Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Cloud Adoption Case Study – Client overview.

Established for over 10 years, our client is a fast-growing Charted Accountants firm that offers a wide range of financial, accountancy, taxation and auditing services, in addition to ongoing business advice. Their client base ranges from sole-traders to charities and large enterprises that work in a diverse range of industry sectors.

The client employs 47 staff members that work from both their London office and a second office in Milton Keynes following a recent successful business acquisition.

 

The challenge.

  • Consolidate all business data from both offices to a central location that can be easily accessed by the staff at both offices.
  • Standardise all the applications and operating systems that were being used by the staff throughout the organisation.
  • Setup a single email platform for both offices.
  • Upgrade the IT systems in the Milton Keynes office that were badly outdated.
  • Ensure that the correct data protection and network security solutions were in place across both offices in order for them to remain compliant.
  • Achieve the above while mitigating the capital expenditure that is associated IT infrastructure upgrades.

The Solution.

  • Move the client’s entire IT infrastructure to the cloud
  • Consolidate their existing IT systems to a centralised ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ solution, including their business data, Windows desktops, Applications and email.
  • Introduce a cloud-based data backup service that is used to backup all of the client’s data and emails.
  • Setup ‘Disaster Recovery as a Service’ replicating an entire copy of the client’s network in the cloud so it can be activated and restored quickly in the event of a disaster.
  • Merge both accountancy applications into Sage 50 accounts and host this application in the cloud
  • Implement 2-factor authentication login that works with Active Directory as an extra layer of security
  • Replace the ailing desktop hardware in the Milton Keynes office with Thin Clients.

The Outcome.

  • The client now enjoys using a state-of-the-art cloud services infrastructure which provides them with high availability of service, enhanced mobility and an increased level of data security.
  • Both the IT systems of the London and Milton Keynes offices have been merged into a simplified IT Network that is hosted and maintained in the cloud.
  • All data and applications have been consolidated and both offices now work seamlessly together in the same secure and efficient cloud services environment.
  • The client has added peace of mind knowing that our Infrastructure as a Service comes with a 99.9% service uptime guarantee.
  • The client now has both a data backup and disaster recovery solution in place, in addition to an additional layer of security through the implementation of 2-factor login authentication. This will help to ensure that the client remains compliant with the latest data protection regulations.
  • The staff in both offices now share the same Microsoft Hosted Exchange email platform.
  • Both offices are now using the same Microsoft applications and accounting software, which is accessed via their hosted desktop

All of the above was achieved with a minimal capital outlay. The only costs that were involved with this project were the implementation of a Thin Client network in the Milton Keynes office and our project management time.

 

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Continue reading below to find out how we delivered this cloud migration project.

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

The challenge.

Consolidating two IT Networks Post acquisition.

Earlier this year, our client successfully completed the acquisition of another Charted Accountants firm that is based in Milton Keynes. Although it was a priority to keep any disruption to a minimum post acquisition, the client was seeking to consolidate both IT networks into a single infrastructure as soon as possible to standardise operations throughout the company.

This presented the following challenges:

  • The client wanted to consolidate all its business data from both offices to a central location that can be easily accessed by the staff at both offices.
  • They wanted to standardise all the applications and operating systems that were being used by the staff throughout the organisation. Both offices were using different accounting applications and several different versions of the Windows operating system.
  • They also wanted both offices to share the same email platform.
  • The IT systems in the Milton Keynes office were badly outdated and in desperate need of an upgrade.
  • It was essential for our client to ensure that the correct data protection and network security solutions were in place across both offices in order for them to remain compliant.
  • The client was looking to make further business acquisitions in the near future. Because of this, they needed their IT to be flexible and scalable as the organisation grows.

The biggest challenge was cost. Because of the recent acquisition, the client was seeking to mitigate any capital expenditure that is associated with IT because of the huge expense involved in making the acquisition.

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

 

We were approached upon recommendation.

We were recommended to this client by an independent IT consultant who previously used our services to successfully complete an Office 365 migration project on their behalf. In short, our challenge was to create a unified IT Infrastructure that will be shared by two offices while keeping the initial capital outlay to an absolute minimum. We accepted the challenge and proposed the following solution.

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote SupportAward Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

 

The Solution.

Our experience with cloud migration projects was invaluable.

The project was assigned to a member of our IT Project Management team who has successfully completed many cloud migration projects.  Before deciding upon a solution, our project manager arranged a meeting with the senior managers from both offices and the IT Consultant in order to understand their requirements and expectations for the project outcome.

We quickly concluded.

It didn’t take long for us to conclude that the solution was to move the client’s infrastructure to the cloud and consolidate their existing IT systems to a centralised ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ solution that is hosted and maintained in a safe, secure and robust private cloud environment.

This cloud-based infrastructure incorporates the following technologies that all work together to form the client’s unified cloud-based IT infrastructure:

  • Data – A hosted file server that will be used to securely host all of the client’s business critical data in a central cloud environment, which can be accessed by both offices.
  • Desktop – A hosted desktop solution that will replace everyone’s local desktop operating system with a Windows 10 Virtualised Desktop and Microsoft Office 2016. This includes incorporating Active Directory to maintain user accounts and user permissions. *
  • Applications – A virtual application server will host the client’s applications including the existing Sage 50 accounts application*
  • Email – A hosted Exchange 2016 server that will be used to host the client’s email for both offices (staff will use Outlook 2016 via hosted desktop to access their email).
  • Backup – Our hosted desktop service incorporates ‘Our Cloud Backup’ online backup service that is used to backup all of the client’s data and emails. Scheduled incremental backups are run daily and data can be restored in seconds.
  • Disaster Recovery as a Service – Because the client’s IT systems are already virtualised and replicated, an entire copy of the client’s network can be activated and restored quickly in the event of a disaster.

*What about the accounting software?

Our client’s London office was using Sage 50 accounts, whereas the Milton Keynes office was using Clearbooks. Understandably, the senior management team were insistent that both offices should be using the same application and sharing the same data, so a decision had to be made.

We did our research.

After investigating and discussing a number of different options with the client, it was decided that they would continue to use Sage 50 accounts.  The client’s existing Sage 50 application will be migrated to the cloud and hosted on a virtualised application server. All of the data from Clearbooks will be imported into Sage by the project manager.

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

 

Internet connectivity is important.

Because the client was switching to cloud services, it was critically important that both offices had a fast, consistent and reliable internet connection, especially as they had a high number of concurrent users.  Fortunately for our client, both offices already have a fibre leased line in place with more than enough bandwidth to service their requirements.

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

 

Why did we recommend moving to the cloud?

  • Cloud services are both flexible and fully scalable – IaaS is the perfect solution for our client because they can quickly add resources to their existing infrastructure when required as the organisation’s workforce expands.
  • Servers are no longer required on premise – The client’s initial capital outlay is kept to a minimum because the shared network infrastructure is hosted and maintained in the cloud and there is no requirement for over specified server hardware onsite. Other costs associated with maintaining a server in-house such as air conditioning and ongoing maintenance are no longer necessary.
  • Zero Microsoft software licencing upgrade costs – With Hosted desktop, all Microsoft operating systems and applications are automatically upgraded to the latest version at no additional cost to the client.
  • Simplified budgeting – The fragmented costs associated with running an IT infrastructure are consolidated into a simple per user fixed monthly price plan that is fully scalable to the workforce. Additionally, cloud services and ongoing support are consolidated into a single service.
Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

 

A safe and secure cloud infrastructure.

  • As an ISO 270001 certified cloud services provider, Our IT Department’s cloud infrastructure is hosted across two of the UK’s most secure Tier-3 and Tier-4 data facilities. Together with our London operations centre, our extensive technical engineering resources provide 24/7 cover for all of our data centre services including server, storage and communications infrastructures.
  • As an additional layer of security, we have implemented 2-factor authentication login that works with Active Directory. When users log into their hosted desktop, they will be required to input a pin number that is generated via an authentication app.
  • This together with our backup and disaster recovery services will ensure that our client remains compliant with the latest data protection regulations.
Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

What about the hardware in the Milton Keynes office?

As stated earlier, the IT suite in the Milton Keynes office was badly outdated and in desperate need of an upgrade. However, our client wanted to keep their initial capital expenditure to a minimum, so the purchase of 25 new PCs simply wasn’t an option.

Our solution was Thin Clients.

we decided to replace the ailing desktop hardware with Thin Clients. These are lightweight computers that are purposely built for remoting onto a server which makes them the perfect choice for a client that is switching to a hosted desktop platform.

Most importantly, Thin Client hardware is significantly cheaper than a traditional PC because they have no moving parts and they do not require any internal data storage because all of the client data is being hosted in the cloud.

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Helping the environment.

Cloud computing is a much greener option when compared to a traditional on-premise IT infrastructure because you are using less energy and reducing your carbon footprint.

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Pre-migration and implementation.

Our project management team created the new hosted environment and selected several staff members from both offices to test the hosted desktop platform for a number of weeks before the cloud migration project commenced.  This testing process is performed for the following reasons:

  • To check all applications that have been migrated to the cloud environment are working correctly, such as Sage 50 and Outlook.
  • Confirm that all email data has been migrated successfully, including calendars, task lists and distribution groups.
  • Check to ensure all the business data from both offices has been migrated and consolidated successfully onto the hosted file server.
  • Active Directory. Check that all user accounts have been created and the correct access permissions have been applied according to the instructions provided by the client.
  • Peripheral testing. Make sure that all peripherals in both offices are installed and configured correctly to work with the client’s hosted desktop platform.
  • Remote working. Contact any remote workers and ensure they can access the hosted desktop from their location.
  • Backup and disaster recovery testing was conducted in order to ensure the client’s data was being replicated correctly across both data centres.

Once the rigorous testing process was completed, we had another meeting with the Senior Management team and confirmed the Go Live date.

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

The Project Outcome.

From design to testing and implementation, the entire cloud migration project for both offices was completed in 4 weeks.

Both the IT systems of the London and Milton Keynes offices have been merged into a simplified IT Network that is hosted and maintained in the cloud. All data and applications have been consolidated and both offices now work seamlessly together in the same secure and efficient cloud services environment.

The client experienced zero downtime throughout the entire migration project. In addition, they have added peace of mind knowing that our Infrastructure as a Service comes with a 99.9% service uptime guarantee.

Other advantages include:

  • Our state-of-the-art cloud services infrastructure provides the client with high availability of service, enhanced mobility and an increased level of data security.
  • All of the client’s business data is securely accessed from both offices via a central repository in the cloud.
  • The client now has both a data backup and disaster recovery solution in place, in addition to an additional layer of security through the implementation of 2-factor login authentication. This will help to ensure that the client remains compliant with the latest data protection regulations.
  • The staff in both offices now share the same Microsoft Hosted Exchange email platform.
  • Both offices are now using the same Microsoft applications and accounting software, which is accessed via their hosted desktop.
  • The ailing IT hardware in the Milton Keynes office has been replaced with a suite of Thin Clients that are used by the staff to access the hosted desktop platform.
  • Ongoing support for our cloud services is provided by our award winning London-based service desk team. Both the costs for support and cloud services have been consolidated into a single fixed monthly fee.

The financial advantage.

Because the client made the decision to move to a cloud services environment, all of the above was achieved with a minimal capital outlay. The only costs that were involved with this project were the implementation of a Thin Client network in the Milton Keynes office and our project management time.

Thanks to Our IT Department, the client now realises the value of working from the cloud. They simply pay a fixed monthly fee for a future-proof IT Infrastructure as a service that can be quickly scaled to meet their requirements as the business continues to expand.

Award Winning IT Support in London   Cyber Security, Office 365, Exchange, Hosted Desktop, GDPR, Cyber Essentials, Cloud Computing, Remote Support

Reduce your operational costs and improve your IT Systems with cloud computing.

Our IT Department has helped over 500 organisations to embrace the cloud and enjoy its many commercial and financial advantages. If you’d like to reduce your operational costs and improve your IT then contact us on 020 8 501 7676 for a no obligation chat to discuss your requirements, or complete the online contact form below. We look forward to hearing from you.

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