Best Practices, Productivity, Tips & Shortcuts

Ten Productivity Hacks

Rocket IT

With everything you can do from any of your devices, technology can sometimes be more of a distraction than a help. But there are several great tools and tricks to keep you on track with your tasks. From waking up early and engaging in regular exercise to attempting to manage all of your social media pages at once, here are ten ways you can increase your productivity this week:

1. Wake up early

Sleep Cycle can help you wake up at the right time so that you can maximize how much rest you are getting. By waking up during your lightest sleep stage you will feel energized and ready to take on the day, thus increasing your productivity.

2. Exercise

Research has shown that a midday workout can dramatically increase your productivity. Only have 30 minutes to spare? Check out the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout app. All you need is a chair and (literally) 7 minutes to get your blood flowing.

3. Humin

This app was created to connect your phone, Facebook, and LinkedIn contacts, in addition to information pulled from your calendar, email, and voicemail to help categorize your contacts and give some context as to who they are and how you know them.

4. Strict Workflow

This Chrome extension uses the Pomodoro technique which breaks your work into 25-minute intervals with short, 5-minute breaks in between. One Pomodoro is a focused 25-minute working interval, with one 5-minute break; complete four and you can reward yourself with a longer break.

5. Roboform, LastPass, and Dashlane

These password managers help you save time from resetting your password for the third time this week. One of the nice features of LastPass is the password generator. Let it generate your password and then save it for you, all in one place.

6. To-do lists

Wunderlist has compatibility for almost all devices so you can have access to your list on your phone or computer. Easily turn emails into actions, set reminders, and share your lists with colleagues with this app.

7. Keep track of your notes

Stop searching for the notes from last week’s meeting and start using OneNote. This app allows you to keep everything organized and all in one place by simply clicking between various tabbed sections.

8. Rescue Time

This download tracks your computer usage to show you just how well, or not well, you are using your time. The premise is for you to understand your daily habits so that you can increase your productivity.

9. Social Media Management

If you are managing multiple social media accounts, I recommend Buffer. Not only does it post to all of your social media accounts from one place, it also helps you to schedule your posts for later so that you can share content at the best times possible.

10. Team Collaboration

Trello is the easy way to visually manage and organize your projects with all the team members included. From start to finish, Trello helps to outline each project, assign tasks, and see the progress that has been made along the way.


Do you have any other great productivity hacks? We’d love to hear about them! Join the conversation and tweet us @RocketIT.



About the Author – 

Bria Mays is the Office Administrator at Rocket IT. Bria has a BS in Psychology and is passionate about volunteering and blogging.




Nearly 77% of small businesses think they’re safe from cyber attacks, yet more than 40% have already been victims.

Join us to learn how to mitigate this risk and what comes next after being infected by ransomware on July 27th for our Security in the Age of Ransomware webinar presented by Rocket IT’s vCIO, Eric Henderson.





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Press Releases

Georgia Trend Magazine Names Rocket IT Best Place to Work

Rocket IT

Duluth, GA – Georgia Trend Magazine named Rocket IT as a 2017 Best Place to Work in Georgia this week, one of only 15 organizations headquartered in Georgia to be selected. This accolade recognizes organizations for going above and beyond in creating an environment where employees feel valued and engaged. Among other winners in the Gwinnett community are Edwards Jones, BrandBank, and Mighty 8th Media.

Based on the annual survey, managed by an independent research firm, employees rank organizations higher based on flexibility, recognition, career development, wellness opportunities, charitable work, and more. While special perks like ping-pong tables and bringing your pet to work are certainly icing on the cake, workers are looking for leadership that values and invests in their employees.

“We’ve faced a lot of changes and challenges that come with rapid growth as a team, and we’ve had a blast doing it. Rocket IT has always been a best place to work for me,” says Eric Henderson, Rocket IT’s Virtual Chief Information Officer and longest-term employee. “Developing our people has always been a priority, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

This is the second accolade recognizing Rocket IT as a “Best Place to Work” in 2017. Additionally, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce named Rocket IT their Overall Winner for the 2017 IMPACT Regional Business Awards earlier this year.

Rocket IT is the IT partner of choice for Gwinnett County organizations, providing both the strategy and support they need to thrive. By providing a client’s leadership team with the strategic foresight necessary for them to align technology investment with business goals, they can work from a shared vision, which increases efficiency, decreases risk, and increases revenue.









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NotPetya Ransomware Variant Targets Human Resources

Rocket IT

Another in a long string of recent cryptovirus attacks, a variant of the Petya ransomware known currently as “NotPetya” is striking HR departments around the globe. Currently disguised as an employee candidate email, malicious links in emails disguised as a Dropbox link to resumes and CVs are infecting computers and locking their files.

Instead of encrypting your files one-by-one like other cryptoviruses such as WannaCry, Petya and its variant operates by first encrypting your PC’s Master Boot Record which also contains your boot loader – special code that always runs before your operating system (OS). Once infected, your boot loader will load the ransomware instead of your OS.

What does it look like when you click on one of these corrupted links?

Users see a Stop Error screen (popularly known as the “Blue Screen of Death”), and their computer reboots into what appears to be the Check Disk screen. This is when the virus encrypts your PC’s Master File Table, which acts as the map to your stored files. Once this is encrypted, it makes it virtually impossible for your computer to locate a specific file.

After the ransomware is done with these processes, the ransom message appears. Unfortunately, NotPetya disables your ability to access the internet through this computer since at this point it has effectively placed itself between you and your OS. In order to pay the bitcoin ransom, you have to use another computer to do so in order to get the decryption key and save your files.

This is not the first time Petya has hit organizations; only now it’s using the EternalBlue Exploit recently patched in the latest Microsoft updates to spread from one PC to the rest of the network. There may be additional methods being used by this virus to infect whole networks that have not been determined yet.

Phishing attacks like NotPetya, WannaCry, and Locky have been so successful because of the social engineering aspect of the hackers’ strategy. Human Resources and recruiters receive unsolicited resumes on a regular basis, so an email like the ones that have been distributing the NotPetya malware don’t look innately suspicious.

Be cautious of unexpected emails with links or attachments. As long as it continues to pay, phishers will continue finding new ways to deliver this ransomware to end users.

Interested in more information on ransomware and how to protect your organization? Check out these additional articles below.

What is Ransomware?
How to Tell If an Email is Valid
Upsurge in Phishing Activities: Don’t Take the Bait!
Protecting Yourself from Phishing Attacks



About the Author-

Jason Hand loves making music, serving his church and getting people excited about technology tools. He currently lives in Georgia with wife and two adopted sons.  Jason is the Systems Administrator at Rocket IT.


Inefficiency is the enemy of a profitable, thriving business. What would a 2.5% increase in utilization mean to your organization? Download our FREE whitepaper for five easy steps to increase employee productivity at no additional payroll cost.





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Entrepreneurship, Leadership

What is a Business Continuity Plan, and Why Do I Need One?

Rocket IT

Between natural catastrophes, unfortunate accidents, and cybersecurity threats, it’s not a question of if something will happen to your organization, but when.

Does your organization have a business continuity plan in place? Do you know how your team will respond?

A business continuity plan is a documented strategy outlining the steps and processes to ensure your business operations continue to run should disaster strike. In case of significant data loss or even loss of leadership, this plan gives your organization the support and tools it needs to recover.

How do you know if you need one?

If you have a business, then you need a business continuity plan. When calamity hits, you don’t want to scramble around trying to decide how to handle it. The more time you spend choosing an action path and reacting, the more downtime your organization is going to have. And with the average cost for end-user productivity downtime at over $740k in 2016 (and rising), the less downtime you have, the better.[i]

Who needs to be involved?

Typically, your leadership team, IT, and head of Accounting/HR should be included in the creation and execution of your business continuity plan. Their roles need to be defined in the documentation of the plan so everyone knows who the point person is on each task. This way your team won’t be stumped on who should be doing what and who has the authority to approve decisions.

You should also clearly define who has final authority should you or others not be available and able to carry out a leadership role. In some cases, this may mean that you need to legally name someone who can make important choices in your absence.

Do I need to test it?

Yes. You need to test it. You’re not going to be simulate perfectly an unexpected event (thus is the nature of unexpected events), but you can make sure your team is familiar with it and there aren’t any preventable kinks in the process.

Think about it this way – If you built an emergency bunker (not that you should need one for your business continuity plan!), you would want to test that your ventilation sources were functioning properly and any radio equipment you had functioned while the bunker was sealed. Testing your plan won’t go exactly the same way as it will in true action, but you’ll see what parts work well and what others need some improvement.

Should anything happen to your organization’s data, systems, or even to a member of its leadership, a business continuity and disaster recovery plan will help ensure that the organization will be able to recuperate and continue thriving, enabling you to build a legacy to last.

If you’d like strategic insight on security vulnerabilities and expert advice on how to build your own business continuity plan, contact us. We’d love to help you.




About 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).


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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How to Tell If an Email is Valid

Rocket IT

With most business transactions taking place at least in part over email, phishers have gotten very sophisticated at mimicking typical emails users receive and tricking innocent end users into clicking on malicious links or opening corrupted files. So how do you tell if the email you just received is valid… Or a Trojan horse in disguise?

You’ve received an email, and something about it just seems phishy, but you’re not sure. And you don’t want to miss out on an important business opportunity.

The first thing you can do is check the email address of the sender. If the email says it’s from LinkedIn Customer Support, but the return address says, then it’s a safe bet you should send that email straight to your junk folder. Scammers like to use email addresses that appear similar to the original domain they’re impersonating, and they’re counting on you to skim and look over those details.

Next, check the validity of all the URLs they’ve included in the email WITHOUT clicking on them. If you hover your mouse over a URL, a preview link will appear above it. Does this link lead to a different site than the one they’ve presented in their text? Check each link individually since some hackers will use legitimate links mixed in with their phishing URLs to lure you into a false sense of security.

Is there an attachment included in the email? Without opening it, check the following: were you expecting this attachment? Is it from a trusted sender? Is it in a usual format you expect from that sender? It’s very common for phishers to spoof an actual email address from a trusted person (even within your own organization) and make it appear as if the email is really coming from that person, as well as enable the phisher to receive replies to that email as if they had access to the account they spoofed.

Best practices for email attachments are to follow up with the sender in a new email (okay), over the phone (better), or in person (best) to make sure the attachment is really from them. You should ideally never open an unexpected email attachment. If you absolutely must open an attachment against all advice (again, please don’t!), be sure that Macros are automatically disabled through all of your programs (Adobe Acrobat, Word, Excel, etc.). If an attachment prompts you to connect to outside links or run Macros, DO NOT GIVE IT PERMISSION TO DO SO. Enabling this in a file will allow it to connect to an outside server and run processes on your computer without your permission.

If you want to really get into the technical nitty gritty, you can check the header of an email to see if the message is being sent from someone on the same domain server as the sender. If a hacker is spoofing the email address, a clue could be hidden in the header information.

To check the header in Outlook 2016, 2013, or 2010, open the individual message in its own window and click on the File tab. From there, select Properties in the Info tab. The header information will appear in the Internet Headers box. Here’s how to open the same in Gmail.

The information in your header box is ordered by most recent action and later. So the information at the top will be from when you received it. To see where the email originated from, you’ll have to look at the earlier actions.

In the header information, scroll through to find Return-Path. This section should reveal the real reply email address of the sender. If an email is being spoofed, this address will be different from the original sender. Another clue to watch out for in your information can be found in the sending server’s domain name. If an email hops around multiple servers (which is common with legitimate emails as well), look at each Received: from function. The further into your header information you go, the more likely you are to catch the real domain address of the original sender. Seeing one email hop that matches, especially in the beginning, is not a good indicator that the email is valid, as spoofers can trick that function later on. You need to make sure each server hop resolves the sending server back to the purported sender’s domain.

For example, the email below appears to be coming from our Marketing Specialist, but when we go into the header, we can see that the email is really from our friends over at KnowBe4.

While checking into the header is definitely very cool, it’s mostly unnecessary since the other flags should let you know if the email is suspicious. When in doubt, ask your IT team!




About the Author – 

Steve Hopkins is a Support Professional and Team Lead at Rocket IT. Steve and his wife are growing their family through adoption. They have already adopted two sons. 


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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Press Releases

Rocket IT Named Among Inc.’s Best Workplaces 2017

Rocket IT

Duluth, GA – Rocket IT has been named one of Inc.’s Best Workplaces for 2017, the publication’s second annual ranking in the fast-growing private company sector.

As part of a prominent feature, the list is the result of a wide-ranging and comprehensive measurement of private American companies who have created exceptional workplaces through vibrant cultures, deep employee engagement, and stellar benefits.

“By introducing an employee survey into this year’s Best Workplaces selection process, we’ve really raised the bar. Companies that don’t score at the very top of their peer group don’t make the cut. So, our hats are off to the winners. They all excelled at engaging their workers, making them feel appreciated, and aligning them behind a mission. And remember, that’s not just our opinion: The employees told us that themselves,” says Eric Schurenberg, Inc.’s President and Editor In Chief.

What does it take to become a company that workers want to be part of? Inc. magazine says it’s more than good pay and good perks – it’s also about having a clear purpose, a sense of humor, and leadership that makes the two work together.

While researching the entries, Inc. and Quantum saw distinct themes develop:

  • Strong company cultures breed stunning individual and team performance.
  • Workers at the best companies aren’t mesmerized by whatever giveaways seem to be the latest fad—be it gourmet lunches or beer fridges.
  • When employees feel valued by their organization, they are far more likely to be engaged. This single factor proved to be one of the largest drivers of employee engagement.

“Even when things were hard, Rocket IT was always a ‘best place to work’ for me. Our driving purpose is to help others thrive, and that starts in our office,” said Matt Hyatt, Rocket IT’s founder and CEO. “It’s a huge honor to be endorsed by our team and by”


About Rocket IT

Rocket IT is the IT partner of choice for Gwinnett County organizations, providing both the strategy and support they need to thrive. By providing a client’s leadership team with the strategic foresight necessary for them to align technology investment with business goals, they can work from a shared vision, which increases efficiency, decreases risk, and increases revenue. Rocket IT is the recipient of multiple awards, such as Partnership Gwinnett’s Innovation Award and a spot on the Inc 5000.

About Inc. Media

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders.  Winner of Advertising Age’s “The A-List” in January 2015, and the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 40,000,000 today.  For more information, visit

About Quantum Workplace

Quantum Workplace is an HR technology company that serves organizations through employee engagement surveys, action-planning tools, exit surveys, peer-to-peer recognition, performance evaluations, goal tracking, and leadership assessment. For more information, visit





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What is Ransomware?

Rocket IT

Ransomware is a specific type of malware or virus that locks users out of their own data by encrypting it… And then holding the decryption key hostage in exchange for a large sum of money, usually delivered via bitcoin because of its difficulty to track online.

These cryptoviruses (Locky, CryptoLocker, WannaCry, etc.) spread in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) spam emails, malvertisements, and downloaders. But most ransomware attacks depend heavily on social engineering.

The human element is the easiest to exploit. Given time and resources, hackers can (and do) trick computers and spam filters. Some attacks take advantage of known vulnerabilities, like this one from Intel, to infect computer and networks, but many still rely on just one misguided click from an end user. And the strategies these criminals employ to trick you into being that user continue growing in sophistication, making them harder to spot.

Phishing attacks have significantly evolved from messages sent by foreign royalty in distress, and while you’ll still encounter the occasional blatant scam message rife with grammar mistakes and misspellings, the more recent ones could very easily appear to be someone in your contact book, sending an email they might normally send.

We’ve gone in-depth before once or twice about how you avoid falling for these phishing scams and becoming another victim, but here’s what happens when you do take the bait:


You’ve just opened an attachment you weren’t expecting from the accounting department at one of your vendor companies.

And nothing unusual happens… Or so it seems. Once a cryptovirus begins downloading itself, your computer might start running a little slower if you have limited bandwidth, but this is typically relatively imperceptible to your average person.

But the malware has already started its work on your computer.

Behind the scenes, the virus on your computer has started getting busy. It’s already contacted its home server and generated the cryptographic key that will hold your data.

Before you’re even aware it’s there, the ransomware has encrypted your files.

Once the virus has communicated with its base, it begins locking every file it can find with common file extensions like .doc, .xml, .jpg, and more. What’s worse? The encryption is so difficult to break, that it’s highly unlikely a third party will be able to unlock it anytime within the next, oh, hundred years or so. You’d have to know the exact method and algorithm the hackers used in order to crack it.

Now that your files are locked, you receive the ransom.

Anyone who’s watched a few episodes of Criminal Minds has an idea in mind of what a hostage situation is like. The phishers who have locked your files let you know exactly what they’ve done, and they name their price… Along with a deadline.

Typically, the hackers will give you a short deadline that will end with an increase in the cost of the ransom if you don’t pay it in time (and sometimes an increase in ransom even if you do). After a certain amount of time, they’ll say they don’t want to play ball anymore, and your files will stay locked.

At this point, you’re faced with a difficult choice.

If you aren’t running regular backups, you now have to choose between losing your data and paying the ransom. It’s easy to say you won’t negotiate with terrorists holding your company’s information hostage… Until you’re actually facing that data loss.

On top of that, every minute of unproductive downtime is costing your company even more in revenue (nearly $9,000 per minute, in fact).

Facing one of the newer viruses, like WannaCry? Then it gets worse.

Ransomware like WannaCry are virtual worms, and they can spread from one computer across an entire network in seconds. This is why it’s important to keep all of your important data and backups offsite and separate from the general network.


As experts work on disabling and blocking these threats, new ones are sure to roll out. Hackers will continue using ransomware as long as it pays… And boy, does it pay.

Be sure to think before you click. When you receive an email with an unexpected attachment or a suspicious link, be cautious. Follow up offline with the original sender. Make sure macros are disabled. Hover over a hyperlink without clicking to see if it’ll lead you where it says it will.

For business leaders, the best protection you can have against cryptoviruses and other malware is to educate your employees and make sure you have good backups running on a separate network. Not sure where to get started? We can help.




About the Author – 

Tyler Priest is the Junior Systems Administrator at Rocket IT. His first hobby turned into his career, and so now he’s looking for the next!. He likes to collect all kinds of music from vinyl to tapes and CDs. Tyler lives in Barrow County with his fiance and a menagerie of pets.



Inefficiency is the enemy of a profitable, thriving business. What would a 2.5% increase in utilization mean to your organization? Download our FREE whitepaper for five easy steps to increase employee productivity at no additional payroll cost.









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WannaCry Ransomware: The Biggest Ransomware Outbreak in History

Rocket IT

The newest ransomware threat sweeping the digital world, WannaCry (also known as WCry, Wana Decrypt0r, or WannaCrypt) is being hailed by security experts as “the biggest ransomware outbreak in history.” Over the weekend, WannaCry has infected organizations all over the world, such as FedEx, the United Kingdom’s National Health System hospitals, Nissan, and many more. That these are high-profile targets doesn’t mean, however, that small businesses have been exempt from the outbreak.

The WannaCry virus infects individual computers through corrupted email attachments and can spread to infect entire networks.  Like other ransomware, WannaCry encrypts data on your PC and offers to send you the decryption key at a price. Since this malware spreads so quickly, all it takes is one user clicking on one of these phishing email attachments to infect your entire network.

So what’s the best way to combat ransomware like WannaCry?

Make sure your firewall firmware is up to date and that your end users are educated on email attachment best practices and how to identify malicious links.

Do not open any unexpected email attachments, even if they come from a trusted source. Hackers can spoof legitimate email addresses and may appear as someone in your address book.

If you receive an unexpected attachment that you think may be important, create a new email to follow up with the individual from whom that attachment was sent. If you hit “Reply” to the original email containing the attachment, your response will go straight to the person who sent that original email, even if that person is not the actual owner of that email address.

How does this affect you? If you’re a Rocket IT client, we are carefully monitoring the situation, and our clients have been protected by our managed firewalls and spam filters. Investing in the right managed security services can save your organization from falling victim to the latest cryptovirus.

For companies that have been infected by ransomware, having good backups can save you from the tough choice between significant data loss and paying the fee demanded by the hackers who have encrypted your files.

We’re only in the second quarter of the Year of Ransomware. Take the proper precautions to educate your employees and protect your organization from becoming the next victim.

For up-to-date news on the WannaCry virus, follow KnowBe4’s real-time article.




About the Author-

Jason Hand loves making music, serving his church and getting people excited about technology tools. He currently lives in Georgia with wife and two adopted sons.  Jason is the Systems Administrator at Rocket IT.


Inefficiency is the enemy of a profitable, thriving business. What would a 2.5% increase in utilization mean to your organization? Download our FREE whitepaper for five easy steps to increase employee productivity at no additional payroll cost.





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News, Press Releases

Rocket IT Named Overall Winner at Gwinnett Chamber IMPACT Regional Business Awards

Rocket IT

Duluth, GA – The Gwinnett Chamber recently recognized Rocket IT as the Overall Winner and as the leading organization in the Information Technology Category at the IMPACT Regional Business Awards, presented by Contemporary Marketing Group.

“There’s one word I have for being recognized with this award, and that’s ‘grateful,’” says Matt Hyatt, Rocket IT Founder and CEO. “I am extremely grateful for the support and recognition of our clients, our partners, and our community. This is a huge honor, and thank you to everyone for recognizing our efforts to change the way people think about outsourced IT.”

Held on May 10 at the Infinite Energy Forum, the program pays tribute to premier organizations in top industries that are driving economic development and job creation, while enhancing our quality of life. From more than 500 nominations, 125 finalist companies, across nine industry categories were recognized.

“The winners of the IMPACT Awards represent the creativity, determination, and engagement of our business community,” said Dr. Dan Kaufman, president & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “These risk-takers and innovators are the ones laying the foundation for a bright future of opportunity that we all enjoy.”

Rocket IT is the IT partner of choice for Gwinnett County organizations, providing both the strategy and support they need to thrive. By providing a client’s leadership team with the strategic foresight necessary for them to align technology investment with business goals, they can work from a shared vision, which increases efficiency, decreases risk, and increases revenue. Rocket IT is the recipient of multiple awards, such as Partnership Gwinnett’s Innovation Award and a spot on the Inc 5000.

For more information, visit









Jacque McFadden | 770.441.2520 ext. 781 |



Cally D’Angelo | 678.957.4958 |





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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 September 27th, 2017, at 3:00 PM EST for our next Inbox Zero for Executives webinar.

Fill out my online form.

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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