A Journey to the Cloud: Improved Security, Improved Performance
“Rather than having to increase costly headcount, SoftwareONE fulfills my network and security needs and management roles through Unified Cloud Management. If I need SharePoint help, I have that guy. If I need security, a Teams guy, or training and deployment help – I have that guy on staff [with SoftwareONE]. Recommending SoftwareONE to peers is an absolute must.”
Director of IT, Agora Cyber Charter School, January 2018, U.S.
Agora Cyber Charter School is the leading K-12 public charter school in Pennsylvania, United States. Serving more than 7,000 students with roughly 700 staff members, over 90% of their population is remote. Agora blends an online learning environment with individualized learning plans and highly skilled teachers. Each student receives a laptop and other technology tools, as well as opportunities for face-to-face educational and social gatherings throughout the school year.
Services: Unified Cloud Management (Manage Module), Cutover Migration from Google Apps to Microsoft Exchange Online, Google Docs Migration, Microsoft Azure Launch Package, Azure Information Protection Deployment, New Active Directory Infrastructure, Azure Active Directory Connect, Microsoft Intune, EMS Launch Package
When SoftwareONE became engaged in this project, Agora was using Google Apps for email. They were extremely dissatisfied with the user experience, lack of integration, complex administration and minimal support for the Gmail App sync tool for Microsoft Office. Additionally, much of their remote staff was on disparate IT systems without centralized workstation management.
It became increasingly difficult for IT to troubleshoot and resolve issues with workstations, email and productivity tools and required multiple plugins and syncing services. End users were struggling with password resets since their workstations were unmanaged.
Agora’s goal was to have better control with an integrated IT system.“We wanted to get current. In order to integrate, we wanted to go with Microsoft because it does everything,” said Michael Rublesky, Director of IT.
Due to their academic schedule, Agora offered minimal downtime for SoftwareONE to perform the email migration to Exchange Online, so they prioritized their 700 staff to migrate first.
SoftwareONE performed a cutover migration overnight so alltools were working when employees returned in the morning.Maintaining full fidelity without data loss from Google to ExchangeOnline, SoftwareONE eliminated Agora’s disparate systemsand enabled centralized management for their IT team. Concurrently, SoftwareONE deployed Microsoft Intune device management,which allows Agora’s IT team to protect and monitortheir remote workstations across the state. Intune alsoreplaces Agora’s existing anti-virus software.
“The short termgoal was the email migration, then we plan to phase in otherfeatures: SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Business Intelligence,”said Rublesky.
In addition to Exchange Online and Intune, SoftwareONE built Azure Active Directory and Active Directory on-premise, as well as turned on self-service password reset,password writeback, and is rolling out multi-factor authentication.These password solutions maintain a single point of identity for staff management, keeping security at the forefront.
Rublesky explains that by providing the right tools, platform and an integrated infrastructure, it has translated to a more organized vibe throughout the institution with greater performance on the horizon.
“The impact on our staff has been tremendous.The migration went incredibly well with no glitches whatsoever,” said Dr. Michael Conti, CEO. “Moving away from Google allowed us to scale our own business as well as provide additional security we were lacking and better management of the overall technology infrastructure. It’s set us apart as a leader in the cyber charter school movement in Pennsylvania."