Chartered Accountant Client

Background

The client is a small-to-medium sized firm of Chartered Accountants based in Mayfair, who pride themselves in offering clients a highly-tailored and personal financial service, which is designed to address the real issues that all businesses face.

Since their inception in 1987, they have specialised in advising owner-managed businesses, professional partnerships and private individuals.

Unlike most other firms of Accountants, the Partners lead the delivery of all services offered by the firm, so as to ensure that clients benefit from the more comprehensive attention afforded by a single, senior point of contact. This ensures both continuity and a personal approach.

Challenge

The client had three servers handling the network, emails, documents and accountancy software with tape backups manually changed every day. One of the servers had a hardware failure and due to the age of the server, a replacement part proved very difficult to buy resulting in quite considerable down time for all the staff.

An audit of their IT highlighted numerous high risk areas and the potential for more down time periods.

More and more of the staff were working away from the office at client sites as well as from home and the current setup was not conducive to the increase in VPN connections required to service all the requests.

The client needed a robust, secure and fast system allowing for the change in working practice.

It was also announced during the design stage that the company was moving offices and having the full Hosted Solution in place in time for the move was essential.

Solution

HostingIT4U Ltd tailored the new infrastructure to meet all their needs ensuring there was no disruption to their working day.

It was agreed to split the migration into different stages, the first of which was emails. This can be achieved with no disruption to emails and no change to the way the user sees and accesses their emails. As many of the users maintain very large mailboxes, the move to a hosted solution allowed HostingIT4U to better manage the resources and meet user demand instantly and seamlessly.

The email migration to a Hosted environment was completed successfully and a period of “bedding down” was allowed to allow users time to familiarise themselves on the new features, such as archiving.

The new spam filter provided as part of the Hosted Exchange service reduced the number of spam messages noticeably and the automatic archiving ensured some missing emails were easily and quickly located and restored.

Company iPhones and Blackberries were reconfigured for the new Hosted Exchange email. This proved invaluable when a power cut occurred soon after the migration. The previous infrastructure would have been rendered incapacitated however with the Hosted Exchange system all staff could continue to access and respond to client emails.

Confidence in the new Hosted email system was quickly established which helped reassure the partners of the decision to migrate to Hosted Desktops.

Stage 2 was then started for the migration to hosted desktops. The new infrastructure was made up of 4 servers running Windows server 2012R2 with each one mirrored to a second data centre. Two hourly snapshots were taken on each server and kept for 3 days with an additional automatic backup of the data taken every night and that stored in a different location.

Each user’s Hosted Desktop was then created and the data migrated. User applications were installed and tested. This was all done in such a manner to ensure there was no disruption to the client’s working day. All users had been given access to their Hosted Desktop in advance to allow familiarisation to the new setup.

The final stage was the migration and upgrade of the accountancy software. The upgrade rendered the old system redundant therefore this task was performed overnight. The following morning HostingIT4U staff were onsite to support staff logging onto the new system which went very smoothly and caused no disruption to the staff.

Subsequently the client moved offices and, apart from ensuring the new broadband line was up and running in time, there was nothing else, from an IT point of view, to do. Senior staff were able to work from home or at clients offices while the move took place and when they arrived at their desk in the new office they were able to immediately access their Hosted Desktops.