With only 15 employees, this long-standing Baltimore-based insurance company might have a small staff, but their technology footprint is significant. As an insurance provider, they rely very heavily on their IT systems since any downtime would be extremely costly not just in lost revenue, but also lost productivity and client dissatisfaction.
In 2019, the firm was looking to refresh their existing system. The system was quite large with four (4) physical servers and 16 virtual machines and utilized a sophisticated Managed Backups and Disaster Recovery (MBDR) solution. They used several applications that relied on a SQL database back-end necessitating resource-intensive servers that required a significant investment in infrastructure and hardware locally. This included an Exchange server that relied on the MBDR solution to maintain high availability in the event of a failure since uptime was a high priority for their operations.
Their original system was built to be fast and redundant, but it was very costly to maintain, the equipment was getting old, and the configuration needed to adapt to modern standards. The business experienced many challenges related to the management and maintenance to this system that were difficult to control for, including several power and Internet outages. They knew the system would need to be replaced and it was their priority to get the technology physically out of their office.
DPS helped the client develop a strategic plan to consolidate their system and migrate it to the “Cloud”. Several conceptual designs were reviewed with them to outline what their next system could look like. As DPS gained more institutional knowledge about their workflow, challenges and objectives, these designs were further refined and finalized, and execution began on the strategic plan.
Initially, the Exchange solution was migrated to Office 365 and several Windows 7 computers were replaced and upgraded to Windows 10. As an Insurance provider handling sensitive information, the company must adhere to strict compliance regulations, so the solution was designed to ensure that they would meet these requirements. To fortify security measures, DPS implemented specific access controls to protect the Office 365 platform from unwanted access. Additionally, DPS worked with a third-party security consultant so that as system changes were made, they were done in a way that could prioritize security and risk management throughout the organization.
As DPS worked through moving their system to a more modern platform, we advised the Client to assess different Cloud SaaS options to host some of their applications. However, due to very specific requirements, it was determined that moving to a SaaS platform was not a viable option. So in order to meet both security and hosting goals, DPS designed an Azure Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) Solution that would containerize all user desktops to make it easier to manage and remain compliant. All Line-of-Business applications that were previously hosted on local servers would be moved to the Azure environment as well.
DPS collaborated with each respective Software Vendor to properly build virtual machines to host the application in question and facilitate the installation and migration of the applications without running into serious implementation issues. There was little impact to the staff as the SaaS system was tested prior to the cutover. The Cloud based system only went live when the solution was confirmed to be working properly.
Simultaneous to the application migration, DPS designed and deployed an Azure Cloud environment to host the client’s domain, print and file servers. While this solution was in Azure, DPS still designed it to include appropriate backups and disaster recovery solutions. The move to the Azure cloud was also seamless because the Azure environment was built and tested while the staff utilized their on-premise system.
Prior to the Cloud deployment, DPS made some improvements to the client’s local core infrastructure and Wide-Area-Network to ensure that their network would be robust and sufficient to support the Cloud system. Additionally, point-to-site VPNs were deployed to ensure an easy and consistent connection to the Cloud environments.
Now that the migration has been completed, the staff’s experience has been positively impacted by the firm’s migration to the cloud. They now have the flexibility to work from anywhere and productivity has greatly improved.
Employee satisfaction with technology has greatly improved as they now enjoy a positive technology experience. They have also been able to shift to remote working conditions seamlessly as current events demanded staff work from home more than in the past.
Had they decided to stick with a locally hosted solution, the client would have had to spend around $200,000 in capital investment to replace, configure, and deploy hardware. Migrating to the Cloud helped the organization save money by eliminating the need to purchase hardware and software.
The feedback DPS has received from the CEO has been outstanding, and DPS was happy to be a part of a solution to make their environment more conducive to today’s business needs.