Summary

BDO’s Sydney based IT team is responsible for providing IT service delivery for their NSW and VIC offices. To meet business continuity goals BDO decided to initiate a Disaster Recovery project that would increase the organisation’s ability to restore business services in the event of an unplanned outage. BDO worked closely with MOQdigital to review their needs and develop a flexible and affordable DR solution. The traditional approach was to build a secondary data centre populated with expensive hardware and recurrent maintenance costs. The alternative approach they adopted was to build a “Virtual” DR environment within Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. Not only was this more flexible but the build costs were around one third lower than the traditional DIY solution typically deployed using a duplicated hardware and network stack. MOQdigital acted as project manager working closely with BDO’s skilled IT professionals and completed the work in a fraction of the time required to build and populate a physical data centre. For BDO management a serious business risk has been mitigated with the Cloud approach proving to be a more cost-effective and adaptable solution.

BDO

Overview

Company: BDO
Website: www.bdo.com.au
Location: 11 location in Australia and Overseas
Industry: Financial Services
Employees: 1240
Partners: 160
Established: 1975

Facts

  • The savings BDO realised from choosing a Cloud versus Physical solution were conservatively estimated at a minimum of $60,000 for the most basic service levels
  • MOQdigital worked with BDO to develop a comprehensive “Action Plan” that determined roles, responsibilities and recovery methodology
  • BDO’s overall corporate governance goals have been met
  • DR policies are rigidly complied with critical systems hosted in geographically separated Azure data centres to further mitigate proximity risks in the event of a widespread outage
  • The flexibility provided by choosing the Azure Cloud enables BDO IT staff to quickly commission new recovery services in real-time, further lowering overall risk
  • Reduce complexity by migrating office applications to the Cloud

Services and Products

  • High Level Consultancy Services
  • Microsoft Azure Architecture Services
  • Migration and Testing
  • Operational Training and Skills Exchange
  • Azure Components Included:
    • Azure Virtual Machine
    • Azure Virtual Network
    • Azure ExpressRoute
    • Azure Storage
    • Azure Site Recovery
    • Azure Network Security Group

“MOQdigital have helped us solve a problem that concerned our risk and compliance objectives. Their grasp of how better outcomes could be delivered has saved BDO hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the project. MOQdigital have shown again why we value our relationship with them so highly. They consistently deliver results!”

 

Mark Nahlous
IT Manager, BDO Australia

About BDO

BDO have been providing accountancy and consultation services globally for more than five decades. The Australian operation was formed in 1975 by combining independent operators under a single banner. The company offers a broad range of financial services to business with a strong focus on auditing, taxation and consultation. BDO are highly regarded for their social conscience and their long-term support for Variety, the Endeavour Foundation and a plethora of important community groups and are the recipients of numerous local and international awards that recognise their skills and company achievements in the arena of financial services. BDO also contribute to the community through their sponsorship of individual and collective achievements including the Premier’s export awards and the ARA’s retail awards.

Business Challenge

Building a Disaster Recovery (DR) site is a sensible upgrade that drives business continuity goals and mitigates the risk posed by an unplanned outage. Unfortunately it is also costly and adds more complexity to IT management and overall system architecture. The traditional DR design typically provides a functionally identical solution that could meet a minimum workload specification and enable business operations to continue – albeit at a reduced capacity. The investment in a DR site required a specialised technology stack that duplicated the organisation’s production system functions. In practice this meant an investment in hosting duplicate hardware, software, and meeting ongoing management and support costs. Long term technology partner MOQdigital were asked to offer a solution that would provide a disaster recovery solution that was flexible, reduced ownership costs and was easy for a small team to manage.

Implementation

MOQdigital began the project with a discovery workshop that raised awareness of the multitude of new features added to Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. Enhancements to Azure’s capabilities are announced almost weekly and keeping abreast of the product’s rapid functional evolution is demanding. BDO’s IT team actively participated in deployment and data migration with the MOQdigital team exchanging knowledge where it was needed. Planning the architecture for the DR implementation was critical to ensure that data was safeguarded and any risk of loss mitigated. Documentation and policy were vital to ensure that policies were recorded and a granular action plan (sometimes referred to as a “run sheet”) was created that documented the steps needed to initiate a DR failover if circumstances demanded it.

Solution

MOQdigital offered a number of choices for providing DR facilities for BDO’s Sydney and Melbourne operations. The first decision was to decide whether building a new data centre to host their DR facilities made business sense or if opting for a cloud based solution offered a better solution. MOQdigital provided budgets for both options with Microsoft’s Azure coming out the clear winner in terms of cost and flexibility. BDO had a depth of experience working closely with MOQdigital’s team of engineers and immediately the teams began functional design work to create the architecture for a virtual DR site located within the Azure Cloud.

Conclusions

The project has been an outstanding success and met all goals set by the BDO’s risk and governance executives. By choosing to build a virtual DR platform in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, immediate cost savings of $60,000 per annum were realised when compared with replicating the needed functionality in a terrestrial data centre. BDO IT professionals saw no value investing in the one-time skills needed to build their Azure DR facility but instead honed their Hyper-V capabilities to quickly migrate and optimise their new virtual environment. BDO attributed much of the project’s success to the exacting planning work undertaken by the MOQdigital engineering team in tight collaboration with BDO’s system administrators.

Summary

  • Meticulous planning ensured the project was successful and met stakeholder expectations
  • Knowledge exchange was vital and focussed on the areas of expertise needed to maximise the value BDO realised from their DR investment
  • Risk mitigation measures now align with corporate business continuity goals
  • Choosing Microsoft and MOQdigital as partners reduced complexity and delivered rapid project completion
  • A comprehensive business continuity program provides reassurance to clients and franchisees that their data is protected against unplanned outages that could potentially damage their reputation
  • Technology partner MOQdigital continues to review and advise BDO of new Azure features that will extend the ROI from their DR investment