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The Monthly Vertican Newsletter - June 2020

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Issac's Essentials

Isaac Goldman

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Now, more than ever, flexibility, scalability, and security are every business’s focus. When COVID-19 pushed us all into our home offices, Vertican employees were prepared to work remotely, as Vertican began using a Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) in 2014.

According to Citrix, a VDI is defined as the hosting of desktop environments on a central server. It is a form of desktop virtualization, as the specific desktop images run within virtual machines (VMs) and are delivered to end clients over a network. Those endpoints may be PCs or other devices, like tablets or thin client terminals.

Our first VDI provider was CDI Managed Services. As we began to grow, we opted to switch to VMware’s Horizon View hosted on Azure Cloud. This gave us flexibility and easy access to our servers already in the cloud. It’s a modular system capable of growing to thousands of VDIs.

Putting the FLEX in Flexibility

  • The VDI can be accessed from any internet-connected device and logged into the network.

  • It can be used from home, the neighborhood coffee shop, or 30,000 feet in the air.

  • The Horizon client is supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as iOS on iPads or iPhones. You can even connect to the VDI through a web browser.

Let’s Talk Scalability

  • The VDI’s architecture allows us to easily pick and choose hardware combinations that best fit our technical and cost needs.

  • It offers quick access to cloud-based services, the best part being there is no need to commit to these configurations for years; it’s easily reconfigurable without redeploying.

  • The VDI can easily be reconfigured for the next time users log in; they get the additional resources, and nothing needs to be reinstalled.

How Secure Is Secure?

  • The VDI architecture lets us create images of machines with standardized applications that are always patched. Our admins control access to the machines by username. We can copy an existing VDI and easily make a template by work group or department.

  • The VDI architecture allows employees to work from any location with a good Internet connection without the worry of the security of your business.

  • Vertican uses Multi Factor Authentication to verify user identity before allowing connections.

  • All communications travel across secure encrypted connections.

  • The data stays at the data center.

Vertican was lucky to have been ahead of the curve when COVID-19 hit. Our transition to 100 percent remote work was a breeze; the flexibility we implemented in 2014 helped us thrive in 2020. Still, we need to STAY ahead of the curve to mitigate unforeseen challenges ahead. The benefits of being prepared are priceless. In such a difficult time, it is unrealistic to ignore the expense of security. But in reality, these are investments that can pay dividends.

What else are we doing to stay ahead of the curve? And how can this help you, the firm?

No more mail

  • Switching to Online Payments using the vPortal gives flexibility to firms working from home.

  • Virtual Town Halls

    • As part of our Stimulus Package, we began offering Virtual Town Halls to give our clients as much free information as possible and limit calls to Client Services.

    • By attending, firms can ask questions and discuss their issues with our professionals and other firms.

  • Getting Social

    • We’re keeping our employees engaged; click here to read how you can too.

Being prepared is essential to keeping your business afloat in the COVID-19 era. From updating your technology to keeping your employees happy, we’re determined to stay ahead of the curve!

Vertican's Four Rules of Business

Vertican's Four Rules of Business
Inside Vertican

All Work and No Play…

It’s no secret the new reality caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges in all our lives that no one could have anticipated. For many, technology has enabled us to work from home while we shelter in place. But working from home does little to replace the “water cooler” time of interaction with coworkers.

At Vertican, we have leveraged the same technology that helps us work (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, etc.) to also help us maintain some level of personal interaction. We check in on each other and occasionally turn on the camera, but the best way to stay positive in such an uncertain time is to boost morale with FUN!

Before the pandemic, we launched an internal social sharing outlet called vSocial. With this, employees were given a profile to make themselves more personable by sharing their favorite quotes, photographs, and places they’ve visited. During the pandemic, vSocial Events were born.

So how have vSocial Events helped us achieve the PLAY in all of our WORK? We play games. We watch movies. We compete. We share.

Here are a few favorites:

Bingo: Everyone knows how to play Bingo, but we decided to jump on Zoom, turn the camera on, and unmute everyone. We heard the huffs and puffs, along with the yays. We offered gift cards to each winner and doubled the winnings to increase anticipation.

Under $5 Cook Off: Make a dish, any dish, for under $5! We asked our employees to post a photo/video of how they feast under $5. We received submissions from delicious cheese and cracker plates to Sausage McMuffins from McDonalds.

Who’s Who: A personal quiz including emojis. We selected a small number of employees to answer questions like their favorite movie, favorite dessert, or favorite pastime. Their answers were put into a random “pool” and everyone else had to figure out who was who. Guess all six and win a prize!

Team Movie Night or Happy Hour: All this takes is the same sharing and coordination software we’re now all familiar with, and a little imagination. Give it a try.

As a company, we are determined to stay connected, enjoy ourselves, and remain positive. We challenge the team to participate in each of these activities, and we reward them for joining in. Making this effort shows staff that Vertican cares, and the benefits work both ways – the activities build teamwork, and employees gain a little extra in prizes and gift cards. And perhaps most importantly, everyone gets to know each other just a little bit better.

All work and no play at Vertican

Upcoming Vertican Town Halls

June 17, 2-3:30 p.m. EDT – Report and Report Building

These Town Halls are part of Vertican’s Emergency Relief Stimulus Package. Click here to find out more.

Upcoming Conferences

July 28-30,  RMAi Executive Summit 2020 – The Lodge at Spruce Peak, Stowe, VT

Sept. 15-17,  DCS 2020 – Red Rock Hotel, Las Vegas NV

vCon 2020 – Save the Date!

vCon 2020 November 4 to 6 mirage Las Vegas

Welcome to the place where we share an inside look at some of Vertican’s amazing team members. This issue of vConnect is pointing the spotlight on Michele Samlaska and Paul Perez.

Michelle Samlaska

Scarborough Renaissance Faire,
Waxahachie TX

Michelle has been with Vertican since 2008. Her key role with the company is working as Team Lead for the Q-Law and Q-LawE Client Services Team. As Team Lead, Michelle, focuses on, as she puts it, “trying to be and help my team be the best that we can be.”

Here’s a glimpse at what Michelle is up to inside and outside of the office.

What sort of work did you do before joining Vertican?

I have been in the Credit/Collections industry since 1992 working for companies such as GMAC/Ally, American General Finance/AIG and the Law Office of Bleecker, Brodey & Andrews.

What is a typical day at/working for Vertican like for you?

A typical day is fast.  I start with a cup of coffee and emails, then several meetings client and in-house, work on projects. Seems my days fly by.

What do you like most about working for Vertican?

I love working with my peers, everyone here has been very nice. But I also enjoy the fact that no two days are the same. I really enjoy the variety in my work.

What is something about you that may surprise your colleagues?!

I like to dress up and go to Renaissance Festivals all over the place. So far, I have been to Scarborough Ren Faire in Waxahachie, TX; TRF Ren Faire in Todd Mission, TX; Kentucky Ren Faire In Louisville, KY; Colorado Renaissance Festival  in Larkspur, CO; Fishers Renaissance Festival in Fisher, IN; and The Sherwood Forest Faire in Austin, TX.

If you could learn anything new, what would it be?

Learn how to sew and use a sewing machine.

Tell us about an experience that has made you stronger.

The hardest thing I have done is put myself through college with two majors in four years while working a full-time job.

What was your very first job and how old were you?

My very first real job was de-tasseling corn.  I started my first year when I was 13.

Word on the street is that you participated in a Guinness Book of World Records event? Tell us about it and how that began.

Greece held the World Record for most Harley Davidsons in a single ride. So last year, for my 50th Birthday, some friends and I rode to Paris, TX and participated in the Bring it Home Ride. There we broke the old world record (2404) and set a new record of 3497 Harley Davidsons in the ride.

What (else) do you like to do outside of work?

I have two Miniature Dachshunds named Barnaby and Buster. I also like to do arts and crafts. I like to make jewelry out of semi-precious stones and crystals; incense burners out of wine bottles; and wreaths and silk flower arrangements.

Do you have a favorite movie, artist and/or book?

My favorite author is Dean Koontz. My favorite band is Fleetwood Mac.

Please share a favorite quote(s):

“Only you can control your own happiness.”

“Life is what you make of it.”

Paul has been with Vertican since 2014. His key role with the company is working as Business Systems Analyst and an Account Manager. Additionally, Paul is a resource for YGC information in Client Services.

We talked with Paul about his position at Vertican and what he is up to outside of the office too.

What sort of work did you do before having joined Vertican?

I worked at a law firm kind of doing a bit of everything. I was the one in charge of managing their case management software and working to organize workflow. Before I worked at a law firm, I worked at an internet marketing firm that did a lot of SEO work with lawyers.

What is a typical day at Vertican like for you?

Usually answering e-mails in the first fifteen minutes. Jumping into the Collection-Master (CM) team meeting to follow up with the CM team and report on tickets and emails. Then it’s calling as many incidents and solving them as I possibly can. Our meetings are interspersed between the calls.

What do you like most about working for Vertican?

I feel very confident in front of a crowd and training people. I wanted to be a teacher when I was very young and that part of working with Vertican in a support capacity really sates that itch. Doing training, whether on site or over the phone, gives me a pleasant feeling.

What was your very first job and how old were you?

My first job was working at my grandmother’s real estate office. It was a lot of helping her automate different parts of her business. I automated making letters/receipts for her tenants and helped minimize a lot of unnecessary paperwork.

Word on the street is you are a Dungeons & Dragons mega-fan! Tell us about it and how that began.

Oh, I had always loved the idea of it. I really wanted to get into a game as a player, but I always had trouble finding games other people were wanting to host/moderate. So, as a result, if no one is going to DM (Dungeon Master – it’s the term for the person who organizes the content, maps, encounters and moderates the game) a game, I had to be the one to do it. I read as many resources on how to manage and run games and offered to organize it for some friends. I enjoy doing it very much.

If you could learn anything new, what would it be?

Gosh! Hard to choose. I wish I knew the first thing about making music.  I’d love to be able to make tracks/sounds for my DnD games, but my time’s stretched enough as it is!

What is something about you that may surprise your colleagues?

When I was younger, I used to write a lot of short stories. I was never able to really publish anything proper, but that was before self-publishing and other sources were as popular as they are now. Most of that creative energy gets channeled into the DnD content that I make for my players, but I might revisit that if the itch strikes.

What else do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work, I run my DnD games with two friend groups. I also dabble a bit in making liqueurs at home. I started by trying to make a limoncello at home, which is a traditionally sweet, Italian liqueur. It was a massive success. I then tried making other flavors – orange and strawberry. These turned out really good as well! I have brought a few samples of it to our office on special occasions to share with the CS team.

Share something exciting you did in the last 12 months.

I went on a trip through the Carribean not too long ago with my husband, Jacob Simoni who also works at VT. We went to a special conservatory for dolphins and had a fortunate opportunity to swim with the dolphins in the rehabilitation area before this program was closed off to the general public. It was an amazing experience. We also had a chance to visit Stingray Island in Grand Cayman and visited another conservation area to see the turtles they were caring for.

Do you have a favorite movie, artist and/or book?

I love the Harry Potter series. My favorite books would include the original Battle Royale and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As for classics, I love 1984 and I have a special place in my heart for the book, Great Expectations.

Please share a favorite quote.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

Software tips q law

WorkLog Button

Many users have experienced selecting a recently worked OURFILE in their WorkLog list, but did you know you can see accounts not listed in the WorkLog list?

The WorkLog button, shown here with the blue arrow, will allow you to view all accounts you have worked for a user-defined date range.

Click on image to view larger version.
Select Case Q-Law Tip

If you are a security level 4 or higher (Supervisor), then you also have the option to view another employee’s worklog for performance tracking purposes. The screenshot below indicates where all OURFILES for the month of April 2020 have been pulled. Please note that after entering a date range, you must click the ‘Set Filter’ button.

Click on image to view larger version.
View worklog

Software Tips collection Master

Lock specific groups from editing demographics after suit

This is easy to do with Zone Security and Field Level Events.

Here’s how to set it up:

  1. In the CUSTOM folder, create or edit the ZONES.INI file.

      • Set all debtor demographic fields to custom zone 0

        Note the tab between field and zone.

        Click on image to view larger version.
        Note the tab between field and zone

  1. In Group Security [4-1-S-3], add all users who should NOT have rights to edit demographics on post suit claims.

    NOTE: There may be an existing group configured already, perhaps for collectors.

  2. For this example, we’ll use “COL” as the group.

  3. In Zone Security [4-1-S-6-1], set COL to “Y” for zone 0. Therefore, fields are not initially restricted.

  4. In the CUSTOM folder, create or edit the ALERTS.INI file and add the following Alert:

    • [Alert_SUIT_DATE]

    • Field = MASTER.SUIT_DATE

    • VALUE.Low  = 1900/01/01

    • VALUE.High = 2050/12/31

    • GROUPS = COL

    • ZONE_SEC.N = 0

  1. That’s it! Users in the COL group may edit debtor demographics before suit, but NOT after.

enter to win

June 2020 Contest

Answer six brian teasers for a chance to win!

Everyone who answers all six brain teasers correctly will be entered to win the prize of their choice.
Three winners will be chosen at random.
This contest closed  6/15/2020 at 5:00 p.m. (EDT). Please check back next month for another contest.

6 word puzzles

Prizes

Mini Keg

Pressurized Beer Mini Keg System

64oz Stainless Steel Growler Tap, Portable Mini Keg Dispenser Kegerator Kit, Co2 Pressure Regulator Keeps Carbonation for Craft Beer, Draft and Homebrew from NutriChef

Bose Speaker orange

Bose SoundLink Micro

Portable Outdoor Speaker, (Wireless Bluetooth Connectivity), Waterproof Speaker from the Inside Out (Ipx7 Rating), Available in Black, Bright Orange, or Midnight Blue.

Kayak

Intex Challenger Kayak Series

Measures 30 by 15 by 138 inches (W x H x D) inflated, with 400 pound maximum weight limit; includes two 86 inch aluminum oars, high capacity pump, and repair patch kit.

May 2020 Contest Results

Congratulations to the 10 Vertican branded Tile winners!

The first 10 people to answer both questions correctly were:

Josh Jackson, FB Credit Services LLC            Jacqueline Peterson, MCPY P.C.

Donna Williams, Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC         Seth Byrd, Rausch Strum

Kerri Bystrom, Machol and Johannes          Joe Potrzebowski, Kohn Law Firm

Tom Marturano, London & London         Jonathan Kream, Kream and Kream

John Postl, John Postl, P.C.          Tracy Weichselfelder, Snow & Sauerteig LLP

And the answers to the May trivia questions

1. What are the TWO planets in the solar system that rotate backwards?

Venus and Uranus

2. What was the main reason that the Pilgrims brought dandelions to North America on the Mayflower?

Medicinal qualities