A Cautionary Tale: Lessons Learned from a Mid-Level Manager

IT Client Success Story

The Anderson Technologies blog specializes in sharing the best ways for business owners to up their cyber security game, but sometimes accounts of tech gone wrong prove just as valuable.

Anderson Technologies spoke again with A. A., Chief of Staff of a wealth management firm located in West St. Louis County. Our last interview with A. A. discussed her firm’s network security audit experience and the projects to come with Anderson Technologies. This time, read about what can happen after the network security audit results and why it’s important to address problems as soon as they’re found.

“I should have listened,” A. A. says. “That’s the beginning and the end to this story.”

Server At A Standstill

Before Anderson Technologies’ network security audit of A. A.’s firm in 2018, the firm already knew server reliability would be one of the first issues addressed. “You told us from the beginning that our server was a liability,” A. A. recalls. Her firm’s previous IT vendor had told her the server was old but still usable, while Mark Anderson flagged it for immediate resolution due to the amount of data and day-to-day tasks the server was responsible for.

“One of the reasons was security issues,” A. A. says. The server was the gathering point for all the firm’s and its clients’ data. “Our entire business is located there, so it was a huge risk for us.” Without guarantees that the server was reliably backing up the firm’s data, Anderson Technologies recommended that A. A. upgrade the server as soon as possible.

Like many other small businesses, the firm was hesitant to drop such a large amount of money on a piece of hardware right after signing on with a new managed services provider. The firm was planning a major update to their business model for mid-2019 and didn’t have a lot of wiggle room in their annual budget. “Anderson Technologies was really good with helping us prioritize what our first steps would be,” A. A. says.

You told us from the beginning that our server was a liability.”

After some planning with Senior System Administrator Eric Dischert, A. A. elected to migrate to the cloud in lieu of investing in a new server before the business model transition. “We already knew that we wanted to move to the cloud,” A. A. says, “so we said we can remove some of this risk by moving over our current files to Office 365.”

Headed for the Cloud

It may not have immediately solved the server problem, but moving to the cloud was a good choice for this particular firm. “We moved as much of our data over to Office 365 as possible,” A. A. recalls. The server remained in production as a bridge to log into the firm’s Active Directory and to scan and store documents locally.

Security was a huge factor contributing to the switch. “In the line of work we’re in as wealth managers, if something happened to our clients’ information, it could be the end of our business,” A. A. says. “It was exceedingly important for us to be proactive in being able to manage our clients’ data efficiently, effectively, and securely.” Migrating to the cloud also allowed for easier and more secure telecommuting, which was exciting for the firm as a whole. “It was simply fantastic to have everything set up and all you have to do is log in through Office 365.”

No Server? No Problem!

While Anderson Technologies was preparing A. A.’s firm for the cloud migration, the worst happened. “Server meltdowns are like horror movies for business professionals,” she says, “worst case scenario.” Thankfully, Dischert and some preemptive measures taken by Anderson Technologies kept downtime to a minimum.

“One of the amazing things about the work you do, and especially Eric [Dischert], was he noticed right away before any of us were in the office that something was wrong with the server,” A. A. says. “He reached out to me, did some remote troubleshooting, and came into the office. . . then announced the time of death [of the server] later that afternoon.”

Since the firm had already been preparing for the cloud migration, the server was no longer business-critical at that point but could have created vulnerabilities if not taken off the network quickly. The only loss the firm experienced was scanned images stored on the local server since employees at the firm had already begun reorganizing their workstations’ data to make the transition to Office 365 smoother. “I knew everything would be okay,” A. A. says.

Everything Anderson Technologies did made an unfortunate situation much easier for us to handle.”

Downtime is a major concern when any business’s tech fails, and this firm was no different. “That was one thing that Anderson Technologies did aside from pinpointing the problem early on, ensuring that we did not have lost time,” A. A. recalls. The team was responsive, telling A. A. that “‘we can triage based on your schedules and make sure everyone’s ready the day before’ . . . I think we got a quote of two hours per computer, and they were able to complete everything in our relatively small office in less than half a day. We expected to be out at least a full day.”

In less than one workday, Anderson Technologies successfully migrated all user profiles and got the wealth management firm working from their new cloud platform. If Dischert and the Anderson Technologies team hadn’t flagged the problem during the network security audit and began the cloud migration process in time, the firm might have lost essential data and experienced significant downtime. Early intervention went a long way when it came to handling this meltdown, and A. A. and her team are especially grateful for the comprehensive approach.

Luckily, this is a story of lessons learned rather than a disaster. A. A. says, “Everything Anderson Technologies did made an unfortunate situation much easier for us to handle.”

Have you or your business been trapped under lifeless hardware and are considering a switch to the cloud? Cloud migration could be the best solution for you! Contact Anderson Technologies today to learn if you’re eligible for a network security audit.