How a cloud migration strengthened data compliance at Thompson Taraz
Thompson Taraz is one of the UK’s leading fund services groups and has been supporting real asset fund managers for over 30 years. Fund services provided by Thompson Taraz include Full Scope Authorised Investment Fund Management and Depositary services as well as Custody and Nominee shareholder services and Fund Administration.
Thompson Taraz’s focus is on being adaptive and flexible to their clients needs and is in a period of growth. There is an increasing focus on new business development within the company and a high level of internal skill has driven specialisations. By drawing on a wealth of accounting, auditing and business advisory specialists, Thompson Taraz not only complies with financial regulations but adds value to their clients’ strategies including Property, Infrastructure, Debt, Venture Capital, Private Equity and Energy.
Thompson Taraz had a robust but aging on-premise infrastructure consisting of two physical host servers and virtualised storage, which was broken into eight virtual servers, each performing a different task (running their line of business applications, storing their files, running their network etc.).
The business is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and information security is a top priority. In recent years, the FCA – and the Financial Services industry in general – has started to recognise cloud hosting as a more secure option to on-premise solutions.
To keep up with industry recommendations, and to enable better collaboration with their employees and customers, a migration to the cloud – including Microsoft 365 Services and Azure Cloud Services – was added to the business’s roadmap as part of our Digital Business Strategy process. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, plans for this migration were fast-tracked because remote working proved difficult on their existing infrastructure.
We broke down the migration into three key phases, which allowed for a gradual changeover for the different parts of their infrastructure.
The first phase involved the introduction of a hybrid cloud setup to start off the transition. We implemented resilient cloud servers to run the network, which were hosted in Azure and our data centre. We also developed a plan for the deployment of SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams based on Thompson Taraz’s business requirements.
In the second part of the project, we created a SharePoint and Teams environment based on the agreed design. We also deployed and configured the system and information security features of the Microsoft 365 Business Premium license to fit with the industry’s strict requirements. In preparation for the data migration, we implemented a 365 backup solution to protect data.
The final stage of the project involved the migration of their line of business apps to a cloud hosting platform, as well as data migration from the legacy file servers to SharePoint. Backup systems and policies were tested, and a second cloud domain controller was set up.
"The cloud migration project has helped transform our business. Keeping our customer’s data secure is a top priority for us, and with our new Microsoft-powered cloud infrastructure, this has never been easier to manage. Plus, these new foundations have made a whole host of innovative solutions possible, enabling us to grow our business by staying ahead of the technology curve."
Martin Heffernan, Chief Executive Officer - Thompson Taraz
The project has provided significant benefits to many areas of the business, as well as aiding simple remote working – something which was much harder on the old infrastructure.
Their IT cyber security defences have been improved thanks to Microsoft Defender for 365 – which helps to block to spam and phishing emails, and scans attachments and links to check for anything malicious before giving the user access.
Data Security and Compliance
Data security, which is crucial for their sector, has been solidified by Azure Information Protection and Microsoft Intune – paired together, they are a powerful tool for classifying and protecting data to ensure that the most sensitive information never leaves company devices. Compliance for ISO 27001 re-certification has also been made simpler thanks to the implementation of Azure Information Protection.
The migration has meant significantly reduced capex. There’s no spending money on replacement parts or warranty renewals for their on-premise servers – everything is covered with a low monthly cost for hosting their data and applications in the cloud.
The old on-premise platform made it difficult for the business to innovate and adopt intelligent new solutions. But with the migration to Azure and 365, we have helped them pave the way for growth-enabling innovations. Thompson Taraz are now supercharging their business using SharePoint, Teams, Power Automate and Power Apps.
For example, First Digital are working on a new file management process using SharePoint. This will be a simple system for employees and partners to request access to certain files and folders. Managers can approve or decline these access requests, to make sure data is only ever shared with the people who need it.