Cipher International

18th March 2020

Cipher International, operated with the on-premise software and servers. After a consultation, it was decided to support the continued growth of the business that investment was required to modernise Cipher?s IT infrastructure. It was agreed to move the Cipher IT infrastructure to the cloud.

After consultation Cipher considered Microsoft Azure the main contender for the new cloud environment, as all of the existing IT infrastructures were set up in Microsoft.

Cipher opted to work with Azure specialists, IT Desk UK, as they liked the friendly yet professional approach they took when working in tandem with the team.

As Richard Drabble, Finance Director explains:

?The other companies considered for this project didn?t have the approach to manage migration in a way that makes us confident in the final result.

Architecting an Azure solution

The existing on-premise set up at Cipher, had the team using locally installed applications which to a SQL Server database on a physical server. The SQL database ingested other data from different sources.

IT Desk UK architected an Azure solution for Cipher to replace the setup. They were also provided with project plan which detailed how they would easily set up the Azure solution, migrate all their data, and provide assistance if they had trouble with the process.

The solution provided uses a Azure hosted SQL server for the back-end, eliminating reliance on physical on premise hardware. File data is moved into SharePoint which is included in Ciphers Microsoft 365 subscription with users then accessing company software applications via Azure Virtual Desktops.

Azure WVD Implementation

The existing local applications exchange a lot of information with the back-end SQL database, so it was essential to provide a stable and reliable connection. Using Azure WVD with the applications on it and publishing them as a Remote Application?s allowed the process to succeed smoothly. This means that the application resides on the same Azure Virtual Network as the SQL back-end, ensuring a very fast low latency connection.

The Access App is still available to users from their PC, and they only need to double click on it to open. It is in fact, a remote app running on an Azure WVD session, and users can access this securely over the internet worldwide.

From a management perspective, they can use the Azure Portal single interface to deploy and manage virtual desktops and apps, assign use, and access monitoring and diagnostics from remote.

The Benefits of Azure WVD

? Highly cost-effective solution: Cipher now only need to pay for virtual servers when their virtual desktops are on.

? Flexibility: Users are given Windows10 desktops with the business applications needed. And as the team expand or shrink, they can simply increase or decrease the number of virtual desktop.

? Cipher eliminated on-premise infrastructure to reduce time and effort managing it, and team members can work from remote without any issues.

Flexibility during Covid-19 and beyond

The cloud infrastructure project started before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it was the most appropriate timing to move to the Azure solution. During the lockdown, access to the on-premise systems was a bit of a challenge. With the Azure cloud infrastructure setup during the lockdown, the team was able to continue working without interruptions. As team members return to work or choose to keep working from their home, they can access their business systems securely, with the same user experience, from wherever they are.