When Immigration Attorneys LLP split off from a larger firm more than two years ago, it established an aggressive goal of setting up an infrastructure and moving terabytes of sensitive data within a month. With the help of cloud service provider dinCloud, the firm's goal was accomplished in a week.
The Chicago-based law firm, which now has 15 attorneys and 25 staff, initially looked into recreating the traditional client/server architecture it used with the old firm, but found it would cost too much. Its executive team looked into other cloud providers, but chose dinCloud because it was able to accomplish the job within the tight deadline.
"We needed something that moved quickly for us," said Ira Azulay, CEO of Immigration Attorneys. "We sent them an external drive, and they loaded the data on virtual servers overnight."
The law firm runs all operations from its Tampa, Phoenix, Milwaukee and Chicago offices in the cloud. It has a virtual desktop infrastructure, virtual servers, storage that handles major pieces of software such as Microsoft Dynamics GP for accounting, document management, and an immigration and file tracker program, along with Microsoft Office and Exchange.
"The big part here was moving data," said Lito Santiano, IT administrator at the law firm. "The challenge of transferring data to the cloud is uploading the data. It's a bandwidth issue. I can transfer my data into that storage, but the challenge is uploading the data into the cloud using the Internet. DinCloud was the only one that made the commitment to the time that we had."
Since making the transition, the company has moved up to 3 terabytes in the cloud. Immigration Attorneys has 37 virtual desktops and 13 virtual servers hosting applications. Santiano said he considers the firm's setup a private cloud, even though the data is stored in dinCloud's data centers.
"Even if it's not your data center, it's your network," he said. "You have your own firewall. You are the only one that has access to that network. We use the same Cisco firewall. We're using a secure tunnel. We have a VPN connection from the main office to the cloud."
Santiano said dinCloud offers several layers of authentication, and using dinCloud eliminated the need to use Citrix for remote workers. He can now manage IT issues and support end users from his home.
"This is about flexibility," he said. "We had issues with snow this winter. If the lawyers needed to work, they could do it from home and [didn't] have to come to the office. You have consistency of desktops. Because of your infrastructure, you can use any endpoint to connect to a virtual desktop."
Azulay said the he continues to look at more ways to use the cloud. "We're looking at converting to Software as a Service in the cloud," he said.