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Shades Mountain Baptist Church uses Higher Ground for Technological Security

shades mountain baptist church

Shades Mountain Baptist Church, located in Vestavia Hills, AL, has an average worship attendance of 2,500 to 3,000, not including the staff and volunteers, which makes the total closer to 5,000 people a week in their facility. In addition, they have sponsored significant events, such as the Southern Baptist pastors convention in Birmingham and mission trips worldwide. Managing a large church with multiple ministries requires multiple systems, and they need a reliable network with IT support to handle everything they do. They signed up for Higher Ground Managed IT services and are one of Higher Ground’s longest-running customers.

Ronnie Hardy joined Shades Mountain Baptist Church in 2018 as their Network and Systems Administrator and began using Higher Ground Managed IT, where he previously worked. Ronnie considers himself a project manager, ensuring all the pieces are in place and everything is ready to support their ministries. Higher Ground Managed IT is integral to their operations.  

Shades Mountain uses almost every service Higher Ground offers, including virtual servers, SIP (voice over Internet Protocol technology), and security systems. This month, they are implementing the backup service, Acronis. 

“We needed reassurance that if something happened to our building, I could spin up our MinistryPlatform database, our financials, and all that off-site somewhere. So at least the Church business would not stop running if the building burned down or a tornado hit us.”

Ronnie Hardy, Network and Systems Administrator. 

Their servers are protected with Sentinel One, powered by Higher Ground. Shades Mountain has implemented Sentinel One on 15 of its workstations and plans to roll out Sentinel One to the remaining 70 workstations over the next couple of months. 

“Honestly, server management is the biggest thing I recommend to everyone. Being able to turn over my server, patch management with Automate, all of that to someone and not have to keep up with every update that comes out, and I can sleep better at night knowing that I don’t have to worry about it.”

– Ronnie Hardy, Network and Systems Administrator. 

Shades Mountain Baptist Church is also preparing to start vulnerability testing with Higher Ground. Ronnie says, “I’m kind of scared for the testing to happen because I know it’s going to show me many things, but I’m also very excited to try to figure out what I can protect more. Understand, it’s one of those things that you don’t always know where you’re vulnerable until somebody points it out.” The excellent news is Higher Ground Managed IT does all of the scanning and fixing and then reports back to Ronnie when it’s complete with the issues they found and have resolved. 

Ronnie shares with people that even though he used to be a team member of Higher Ground, he will continue to pay for the service because he knows what a good value it is, and it is worth investing in. 

To learn more about Higher Ground Managed IT, click here.

To learn more about Shades Mountain Baptist Church, click here


About Stacey Smith

Stacey joined the ACST team in 1998 in the support department and joined the marketing team in 2021 as an Associate Marketing Coordinator. Today she runs the ACST Ministry Champions program, which involves all references, reviews, and testimonials for all of our products and services. When she isn’t at work, she is spending time with her husband, two teenage daughters and furbaby Copper.

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