Case Study: Freeit Aids City of Buda in Achieving Compliance with Office 365 Migration
Booming city overcomes compliance hurdle as it moves to the public cloud
Buda, Texas is a fast-growing suburb of the booming Austin metropolis. In the past ten years, Buda’s population has more than doubled, so its government offices are often bustling. The city wanted to move to the cloud to ease system administration, lower costs, and provide users with more robust solutions. To better enable employees, who provide services to approximately 16,500 residents, Buda had migrated to Office 365, but using a commercial tenant. Subsequently, a compliance problem arose, and the municipal government worked with Freeit Data Solutions, an Austin-based IT services and solutions company, to fix it quickly and ensure a smooth transition.
A Compliance Challenge Arises
Initially, Buda opted for the enterprise (commercial) version of Office 365, but a shortcoming emerged. The city’s police department works with and shares information with other law enforcement agencies, including the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. Any entity that accesses US Justice Department information needs to ensure that their processes and systems comply with FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) policies for wireless networking, data encryption, and remote access. The Office 365 commercial cloud tenant they initially deployed did not meet that requirement.
So, Buda issued a Request for Proposals to Microsoft channel partners in search of one that could help with the migration, and Freeit won the bid. The combination of Freeit’s thorough methodology and competitive pricing provided Buda with the best value and solution. In addition, Richard Martinez, IT Administrator, had worked with Freeit previously and trusted the team.
A Change in Plans
The city opted to migrate to the Office 365 US Government Community Cloud (GCC), which is CJIS compliant. While achieving compliance was key there was also a goal to minimize the disruptions encountered by users as the switch was made.
Operating since 2010, Freeit developed a methodology that started with outlining the system requirements. First, the solutions provider linked the commercial and GCC tenants to prepare for the move. Then a pilot phase was established to test the configuration to ensure that everything worked properly.
An important step was preparing users for the transition. “Freeit met with employees regularly and was very clear about the process, which provided us with a lot of reassurance,” noted Micah Grau, Deputy City Manager, City of Buda.
After successful testing, a series of five production migration passes with progressively shorter data age settings was completed in two weeks. Then, the final cut-over was completed over the weekend. Employees were up and running with the new solution as the week began.
At the end of the project, the migration featured:
- A quarter-million files
- About 140 user mailboxes and OneDrive accounts
- Approximately 20 shared mailboxes
- 20 resource mailboxes
- All employee Exchange Contacts and Groups
So, How Did Buda Benefit?
Compliance: By migrating to Office 365 GCC, the city was able to finalize their CJIS regulatory compliance project.
Productivity Improvement: Users had a local account and an email system, each with separate passwords and interfaces. Now, they have single sign-on, so they spend more time working and less accessing system resources.
Cleaner Data: Through the years, the on-premises environment collected stale and duplicate Active Directory data, which has been removed.
Simpler Onboarding: The process of adding new users and allocating resources to them has been simplified.
By working with Freeit, Buda successfully cleared the hurdle by moving to a compliant and streamlined hybrid cloud solution. “For any migration, there will always be bumps in the road,” concluded Buda’s Martinez. “Freeit was a huge help to us. They were always available and worked tirelessly to address any problem that arose.”