For more than 20 years, Creative Security has provided security solutions for organizations across California, ensuring their staff and premises stay protected. However, the business also needed to ensure its internal IT tools and services were helping, not hindering, its core business objectives.
Like many businesses of a similar size, they had set up their IT infrastructure within the confines of their own building. But having an on-premise IT environment created challenges.
First, they had to navigate ongoing upfront capital costs whenever they needed new technology. Second, they faced the significant workload, hassle and expense of monitoring, patching and maintaining all their physical systems.
“Whenever our servers went down, I was the one fielding calls and emails at 2 a.m. and trying to get our IT partners to come and resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” said Trevor Wall, chief operating officer at Creative Security. “It was a nightmare situation and a source of constant distraction.”
As more of the company’s on-premise infrastructure reached the end of its operational life —and they faced additional capital investment to bring it up to date — Creative Security needed an IT strategy change.
“Maintaining our legacy systems required so much time, cost and manual effort,” Wall said. “But I knew we increasingly live in a world where that can all be handled by somebody else in a cloud-based environment, which sounded appealing.”
When Wall started exploring options for migrating servers, files and systems to the cloud, he came across ZAG Technical Services. Wall was impressed with ZAG’s philosophy that technology was an integral part of doing business, that IT investments drove ROI and a competitive advantage, and that the right solution enabled businesses to grow.
“From the first whistle, ZAG acted like a project manager and [its team members] were able to answer a bunch of our questions about cloud migration, which gave me faith in their knowledge and expertise,” Wall said.
Before embarking on broadscale cloud migration, ZAG engaged in discovery and research hours to establish that cloud migration was an advantageous solution for Creative Security. These discussions happened over several months as ZAG provided clear reasons for adopting a cloud-first strategy.
Switching from the high capital expenditure of replacing existing hardware in the building to monthly cloud subscriptions would save Creative Security money — and deliver corresponding benefits. These included increased agility and flexibility for the workforce, more robust security and hours saved by eliminating the workload of maintaining on-premise IT equipment.
Once Creative Security embraced the strategy, ZAG began managing the deep organizational shift towards cloud-first adoption, using Microsoft’s cloud-computing service, Azure.
As well as helping Creative Security maximize its IT resources by adopting cloud-based solutions, ZAG provides hands-on support fighting cybercrime, as well as ongoing user support.
Even more valuable has been ZAG’s role in providing technical consultancy. As a result, Creative Security now pitches for contracts they felt under-qualified to pitch for before because of the more technical knowledge required for success.
Creative Security has earned approximately $1 million in additional revenue by using technology as a competitive advantage since partnering with ZAG, which Wall said would not have been achieved without them.
“I can think of specific projects that had technical components that were out of our realm of expertise,” Wall said. “When we consulted with ZAG, they provided novel ideas and opportunities for what was actually possible, which enabled us to win contracts that were bigger than we had before.”
By transitioning to cloud-based infrastructure, Creative Security has also unlocked significant cost and time savings, including more than $100,000 in upfront investment by eliminating the need to upgrade servers, systems and software. Meanwhile, they’ve regained hundreds of hours a year by removing the workload of ongoing maintenance and oversight.
Creative Security saw even more value from ZAG’s solutions when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“When we first considered moving to a cloud-based environment, we trusted ZAG’s judgment that it was the best solution for future-proofing ourselves, and saving time and money across the business,” Wall said. “With every application, file and system available instantly via the cloud, colleagues could continue to provide exceptional service to customers remotely —without an issue.”
With ZAG, system uptime is improved, time and cost savings are unlocked and security and scalability are maximized. Best of all, Wall has a skilled, technical team on the end of the phone that cares about making his business successful.
“Before we worked with ZAG, we felt like we couldn’t get out from under the thumb of being a small business,” Wall said. “With ZAG, we have an entire company that’s dedicated themselves to making us more productive — and is heavily invested in seeing us succeed."