Innosphere Moves to the Cloud
In mid-2019, Innosphere was in a transitional period. Traditionally we had run a lot of our infrastructure locally, but it had always been costly to maintain and to update. Even prior to the pandemic we were thinking about transitioning to a cloud first model to save money and add functionality but how would that work and what would that look like?
Internally there was much discussion about how to transition and it was decided to bring in a new IT director to oversee it: I, Oliver Smith was brought in having decades of experience in roles both internal and supporting customers. More importantly I am an expert in cloud transitions having successfully migrated other companies to cloud based infrastructure previously.
Upon review of the current setup, it was discovered that most of the systems were ready for migration to either cloud versions of current products or different products with the same function: Microsoft, for example, was migrating most of their products to cloud based offerings and have a proven migration path so as a Microsoft shop this made transition straightforward. Other items that needed migration included the anti-virus product that was hosted on an internal server along with the password management system. New products were selected that we were cloud hosted with web-based access and management. Microsoft Azure AD was selected as the directory service to store accounts both as an industry standard product but due to its excellent Single Sign On (SSO) capability. This allowed staff to use their Windows username and password to login to most of the other systems. In fact, many applications could pull those credentials directly from the computer once they had logged in. Not having to remember or maintain a lot of username / password combinations has certainly improved efficiency!
With many of the systems now accessible via secure web connection it allowed the old client laptops and desktops to continue accessing new systems with little or no new configuration while we worked on replacing these aging client devices. The old clients were approaching end of life but were also not configured for easy remote management or updates. They could be supported by the IT department, but it was limited with poor visibility of what was going on.
Leveraging Microsoft Autopilot allowed staff to simply take a new, unopened device, login and have the tool automatically configure the device and push applications to it via the internet with no interaction from IT staff. The tool will work with nearly any Microsoft Windows based device, but it was decided to standardize on certain devices to ensure everyone got a device fit-for-purpose and allow for easy swap in the case of hardware issues. Using this approach allowed us to easily drop ship devices to staff. It has also allowed us to expand where our staff are located. If they have mail service, power, and internet then we can deliver a device and they can work remotely. This technology was previously only available to large companies.
Once all the new devices were rolled out to staff then the existing legacy backend systems required to support them were removed. This left very little in the way of hardware still in the office: some printers, a firewall, a few wireless access points, and a network switch. This equipment was mounted in a small wall cabinet in a space with no AC, saving space and allowing us to quickly move to a smaller office space when one came available (saving us significant money)
Interested in having a similar setup in your environment? Reach out to Inno-I to start the conversation!