Moving a fully functioning business to the cloud with minimal disruption takes expertise, preparation, and an innovative approach to problem-solving.

In the September 2018 edition of the BUI Bulletin, we briefly discussed our latest Azure migration project. Here, we highlight key stages in that journey to help you understand how we solved a complicated business problem with cloud technology.

The business problem

Our customer, a financial services company, was hosting its entire online environment with front-facing websites at a large local hosting provider in South Africa.

BUI was brought in to help the business migrate all its services to Azure. The move had to be done seamlessly, with zero downtime. It also had to happen in the background, without affecting normal operations.

The solution

Solving the customer’s problem involved end-to-end service delivery from BUI.

We harnessed the strength and expertise of our networking team and our Azure cloud architects to successfully migrate the customer’s digital environment into Azure – with zero downtime.

In technical terms, we moved the customer’s entire online environment by using Network Address Translation (NAT) to re-map the IPs across ExpressRoute. We secured the solution in Azure behind next-generation firewall virtual appliances and took care of the high availability concerns with Azure Load Balancers. The security happens when the previous provider NATs it over ExpressRoute into Azure, where it hits the Load Balancers. Now, we are passing through the traffic and keeping the source address throughout the whole transaction until it lands in the back-end database behind the firewall and two Load Balancers. The entire process runs without any downtime for our customer, or any of its own clients.

Azure services are now being used instead of Virtual Machines, all Load Balanced and Highly Available.

The following technologies were among those used or implemented to achieve a successful migration and an improved overall security infrastructure:

  • Azure Network Watcher
  • Azure Backup for instances
  • Azure Backup for SQL Server
  • Azure Batch (to run the customer’s batch jobs and queuing jobs efficiently in Azure)

The benefits

Our customer has been running services in Azure for more than 30 days, and already there is a substantial cost saving.

Improved performance has also been noted: batch processes that took 15 minutes to complete with the previous provider now take under 60 seconds.

Enhanced security has been a particular game-changer for our customer… There were audible gasps when the results were first viewed via Azure Security Center and Azure Network Watcher. “All of a sudden, we can see all the malicious attacks that are hitting our web front ends! A real eye-opener,” said a key staff member.

The future

The next step is to replicate the same environment to another region in Azure as a Disaster Recovery Site.

This customer’s appetite for Azure services has grown enormously – because the business benefits are clear.

Looking for ways to make your business more efficient and more agile?

Book your assessment with BUI’s Azure experts.

We’ll make cloud migration simpler and more manageable for you.

BUI is an official Microsoft Partner in South Africa, and an award-winning leader in identity and security solutions.

CASE STUDY: A Productivity-Enhancing Cloud Journey

Our commitment to ensuring business continuity – even in the face of disruption – has been recognised by the British Standards Institution.

We’re proud to announce that we have earned ISO 22301 certification after a rigorous independent evaluation by the British Standards Institution last month. The ISO 22301 badge is recognised internationally and sets the standard for Business Continuity Management Systems.

“This certification highlights the strength of our company’s business continuity strategy,” says Gayle Roseveare, our Chief Operating Officer (COO) here at BUI. “It proves to our staff, partners and customers that we’re prepared for any eventuality – and that we’re able to serve and support the people who rely on us, no matter what. Our ISO 22301 badge represents our commitment to effective risk management, organisational resilience, and reliability – even in the face of disruption,” notes Roseveare.

What is ISO 22301?

Developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO 22301 lays out a framework to help companies like ours create, implement, and maintain a comprehensive business continuity management system (BCMS). The main aim is to ensure that companies are protected against unforeseen business challenges and equipped to respond and recover when such events do occur.

“BUI is a global company with offices in East Africa, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States,” says Roseveare. “On any given day, our teams are provisioning cloud infrastructure, monitoring and securing digital environments, and delivering a wide range of IT services to customers. We operate around the world and around the clock – and we have to be able to do so continuously. Whether there are power outages in South Africa or internet connectivity issues in Europe, we need to ensure we can deliver uninterrupted services to our customers. Our ISO 22301 certificate validates our planning for disruptive incidents and disasters.”

Why is ISO 22301 certification important?

“In an unpredictable business climate, it pays to be prepared,” explains Dhiren Boodhia, our Group Governance and Compliance Manager. “And that goes double for service providers like us. To earn our ISO 22301 certificate, we had to demonstrate that we have a thorough BCMS in place; that the staff in our various offices understand the BCMS and the processes required to sustain it; and that we are focused on maintaining business continuity and sustainability regardless of market uncertainties and challenges. I think the ISO 22301 badge is an important differentiator – especially when customers are looking for a steadfast technology ally that is as dedicated to legal and regulatory compliance as it is to protecting the business resources of the organisations it works with,” he says.

For customers who choose to partner with BUI, there are five key benefits, adds Boodhia.

  1. Consistency. ISO 22301 emphasises the importance of consistency when it comes to best practices and business processes. “We’ve been assessed on our capabilities around risk assessment and impact analysis as well as our strategies for mitigating disruptions. Our teams excelled in every area – and that means our customers can expect the highest standards of service and care from everyone at BUI,” says Boodhia.
  2. Data protection. With the cyber threat landscape evolving so quickly, data privacy and data security are critical considerations for customers. “ISO 22301 includes extensive conditions for data protection and data recovery,” notes Boodhia. “Our ISO 22301 badge, together with the ISO 27001 certification we achieved for our commitment to information security management, should give our customers even greater confidence: we handle all data respectfully and safely.
  3. Faster recovery. “ISO 22301 requires us to have a holistic strategy in place to deal with disruptions and disasters. It also mandates a detailed recovery plan to ensure that downtime is minimised – for our company and for the business organisations we serve,” says Boodhia. “BUI customers can be assured that, in the event of an issue, our teams will follow a step-by-step framework to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”
  4. Greater compliance. By achieving ISO 22301 certification, BUI has met the global benchmark for business continuity management, adds Boodhia. “Many of our customers operate in highly regulated industries, like financial services and healthcare, and they must adhere to their own standards in terms of the services they provide to their clients. BUI is committed to maintaining essential functions during adverse circumstances – and that’s a big plus for customers who have strict compliance obligations.”
  5. Peace of mind. ISO 22301 calls for certified organisations to update and improve their business continuity processes to ensure that their strategies remain current, relevant, and effective. “We’re obligated to adapt and enhance our BCMS plan as our company grows,” explains Boodhia. “It’s good news for our customers because it means we’re always prepared. Whatever happens, the BUI services and solutions that so many businesses utilise every day will be available.”

Our commitment to your success

ISO 22301 may be our newest certification, but it’s also a testament to our unwavering focus on our customers, notes our COO. “To be a dependable, reliable technology partner, you need to anticipate the challenges you’re going to face and then take the necessary steps to ensure that you can address those challenges as soon as they arise. We’re being proactive today so that we’re ready for tomorrow – and always on hand to help our customers be productive, secure, and resilient,” Roseveare concludes.

Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place?

Our experts can help you craft a comprehensive backup strategy aligned with your business structure, your IT resources, your budget, and your goals.

Contact our team to arrange a discussion today.

share this article