What are the benefits of Microsoft Exchange for business?

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Technological advances help businesses and workers be more connected than ever despite the distance between them. Employees are increasingly working remotely from different locations rather than in crowded offices.

Employees working from home still need full access to their email to remain productive since business communications can take place anytime, anywhere.

Many businesses have chosen to implement the Microsoft Exchange mail server to address this problem. This server can be accessed from anywhere with a hosted cloud solution.

Why is this tool today’s top choice for businesses around the world? Here are 3 benefits of Microsoft Exchange for businesses.

1 – Microsoft Exchange guarantees email security and confidentiality

Microsoft Exchange’s biggest advantage for businesses is the guarantee that your emails will not end up in the hands of ill-intentioned individuals.

Microsoft spent billions of dollars to make sure that data shared on Exchange and other Microsoft 365 tools are even better protected in the cloud than on your own local server.

Microsoft Exchange is effective against all types of IT threats and complies with all major personal information and confidential data protection standards.

Its multi-layer filtering also prevents spam from reaching your inbox, making it a safe option for your business.

2 – Anyone can work efficiently with Microsoft Exchange

When it comes to simplicity, user-friendliness and practical features, no other mail server can compete with Microsoft Exchange. This is a major advantage since a tool that is easy to use simplifies processes and reduces the risk of errors and reliance on IT support teams.

Exchange offers fast and intuitive email commands. It has smart search functions to quickly find emails archived in your system. You can search by keyword, author or date to obtain fast and accurate results.

Exchange is also compatible with most cell phones without complicating its use.

3 – A messaging solution that is always up to date with Exchange

The cloud version of Exchange provides your business with an online messaging solution that is always up to date. Your cloud service provider will give you access to all Exchange server updates as soon as they become available.

Cloud hosting also prevent you from running out of storage space and having to perform expensive upgrades to your IT infrastructure. As a result, a cloud Exchange server is an ideal solution for a fast-growing business with changing needs.

Switch to Microsoft Exchange with Groupe SL

In conclusion, the Microsoft Exchange mail server has many benefits for businesses. Whether in terms of mobility, security, ease of use or scalability, this tool is well above the fray.

However, an excellent email hosting service is only one component of an optimized IT infrastructure. Contact Groupe SL to know more about the best IT management strategies for business and for expert advice. We will gladly help you deploy your IT solutions.

Why you should migrate your file server to SharePoint Online

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SharePoint Online is a collaborative online system that is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 software. It uses workflow applications, list databases and security features to enable better file management in a business environment.

Many companies that need to manage a large amount of files have recently made the leap to this system because of its advantages in comparison to standard file servers.

Find out why you should migrate your file server to SharePoint Online.

Migrating your file server to SharePoint Online fosters collaboration

Working efficiently as a team is a challenge for any business.

There are multiple ways to improve IT collaboration between your employees in the age of remote work, such as migrating your file servers to SharePoint Online.

Increased file accessibility

A standard file server only gives you access to your files from the local network, but SharePoint Online gives you access to your documents from anywhere, no matter the distance.

You can also use metadata on files with SharePoint Online, making it easier to access the documents you need. This is much more efficient than searching in a standard file server’s fixed file directory.

Easy file exchange

SharePoint Online allows you to easily share your documents with users within your company or external users rather than having to exchange multiple versions via email.

You can also co-edit your documents with collaborators and retrieve modifications made anywhere by anyone on a document with SharePoint Online.

SharePoint Online also increases remote working efficiency with the option to define workflows to automate validation and proofreading processes, while the system organizes the different versions of your documents.

Migrate to SharePoint Online for increased security

If your company is in charge of securing file access, you know that providing a high level of protection is expensive.

SharePoint Online makes it easier and more affordable to protect your sensitive or confidential data.

Greater access control

With SharePoint Online, you can specifically determine who can access your files and whether they can edit or view only. Access to information is also controlled at user level with two-factor authentication and at the level of the device used.

Option to limit actions

You can determine the actions allowed for each user and each file with SharePoint Online. For example, you can prohibit certain users from saving and printing a file.

Groupe SL can help you migrate to SharePoint Online

In conclusion, migrating your file server to SharePoint Online will improve employee and partner collaboration and the protection of your online documents and files.

As Microsoft 365 Software specialists, Groupe SL can help you migrate your file server to SharePoint Online. You will benefit from a managed IT support and training that will help you optimize how your new tools are used.

How to choose an IT service provider

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Outsourcing IT asset management to an external partner is a major advantage for SMEs. However, finding and choosing this partner can be quite a challenge for many of them.

If this sounds like you, then you are going to love this article, which tells you how to choose your IT service provider.

Service provider expertise

The first step in choosing your IT service provider is to make sure they have the right skills to meet your business needs.

But how do you check this?

Your best bet is to speak directly to the service provider. You can explain your structure, IT systems, challenges and IT management requirements.

Ultimately, the IT service provider you choose should be familiar with technology environments similar to your business and your industry. They should also be able to offer the right managed IT services for you.

If possible, you may also want to gather customer references and contact them to confirm the quality of the services provided.

Service provider availability

IT outages can be costly to a business. They strike without warning and partially or totally disrupt business operations until the situation is resolved.

Check the availability of your IT service provider in order to make the right choice. Ideally, your IT service provider should offer 24/7 technical support.

The more available your provider is, the more responsive they will be.

In short, your IT service provider should be able to intervene quickly when problems arise. So ask the company about its response times and methods of technical assistance.

Project management

Who will attend to you in case of questions or troubleshooting?

A single point of contact, in the form of a dedicated project manager, can help facilitate exchanges between you and the company managing your IT infrastructure. This one-stop contact will also ensure more efficient and direct communication with the team and all other parties involved.

A dedicated project manager will also be more familiar with your company and its needs. Don’t neglect this factor when choosing your IT service provider.

Quality of support and advice

In addition to being competent, available and having dedicated project managers, the best IT service providers also have the ability to support the vision and development of their clients in the short and long term.

The IT provider’s strategic IT services should help you deal with changes in your industry.

The provider should also offer you preliminary meetings, periodic follow-ups and master plans – reviewed on a regular basis – that will ensure the performance and efficiency of your business over time.

Choose the best IT service provider for your company

Choosing your IT service provider is no easy task. However, if you pay close attention to the factors we’ve just reviewed, you’ll be able to choose the best IT service provider for your business.

You may also be interested in our article on preventive IT maintenance in times of crisis. We have no doubt you’ll enjoy it.

Happy hunting!

SharePoint Online, Teams, OneDrive : The best IT collaboration tools to use

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We are all familiar with Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. So much so that we could practically use them with our eyes closed.

But the Microsoft 365 for Business service contains other excellent tools for IT collaboration: SharePoint Online, Teams and OneDrive.

SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online is a mobile intranet. It connects all the other team collaboration tools we will cover in one single location.

What can you do with SharePoint Online?

SharePoint Online is convenient because it allows you to share and manage content, data and even applications from anywhere, whether at home, in the office or on the go.

It also promotes teamwork by allowing teams to securely store, access and edit files from anywhere at the same time.

An overview of the advantages

  • An excellent mobile intranet
  • Connects teams and the organization together
  • Allows file access from anywhere
  • Makes it easy to share files in a company
  • Allows for real-time searching, co-publishing and file updates

Teams

Let’s move on to Teams.

Teams is a platform for teamwork. This valuable collaboration tool also allows you to chat, join videoconferences and exchange files easily.

What can you do with Teams?

With Teams, you can have online meetings (audio and video) with your team. You can also organize live events inside or outside your organization with up to 10,000 participants (!!).

Teams also contains a screen sharing and recording feature to save your meetings.

An overview of the advantages

  • Easy to use in the office or on the road
  • Allows you to view, share and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents in real time
  • A secure virtual conversation tool

OneDrive

Now for OneDrive. OneDrive is an online storage tool. It allows you to access your personal or corporate files securely from anywhere without having to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

What can you do with OneDrive?

OneDrive is fantastic for storing files, photos and various folders. It is especially suited for people and businesses who want to access this data from anywhere and on any device.

It also saves you from having to send large attachments or use a USB stick to share them. Simply send a link via email or text message to the recipient. Sharing files and more has never been easier.

An overview of the advantages

  • Easy access to your files
  • Contains a scanning function
  • Avoids taking up space on your computer
  • Secures your files by adding an extra layer of protection
  • Accessible from anywhere, even offline

SharePoint Online, Teams, OneDrive: excellent IT collaboration tools

SharePoint Online, Teams and OneDrive are wonderful IT collaboration tools for teams. Any company can benefit from them. Even yours.

We hope you enjoyed this overview and that it has convinced you to use them.

To learn more about IT, visit the news section of our website. And to start using SharePoint, Teams and OneDrive now, simply contact us. We’ll be happy to meet your needs.

Virtual or dedicated server: which is best for you?

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Hmm… not an easy question, is it? Yet, as you know, investing in the right resources is crucial to the success of your current business or one you are planning to launch soon.

Should you choose a virtual or dedicated server? Let’s see if we can come up with an answer.

Virtual server overview

First, let’s take a look at the virtual server (or vhost).

Roughly speaking, a vhost groups several virtual servers together on a single physical server. And each of them has its own configuration (processor, RAM, storage capacity, etc.).

With this type of hardware, the resources of the physical server are shared between several virtual servers.

Unless you need a dedicated infrastructure – whether for company policy or other reasons – the virtual server is perfectly suited to the reality of today’s businesses.

Virtual server advantages

The virtual server is a very powerful solution, namely for the following reasons:

  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Easy to administer
  • Easy upgrades
  • Fully secured
  • Affordable and reliable

Pretty interesting list of perks, isn’t it?

The dedicated server: an overview

Now let’s move on to the dedicated server.

A dedicated server is entirely dedicated to your personal use. You can therefore configure it however you like based on whatever your needs are (processor, RAM, disk, bandwidth, etc.).

Despite the popularity and appeal of cloud computing, this type of server is still very widespread today.

In short, a dedicated server gives you 100% control over the data and information that travels over your company’s network. In addition, it allows you to centralize the management of your entire IT infrastructure.

Dedicated server advantages

The advantages of a dedicated server include:

  • Stable and reliable solution
  • High performance
  • Very secure
  • Flexible and customized configuration
  • Ability to host a large number of virtual servers

Virtual or dedicated server: final results

So, which should you choose between a virtual server or dedicated server?

The answer is up to you. But you should bear in mind that with a virtual server, a third party company is responsible for IT maintenance and provides you with support if you need it. This additional support is a real game-changer for a small business or a busy manager.

We hope you enjoyed this overview. To learn more about the wonderful world of business IT, feel free to visit the blog section of our website. And if you are looking for customized IT solutions, please contact us. We will meet your needs – big and small – with great pleasure!

Computer data security: an important issue for companies that offer teleworking

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Many companies are currently forced to enable teleworking in order to continue operations. It is therefore essential for employees to have access to company computer data from home.

However, this can increase the possibility of theft or loss of important data. In order to mitigate this risk, many companies adopt computer data security solutions.

In this article, find out why securely backing up your data online is so important.

Online data backup is essential in times of crisis

The current crisis situation is forcing many companies to switch over to teleworking. This means that a massive amount of documents and files are now exchanged from personal computers and circulating online. This is an all-you-can-eat buffet for hackers. This makes it extremely important for all companies to protect their data online.

During a volatile situation such as a pandemic, the loss or hacking of computer data is the last thing a small or medium sized business wants to deal with. Not only is it quite a headache to solve if the data hasn’t been backed up online beforehand, but it could greatly affect the business.

Furthermore, the loss or theft of data can greatly impact an organization’s day-to-day operations and reputation, as well as customer trust. Needless to say, in times of crisis, SMBs need to make sure they retain as many customers as possible to keep business running, and this starts with secure online data backup.

The advantages of having a data security solution

Having an online data backup solution, such as Acronis Cloud Backup, not only allows you to build solid trust and loyalty with your customers, it also helps you increase your company’s overall productivity.

Fast data recovery in the event of a physical or computer disaster

Keep up with the frantic pace of technological advances, cyber hackers are also looking to develop new strategies for accessing valuable data from various companies. Organizational leaders need to act quickly to protect themselves from these attacks, as it is highly likely that a hacker will eventually attempt to gain access to their computer systems.

It is also important to think about physical threats (flooding, fire, vandalism, etc.) to your computer data. In the event of a disaster, recovering all of your data will be very time-consuming and complex if it is not stored in more than one place.

With a data backup solution, your stolen or lost information can be recovered in just a few seconds on more than twenty physical platforms. This will save you many hours of lost work time and your productivity will hardly be affected!

Quick access to your company computer data, even when working from home

Storing your information in the cloud allows you to easily access it anywhere and anytime, as long as you have an Internet connection. This is a huge advantage for companies that need to work remotely, since all employees can access the data they need and save their work remotely.

Protect your online data with Groupe SL

In short, securing your company’s computer data is essential in times of crisis. With an online backup solution such as Acronis Cloud Backup, you build trust with your customers and can quickly restore data in the event of a cyber attack or disaster. This technology also lets you access your information remotely, making it easier for you to work from home.

At Groupe SL, our online data backup service makes the Acronis Cloud Backup platform available to our customers. Our team fully manages your data to give you peace of mind. Please contact us for more information about our services!

How can cloud solutions improve the productivity of employees working from home?

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Thousands of businesses such as your own are currently having to adapt to a new reality: the mandatory telework caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While this transition brings its share of challenges, the decentralization of your workforce can also bring about positive changes. Take this opportunity to introduce a cloud solution to your organization.

How can cloud solutions improve the productivity of your employees working from home? By providing you with a better defense against cyber attacks and giving you the opportunity to implement a new resource allocation strategy.

Cloud solutions defend you from cyber attacks that hinder productivity

With cloud services, there is no longer a need (or even a recommendation) to host your own IT infrastructure in your company’s offices, since owning physical servers makes your infrastructure susceptible to cyber attacks.

It is much easier for hackers to attack your business if your servers are within easy reach and you aren’t following best practices in terms of monitoring and preventive maintenance for cyber attacks. In the event of an attack, the damage would cause considerable downtime and your employees would lose the ability to be productive.

In addition, cloud solutions give your employees access to all the data they might need, even if they are working from home. They help you avoid the delays caused by restricted access to corporate documents while teleworking.

Increased security with private hosting of cloud solutions

Be careful, just because you choose to store your data with a cloud solution doesn’t automatically mean that your company will be immune to cyber attacks. There are two types of cloud solutions: shared and private. Storing data with a shared solution poses a certain risk, since these hosting locations are often offshore and shared between multiple customers. If you can, opt for better protection with private hosting, such as the solution offered by Groupe SL.

Improve employee productivity with a new resource allocation strategy using cloud solutions

One of the main advantages of using a cloud solution for data storage is that your provider takes full responsibility for monitoring and maintaining your IT infrastructure. As a result, you may decide to reorganize the workload of your IT team.

Depending on your needs, you may choose to let your IT team work on more strategic and proactive IT tasks, or you may decide to simply eliminate your IT department and define a new resource allocation strategy. Either way, you can improve your employees’ productivity through smart reorganization, which may be necessary when faced with forced teleworking.

Opt for Groupe SL’s cloud solutions to improve the productivity of employees working from home

In addition to offering secure private hosting, we have the expertise required to facilitate your transition to a simple, customized cloud solution that meets the needs of your business. We offer a complete migration service with training sessions for your team, remote technical support and even monitoring and maintenance of your infrastructure.

Contact us for a quote, or if you have any questions about our services: we will be happy to help you optimize your operational efficiency despite the ongoing unpredictable situation.

Why is preventive IT maintenance essential for companies in times of crisis?

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It can be difficult for a company to get through a period of crisis. But fortunately, advances in digital tools and technology make it easier to maintain operations.

Among the various measures to adopt in a crisis situation, preventive IT maintenance is essential for any company. But why? Our experts cover the topic for you in this article to keep you informed.

What is preventive IT maintenance?

Preventive IT maintenance is intended to reduce the risks of possible breakdowns that could affect the equipment in an IT infrastructure.

The idea is therefore to avoid as much as possible the breakdowns, malfunctions and potential slowdowns that could affect the various pieces of equipment. Two types of operations can be carried out to avoid these complications and ensure good IT management.

The first is physical measures. For example, checking the various cables of the computer system, cleaning equipment, replacing aging equipment, etc. Then there are software procedures, such as performance and security audits, antivirus programming, data backup and many others.

Although it is important to carry out routine preventive IT maintenance, it is especially important in times of crisis. Let’s take a look at why it’s essential for companies.

Preventive IT maintenance avoids major economic consequences

In times of crisis, companies can inevitably suffer major economic losses. Between the loss of customers, production stoppages and a slowdown in the economy, all these factors can harm a company. And for a small business, losing a considerable amount of money can sometimes lead to closing its doors.

However, preventive IT maintenance can help minimize the consequences that a crisis could inflict by avoiding additional costs related to the shutdown of a company’s activities and the cost of technical support for equipment.

It is therefore a tremendous advantage in times of crisis.

Preventive maintenance for increased productivity

Preventive maintenance also helps companies increase their productivity in times of crisis. The process, which reduces the risk of breakdowns and downtime, provides companies with more production time.

And with remote work becoming increasingly popular in times of crisis, preventive maintenance allows work to continue efficiently. For example, software interventions can provide employees with access to company data via hosted IT solutions. You can also configure the Microsoft 365 suite of applications to provide a collaborative platform and install a VoIP telephony system.

This allows employees to continue working easily at home and resume their activities more quickly than a company that may not have considered these preventive measures.

Entrust the preventive maintenance of your IT equipment to experts

Although often neglected by companies, preventive maintenance can avoid major economic consequences and increase employee productivity. Savings can be made by ensuring that hardware and software interventions are carried out on your IT equipment.

Contact us now if you are interested in preventive maintenance of your IT equipment. At Groupe SL, our team specializes in IT management for small and medium-sized businesses and provides you with personalized service based on your company’s needs.

Remote working in the age of COVID-19

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The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented event that is forcing many companies to address the need for their employees to be present in the workplace. With “social distancing” now a requirement in many parts of the world, the transition to remote work is now a direction that many organizations are exploring in order to remain operational while protecting the health of their employees.

However, for many employers, the concept of telework raises questions about the efficiency and security of the technologies that make it possible. Here are some reassuring answers to these concerns.

The Remote Desktop Service, a teleworking solution with proven effectiveness

One of the primary concerns of workers and employers who want to make more use of telework is remote access to company IT resources. Not all business software is available in SaaS mode, i.e. accessible via a web browser.

Then you should know that RDS (not the Réseau des Sports, but the Remote Desktop Service), also simply called “remote desktop”, solves this problem.

What exactly is RDS?

RDS is very similar to a classic Windows interface that you no doubt use on a daily basis. However, it is hosted on a remote virtual server. With this cloud computing system in place, the employee’s PC is simply used as a receiver that displays the signal from the server.

Since the connection between these two machines is made via the Internet, the employee can access the server, and therefore all the files and software it contains, from anywhere. This means that every worker can have the same IT resources at home as at the office.

Microsoft Teams: a good example of a collaborative platform

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based team collaboration software that is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications. Key features of Microsoft Teams include business messaging, calling, video conferencing and file sharing. Companies of all sizes can use Teams.

As a business communication application, Teams enables local and remote workers to collaborate on content in real and near-real time on a variety of devices, including laptops and mobile devices. In short, it is one of the best examples of the full potential of RDS.

The security challenges of remotely shared information

Protecting sensitive information is an issue for many organizations. They have a responsibility to prevent customer data from falling into the hands of malicious actors.

For employees who need to connect to the corporate network for remote work, the recommended solution is to set up VPN access, a password-secured Internet access. This protection can be implemented by configuring a VPN access on the company network and client access on the users’ devices.

Seamless communications while working from home: myth or reality?

Even today, many jobs are still based on cooperation between different stakeholders, ensuring that places that foster communication, collaboration, interpersonal relationships and trust remain essential.

However, the risks of spreading COVID-19 are forcing individuals to radically change their methods of communication. We must therefore find ways to circulate information, and not the coronavirus!

IP telephony to the rescue

IP telephony is a technology that has been around for many years. However, the development of wireless networks and mobile devices now gives it a whole new scope. The technology is a perfect fit with the transition to telework. It can be described as “Internet telephony” or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and has a host of advantages over traditional telephony.

These include the ability to use a mobile device to answer calls to a business number, receive faxes from anywhere in the form of email and easily make conference calls.

Groupe SL can help you make more room for remote work

In conclusion, while the current situation is extremely conducive to remote work, the fact remains that today’s computer technologies allow employees to fulfill their professional duties without having to travel to the workplace.

So, if the COVID-19 crisis has been a wake-up call for you and your company, indicating the need to make more room for teleworking, you should know that all Groupe SL clients are equipped to accommodate their employees to work remotely. Contact us now to get started!

Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7

NOTICE TO WINDOWS 7 USERS

On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will stop providing support for Windows 7. After that date, there will no longer be any software updates and technical support from the American giant.

What does this mean for me and my company?

After January 14, 2020, PCs running Windows 7 will no longer be eligible for the following support:

  • Software updates
  • Security updates and patches
  • Support for any technical problem

In other words, if you continue to use Windows 7 after that date, your computers will still work but you will be at increased risk of viruses and malware, which is not recommended.

End of the support cycle for Windows Server

January 14, 2020

o Windows Server 2008 Datacenter

o Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V

o Windows Server 2008 Enterprise

o Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V

o Windows Server 2008 for Itanium systems

o Windows Server 2008 Foundation

o Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter

o Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

o Windows Server 2008 R2 R2 for Itanium systems

o Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard

o Windows Server 2008 Standard

o Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V

Products not eligible for extended security updates

January 14, 2020

    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
    • Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP2
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Basic
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Basic 32-bit
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Basic Embedded
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Basic Embedded 32-bit
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Enterprise
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Enterprise Embedded
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 R2
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Standard
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Standard Embedded
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Workgroup
    • Windows Storage Server 2008 Workgroup Embedded

April 14, 2020

      • Windows HPC Server 2008
      • Windows HPC Server 2008 R2
      • Windows HPC Server 2008 without Hyper-V

July 14, 2009

    • Windows Server Update Services 3.0

October 12, 2010

    • Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP1

What should I do?

For your security and the protection of your personal or business data, we recommend that you migrate to Windows 10 or another newer operating system without further delay.

The best solution: entrust your migration to Groupe SL

The easiest way to avoid viruses and security risks is to contact Groupe SL and switch to a more modern operating system before January 2020.

Simply contact Groupe SL to migrate to Windows 10 or another newer operating system before Microsoft ends support for Windows 7.

Protecting your data is crucial. Don’t take any unnecessary risks. Groupe SL is here for you.

CONTACT GROUPE SL, YOUR TRUSTED PARTNER

  • 2038, route Marie-Victorin, Varennes (Québec) J3X 1R3
  • Phone: 514-227-8093
  • Toll-free number: 1-877-787-8093
  • Fax: 514-227-8093
  • Email: [email protected]