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“The whole process of migrating to the cloud at SingleHop is easy and cost-effective. Working with them day-to-day is wonderful. They’re fast and responsive, and we’ve never had any issues.”Ed Clarke, Director of Information Technology, Community Service Partners
Community Service Partners is an operations collaborative serving four not-for-profits in Chicago-area communities.
HIPAA-compliant, Dedicated Private Cloud with Managed Veeam Backups
Community Service Partners was founded in 2009 to unify the business functions of several South Chicagoland not-for-profit organizations that share a common mission of supporting the health and livelihoods of individuals with developmental disabilities.
CSP fills a void common among service-focused not-for-profits committed first and foremost to delivering life-changing services to clients. Typically, such organizations are funded on their ability to perform those services effectively. That unfortunately means key operational areas — training, benefits administration, and information technology — are too often put on the back burner.
“Prior to CSP, our member organizations had servers at each of their facilities,” said Ed Clarke, Director of Information Technology at CSP. “You could see where someone came in and put the infrastructure together but there was nobody there to maintain it.” He noted this resulted in frequent and costly break/fix maintenance from outside contractors.
That all changed with CSP. The shared functions of the collaborative vastly reduce such challenges, allowing its four member organizations to more closely focus on their clients. IT is central among these functions. Clarke and his team of three system administrators support the 2,000 employees and clients who rely on CSP technology daily.
CSP’s IT committee decided in 2014 that maintaining a scattered system of siloed, on-premise servers was no longer an ideal strategy. New hardware costs, the end of Microsoft’s support for Windows Server 2003, and the growing need for HIPAA-compliant, on-demand data, made a transition to the cloud a logical decision for Clarke.
“Our organizations are relying more heavily on IT because employees need to have client information databases available at all times,” said Clarke, noting that the increased reliance would require his team to focus more on supporting members and less on infrastructure maintenance.
To make their move off-premise, CSP partnered with SingleHop, choosing its Managed Dedicated Private Cloud (DPC) solution with Managed Veeam Backups to run its member’s mission-critical applications. The DPC is a VMware-powered cloud environment custom designed and sized to CSP’s specifications. Although DPCs are single-tenant, private computing environments, they perform and function like public clouds and are available at a fixed cost optimized for resource requirements. Clarke noted several areas that made SingleHop stand out over competitors:
“We found that among vendors the infrastructure all seemed similar,” said Clarke. “Our decision came down to the level of services we would get. That and SingleHop wasn’t going to nickel and dime us to death. There were no hidden fees.”
SingleHop allows customers to choose exactly what management tasks SingleHop ServiceFirst technicians will handle without locking them into rigid service packages. Clarke utilizes this flexible, co-management approach to offload all infrastructure and Veeam backup management to SingleHop while maintaining the ability to take over should he wish.
Securing client health information is an important day-to-day concern for CSP’s members. SingleHop DPCs are fully-isolated, HIPAA-compliant, and do not compromise Clarke’s goal of making client records available on-demand for employees.
After migrating to a SingleHop cloud, CSP reduced their physical server footprint from 17 to five — eliminating much of the infrastructure sprawled across their facilities. Clarke and his team used to spend the first two hours at the beginning of every day on server monitoring and maintenance. Now all they do to “keep the lights on” is monitor Active Directory, a task that consumes about 30 minutes daily, according to Clarke.
“Moving to SingleHop relieved a lot of the stress for the techs who had to maintain the servers and the entire infrastructure,” said Clarke. ”They don’t have to spend half a day worrying about why a backup didn’t run while partner support falls behind. SingleHop has allowed us to process our tickets faster and serve our members better.”
The DPC itself is proving to be a high-performing, reliable environment for CSP’s applications. “We’ve had no outages — not even during hardware upgrades,” said Clarke. “I see a great improvement.” As a result, CSP is in the process of migrating all of their remaining on-premise applications to SingleHop, including their accounting and document management systems.