Ombudsman's Office Secures Client Data,
Improves Productivity with Microsoft 365
About The Client
The Ombudsman is the independent watchdog over Government in the Cayman Islands and protector of the public. They investigate and act on complaints about Government and police, requests for records and whistleblower disclosures. As a team of 11 without an in-house IT resource, the office needed a data storage and disaster recovery solution that operated independent from the local Government’s system.
GDPR Compliant Cloud Storage
As the independent watchdog over Government, the Ombudsman’s office needed to be seen as a fair and impartial entity. They needed a way to assure clients that their personal information would be kept safe and secure at all times, while having continuous access to their data from various locations. The Ombudsman’s office also needed the ability to choose where their data resided to ensure regulatory compliance.
The Ombudsman’s office did considerable research in advance of reaching out to vendors for a solution. They initially looked at an on-premise solution, but this was quickly ruled out as the Ombudsman’s office lacked the in-house technical expertise or budget to support it. As an office without a dedicated IT department, they needed a solution that was easy to manage and came with local support.
A cloud-based solution seemed to make sense, however the Ombudsman’s office was under the impression that data was required to be stored on island. They consulted with the Information & Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) of the Cayman Islands and confirmed that there is no law requiring Cayman Islands based companies to have their data reside on island. However, as data regulators they still needed to be certain that the solution satisfied them in terms of their own data residency compliance.
Once they were able to choose the right provider and on-island support, this would pave the way for adoption of a cloud-based solution. Two cloud solutions stood out: Google Docs and Microsoft 365. After conducting a demonstration of both systems, the Google solution was disqualified for two reasons:
1) It would have required technical capabilities that didn’t exist on staff
2) There were no “feet on the ground” to support the Google solution
If the Ombudsman’s office had any problems, they would be relying exclusively on remote call center support. According to Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston, that would not suffice: “We don’t have an IT department, so we needed the geeks to be someone else.”
When the Ombudsman’s office contacted Microsoft looking for a local partner, Microsoft recommended Kirk ISS. As a certified Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) in the Caribbean region, Kirk ISS had the knowledge and certifications to deploy a Microsoft cloud solution that fit the unique requirements of the Ombudsman’s Office. They would not only help with the migration and deployment but would also be available with up to 24/7 support after going live.
The Government’s Computer Services division required that computers previously on its system be wiped prior to migration, so every machine in the office had to be taken to the Government’s Computer Services office to be formatted. Kirk ISS was able to minimize the disruption by scheduling the migration for each machine at a time that was convenient for the team. Engineers physically removed hard drives from each of the machines, had them formatted at the Government’s Computer Services office, then reinstalled them into the machines before going ahead with installation.
The Ombudsman’s office also needed integration with serval other programs that are hosted externally, so Kirk ISS created a secure point to point VPN to these applications at the firewall and network layer. As a result, no end user had to do any configuration or changes to work seamlessly between the Microsoft cloud, internal resources and external applications. All solutions are also supported by a 24/7 end to end discrete solution.
Without an in-house IT department, Microsoft 365 allowed the Ombudsman’s office to bridge the gap between the need for dedicated technical support and the budget constraints of a small office. With the CSP program, Microsoft 365 provides access to dedicated local support without the large upfront cost of a server and related upkeep.
With one affordable monthly fee, they can store their data securely while accessing a range of productivity applications in a familiar interface. Furthermore, the Ombudsman’s office is now able to provide proof of the security standards employed in the housing of their data. Ms. Hermiston adds: “We wanted the ability to verify security of the data and Kirk ISS was able to satisfy us that security was up to standards.”
Kirk ISS also provided a certified Microsoft professional on-site for a for as long as was needed after going live. The post-deployment support included providing on-premise training in focused sessions and one-to-one support to act as a technical resource for the Ombudsman’s office. This helped to make the migration seamless and reassured the team at the Ombudsman’s office that expert support was (literally) not far away.
Microsoft 365 deployment across storage, security and productivity.
Seamless integration with existing case management software.
The solution includes with entire Office suite which works seamlessly with existing documents.
Each team member has 1TB of cloud-based storage with OneDrive – enough for all their essential documents and files.
Data continuity and disaster recovery in one unified solution.
All data backed up to a fully GDPR compliant secondary cloud, providing full 3-2-1 data protection with unlimited data loss protection.
Microsoft Office apps are now available across mobile and desktop devices and files are accessible from virtually anywhere.
Automatic updates to the latest version of Microsoft software with Microsoft EMS and Intune.