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Project Summary

Name
Marks Gray, P.A.

Market
Legal

Location
Jacksonville, FL

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About Marks Gray, P.A.

Marks Gray is one of Jacksonville’s oldest and most prestigious law firms. They were founded in 1899 by Richard Marks and their team of client-focused attorneys endeavor to work with clients during every step of the process to not only meet but exceed expectations.

At the time of this writing, they have 3 offices, 19 attorneys, and an excellent team of support staff who continue to be committed to excellence by handling each matter with unparalleled customer service, efficiency, and professionalism. Their clients, community leaders, and legal peers value them because they trust in their ability to serve a diverse set of clients with a unique set of business needs.

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Executive Summary

Marks Gray is a firm that understands and values technology. Their Executive Director, Internal IT Manager, and Technology committee have always desired to take full advantage of currently available technologies in general, in addition to those that are legal-specific, while shying away from the cutting edge. They had been watching the changes that cloud computing was bringing about in terms of performance, availability, uptime, and the elimination of significant capital expenses and were ready to make a change.

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Their local servers were beginning to age and were in need of replacement. Additionally, they had concerns about what challenges they might face in accessing their computing environment in the event of a major hurricane hitting Jacksonville, FL.

As fate would have it in October of 2016 hurricane Matthew would bear down on Jacksonville’s coast. While their local environment was unaffected, stories from around the state surfaced of numerous firms and businesses that had significant downtime or had lost data altogether.

With that news fresh on their minders, the technology committee would meet in Dec 2016 and come to the conclusion that the timing was right to move their server infrastructure to the cloud rather than continuing to replace their on-premises, physical hardware. Cloud solutions cost, security, and availability had moved to a place where they were comfortable, and they knew that at the same time they would be better protected against natural disasters.

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The expectation was the elimination of capital expenditures, equal or better performance as compared to their existing environment, and 99.9% uptime.

They came to CompassMSP as a trusted advisor. They knew we had their best interest at heart, and we had monitored the technology landscape together for years. It helped make the decision a no-brainer.

Yet even with that knowledge in mind, the nature of the change would be profound, and the firm did appropriate due diligence through a request for proposal and sought out costs and benefits from other local providers.

Compass’ pricing model combined with our years of expertise in helping them cemented the deal and the firm gladly continued our long-term relationship.

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The final solution was to fully migrate their existing environment to the compass cloud while upgrading the overall bandwidth and adding a redundant internet connection for failover. The firm used the change as an opportunity to upgrade their firewalls and other network infrastructure to complement the change and add additional redundancy.

  • Analyze: The successful migration started with analyzing their current computing environment as well as their future needs. The current applications in use were documented along with their computing needs and the firm used it as an opportunity to re-vision what their overall server environment looked like as it was designed almost 10 years previously.
  • Server Infrastructure Redesign: The analysis revealed that a slight redesign of their server infrastructure would be needed which was a good thing as it reduced their overall server count and concurrently reduced their cloud computing costs.
  • Move to the Cloud: Since the servers would now be in the cloud it was also important to re-look at their bandwidth needs as well as considering both public cloud options like (Amazon, Google, and Azure) along with privately hosting the servers in the Compass Cloud. Ultimately the firm decided that keeping it in a private cloud was the best price, performance, security combination for them at the time but that public cloud technologies would be considered in 2020.
  • Increase Bandwidth: The firm used the transition as an opportunity to increase their bandwidth and add a redundant internet connection which resulted in a net neutral cost.

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The planning and designing phase of the project occurred over an approximately 3-month period. A contract was signed and went into effect on January 1st, 2017. Parts were ordered and the migration was fully completed in approximately 60 days.

The solution met the client’s needs and accomplished their objectives for performance and uptime. In September of 2017, some of the worst fears materialized as hurricane Irma bore down on Jacksonville. Much of the downtown area was flooded making many buildings inaccessible. As other local firms scrambled to find space, much less utilize their computing environments Marks Grays initiated their disaster recovery plans and their computing environment maintained 100% uptime and could be accessed via a VPN from anywhere that a staff member could obtain an internet connection.

The biggest benefit was realized through, uptime, the flexibility to grow or shrink in a cloud computing environment, combined with the lack of need for capital expenditures.

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