2021 at Cloud Business, we’re ending on a high!

2021 has been another year of ups and downs, twists and turns for all of us. While a much-needed semblance of normality returned over the summer months, more recently Omicron has reminded us that ‘normal’ is a bit of an abstract concept.

At Cloud Business we are grateful for the opportunities we’ve had in recent months to meet face-to-face, attend events like the Surrey Business Awards and work alongside each other again. Those human interactions away from Teams video meetings, have been so important for reconnecting with colleagues, customers, partners and other human beings! With a return to work from home, we know that we have the agility, resilience and technology to keep moving forward, but we hope that those freedoms will return as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Digital transformation in 2021

Although 2021 has been another year of uncertainty and challenges, we’re ending the year on a high! As is traditional at this time of year, we thought we would highlight some of our successes from the past 12 months.

As a specialist Cloud Technology and Managed Services company, we have had a critical role in helping our customers adapt to remote and hybrid work models. Digital transformation has accelerated massively in the last 2 years and the new way of working has provided many organisations with opportunities to increase productivity, streamline operations and drive efficiencies. 

In fact, earlier this year we were featured in a Sky TV programme on digital transformation and COVID 19. The world’s rapid and agile response to the pandemic and speedy adoption of technology to aid us throughout, is the focus of “Digital Transformation: A Strategic Approach”. If you missed the broadcast, you can watch below:

Trends in Managed Services

Demand for Managed Services has increased significantly in the last 2 years. Many organisations, including our customers, have experienced higher demand for end user support as employees and customers work remotely. Extended and out-of-hours support requirements have also increased to help organisations cope with flexible working, where end users work around other commitments and often outside of traditional business hours. 

Many of our customers have also outsourced more IT functions to us, so they can free up their IT teams to focus on other activities. 

Over the last 12 months we’ve on boarded some fantastic new customers. Key business drivers for outsourcing IT are often around improving the end user experience. The need to centralise the service desk for global users, provide 24×7 support, EUC management, device and peripheral procurement are also common reasons to outsource IT. 

As an example, for one of our new customers we have delivered the following:

  • A centralised 24×7 service desk for 300 global users
  • Support for all line of business applications, with integration into GSuite for SSO
  • Multi-channel service portal including chat, email, phone and portal
  • Bespoke service catalog which includes a workstation and peripheral ordering process and delivery process
  • Deployment of Microsoft InTune for device management including Microsoft Autopilot for Windows & Apple Manager for MacOS, to leverage the ability to ship devices ready to be user provisioned

In just a few months since on boarding this customer we have hit 100% responsiveness and over 92% resolution SLAs. We’ve also increased end user satisfaction significantly, compared to customer’s previous support resource, with over 30 “excellent” survey responses to date.

Our Service Desk Management Team has invested considerable time this year enhancing the user experience with a host of new measures. These include a new ITSM tool, a new platform for our customers’ self-service portals, dedicated service desk teams, bespoke support channels and incentives and awards for team members who champion the user experience.

Cyber security focus in 2021 and beyond

Our cyber security practice has had a busy year helping customers secure remote and hybrid work models, and ensure they are ahead of new threats created by the pandemic.

Zero trust platforms, multi-factor authentication and end user training are the key focus areas to protect organisations today. As ransomware attacks are increasing year-on-year, with phishing the most common attack vector, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and end user training are the most effective ways to reduce the likelihood of an attack. ZTNA is also a more secure option for managing remote access compared to VPNs.

On our customers’ behalf, we’ve also been reviewing the cyber security controls they have in place and what is and isn’t enabled. For example, multi-factor authentication (MFA) which helps protect against brute force attacks and stolen passwords. While some end users may grumble about the extra security step to login, it really isn’t onerous and provides much better protection than just a password; however complex that might be.

If there’s one thing you want to do before the Christmas holidays we recommend enabling MFA on all available platforms. This is one simple action you can take to prevent 99.9 percent of attacks on your accounts.

Cyber Security as a Service

This year we have also introduced some additional cyber security services to help better protect our customers. Phishing and Security Awareness as a Service, is in direct response to the rise in phishing attacks and provides a ‘hands free’ training and awareness subscription service via campaigns, on demand training modules and intelligent reporting to help identify weaknesses.

We have also had a lot of interest in our Cyber Security Posture Assessment service which explores the organisation’s current level of threat activity and risk level/vulnerability exposure. Using the output from this assessment, organisations can benchmark where they are now, the adequacy of existing security control against their risk level and industry threat landscape, their level of compliance required by industry, relevant regulatory authorities & international best practices, and prioritise remediation activities.

Surrey Business Awards

In November, we dusted off the black tie to attend our first in person awards event since the pandemic. The venue, Denbies Wine Estate, lived up to expectations, rolling out the red carpet for the finalists, sponsors and their guests.

Attending an event was exciting after months of virtual activities but walking away with the most prestigious award of the night, Company of the Year, was quite overwhelming. We are delighted that the award sponsor, NatWest, thought we were worthy winners and it was a pleasure to meet news anchor and the first ever winner of Strictly Come Dancing, Natasha Kaplinsky who hosted the event.

Host Natasha Kaplinsky, Cloud Business’ Matt Garrett, James Butler and Jane Woodyer, and Mark Christie from NatWest

The Company of the Year award reflects the hard work put in by our talented team over the past year and also the support of all our customers and partners who have entrusted their IT projects and services to Cloud Business.

Thank you for your partnership with Cloud Business, we don’t take this for granted! We remain committed to supporting you and your organisation, finding solutions to navigate the ongoing uncertainty and to do all that we can to help you thrive.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, and a happy, healthy and successful 2022.

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