Business Innovators: Solutions Northwest
Solutions Northwest shares how a decade of Approach Technology's managed cloud desktops have enabled them to grow their business and discusses their experience with Citrix Workspaces hosted on Amazon Web Services.
In 2008, John and Janet DeLapp, owners of Solutions Northwest, had built a promising consultancy. After a decade of hard work in building their business, they realized they did not have an IT strategy in place that would allow them to scale up, work remotely, and meet their security objectives. They liked the concept of the virtual office, but needed a way to extend their Time Matters\PC Law applications to remote hires. They also increasingly had to meet federal regulatory scrutiny, HIPAA compliance, and coordinate with other large agencies and organizations. Finally, they wanted to focus on building Solutions Northwest, not on managing backups, application updates, and day-to-day IT helpdesk. They needed an affordable IT strategy and partner that could help them meet their security requirements, allow remote access, and enable a virtual office environment that could scale with the business. And they needed it to be cost effective.
Approach Technology (ATI) had years of experience in supporting remote applications in the field in challenging network conditions. They were able to apply a Citrix cloud-based model to Solutions Northwest that allowed them to move 100% of their IT to a managed custom cloud environment. Each user would now work off a hosted desktop in the cloud, loaded with their business applications and access to the corporate data. Intead of pushing the data down to the employees via traditional VPN, the Citrix Workspace enables Approach Technology to "Push Pixels" (or the image of the screen) down to the local device, keeping all the data secured and protected in the datacenter.
Solutions Northwest was innovative in adopting a 100% cloud-based model of IT operations in 2009 that has served them now for over 10 years, allowing them to scale up their business across multiple regions, and enabling them with highly productive and satisfied field agents as well as the security to meet all of their regulatory requirements. Today, 100% of their IT operations are hosted on Amazon Web Services and delivered via Citrix Workspaces, all managed by Approach Technology.
- Solutions Northwest was empowered with a full virtual office solution that enabled them to hire remote field staff, provide those employees with fast access to applications (Time Matters, PC Law, Microsoft Office, Outlook) and corporate data and secure file shares.
- Over 10 years on the Approach Cloud and Solutions Northwest has experienced effectively zero downtime.
- Solutions Northwest was able to meet strict federal, state, utility, insurance, and other forms of security auditing and scrutiny.
- Fully managed cloud-based IT strategy that allows ownership to focus on building the business instead of managing technology.
- Employees are able to leverage the power of the cloud to work from anywhere, on any Internet-connected device. Since the heavy lifting occurs in the cloud, Solutions Northwest employees always enjoy access to the fastest and most powerful data center hardware available.
Approach Technology has been able to establish a level of security that passes the muster of both the federal government, utility companies, and other large organizations where individual data and file security is paramount.
We can always sleep well at night knowing that that data is safe, protected, and always available when we need it.
John DeLapp, Co-Owner, Solutions Northwest, Inc.
Please share with us some details about Solutions Northwest and the services you provide.
Janet DeLapp - We are a small consulting firm that started in Olympia (WA). and expanded into Seattle, Portland, and San Diego. Our focus is vocational case services and ergonomic services for employers. We also do family law forensics, personal injury forensics, and ADA accomodation services. We work with companies to help keep their people at work.
What were some of the catalysts for Solutions Northwest moving to the cloud in 2009?
John DeLapp - We started the business 22 years ago in our home office. In the beginning, it was easy, because it was just the two of us with a couple computers networked together. But as the business took off, the IT needs did not keep up. It became apparent early on that if we were going to expand, we needed a new IT structure that would enable our employees access to the data and applicatons they needed to best serve our clients in the field.
John DeLapp – That structured IT environment came over 10 years ago when we were introduced to Approach Technology. Approach helped us establish a Citrix platform that allowed us to run our practice management software, Time Matters and PC Law, the heart and soul of our business. Citrix and the cloud enabled us to expand our business by bringing real-time applicaiton and database access to our consultants working on projects in the field. This enabled us to work seamlessly and allowed the entire team to collaborate and provide the best service to our clients.
After a decade of trusting your business on the Approach Cloud, what can you share with us about the service?
John DeLapp -Approach Technology has helped us contain our costs while helping us scale our technology. In those days (2009) it was before we actually called it working in the cloud. The cloud has become a big thing and through Approach Technology, we've moved off of in-house servers and over to Amazon Web Services. Our transition to AWS has been absolutely seamless. We have had essentially no downtime. I'll point out too, Approach Technology has kept our data up with zero downtime over that 10 year period of time and zero downtime since our move to Amazon Web Services.
How else has Approach Technology's Managed Cloud Services helped Solutions Northwest?
John DeLapp - As we've grown and added larger clients, they've required more and more security. Approach Technology has been able to establish a level of security that passes the muster of both the federal government, utility companies, and other large organizations where individual data and file security is paramount in terms of information security. The services that Approach Technology provides has allowed us to meet the expectations and exceed the expectations of our customers and we can always sleep well at night knowing that that data is safe, protected, and always available when we need it.