ISP.
  • Up-front and Monthly Cost – how much will the bandwidth cost?
  • Do you need a secondary provider – Even fiber goes offline on occasion. Do you need a secondary connection via Cable?
  • Contract term – some providers require 3 year or 1 year contracts, while others are month-to-month.
  • Provisions for breaking the contract/moving – do you have options available for if you want to break the contract without a termination fee? What about if you move to an area that isn’t serviced by your ISP?

 

 


 

EH 2About the Author-

 Eric Henderson is Rocket IT’s virtual Chief Information Officer. He is also the tallest person at Rocket IT (by a fraction of an inch).

 

 

1200x627- vCIOHave you found that you need the expertise of a Chief Information Officer to help you make strategic decisions on how to leverage technology to meet your unique business goals, but aren’t ready to commit to hiring a full-time executive to fill that need? Learn about our virtual CIO services.

 

 

 

 

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Best Practices, Leadership

Living Company Values – An Employee’s Perspective

Rocket IT

Company culture is a hot topic right now. It’s headlining industry magazines, touting its name on awards, and (for those of you active on social media) it’s all over LinkedIn newsfeeds. At Rocket IT, it’s something our team is very intentional about.

As someone who interacts on our organization’s behalf out in the community in both a marketing and a recruiting capacity, I’ve had a unique opportunity to both share my experience and hear from very different perspectives how others see Rocket IT’s company culture.

One of the highest compliments I hear is how much others love that Rocket IT lives out its values. That other people from outside our organization can look in and see how much our team loves to help others and be passionate stewards for those we serve is incredibly rewarding.

One of the questions I’m asked most often (though not nearly as often as Matt Hyatt, our Founder and CEO, I’m sure!) is how Rocket IT has sustained a company culture that lives its values when so many organizations struggle to name theirs.  It’s easy to get buy-in on company values from the leadership teams that created them, but how do companies get everyone else across all levels to do the same?

Basically, how did the Rocket IT leadership team get me and others as invested in the Rocket IT values as they were?

When Matt created our company values, he started with why. Our purpose is to help others thrive. As Matt says, we just happen to do this through technology, but it’s at the core of everything we do at Rocket IT, and our company values help us define how.

Connect with people. Be passionate stewards. Find a better way. Have a blast!

Matt and the rest of the Rocket IT leadership team have fostered a company culture that lives these values in three simple ways.

 

Our values are stated in simple language that makes sense.

When Matt wrote our company values, he didn’t bury us in corporate jargon and buzzwords. Our values are simple, and it’s to see how we can act on them.

Take a look at our values listed above again. They’re simple, clear, and easy to remember. You could ask any employee at Rocket IT about our values, and they’d be able to tell you about all four (and even our secret fifth value – Eat ice cream).  There isn’t a single buzzword in any of them, and each value is four words or less.

 

We regularly engage in open dialogue about our values.

If the only time your employees discuss your company values is when they get a list of them in their onboarding packet, they probably won’t be able to name them one month later. Values are something that should be a regular conversation topic when you want your company to live them out.

At Rocket IT, we talk about what our values mean, how we can be mindful about them in our roles, what they mean to us, etc.. We talk about them in all-staff meetings, team huddles, and during our Café Tuesdays where Matt invites us to bring our lunch into the Rocket IT café and talk with him and each other about what’s on our minds.

Our values weren’t created in a vacuum, and they don’t exist in one either. If you want your team to invest in your company values, you should engage your team in regular conversation about them.

 

Rocket IT’s leadership verbally (and publicly) acknowledge when employees embody a company value in the way they act or what they do.

There’s a lot of power in simple recognition, and when our leadership team positively recognizes team members for living out company values, we become more invested in understanding and acting in line with those values.

It’s not unusual for individuals to be lauded for “being a passionate steward” or “finding a better way” during our staff meetings. And it’s not unheard of for someone to receive an Amazon gift card for exemplifying one of our values in their interactions with our clients.

 

Our company culture of living our values is hinged on our values being very real, active goals for us. They’re not just words on our website or phrases in our employee handbooks for HR to recite by rote and other team members to forget immediately. From the perspective of the general “everyman” employee, if you want buy-in from employees at all levels of your organization, follow these three tips to make your values meaningful to them.

 

 


 

 

About the Author-

Jacque McFadden is the marketing specialist at Rocket IT. While a large portion of her job focuses on the more traditional side of marketing, she is also responsible for finding great new employees. Jacque is originally from Indiana. 

 
The average cost of unplanned downtime per minute in 2016 was nearly $9,000 per incident.

Your organization doesn’t have to eat the cost of dead time. Download our free whitepaper now to learn five easy steps you can take to capture dead time.

 

 

 

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Best Practices, Technology

Five Easy Steps to Capture Dead Time

Rocket IT

The average cost of unplanned downtime per minute in 2016 was nearly $9,000 per incident.

Your organization doesn’t have to eat the cost of dead time. Download our free whitepaper now to learn five easy steps you can take to capture dead time.

From more efficient integration to beating your inbox addiction, this paper gives you the tools to increase your company’s productivity by 2.5% at no additional payroll cost.

 

 

 

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Best Practices, Technology

The Reality of BYOD

Rocket IT

If there were a list of technology buzzwords in offices this year, “BYOD” would be near the top. The Bring Your Own Device craze is sweeping through workplaces all over the US.

It’s easy to get pulled along in the tide of popularity that BYOD is riding right now. On the surface, it appears to be more cost-effective for companies, and it gives the employees more control over what devices they use. And, since many end users prefer to use more of the latest technology for their own devices, companies get to reap the benefits of this without shouldering the full cost.

But beyond what’s already on the BYOD sales brochure, what is the reality of adopting a BYOD policy at your organization? Here are five things to consider before making that final decision.

 

Compatibility

BYOD isn’t limited to just smartphones; many organizations include laptops in this policy. When employees are providing their own laptops, they typically want to decide what devices and systems they’re going to be using… And that can raise compatibility issues. Will your CRM and other software systems run on every employee’s computer, using the same version and interface? If not, will additional training be required for different versions?

To avoid this issue, you can set technology standards and provide a list of approved devices for your employees, but end users tend to be less enthusiastic about the freedom of BYOD program when it comes with boundaries.

 

Lack of privacy

When using your work computer or work phone, there’s an understood (and oftentimes stated) agreement of acceptable use. For employers who allow use of personal devices for work activities, acceptable use becomes increasingly difficult to enforce and define. And for employees, keeping your personal files and data private can feel virtually impossible.

In addition to that challenge, BYOD creates an interesting new dilemma when employees leave the company. The device belongs to that employee, so now companies need to get their proprietary information and files off leaving employees’ phones and laptops, which can become difficult or awkward, depending on the situation.

 

Risk of involuntary disclosure

This is arguably a risk associated with any device containing confidential data that an employee can remove from the building, but with BYOD policies, organizations run a higher risk of involuntary/voluntary disclosure of their proprietary information. While your employees (hopefully) won’t run over to your competitor to share secure company information on their laptops, the data is more susceptible to theft by third parties. Many people don’t keep a lock on their personal devices, and if their laptop or phone is ever stolen, those thieves have access to company data as well as that belonging to the employee.

Organizations can curtail this risk by setting a policy that requires every employee keep a secure passcode lock on every device they use that stores or access secure company data.

 

Security

We’ve posted before about the security risks of BYOD. Honestly, there can be a lot of them. Not only are you at risk of physical theft, any data kept on your employees’ devices are susceptible to digital theft. With enterprise equipment, you have standardized security software (antivirus, firewalls, etc.) that your employees may not use or may even disable on their own equipment.

In addition, while people tend to be more careful about their browsing habits and what links they click on when using a company-owned computer, they’re less suspicious of that attachment from Jim two houses over that is “guaranteed to make them fall down laughing!” than they are of misspelled links in their work inbox. And if their device with access to your servers and shared drives is compromised, that can easily spread to the rest of your organization… Or even your clients.

Before putting a BYOD program into practice, make sure you have security standards set that workers must meet in order to use their personal devices for work purposes.

 

Compliance issues

With security of your organizations’ data becoming harder to manage, so too does your compliance with state and federal regulations. When your business falls under compliance mandates, there are specific requirements regarding data protection and information security. When individuals own these devices, it’s difficult for the employer to monitor and ensure compliance.

You can audit the compliance and security of your office’s devices regularly and set standards for your employees to mitigate this risk, but telling individuals how they can or can’t use their own property rarely goes over well.

While a BYOD policy may cost less up front than the standard company-issue programs, the costs of noncompliance and risk of data loss can be significantly steeper than that initial investment.

 

 


 

About the Author- 

Erica Lee is the Assistant Service Manager at Rocket IT. Erica was an exchange student to Germany as a high school junior and, because of that experience, went on to earn Bachelor degrees in German and International Affairs from the University of Georgia.

 

 

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Technology

How Long Will This Server Last?
A Basic Guide to the Shelf-Life of Your Organization’s Hardware

Rocket IT

Technology equipment can be expensive, and many organizations try to get as much use out of their hardware as they can before replacing them, sometimes to their detriment. But how long should you really keep your equipment before the risk for failure and unplanned downtime becomes significant?

Here’s a basic guide to the lifespan of your equipment that you can follow when deciding what to upgrade and when. At Rocket IT, we recommend you replace your hardware in the lower end of the ranges given below to stay up and in the green. The closer to the end of the time range you go, the greater your risk of failure and data loss.

 

End User Equipment/Services:

Computer
Unless you really want to keep upgrading as new technology comes out, your laptop should remain functional for about three to five years with regular updates, patches, and upgrades.

Monitor
The lifecycle of your monitors depends heavily on how often you use them and what kind you have. Your LCD monitor can last from 30,000 to 60,000 hours which will give you about ten to twenty years of use out of them if you use them around eight hours a day.

Docking Station (if laptop)
Docking stations don’t have moving parts, so they tend to last a long time. You’re more likely to need to upgrade your docking station because you’ve gotten a new laptop than you are because the old one ran through its shelf-life.

External Mouse/Keyboard
Quality really does matter with your external mouse and keyboard if you want them to last. Cheap ones’ performance can start to decline after just a year with average use. Quality ones can last for over three years. All of this varies with how often you use your mouse and keyboard and how rough you are with them when you do. About one to three years

Personal Printer
Most desktop laser printers have an expected lifetime of about five years. The life expectancy of your printer depends heavily on how much you use it and on the conditions in which you do. Desktop printers in a cool office are more likely to last longer than those that run in a hot warehouse, for example. The average inkjet printer has a life expectancy of about four years.

External hard drive
About 78% of drives last longer than four years. If you use your external drives regularly, they can last anywhere from one year to six. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to hard drive failure, so you should always be very careful to make sure you have backups (and sometimes redundancies).

Desk phone and headset
Desk phones can last a good long time, and their headsets will last as long as the batteries last (if they have batteries). Headset batteries should last maybe three years. Most VOIP phone systems are hosted solutions now, so there’s no associated hardware to replace for the system itself.

 

Company-Wide Equipment/Services:

Servers
The typical lifespan of your average server should be about three to five years, depending on how they’re used; however, you will want to pay close attention to the server’s software. When server software ages out, it becomes incredibly difficult to properly support and service the equipment itself. Pushing the longevity of your server makes you more susceptible to unplanned downtime and data loss.

Copier
For regularly used standing copiers, you can expect to get about five years of use out of them. For the high-end copier and less frequently used ones, you can often use them for up to seven to ten years.

Firewall
Your typical firewall can last about five to eight years. Like a server, you will definitely want to replace it before waiting for it to fail.

Switches
Like firewalls, switches can last from about five to eight years.

Wireless Access Points
Again, these devices can remain effective for about five to eight years.

 (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) UPS Devices
A UPS provides emergency power to your equipment when the main input power fails and protects your equipment from power surges. The battery of a UPS device can last about three years. The device itself typically lasts about four to six.

 

 


 

MB About the Author-

 Michael Bearchell lives with his wife and three children in Gwinnett County. He is an Inside Support Technician at Rocket IT and has found out the hard way that it is tough being a New York sports fan in the south.

 

1200x627- vCIOHave you found that you need the expertise of a Chief Information Officer to help you make strategic decisions on how to leverage technology to meet your unique business goals, but aren’t ready to commit to hiring a full-time executive to fill that need? Learn about our virtual CIO services.

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

What We’re Reading in March

Rocket IT

Happy National Reading Month! Among other great holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of spring, we celebrate reading and literacy in March.

We love reading at Rocket IT. In fact, our organization offers a book reimbursement program for our employees who find great books and share them with the rest of the team, adding the book to our Rocket IT library! It’s not unusual for our team to pass books around on a regular basis.

In the spirit of such a great cause (and one that’s so near and dear to us), we’d like to share with you what we’re reading this month.

 

Read by Eric Henderson, Rocket IT’s vCIO

The Four-Hour Chef by Timothy Ferris

A guide on meta-learning and a book for mastering cooking skills, The Four-Hour Chef is two books in one. Eric was drawn to this book by its core claim that you can become an expert in any skill within six months. “The book lays out a full method, with colorful and helpful examples, of how to do this. It’s wonderful.”

 

Read by Abbey Johnson, Rocket IT’s Finance and HR Manager

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Abbey recently finished this after hearing about the controversy behind it, and because she loves Harper Lee. She personally didn’t care for it.

 

Read by Ryan Bonilla, Rocket IT’s Business Development Manager

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

This is a great historical book that sounds more fiction than fact. Ryan was recommended this by a big reader who sold him on just that description! He is really enjoying it so far.

 

Read by Emily Connolly, Rocket IT’s Project Coordinator

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Emily is a big fan of Michael Chabon. His earlier book Wonder Boys is an all-time favorite. Moonglow was actually a gift from her husband. “I just started reading this one, but I already love how vividly he paints each character and the world in which they exist—as a reader, you’re just happily along for the ride.”

 

Read by Patrick Richardt, Rocket IT’s Implementation Engineer

Dragons Love Tacos

Patrick chose this book for his kids. “It’s a little crazy that dragons don’t like spicy tacos (so no hot salsa on those tacos!), otherwise they get a little cranky and burn down your home.” So far, Patrick has read Dragons Love Tacos at least 25 times and thinks the pictures are really great.

 


 

 

About the Author-

Jacque McFadden is the marketing specialist at Rocket IT. While a large portion of her job focuses on the more traditional side of marketing, she is also responsible for finding great new employees. Jacque is originally from Indiana. 

 

1200x627- vCIOHave you found that you need the expertise of a Chief Information Officer to help you make strategic decisions on how to leverage technology to meet your unique business goals, but aren’t ready to commit to hiring a full-time executive to fill that need? Learn about our virtual CIO services.

 

 

 

 

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Best Practices, Technology

How to Prepare for Working Outside the Country for the First Time

Rocket IT

Are you getting ready to travel outside the country? You’ve probably run down the typical checklist: give your itinerary to a trusted friend or family member so someone knows where you are, check in with your embassy, get your passport and (if necessary) visas up to date, stay hydrated, etc. But how can you make sure you’re ready to work and collaborate with your team stateside after you get off the plane?

Whether it’s your first time traveling to a foreign country for work or you’re just looking for a few new tips, here are five steps you should take before checking in for your flight.

Check your security

Are you confident in the security of your means of connecting to your home office when using potentially compromised public networks in a foreign country? Before you leave for your trip, set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection and test it from your home to make sure you can safely connect to secure information you may need abroad.

Ensure your phone will work

You don’t want to get to the hotel room and find that your phone doesn’t work at all where you are. Call your phone provider and activate an overseas plan. This is a good rule of thumb for all of the services you typically use locally and will need abroad, so be sure to call your bank to let them know when and where you’ll be traveling, as well.

Choose the devices you need to bring

Do you really need to bring that laptop? Laptops can be heavy, unwieldy, and are a huge target for theft. Can you get away with just a tablet and/or phone?

Make sure you have the right charger adapter for all your devices

As funny as it was when someone tried to plug an American hair dryer into a European plug in the movies, it’s not amusing when it’s you. Pick up a few adapters for your electronics. Depending on where you’re traveling and where you’re recharging, you may need a charger adapter that adjusts voltage. You can tell pretty quickly when a plug isn’t going to work, but it’s not as obvious right away when the voltage is too high. Check the voltage capacity of your devices before plugging them in so you don’t risk overheating them.

Set up contingencies

You’ve already contacted your embassy. Your spouse has your complete itinerary and flight information, and your banks and phone providers have set up your accounts for overseas service. But what about your work contingencies? Does your team have all the appropriate information they need in case you’re delayed or unavailable?

Before leaving for your trip, make sure your peers and reports have everything they need from you to make sure critical work gets done if you are out of pocket while abroad.

Wouldn’t it be easier if more things in business came with an actionable checklist? Your technology strategy should. How’s your IT plan and budget coming along? Do you think there’s room for improvement? We can give your leadership team a clear path forward for wise technology investment that supports your business goals.

Do you have any availability next week to discuss?

 


 

EH 2About the Author-

 Eric Henderson is Rocket IT’s virtual Chief Information Officer. He is also the tallest person at Rocket IT (by a fraction of an inch).

 

 

1200x627- vCIOHave you found that you need the expertise of a Chief Information Officer to help you make strategic decisions on how to leverage technology to meet your unique business goals, but aren’t ready to commit to hiring a full-time executive to fill that need? Learn about our virtual CIO services.

 

 

 

 

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Entrepreneurship, News

Rocket IT Celebrates Expansion

Rocket IT

We recently celebrated the expansion of the Rocket IT headquarters here in Gwinnett County! Thank you to everyone who came out and helped us make our 2017 ribbon cutting such a success. We’ve put together a brief slideshow of the night down below. You might see a few familiar faces!

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