David Clout and Associates

The Challenge

David Clout and Associates' Gold Coast client’s IT infrastructure was reasonably large and had become very unreliable. Critical equipment was out of warranty and had developed faults. Critical management software was multiple versions behind and was not running correctly. The local IT companies engaged by David Clout and Associates had changed settings within the system which resulted in it crashing on a daily basis.

David Clout and Associates advised that:

  • it was imperative the infrastructure be made 100% reliable as there were external parties who needed to perform legal investigations and they needed the systems to be available 24/7
  • any project would need to have minimum downtime because of the seriousness and urgency of the investigation
  • with the nature of the investigation, they did not know how long it could take and could not commit to any sort of term contract
  • they wanted to reduce costs.

We investigated the existing environment together with the costs that were being paid and presented a document to David Clout and Associates outlining each cost, each issue and how it could be rectified. We also presented some options for maintaining the IT infrastructure moving forward.

There was a serious problem of server sprawl and the environment had grown out of control.

The existing IT infrastructure was housed in a data centre in Brisbane and was running on the business’ own purchased/leased IT equipment. The business had been paying a premium for what it was getting.

We presented four options to David Clout and Associates, together with a strong recommendation as to the way forward.

These options were:

  1. Leave the infrastructure where it was and renew the warranties and software support.
  1. Move the infrastructure to the business’ office that was still open.
  1. Move the infrastructure to another data centre, renew the warranties and software support.
  1. Migrate the Windows servers and associated applications to a dedicated hosted server environment and decommission the out-of-warranty equipment.
We recommended option four as it was the most cost effective, allowed for the greatest reliability and had a manageable monthly cost, compared to large up-front costs for the other three options. 

The proposal document was submitted to David Clout and Associates who then distributed it to the interested parties, including Deutsche Bank and BDO. The quality of the document and our advice meant all parties had no hesitation in approving our recommendations.

The Solution

To address the challenges and issues, we implemented our solutions path – a proven process of insight and action that sees us: understand, plan, build, maintain, enhance (Repeatable).

By clearly understanding the issues and challenges that the business was facing, we were able to plan and build the right solution for them. The process also allowed us to explain our approach to Clouts in a way that they understood and could visualise.

The first critical step was to identify which servers were actually being used and needed. We spent considerable time understanding the environment and speaking to the few employees who were still in place.

We partnered with Cloud Plus and they provided a dedicated, suitably specced host server which was used to migrate the existing environment. David Clout and Associates wanted the migration performed as quickly as possible, with as little downtime as possible, and we only had a few days’ notice between when the project approval was received and when the migration needed to take place.

We carefully planned the migration and performed it over a weekend, from 4:30pm on Friday. Everything was up and running for 7:30am on Monday.  All servers were successfully migrated and switched on.

Because of the nature of the investigation, we recommended that all servers were migrated. We also recommended that those servers identified as ‘not currently required’ be switched off but still able to be powered on within minutes.  Those servers that were identified as ‘not required at all’ were imaged and stored on cheaper sites to reduce costs.

We were able to negotiate a ‘zero minimum term’ for the environment with Cloud Plus with a 30-day notice period.

Together with the hosted solution, we addressed the other issues that we identified within the environment. Those included issues with SPAM, email flow, anti-virus protection as well as backups.  We addressed these using a variety of different solutions encompassing Cloud-based anti-spam and anti-virus that could be paid for on a per use basis, keeping costs down.

A suitable backup strategy was implemented to create backups of the critical servers; the backups were stored in the data centre in a completely separate location.

We also recommended David Clout and Associates subscribe to a personalised IT support program for the business, Sure[Net], in order to allow us to proactively manage the environment, ensure that everything was running consistently and reliably 24/7, and that there was an engineer available to quickly respond if any issues arose. 

Today, as part of this managed services program, we have provided rock solid, reliable IT infrastructure that has not experienced a minute of downtime since its implementation. 

We’ve also provided considerable assistance and advice to David Clout and Associates and the other relevant parties with regards to the next step in this complicated process, and continue to work alongside several parties in designing solutions that they need to continue their investigative tasks.

Business Benefits

  • Extremely reliable and well-performing environment.
  • No downtime.
  • Cost reduction in outgoing monthly costs.
  • Stress of an unreliable IT infrastructure taken away from David Clout and Associates .
  • Extremely flexible and understanding working relationship with David Clout and Associates.
  • Provide trusted expertise to the other parties.
  • Flexible contracts with other providers.