Q&A | June 18, 2014

XP End Of Life, Security Concerns Lead To Cloud Upgrade For Law Firm

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

XP End Of Life Cloud Switch

A managed services provider (MSP) determined that a law firm needing to replace PCs running Windows XP could benefit from moving to the cloud.

ACP Technologies, Inc.  (ACP), an MSP that provides private cloud and hosted cloud services, looked at all the options available to the Law Offices of Paul Notaro and John Molloy, ACP clients since 2003. The law firm required the upgrade not only in light of XP’s recent service end of life, but also for compliance and security. There was a modest budget for the project, and the firm still wanted ACP to provide managed services, explains Benjamin Pearce, ACP president and CEO, “to allow ACP to do what we do best and allow them to practice law.”

He says, “After analyzing the different options, such as rip and replace or private cloud, the cloud became the best option.”

The users had a mix of devices including HP PCs, some running Windows 7. The new solution includes HP Thin Clients with wireless as well as a Cisco ASA5505, an adaptive security appliance that establishes a constant VPN (virtual private network) with the ACP data center.  ACP completed the new solution using the Microsoft Services Provider Licenses Agreement (SPLA), VMware Certified Professional, and Veeam services provider software products, available for monthly fees.  

The solution was a significant change for the law office staff. “The biggest obstacle was educating the client on how much their technology was going to change from having an on premise solution compare to being in the cloud,” Pearce comments. “With the Thin Clients, the users click one remote desktop remote desktop icon to access their data.  It’s amazing to think how hard that is to get used to when people are accustomed to several icons on a desktop.”

A significant benefit of the solution for the law firm is having a total solution that is managed, monitored, and hosted outside of its office. They also had a much smaller capital expenditure for equipment compared to purchasing new servers and software. Pearce adds the client is now on a three-year refresh program, “something they could not accomplish an on premise solution.”

The firm also opted for an ACP Total Care MSP program that designates ACP to be the client’s one solution provider for its entire IT infrastructure. The firm is also planning to upgrade its legal management application to run on an SQL (structured query language) server within the next few months, which will also be on ACP-hosted servers. This will allow the firm to utilize the Microsoft SPLA program without out-right purchases of SQL server and users licensing.

Pearce says his MSP, a 20-employee provider anticipating 24 percent growth in 2014, is actively reviewing similar solutions with its current client base and with prospects. “If a current client has an on-premise solution, we know when that solution is coming to end of life, and we are always preparing for or educating them on their options,” Pearce comments. “That could be moving to the cloud or continuing with an on-premise solution.” 

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