When this Woburn-based equipment supplier reached out to iCorps for a technology assessment, they were just looking to replace old hardware. However, they soon discovered that by moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud, they could fundamentally rewrite the nature of their everyday business processes. Here's how:
For over 50 years, our client has supplied equipment for projects ranging from road, bridge, and commercial construction, to underground utilities and municipal services such as waste hauling, street sweeping, and transfer stations. They work with eight partner organizations across the Northeast to ensure the highest quality standards are being met in the construction and maintenance of public utilities and projects. They are spread across six locations, each of which focuses on preventative maintenance, ensuring smooth operation and consumer safety.
When they reached out to us, it was clear their internal IT team was over-taxed. They were responsible for nearly 150 end-users and 175 end-points, spread across their six locations. The company also relied heavily on legacy systems, many of which contributed to performance and stability issues within the network. Their employees were experiencing connectivity problems and sub-par performance from their line of business applications. As an equipment supply company, their employees had been accepting of the system performance, because there was a pervasive belief that technology wasn't a key driver of their business. And when they reached out to iCorps it was to address a single issue: lagging server performance.
With our technicians on site, it became evident that the firm's computing environment and IT infrastructure would benefit from a thorough overhaul. The initial phase of their digital transformation was focused on three main goals: removing redundant and legacy devices where possible, standardizing their resources, and implementing a security-first approach to their network design. We began by upgrading all workstations to Windows 10 for improved organization-wide productivity and connectivity. All endpoints (laptops, workstations, and mobile devices) were brought under a single unified management tool: Microsoft Intune, which provides multi-factor authentication and single sign-on.
We also began the process of migrating their systems to the cloud. We moved their onsite mail server to the cloud via Exchange in the Office 365 suite. From the outset, their employees were experiencing fewer ransomware attacks and email-based threats. They had been receiving thousands of SPAM attacks. Right away, there was a sharp drop in these sorts of threats. Their employees hadn't anticipated the extent to which modernizing would improve their user experience, from both a performance and security perspective. With multi-factor adding an additional layer of security for remote Exchange access, they were quickly realizing how much more reliable their technology could be. With one application moved to the cloud, they were eager to see how cloud computing could create organization-wide change.
With the success of these early upgrades, we deployed an Azure tenant for the supplier. This was done in phases, to ensure we first stabilized their network before leveraging the cloud for their back-end systems. We built a new server in Azure and migrated their applications - increasing their security, availability, and decreasing downtime. As their employees' productivity grew, they were able to recognize just how impactful their legacy systems had been in curtailing workflow.
After performing an Office 365 hybrid migration for email, our technicians focused on the lack of collaboration tools. We brought their employees into Microsoft Teams - a platform that combines workplace chat, meetings, notes, and attachments. Immediately, Teams brought new levels of operational efficiency to their distributed workforce. In addition to desktop messaging and online meetings, we were able to move their phone system into Teams for advanced telephony via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). We have been able to consolidate and maximize their platform usage through Office 365, allowing us to eliminate redundant hardware and some of their data dependency. In addition to modernizing their desktops with Office 2019, we've implemented a backup solution across OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams via SaaS protect with our partner, Datto.
One of their main security challenges stemmed from their distributed locations. Their internal team had difficulty maintaining border security via new firewall rules and patches. Under our managed security strategy, we were able to integrate Azure cloud and on-premise solutions, ensuring that their security is always up to date. Because they are leveraging a single-source vendor, they have a solution that worked both on-premise and in the cloud. They have the latest firmware, updates, and their data is constantly being backed-up. Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security has helped automate workstation updates and management tasks, which has reduced administrative overhead, and allowed for more agile response to user issues. Now, their IT staff doesn't have to worry about border security and can focus on other projects.
Another pain point had been their wireless performance. They wanted their employees to be mobile in-office, while retaining wireless access. Their service was inconsistent across the organization, so our technicians assessed their layout, designed a managed solution, installed accessed points, and leveraged our partnerships with Cisco and Microsoft to create a single pane solution. Now, regardless of location - whether it be Woburn or Connecticut - their employees have a seamless experience. Furthermore, file and disk encryption has been implemented on their devices, ensuring their employees are able to work securely on their network. Going forward, our consultants are focused on continuing to review and optimize new cloud solutions for our client, ensuring a productive user experience, and reduced overall cost.