Inside Afinety: Meet Bill Sangston, Technical Manager for Afinety

Q: What is your role at Afinety?

Bill: I am the Technical Support Manager for Afinety and manage the Support and Infrastructure teams. My primary responsibility is to ensure we are delivering the best possible service to clients and meeting all their expectations.

Q: What does your day-to-day typically look like?  

Bill: I usually start my day reviewing internal and external communications. Once any urgent issues are taken care of my days consist of meetings with clients or internal meetings with employees or other members of the management team. I spend a lot of time on internal projects that range from training initiatives and leveraging automation to improve processes while driving efficiency.

Q: What’s unique about the legal tech industry that someone in mainstream tech may not experience?   

Bill: There are a few things that come to mind, but what stands out to me the most is the complexity and volume of applications that require integration in the cloud environment and at a more basic level the urgency to resolve issues. While legal clients may not have the most applications to support, likely it as the top of the list.  In most cases, I think the list would surpass other industries. I can think of multiple examples like small businesses or companies with specialized services that may only use a few different applications that are the standard for the industry. Typically, this would include perhaps 5-10, maybe 20 applications depending on the size of the company.  

Legal application support is somewhat unique due to the number of software solutions and diversity in legal practice, our last count of applications was approximately two-hundred and twenty unique applications. In regard to urgency, in most industries there is always a sense of urgency to resolve issues, but in legal this amplified by a number of factors. Primarily law firms are subject to maintaining a tight schedule of deadlines mandated by the court system. If deadlines are not met this could lead to a case being thrown out or other negative consequences.

Q: How has Afinety’s technical approach changed now that cloud-based solutions are so popular among law firms?  

Bill: We have become even more focused on security and providing best-in-class solutions for our clients. The legal market is highly competitive when it comes to cloud-based solutions. We have diversified our offerings from a technical perspective with the release of our Afinety Cloud Platform 2.0, or ACP 2.0. This new offering is built on Citrix technology, which is highly secure and has been a leader in providing virtualization solutions for many years. Another major focus has been on continual improvement of the client experience. There are many providers today that offer cloud services; we not only want to provide cloud services, but also provide a true partnership with clients that exceeds their expectations.

Q: What security trends are you seeing impact law firms?  

Bill: Many of our clients are now being required to meet more stringent security requirements, especially in the banking and healthcare space. To align with these new requirements Afinety recently completed our SOC II Type II certification. We take our client’s security very seriously and have implemented many security solutions to protect clients including Duo Multi-Factor-Authentication, client security training through KnowBe4, enhanced endpoint security with machine learning and AI technologies, and dark web monitoring.

Q: What has been your experience working at Afinety?  

Bill: Starting with my initial interview and meeting the folks here, I knew I made the right decision. That was true 15 years ago and is still true today. We have some of the most talented, dedicated, and client focused individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I couldn’t be happier to work for a company that has such a great group of folks.

Q: When you aren’t working, what might we find you doing?  

Bill:  I spend quite a bit of time cooking. I come from a family of “foodies” and my family is the same. This often leads to hours of cooking, then a quiet night watching a movie with the family or an evening stroll to walk off a few calories.

Q: What is a fun fact that people might not know about you?  

Bill:  At an early age I spent most of my time outdoors either camping, fishing, or exploring. My father was an avid outdoorsman and scout master, so we spent most of our time in the woods or along a river or stream somewhere. Those were great times, and I learned a lot about hard work and perseverance. 

Q. Tell us a little bit about why you chose Afinety and the career growth you’ve experienced here.  

Bill: When I started my career at Afinety over 15 years ago, I immediately recognized the people and culture here were something special. The things that stand out the most to me are how people are invested in the success of the company and their willingness to collaborate and spend time helping fellow employees. I feel privileged to have worked under some great leadership that continues to this day. The opportunities that are provided for growth at any level are encouraged and available for anyone seeking to grow with the company.

This mindset is something that I have personally worked to nurture in many ways over my time managing employees. My personal growth started off in a help desk position working directly with end users to resolve day-to-day technical issues. My next step was working on the NOC (Network Operations Center) team monitoring for and resolving client infrastructure issues. This opportunity provided a tremendous amount of experience at all levels to truly understand our client environments. At this point my focus shifted to learning new technology offerings and managing technical escalations from our support team. Around the same time Office 365 was becoming mainstream and I spent the next few years building from my existing on-premise Exchange knowledge to learn Office 365. The next progression involved managing Office 365 migration projects and moving to a Team Lead role.

I spent around a year in this role and then moved to my current role as Technical Support Manager. This new step in my career journey is by far the most satisfying to this point. Having the ability to help support, train, and provide guidance to the next group of Afinety staff is extremely fulfilling. This coupled with improving our support and infrastructure models keeps me engaged and enthusiastic about the future of Afinety.

Q: What values of Afinety do you most align with and why?  

Bill:  Honesty and integrity are the two values that have served me well over the years. I see those same values reflected in the way we conduct business and in our employees.

Q: What excites you the most when you think of the future and achievements of Afinety that are to come?  

Bill: The most exciting thing to me is the time and effort being spent to elevate the client experience. This can be seen at all levels of the company and with individuals that strive for excellence. It is truly inspiring to work with a group of folks that put forth so much effort to make things better not only for clients, but also for our valued employees and culture.

Q: Finally, what advice do you have for prospective Afinety candidates?  

Bill:  Above all, be prepared to learn and be held to a high standard while working with clients.