Daisy’s CloudBridge Portal | Cloud Management Made Simple

The simple way to manage your cloud estate

Check out our 60 second video and find out how CloudBridge portal can save you time and give you the visibility and control you need to easily manage your cloud estate.

Manage your cloud services from a single dashboard

With the Daisy CloudBridge Portal, you can easily control your cloud estate from a single dashboard. Add Office 365 licences, allocate them to users, view event logs, analyse billing and reporting, view usage of compute, storage, and network, plus get complete cost visibility including forecasts giving you a view into the future.

Self-serve Office 365 subscriptions at the click of a button

No more requests and time spent waiting for Office 365 subscriptions. With the Daisy CloudBridge Portal, you can add licences in just a few clicks with complete cost visibility, and quickly assign them to users.

Easily add and subtract users and simply allocate licences to each user

You can add users to Office 365 quickly and easily, saving you time and making you more efficient and productive.

View event logs including user history, subscriptions information and subscription changes

View a historical list of events and approval requests, so you are never in the dark and always have an unrestricted view of what’s going on in your cloud estate.

Manage Azure subscriptions and usage

View your Azure usage, costs and reporting as well as all of your subscriptions and users.

Take control with complete cost visibility

The Cloudbridge Portal offers you complete transparency and visibility of your costs. View and export all of your invoices, billing and reporting from one easy to manage location.

View billing and reporting for each service

Dive into each service area for a more granular look at the billing and reporting for each service

View usage of compute, storage, and virtual network

You can easily stay on top of compute, storage, and network to ensure everything runs smoothly and there are no nasty surprises.

See into the future. Forecast future usage and costs

Use predictive forecasting to see into the future to help you make informed decisions without any guesswork.

To find out more about CloudBridge, visit our CloudBridge page or get in touch with one of our cloud experts.

One Does Not Simply Migrate To Hybrid Cloud

Every cloud is unique when you look at them, every one different to its peers. But even in that uniqueness we can group them into types; Stratocumulus. Cirrus. Cumulonimbus and so on. Even more fundamentally, each and every cloud is constructed of water vapour. H2O.

It is the same when you are planning your journey to the cloud. You are unique, your organisation is unique, and your cloud strategy will be too – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t group what you are trying to achieve and distil it down to your fundamental concerns at the same as identifying the benefits and building your business case: organisational agility, productivity, efficiency, scalability and cost-effectiveness.

Every cloud has its silver lining but it is sometimes a little difficult to get it to the mint.

Don Marquis

Don’t think of the uniqueness of your organisation as being a barrier to adopting a cloud strategy – the bespoke nature of hybrid cloud architecture means you won’t be hammering a square peg into a round hole but creating an environment that fits your organisation.

So how do you mint that silver lining of a hybrid cloud strategy?

Which kind of cloud are you?

Firstly, it sounds simple but is often missed, we need to make an inventory of your current state. Identifying all the workloads, your user base and rate of usage for each of these workloads, calculating the cost of compute, storage and networking, defining the security, recovery and continuity needs and finally researching the all legal and compliance implications for these.

Sounds a lot but without this baseline we won’t be able to accurately assess what you have, what you need and what you want to change. Below are some pointers to help evaluate each of these areas and begin to build a picture of your estate.

Sound daunting? Our experts are on hand to help you with as little or as much of this process as you need. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

Make an inventory of workloads

The best place to begin? Making an inventory of all of your organisation’s applications and workflows, such as email systems, finance applications, databases, and CRM systems. Starting from the top and working down.

Next, we determine which workloads are business-critical, whether there is any sensitive data, which of these are prime candidates for public cloud, and which need to be highly available.

It’s a good idea to estimate the effort to move each workload to the cloud and the advantage of doing so; even a simple classification of high effort/low effort, high value/low value will give an idea.

High Effort/High Value Contact Centre High Effort/Low Value Dev/Test
Low Value/High Value Data Warehouse Low Effort/Low Value

Once a birds-eye view of these workloads has been established, the task of planning where each workload should reside becomes easier. This is something your internal teams may want to undertake or we can assist and help produce.

daisy cloudbridge consultation hybrid cloud

Identify User Base & Rate of Usage

Once we have mapped out all of your workloads, their importance to your organisation and where you can gain the most benefit from migrating them to the cloud, the next step is to identify the rate of usage and user base. This is important in order to know how you can go about executing a migration with as little effect on your users and customers as possible as well as what kind of configurations are needed.

Calculate costs

An essential part of any business decision is, of course, costing it out. What kind of level of compute is necessary? How much storage do you need? What are the networking costs? As we know the level of storage required is likely to grow and change, our cloud experts think ahead to minimise future storage costs and other hidden costs that may arise.

Define security & recovery needs

Identify your businesses appetite for risk and requirements to meet industry or customer standards is a vital part of the process; what kind of SLAs need to be in place? What sort of failover and business continuity considerations need to be taken? What are the security implications of the planned migration so far?

With more than 30 years’ experience in business recovery, we have experts on hand to assist with these critical considerations which can have some grey areas and intricacies.

Research legal

Just like for when you are assessing your security and recovery needs, make sure you are aware of the compliance and legal guidelines that your organisation must adhere to. What about future considerations? Getting all information available together at this stage is vital for planning your next steps.

Choose a type of migration

Do you need a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) where the virtual machines (VMs) are configured by the service provider? Or is this something you can do in-house with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)?

What about considerations like rolling back from Public Cloud? Is there a path back? Make sure you have a strategy that includes optional paths in the future means that you won’t ever paint yourself into a proverbial corner.

Got some silver already?

If you are already utilising a hybrid cloud architecture and are interested in changing things up, this may still help. If not, get in touch with one of our cloud experts and we can talk through your requirements and advise you on the optimal path and how we can help.

Thinking of starting your cloud journey, or just need advice on your current cloud architecture? Get in touch today with one of our experts, and we can help talk through your requirements.

Digital Customer Experience (CX) in Financial Services

Mitel’s Head of Financial Services discusses how a solid CX strategy can drive revenue.

A solid customer experience (CX) strategy will not only ensure that customer expectations are exceeded in the digital era, but will also improve business processes and drive revenue.  In today’s environment, where customers are demanding even more from digital platforms, a superior digital customer experience is a must if you want to maintain a competitive edge.
Continue reading “Digital Customer Experience (CX) in Financial Services”

Delivering a Digital Customer Experience (CX) for Today’s Mobile Consumer [Whitepaper]

We discuss the digital customer experience (CX) and how it has shifted from a “nice to have” to an essential service.

More than ever, customer experience (CX) is shaped and delivered through digital interactions. While the majority of customer communications are still voice-based, consumers now rely more heavily on digital methods, such as email, SMS, web chat and social media. They expect the flexibility to interact through the medium of their choice, wherever they are. And, they expect to be able to switch between one medium and another while they are on the move.

This whitepaper discusses the digital customer experience and how it has shifted from a “nice to have” offering to an essential service, before providing an overview of the digital expectations and habits of today’s consumer and offers practical next steps for transforming customer experience from dated to digital.

Guest Blog: The Biggest Threat to Security

Aruba’s Security Sales Specialist Richard Leadbetter discusses the role of security across wired and wireless networks.

Regardless of the changing types of attacks, one consistent threat regularly hits the top spot; people. The human factor all too readily providing misplaced trust and casual clicks that lead to media fanned disaster. It’s a valid concern but the problem I’m seeing rise the fastest is the worrying lack of trained cybersecurity staff to help businesses protect themselves, and to respond when things go wrong.
Continue reading “Guest Blog: The Biggest Threat to Security”

Digital Customer Experience (CX) in Financial Services [Whitepaper]

How financial services organisations can maintain a competitive edge.

Financial services institutions must have a solid customer experience (CX) strategy if they want to maintain a competitive edge. This will not only ensure that customer expectations are exceeding in today’s tech-driven world, but will also improve business processes and drive revenue.

Download your free copy of this whitepaper to learn:

  • How you can better personalise your customers’ experience
  • How to keep up with regulatory compliance
  • About the latest demands in automation and AI in contact centres
  • How to integrate a mobile workforce and greater collaboration

Enabling Mobility in a Highly-Regulated Environment

Head of Product Richard Beeston looks at IT challenges within the financial services sector.

Working environments have changed. The days of desktop PCs hardwired into dedicated network ports are moving away from many workplaces. More and more people and employers are moving towards mobile devices and flexible working locations. While this can often greatly increase employee satisfaction and productivity, it can open up new challenges for a company’s IT and security teams – especially in regulated industries such as the financial services sector.

Wireless networking has long been the enabler for the move to mobility. Many years ago it was often the privilege of the exec team to have WiFi devices, but now these devices are ubiquitous and expected. Visitors to offices also expect connectivity so they can conduct meetings, send emails and do business while they are there. This simple-use case kicks off the conversation about the network and its security. From an IT perspective, would we really want guest/visitors devices on the same network as our staff, our devices, our printers and servers? No of course not, we don’t know the visitors’ device, whether it’s safe, what it’s going to do and how it’s going to do it. So we need to separate them.

But how?

Firstly, we need to think about network design and probably give guests a separate network to join when they connect to WiFi. Next, we need to think about how these devices connect. We could have a shared key that’s given out by reception when the guests arrive. If that’s a shared key though, that won’t allow us to track individuals. Giving each guest a key is feasible but puts a burden on staff to create and hand out keys.

Introducing Aruba ClearPass

The logical answer is to use a self-service guest portal such as the one that can be created with Aruba ClearPass. With this tool, guests can be enrolled onto a network via a registration/login process, their traffic can be encrypted and policies can be enforced to make sure they can only do what they are supposed to do. All this activity is fully-auditable for compliance purposes and can be set up well in advance of an actual guest joining the network.

The same methods can be applied to employee devices as well. ClearPass can be used to identify specific device types on your network and apply policies to them. This can be used for guest, employee and IoT devices alike. In the case of employee devices, ClearPass can be used to authenticate the users’ device on the network and based on the users’ privileges give the user and their devices access to specific resources.

For instance, all authenticated employees may be granted access to printers, however, only finance employees are given access to the finance system. This allows for a much greater level of reporting and segmentation on the network. Other functions can also be performed on a device that really lends themselves to regulated environments.

For example, we may deploy a policy that states devices that don’t have encrypted storage won’t be allowed on the network, USB storage can be disabled automatically and patches and fixes enforced. Devices can undergo automatic remediation or quarantine based on your security posture to ensure your compliance policies are enforced across the network.

It’s often the case that organisations believe that wired connections are more secure than wireless connections. This is not the case though. There are often very limited security policies on wired networks and it’s very easy for unwanted devices to be plugged into the network. These devices may result in a compromise to network security. By employing ClearPass and its OnConnect feature, wired devices can easily be categorised and dealt with against specific policies.

For example, an unknown device can automatically be quarantined on the network, while a known device can be authenticated against its device profile. The ClearPass solution along with the Aruba Introspect technology fingerprints network activity allowing for a much more detailed description of what’s happening on the network. This can help quickly identify any security issues and provide a further audit trail which is important in a regulated environment.

Aruba ClearPass supports industry standards and works in multi-vendor architectures, meaning that you don’t have to replace everything and start again.

Written by Richard Beeston – Head of Product at Daisy Corporate Services.

RSA_Insurance

RSA Insurance Group

Case_Study_RSA_Insurance_Group

“Support from Daisy has made us feel very confident about the solution we’re getting. Consistency of service is key, and whichever recovery site you visit, you know that’s exactly what you’re going to find.”
Paul Rose, UK Head of Business Continuity Management at RSA Insurance Group

The Background

RSA Insurance Group is one of the world’s oldest general insurers. With a 300-year heritage and the capability to write business in more than 100 countries, it provides a range of vital services
to help businesses and individuals protect themselves against life’s uncertainties and enjoy peace of mind.

As a complex business that specialises in managing risk, RSA unsurprisingly considers business continuity a key priority. With customers often needing help at a moment’s notice, the group’s contact centres need to be up and running. Meanwhile, other vital business functions must be quickly recoverable to ensure claims can be processed seamlessly in an ever-tighter regulatory environment.

As a result, RSA boasts an advanced and energetic business recovery function, with dedicated teams allocated to each of the group’s 100+ business areas.

The Challenge

Effective work area recovery is central to RSA’s business continuity strategy. Prior to 2017, the group was able to meet its requirements largely in-house, using its large property portfolio to provide alternative workspaces if one of its main sites was compromised.

However, after rationalising its property holdings and calling a review of its business continuity management (BCM) strategy, RSA decided that a third party solution would be a better way of meeting its work area recovery needs. As well as providing flexibility and value for money, the solution had to be second to none in its effectiveness, ensuring staff welfare in the event of an incident and allowing the business to manage its existing obligations to customers.

During the tender process, it became clear that Daisy’s network of workplace recovery sites had the best geographical fit for a UK-wide business like RSA. Daisy had also been supplying RSA with business continuity planning software for some years.

The Solution

Working with Daisy allows RSA to meet its recovery time objectives via a syndicated model, rather than relying on dedicated recovery seating. With a syndication ratio of less than 10:1, the solution offers considerable efficiency and a substantial risk-managed cost benefit, while ensuring fit-for-purpose workspaces are always available if an incident occurs.

Before implementation, the solution was rigorously tested in close collaboration with the RSA team and key external suppliers, such as Vodafone, which provide RSA with network and phone connectivity. In the event of an incident or test, Daisy deploys the customer’s IT “image” to computers at the relevant recovery site, while connectivity is supplied by Vodafone between RSA and Daisy’s own premises.

This allows business-critical applications to be up and running in accordance with RSA’s recovery time objectives. The contract is designed to offer maximum flexibility and value, with a simple flat rate charged “per desk, per year”, regardless of how many incidents actually occur. Ongoing testing is also built in, allowing RSA’s Business Continuity team to conduct regular preparatory “dry-runs” and inspect all aspects of each recovery site when required.

The Result

“We were pretty impressed by how logical it all was,” said Paul Rose, RSA’s UK & International Head of Business Continuity Management. “It was great how flexible Daisy was prepared to be in allowing people to come and look and test. The team let us use their meeting rooms free of charge when we visit, are always accommodating and keen to help.”

The work area recovery solution has already been tested over seven times by the RSA workforce. As well as making sure colleagues are comfortable with the work-specific aspects of each site (desks, phones, IT), the team ensures all other practical facilities like kitchens and washrooms are fit for purpose. After each test, users are asked to complete a survey, and the results have so far been overwhelmingly positive.

Going the extra mile is part and parcel of Daisy’s approach. A site can be ready within just four hours, giving ample time for connectivity to be established and fine-tuned by RSA’s IT and BCM teams. What’s more, Daisy makes each recovery site available for 14 weeks in the event of an incident – far in excess of what RSA plans for as standard. An emergency hotline is also available for extreme situations, with callback guaranteed within 30 minutes.

Because the contract is flexible, RSA can increase or reduce the number of recovery site desks to fit changing business needs and workloads – essential in an industry that’s undergoing extensive change. Daisy also offers RSA a “FlexPlace” service, where recovery centre desks can be hired for requirements other than business continuity – for example during an office refurbishment, or to accommodate temporary staff for a large marketing campaign.

In an evermore regulated industry, RSA can demonstrate a leading-edge, award-winning work area recovery solution to customers, senior leadership, regulators and auditors.

MHA Monahans

When we took the decision to outsource, we spoke to a number of potential suppliers, but Daisy stood out from the start with their professionalism, knowledge and vision. This, and more, has been borne out in the years we’ve been working with them. The platform is stable, secure, reliable and performant, while the people are experienced, knowledgeable and good to work with. As we start to look at our 3rd generation platform, Daisy’s vision, expertise and commitment remains outstanding.

Steve Fraser, Partner, MHA Monahans.

The Background

MHA Monahans is one of the leading firms of chartered accountants and business advisors in the west of England, offering expert support to clients in areas such as accounts provision, audit and tax. Its teams of accountants and other professionals operate from offices in Bath, Chippenham, Frome, Glastonbury, Melksham, Swindon,  Trowbridge and Taunton.

The firm also provides a range of more specialist services including corporate finance, tax consultancy, business recovery and insolvency, cloud accounting, HR and payroll services, and probate. Its financial services arm, Monahans Wealth Management, offers a complete package of tailored, independent wealth advice to individuals and businesses.

As chartered accountants, MHA Monahans sell their skills in units of billable time, which need to be precisely accounted for. The wealth management side of the business, meanwhile, actively manages clients’ money, with transactions relating to pensions and investments all needing to be handled in a timely, professional and compliant manner.

The Challenge

To deliver the efficient service clients expect, MHA Monahans needs a reliable, high-performance IT solution.

Prior to working with Daisy, the firm’s core technology was housed in one of its own offices and managed by a third party service provider. In 2012, as part of its newly-defined IT strategy, MHA Monahans sought a new IT partner that could host their core infrastructure in a highly available way through an off-site data centre. This would allow for a fully-managed and monitored IT environment, with the ability to upgrade the entire application stack easily to the latest available versions while supporting staff with any IT issues.

As well as removing MHA Monahan’s IT dependency from its own premises, the solution needed to facilitate both mobile working and IT Disaster Recovery (ITDR) – with special focus on providing access if the firm’s business premises were ever compromised.

The Solution

Now on its second generation, MHA Monahan’s private cloud platform is hosted in one of Daisy’s state-of-the-art data centres, with the client’s actual data archived in a geographically separate location.

The use of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) ensures that all confidential data remains in the data centre, while secure remote access (complete with Multi Factor Authentication) enables both mobile working and effective ITDR. The same virtual environment also hosts a Cisco unified communications virtual platform, which delivers telephony
service and a virtual reception across all office locations.

Later in the relationship, Daisy also redesigned MHA Monahans’ Wide Area Network, providing improved connectivity with an MPLS WAN solution from vendors BT. As well as being more cost-effective, the solution offers
guaranteed class and Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure that virtual desktop and voice traffic are prioritised.

In addition to all this, Daisy operates a service desk to support all of MHA Monahans’ IT users, while proactively monitoring and managing the platform. The team also provides strategic support to help the firm drive innovation and challenge established thinking.

The Result

Today, MHA Monahans and Monahans Wealth Management both benefit from a resilient, accessible and high-performance IT environment which delivers a highly-available application and voice service – allowing all staff to provide a premium quality service to their clients.