When Helge decided to implement Verji, he was curious about how customers would react to having to use a new system. They are now using Verji for the third year, and the experience is that there have been zero problems getting customers to communicate on Verji.
Imagine arriving at work one day to find all your computer systems down because your ASP provider was hit by a cyberattack and all your data is lost. This was the nightmare Rune Kjelsnes, CEO of Malermesterfirma Emberland, faced in the spring of 2021.
Listen to what Rune Kjelsnes in Malermesterfirma Emberland says about his experience with the data attack and why they have started using Verji.
“The aftermath of the pandemic, which was already a significant challenge, paled in comparison to what awaited me when I arrived at the office to see black screens. Given these hard-learned lessons, I’m grateful that today I have Verji’s encrypted communication solution to enhance our security,” Rune says.
Malermesterfirma Emberland dates back to 1936 when it was founded by Nils Mikal Emberland. The company was acquired by Malermester Kjelsnes in 2006. In the six years before the cyberattack, they were a “Gasellebedrift” – a designation given to companies that have more than doubled their turnover in four years.
“Our main projects are large-scale; office buildings, nursing homes, apartment projects, retail spaces, and rehabilitation of municipal buildings. We enjoy tackling tasks that initially seem impossible. Those are the challenges we thrive on,” says Rune.
“The challenges posed by the cyberattack certainly don’t fall into that beloved category! We spent the equivalent of an entire years effort to get everything back up and running, with the total cost, including other expenses, amounting to two million.”
When asked about how Verji could have assisted during this situation , Rune highlights features of his Verji app:
“With Verji, all our tasks would have been systematically lined up, displaying the necessary information, progress, and any additional assignments.
We could have saved at least 25% of all the extra work, amounting to half a million.”
“I could have entrusted my colleague Frøydis to manage operations using the information in the Verji app, allowing me to focus on data recovery.”
Shaking his head, Rune reflects on the dire situation they faced.
“We were at a standstill. It’s surreal thinking back to how we had to send out teams with blank sheets for tasks they could complete, instructing them to note down their hours and materials. With Verji, we would have retained complete oversight, continuing work seamlessly with all the documentation needed.”
Some nostalgia from the mini museum at Malermesterfirma Emberland. Photo: Ida Kristin Vollum
The months following the cyberattack were tough. Rune speaks of fears of bankruptcy and deteriorating health due to high blood pressure. He had to take a step back, expressing gratitude for the supportive people who stepped up during that time.
“The chaos after the attack was immense. All data on agreements, offers, time-tracking, accounting was gone. No backups. Imagine being asked to process salaries and your accountant inquires about the specifics, but all timesheets are missing. It’s a nightmare. We never realize our vulnerabilities until they are brutally exposed.”
“Facing such a catastrophe, especially after years of success and surviving the pandemic challenges, is grueling. Suddenly, your daily task is saving a successful business from bankruptcy. Several times in the aftermath, we contemplated filing for bankruptcy. Thanks to our bank and patient customers and suppliers, we evaded that outcome.”
Rune chuckles when mentioning one of the measures they’ve adopted post-attack: reverting to the seemingly outdated method of printing essential documents for physical storage. A true “back to the basics” approach.
“Of course, we’ve also taken other measures, like changing some of our suppliers and systems. We’ve insured against cyber threats, ensuring that our security measures meet the insurance requirements,” he adds.
“And we’ve adopted Verji as our primary communication system. Verji is more secure than email because it’s encrypted and not accessible to hackers like email is. Knowing now that 90% of data breaches come via email, Verji positively impacts my blood pressure.”
Rune Kjelsnes, CEO of Malermesterfirma Emberland Photo: Ida Kristin Vollum
What Rune sought with Verji was a centralized communication platform that also guaranteed security. Given Verji’s encryption and independence from his data provider’s servers, he feels better equipped should a similar breach occur. The assurance of GDPR compliance and the ability to securely send sensitive information is also pivotal. Now he knows that everything is encrypted and there is no problem sending sensitive information.
When asked about centralizing communication, he replies:
“Now we can communicate with all employees simultaneously, based on the projects they’re involved in. Everyone in the same project space, whether it’s the fieldworker, supervisor, or office staff, has a clear overview. Everyone’s on the same page from day one till project completion.”
Especially for those on fieldwork relying only on mobiles for communication, Verji is a massive time saver.
Communication within Verji is organized in project rooms. These rooms are named after work order numbers, which match the ones employees log their hours against. So the people working on a project knows that when they are about to communicate in Verji, the room has the same number as the project. This means miscommunication rarely occurs.
“We also have thorough documentation if questions arise later. We have timestamps on photos or messages, for instance, that could indicate reasons for delays. So, no room for ambiguity.”
He reminisces about the times they’d waste sifting through previous communication because they lacked a centralized system. Emails were often the culprits.
“In our day-to-day operations, Verji has replaced emails, text messages, Facebook messages, and phone calls.
Searching through emails was a significant time drain for us, and that has been reduced to a minimum. Overall, we’ve probably saved weeks of work by cutting down on email searches.”
“I’d recommend it to all craft businesses. It’s not only us who used to juggle phone calls, texts, emails, and Facebook messages. Centralizing all this in Verji ensures proper structure, and everything’s documented. Everyone should really be using it.”
Rune also advises talking to their worksite supervisor, who manages various assignments.
It’s delightful to hear work supervisor Adam Strauss talk about Verji. He can’t emphasize enough how grateful he is to have Verji as his communication tool.
“I’m so fond of the Verji app because it makes it so easy to keep track of projects and inform the office about what’s happening.”
Work foreman Adam Strauss. Photo: Ida Kristin Vollum
“When something comes up, we take pictures, upload them to the app, and everyone who needs the information gets updated about what’s happening. And if my boss has a message about a project, both I and those working on the project get the message promptly.
” “Previously, we used to spend a lot more time. I had to drive around to projects much more frequently than I do today. Now, a few photos and messages might be enough when something arises, or if I’m curious about the status of a project. And if I’m out and need something from the office, I send a message and receive it immediately.”
Adam shares that there are far fewer phone calls now. And the best part is that everything gets documented, unlike a phone call.
“Verji is the best communication tool we’ve used. It simply results in excellent communication.”
We wondered if Adam would recommend Verji to others in a similar position as him, and he has no doubts:
“I would recommend anyone in a similar position as me, responsible for managing projects, to use Verji. It’s excellent for craftsmen. . Everything becomes more organized. There’s more and better communication. I can open the app, go into one of the projects, and have a complete overview of what’s going on.”
Regarding having a complete overview, CEO Rune also adds a point at the end:
“I just had a three-week vacation. . I could still easily keep track of things that happened without it being time-consuming. It made it much easier when I returned to work. Previously, I might have had 150 emails to go through to get an overview of projects. Now, I can simply enter the project rooms and have a full overview. Everything that has happened is lined up, and I don’t have to search through maybe 10 emails to get an overview of a single project.”
The introduction of Verji has resulted in significant streamlining and savings. “What used to be delivered personally or via mail now goes electronically,” says CEO Janne Eraker, who has been using Verji for three years.
Verji ensures that the law firm has a copy of identification and Bank-ID authentication before a task is confirmed. All communication has two-way end-to-end encryption, ensuring compliance with GDPR and the Personal Data Act.