prominent real estate company

Philadelphia-Based Real Estate Company Goes 100% Microsoft Cloud with Support from IT Solutions

Background

  • Prominent real estate development and venture capital investment firm located in Plymouth Meeting, PA maintained an on-premise network for years, built on Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 (Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007) utilizing a traditional shared documents folder and file system.

The Challenge

  • With their hardware and software approaching end-of-support, a network refresh was on the horizon.
  • The firm weighed upgrading the infrastructure and keeping their network on-premise vs. taking the opportunity to move it all to the cloud. 
  • They sought a solution that would provide flexibility to access documents on mobile devices without the limitations that come with a remote desktop solution (RDS) or virtual private network (VPN).  

The Solution

Strategy

  • Together we evaluated various cloud platforms with our client, such as Box.com, Dropbox for Business and Office 365 for Business; they chose to migrate their entire network to Microsoft Office 365, as they saw it as the best option for hosting email and directory/domain/security services.
  • With Office 365, each user is provided 5 licenses with 1 TB of storage space so they can securely access their network from a web browser, on any device at any time.
  • The firm opted for the Office 365 E3 (Enterprise) plan to take advantage of the enhanced security services and SharePoint, among some of the other included applications.

Migration

  • The ITS Professional Services team began the migration by upgrading all the computers to the Windows 10 operating system – a requirement to utilize Azure Directory Services for computer authentication. This allowed for permissions and group policies to be successfully transitioned from the former on-premise domain controller to Microsoft Azure.
  • We replicated all documents and folders, maintaining the file hierarchy from the on-premise server, to SharePoint Online where all corporate files are now securely stored. No longer does the firm have any server hardware in their office. 
  • Employee documents and files were migrated from their “My Documents” folder to their personal OneDrive accounts, maintaining the same file naming as before. 
  • With single sign-on enabled, users can access files with ease; they can work on documents while offline and sync them back to the network when they’re back online. Within SharePoint and OneDrive users can revert to many previous versions of the same document to restore their work as they desire.
  • In addition to the restore options included within Office 365, the entire environment is backed up by IT Solutions to a third-party service ensuring no data is lost.
  • Microsoft’s multi-factor authentication is enabled, providing a critical additional layer of security.

Support

  • Under IT Solutions’ Guardian® plan, full support offering –a local team of Office 365 experts are available 24x7 for backend management and configurations, as well as end-user support.
  • As a Microsoft Gold Partner and Cloud Solution Provider, ITS receives priority technical support from Microsoft that is not available to most businesses. This enables us to handle any troubleshooting and communications that require escalation to Microsoft on the client’s behalf, including any licensing or billing needs.
  • Working closely with a dedicated client advocate (vCIO) from IT Solutions, we periodically review new products released under the Office 365 umbrella to identify and explore new tools that can enhance workflows for their business.
  • Together we establish budgetary requirements and develop a long-term technical strategy and roadmap that aligns with the client’s business goals -- ensuring they get the most out of their technology investment and are well positioned with state-of-the-art industry tools.

The Return

  • Prior to the migration, our client was hesitant to embrace Microsoft’s cloud, but they are very pleased with the outcome, and since the migration they have not regretted moving away from the on-premise environment.
  • The flexibility of Office 365 has been a true gamechanger for their business, with an increase in productivity as the result. 
  • By embracing the cloud, they never have to worry about updating their software to the latest version again. Microsoft handles O365 updates automatically, so the firm can now implement new technologies as needed.
  • Similarly, the cloud eliminates the need for buying new hardware every four to five years as well as the associated costs of an upgrade project.
  • They just begun to scratch the surface of what is available through Office 365 and looks forward to improving collaboration and communication by incorporating SharePoint and Teams and OneNote.
  • Now the firm is well-positioned to scale the business to meet future needs as operations require. 

"The move to Office 365 has been a game changer for our business and IT Solutions made it happen without flaw. They exceeded all of our expectations."

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