Cambridge Econometrics, one of the Financial Times’ leading management consultancies of 2020, sought to migrate users, data, and devices to the cloud and enable remote work while protecting company data. Softwerx, a leading Microsoft Azure cloud security specialist, worked with Cambridge Econometrics to deploy Microsoft solutions, resulting in a fully cloud-secure, resilient and remote-work enabled IT infrastructure. Now all Cambridge Econometrics’ employees can securely work from home and other remote locations.
Cambridge Econometrics benefits from ‘Microsoft-first’ strategy
As part of its ‘Microsoft First’ strategy, Softwerx proposed a stack of interconnected Microsoft solutions and explained how Cambridge Econometrics would benefit from the continuous Microsoft investment in its Azure and Microsoft 365 solutions, as well as the robust security that Microsoft provides. After weighing its options, the company decided that the Microsoft stack would be the best fit for its complex IT system requirements.
Softwerx’s Microsoft architects proposed migrating Cambridge Econometrics’ line-of-business applications to an Azure platform running Microsoft 365 apps. This would ensure that the client’s IT environment could flex and grow with the business. The move to an Azure platform would provide scalability, with extra capacity readily available on the cloud as needed, in contrast to its on-premises solution, which was limited by hardware capacity. The migration would also provide Cambridge Econometrics with security resilience, including built-in defense and backup options, as well as cost-effective monthly consumption billing to reduce up-front expenditures.
Softwerx’s Microsoft Azure architect designed the implementation phase of the migration. Cambridge Econometrics’ Lotus Notes was replaced by Microsoft 365, providing significantly more email storage and improving search and synchronization capabilities. The company’s document library and applications were migrated to SharePoint Online, ensuring that users could access apps and documents remotely. After the migration, users found that being able to get email on any device, and being able to access SharePoint Online and OneDrive from anywhere gave them much greater flexibility in their work. The implementation also improved performance of Cambridge Econometrics’ server system, while requiring lower maintenance.
Enhanced cloud security leveraging Azure and Microsoft 365 features
Security and resilience was critical to its decision, so the security features of Azure and Microsoft 365 were configured to include activation of user multi-factor identification (MFA) to protect against possible breaches. Softwerx also ensured that Cambridge Econometrics makes regular backups using Microsoft Azure Cloud Backup, and configured site recovery to a second secure zone as a failover in the event of a major power outage.
All Cambridge Econometrics’ users were upgraded to Windows 10 and given training on how to use it and Microsoft 365 apps, including Teams. This provided instant messaging capabilities and integrated collaboration tools and telephony. The Softwerx training also covered security best practices and how to use MFA. Additional training and support for the new system is ongoing.
Microsoft Teams enables seamless move to mobile, remote work
The rollout of Teams as part of the Microsoft 365 deployment helped improve internal and external Cambridge Econometrics’ communications dramatically, as employees enjoyed the benefits of the integrated calendar, document sharing, instant messaging, internal and external calling, and videoconferencing features. The old phone system was retired, and all telephone numbers were migrated to Teams, allowing users to make and receive calls no matter where they’re working. A videoconferencing solution was also installed in Cambridge Econometrics’ boardrooms to ensure easier communication at larger gatherings. Together, these new remote collaboration tools proved to be extremely valuable as restrictions related to the COVID-19 global health situation forced employees worldwide to work from home and other remote locations.
Softwerx provided a complex cloud migration for a client that needed a secure, flexible IT system. The process of migration was seamless, and the client is now enjoying the many benefits of its cloud upgrade and security enhancements.
Softwerx did an excellent job facilitating our move to the cloud. We were extremely impressed with the service provided: expert advice, robust implementation, and the rollout was seamless. The productivity boost, mobility and added security has had an immediate, lasting impact.
Keith Dixon: IT Manager
Thanks to Softwerx and their Microsoft solutions stack, with the onset of COVID-19, the secure, remote capabilities of the new system came into their own: all users could continue to work from home in a smooth transition which minimized disruption.
Richard Lewney: Chairman
The effectiveness of Softwerx’s rigorous cloud security standards and ‘Microsoft first’ strategy is demonstrated in the success of this project. Cambridge Econometrics is now a more secure, integrated and fully cloud-enabled company across their international offices.
Adriaan Bekker: Technical Director
Case study re-published from Microsoft’s website: