At first, uptake was slow and gradual with many stumbling blocks including performance, migration difficulties and cost. More recently, however, SaaS platforms have become mature and mainstream. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that cloud services have become indispensable in enabling continued business operations during forced lockdowns with entire workforces working from home. For us and our clients, the cloud has truly become the game changing technology it was originally envisaged to be.
For many organisations, unfortunately, Office 365 only covers part of the regular "business as usual" requirements. These organisations are struggling to continue operating “in-house” applications, business-specific applications, file servers, print servers and other legacy servers. With the current lockdown still in place in Melbourne and overall unpredictability caused by the pandemic, should you maintain the status quo and continue running these systems from your office premises? Our recommendation is – no!
Organisations must adopt a new approach to information technology in order to provide stable and “pandemic-proof” IT resources for their staff. “Pandemic-proof” is a term we have coined having supported our clients through these difficult times, ensuring that their IT systems are continuing to operate, even where it’s impossible to physically access them via an office building. Consider our advice as the catalyst your organisation needs to take another look at its IT infrastructure. Now is not the time for complacency. You must accept the fact that you might not be able to manage or maintain your company’s office server, network or productivity applications due to current or future lockdowns. Migrate your legacy systems to the cloud in a controlled and structured fashion instead of waiting for failure to force your hand!
As a Managed IT Services company, we have come up with some tangible and inexpensive ways of moving your legacy systems/services to the cloud. Some more common suggestions are listed below. Alternatively, call our solution specialists to discuss your specific requirements.
- Microsoft/Office 365 – Enable greater collaboration via Microsoft/Office 365 tools and services. Most companies have only touched the surface of this vast and ever-growing collaboration platform. Seek professional advice to review and better utilise Microsoft/Office 365 offerings. Work with one of our experienced solution engineers to review and improve your utilisation in just a few hours.
- Migrate Legacy Applications – Analyse your office IT infrastructure. Instead of looking at the granular servers and applications, look at the IT services your organisation requires. For example, your legacy file server could be replaced with SharePoint Online, which is already available through your existing Microsoft/Office 365 subscription. It is quite easy and inexpensive to migrate your distributed file systems, your file shares and your file libraries to the cloud.
- Avoid Cloud Sprawl – Review cloud services that you have subscribed to. “Cloud sprawl” is common with organisations subscribing to cloud services in an unmanaged and uncontrolled manner. This results in service duplications, lack of visibility, security and control. For example, using Drobox while still subscribing to Microsoft/Office 365 creates duplication of services. SharePoint Online offered by your existing Microsoft/Office 365 subscription could offer identical or superior functionality at no extra cost. The same analogy is easily applicable to using Zoom or WebEx while already subscribing to Microsoft/Office 365 which includes Teams.
- PABX/Telephone System – If you are still housing a legacy PABX at your office, now is the time to adopt a Hosted VoIP (IP-PABX) system. Hosted VoIP requires no maintenance, no hardware refresh and it is not hard linked to your office. With little start-up and a small monthly recurring cost, this is clearly a phone system everyone should adopt. Take it one step further and allow your office phone extension to be accessible via your mobile phone. No call forwarding is ever required. Also consider adding audio-conferencing licensing to your existing Microsoft/Office 365 subscription to allow external parties to dial in to your conferences.
- Recalibrate Your Security Approach – Working from home (WFH) necessitates a rethink of an organisations’ IT security. Away from the “protected barriers” of the corporate network, the security focus has shifted from protecting corporate systems to protecting individual users wherever they are, including at their home. We are not going to follow the “IT herd” by giving you another 12 “secure working from home tips”. Instead we suggest that your organisation adopts cloud tools to secure your remote workforce. Microsoft 365 Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Microsoft Intune integrate tightly within your Microsoft 365 environment and offer secure management of your organisation’s mobile devices. Once again, no need to reinvent the wheel. Engage Exigence to show you how your security can be improved using tools and services that are readily available.
- Protect your Microsoft Teams – If your organisation uses Teams, then undoubtedly you are sharing files and sensitive information across multiple chat channels. Secure and protect this data by using Microsoft 365 Data Loss Prevention policies. Again, this is a feature that is already available within your Microsoft/Office 365 environment, often at no extra cost. We can help you configure and implement these policies.
- Engage Services of a Managed IT Service Provider – Yes, this is a shameful plug. However, we are experts in migrating legacy systems to the cloud and securing a mobile workforce. Our professional services have become indispensable to 100’s of clients who have been able to utilise existing cloud services to their full potential.
In these challenging times, Exigence remains fully operational to ensure our clients can continue to operate their IT systems. This experience has taught us how to maximise existing resources to the full potential. We have no doubt that your organisation can benefit from our expertise. Make your IT pandemic-proof!