Make It Easy with Microsoft Office 365, Teams & Sharepoint
When it comes to remote work, easy access to company applications like email, document folders, and contacts for both employees and clients is critical. So, how do you make it easy?
The more complicated a system is, the more people will complain, decreasing productivity.
That’s where Microsoft Office 365 comes in. Most of our clients are on 365, and that’s simply because it allows most of them to keep everything the same:
Use the same systems and licences
Keep everything in one place
Use what you already know
But, leverage tools to make remote work more efficient!
Communicate via Teams to save Time Communication is time-consuming – phoning and emailing people to find out their availability is inefficient – so use the Teams application to speed up contact and reduce internal emails and phone time.
Teams also comes as a mobile application and allows you to host audio, video, and web meetings with employees and customers alike, and integrates seamlessly with Outlook.
The chat functionality allows you to set up smart channels like general chat, break time, and whereabouts to help you manage conversation and information flows within your business.
Share And Collaborate
Microsoft 365 allows you to put your business documents in the cloud and share them securely, both internally and externally, inviting team members and customers to join a team or collaborate on a document.
You have clear visibility over who is working on what and where, with no double entries and smooth syncing.
SharePoint helps tie the bundle of functionality together, allowing for files to be saved in the cloud in neatly organised document libraries, with helpful integrations and approvals. Emails can be sent and notifications posted in Teams as part of the workflow.
Secure Wherever You Are
With Microsoft 365, it is easy to manage and secure your business to run remotely, even with guest users, or if you need to use an alternative device.
When using the same systems on and off-site, everything is likely to be compliant, secure, and reliable, plus multi-factor authentication provides another level of assurance to protect your data and devices.
If your business is looking for digital productivity tools that:
Are easy to access
Provide robust security and reliability
Deliver cost savings
Allow for effortless collaboration
Enhance business process
Allow for everything in one place
Let your team work with what they know
Then Microsoft Office 365, Teams, and SharePoint are the solutions for you.
Reach out to us for a free assessment of your productivity tools, and we’ll show you how to make the most of your time and drive better business performance. Plus, we are introducing free SharePoint and Teams set up for our business plan subscribers. Check out our pricing plan here.
How the right tools can help your team to get up to speed and do more
Productivity in the workplace used to be judged by hours spent in the office – now, it’s about staying connected and getting the work done no matter where you are. In the modern workplace, sophisticated software, cloud-based data storage and portable devices mean that people can do almost everything remotely.
But, unless your workplace has the right software solutions and devices available, barriers to productivity remain. Many offices and other workplaces rely on a patchwork of different systems and processes, which makes for a less efficient workflow. Relying on email can lead to slow, inefficient communication, working remotely without the right tools can result in a lack of collaboration, documentation can be difficult to control, and security issues can arise when work is stored in the cloud. These problems can add up to slower processes and lags in work being completed.
Of course, with the right tools, workflow processes can be streamlined, and improved productivity will follow. Video and text-based chat systems can enhance communication, shared drives and documents boost collaboration, and security risks can be managed with sophisticated software. It’s about prioritising productivity and making sure you’re set up for success.
Effective communication, productive people
Two decades ago, email was a communication game-changer – now, it’s far from the most efficient way to communicate in the workplace. Rather than sending messages that may languish in an inbox for weeks, chat programs and video calls offer instant answers and accessible records.
Chat programs like Slack and Microsoft Teams let you set up groups based around specific projects or work teams. That way, messages are shared with the whole group by default – and queries can be answered by whoever is available. Chat logs are stored and searchable, so any group member can search for previous messages if they need information. Having most project communication through chat means that nobody misses out on key information by being left off an email chain or missing a reply – and it prevents vital knowledge being siloed in one or two email inboxes.
When teams need to share big ideas and insights, video calling and conferencing are ideal – bridging the gap between messaging and in-person meetings.
Collaboration is an essential part of most modern workplaces, but it’s often limited to in-person meetings or slow, asynchronous work on shared documents. Working this way can hamper effective collaboration, especially if you have teams working remotely.
When multiple people are working on a project, there’s inevitably a lot of back-and-forth involved. One person makes changes, saves a document, sends it to another person, then that person makes comments, which then need to be incorporated into the work. When you add in a day or more of wait-time between changes and updates, it adds up to sluggish workflow and frustrating delays.
Along with video calling and chat, working in the cloud allows for instant collaboration on shared work. Every member of a team can access the same documents, make and view changes, and share with clients or other teams. It’s far more effective and transparent – particularly for work with multiple stakeholders and lots of fiddly details.
Taking control of documentation
When you have multiple people working on the same documents, version control is an ever-present issue. Even if you have set protocols for file naming and saving, it can be difficult to work out which document is the latest version without a lot of checking, comparing, and renaming. Each process may be small on its own, but they can add up to a lot of wasted time and reduced productivity – not to mention embarrassing errors if the wrong version is sent to the client.
When all your work is saved to the cloud, version control becomes far less complicated. Team members never have to save to their local drive or search different folders for work – it’s all saved in one place. Depending on your workplace protocols, you can save all versions of a document for easy retrieval, or simply update a master version with the latest changes. Because all authorised members of a team can see all the relevant files, there’s far less hunting for updated copies or feedback – and with all changes recorded under team member logins, you always know who has done what.
High-tech security that doesn’t impact on workflow
Data breaches and security may not seem related to productivity, but they can be a time-suck for your people – and if your work is increasingly remote and cloud-based, breaches are not unlikely.
Protecting your proprietary data and customer information is essential, but it needs to be balanced with making processes easy on your people. Complex security systems can be heavy and frustrating, slowing your team members down – particularly if they’re trying to work remotely. But it doesn’t have to be that way – with features like Conditional Access and Multi-factor Authentication, you can keep your information secure without impacting productivity.
Multi-factor authentication makes the log-in process more secure, by sending a code through SMS or email that needs to be entered after the user’s password. When your people are using multiple devices and working in a range of locations, this feature is a simple way to beef up your security without slowing them down.
Conditional access restricts access to your systems based on the country the user is in. If anyone outside your chosen area tries to log in, they’ll be blocked -preventing potential data breaches. Of course, if your team travels overseas you can temporarily adjust your settings to include other countries.
Security is about giving your team the tools to get their work done, wherever they are. With the right system, your people will be able to log-in and access the programs and information they need in seconds, without compromising your security.
Boosting productivity with the right software solutions
All workflow software is not created equal – you might think you have a great system in place, but if you’re still having issues with slow processes, there could be a better way.
Office 365, Teams, Slack, Sharepoint, OneDrive, Advanced Threat Protection – all of the above or just a few – the right programs for your workplace depend on what you do, and how you manage your workflow. At Base2, we start by finding your productivity pain points and then pick the best solutions for your business.
In some cases, it can also be about unlocking the potential of the software you already have in place. Many of our current clients have software that can serve their needs, but they aren’t using all the available features – if this is you, a little help from the Base2 team could go a long way towards resolving any productivity problems, without the need to invest in new systems.
We’re reshaping the way we offer services – here’s why
At Base2, IT has always been the core of our business – these days, it’s a core element of our clients’ businesses as well. IT services are no longer a necessary but begrudging cost of doing business, they’re mission-critical, driving communication, remote work, data management, security, collaboration and more.
Because the role of IT in business has changed so much since we started, we’re changing too. We’re radically reshaping the way we offer services and engage with our clients, to make it easier for you to get the services you need – and understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Instead of offering a vast range of separate services, we’ve streamlined our service offerings into three simple plans. Each includes a raft of services to suit your business – from the basic to the complex, depending on what you do, how many people you employ, and your goals for the future. Pricing is set at a single cost per person, so you can start budgeting for your IT as a fixed monthly cost, rather than a fluctuating expense.
It’s about giving you the tools to push your business forward, without spending too much time thinking about the gritty details.
Here’s how our new plans will look:
Essentials – supporting small business growth
No matter how small your business, you need a base level of IT services and support to offer your clients the best possible service. No matter the size of your business, you do not want to be struggling with inadequate IT, lack of support, or slow workflow processes.
The Essentials pack lets you get on with it, giving you and your team the tools to communicate effectively and put strong workflow processes in place from the beginning. If you’re working from home or moving between temporary office spaces, the ability to access data and work from multiple devices is a game-changer, saving you and your team vital time.
Even better, Essentials gives you access to remote IT support from our experts – so any IT problems are resolved ASAP, and you can focus on your business. Easy.
Business – advanced support and security services
When your business needs get more complex, you may not need more software, but you will need more hands-on support and advanced services. Our Business plan is designed to offer flexible, tailored services for small-to-medium businesses, whatever you do.
You get the standard communication and collaboration tools to set your team up for success, with additional advanced features like security and data protection. These come in handy as you grow your client list – you need to keep that key data secure and avoid embarrassing, expensive breaches at all costs. You’ll also get valuable insight into your technology use in the form of yearly reviews and reports – knowing exactly how you’re using your IT services helps you manage your expectations for the next year.
On top of that, you get on-site support, after-hours service, hands-on help –whatever you need to keep your IT services up and running effectively.
Premium – strategic insight to help you level up
High-level business requires high-level IT services. If your business is growing rapidly – or you’re on a long-term upwards trajectory – our Premium service gives you everything you need to level up without a hitch.
On top of the standard communication, security, and data storage services, you’ll get access to expert insight from a virtual CIO – plus our team of IT pros. That insight helps you and your team strategise and plan for sustainable growth, making sure your tech meets your business needs – and your goals for the future.
It’s also about setting up your team for success. As part of the Premium package, you get access to our training programmes, so your team can learn to squeeze every last drop of functionality from your IT systems. After all, there’s no point in giving your team tools if they don’t know how to use them.
The Premium plan is intended for larger organisations or those in growth periods. It’s designed to help you sort out your internal processes and upskill your people, so you can start to build on your success instead of scrambling to catch up with rapid change.
Our plans for your business
Base2’s service and pricing structure have changed – but our commitment to personalised services and top-level IT haven’t. We’re just making it easier for our customers to get the services they need. We truly believe that IT is at the heart of business success, so we want it to be as simple, accessible, and functional as possible.
If you’re a current customer, we’re happy to review your current IT plan and help you look at your options under our new structure. If you’re a new customer, we can chat about your needs and we’ll help you subscribe to one of our plans.
Whatever your IT needs, we can help make things easy – get in touch now.
Evolving threats to online security – and how to keep your business safe
Cybersecurity isn’t just for big international corporations – your small New Zealand business could also be targeted by online scammers or affected by a data breach. As data moves into the cloud, more people work remotely, and security threats grow increasingly sophisticated, small-to-medium businesses must take cybersecurity seriously. Renewing your antivirus software and having a really good password is no longer enough.
The cybersecurity battle is fought on two fronts – internal and external. Maintaining your internal security means preventing data leaks, both unintentional and malicious. As phishing attacks and malware become more sophisticated, you also need software designed to deal with modern online warfare – scammers are now so smart they even fool the experts.
More ways to work, more ways to leak
Modern business technology makes it easy to share information and access data from anywhere – almost too easy. If you have people working from home, using multiple devices to log in to work software, and saving information in the cloud, you increase the risk of your data falling into the wrong hands.
Even if you’re a small business, you probably have data you don’t want getting out – email lists with confidential customer details, salary information, financial records, new product designs. Often, leaked data is the result of simple staff error rather than malicious intent. Think, attaching the wrong document to an email, or leaving a laptop unlocked in public. Deliberate breaches do happen, but they’re less common.
Whether it’s a simple mistake or a malicious breach, losing your business data is a big deal. If the wrong file gets out you could expose your customers to significant risk or lose proprietary data – and your reputation will take a hit either way.
If an internal leak is like losing your wallet in the street, an external threat is like being mugged. If a scammer does gain access to your internal systems, your accounts could be drained, data leaked, identities stolen – it’s not something to take lightly.
Phishing emails, which try to get you to click an unsafe link or open a document to introduce malware into your system, used to be fairly easy to spot. Dodgy grammar, countless free iPhones, NSFW promises – you didn’t have to be an expert to see that something was up. Now, online scammers have developed far more sophisticated methods that can get past experts, standard security software, and your staff.
Phishing emails may now replicate a message from a known source down to the last detail, making it more likely for you or your staff to click. They can get past your security software by sending safe links, then switching the content when the email has passed your security system – making the receiver think it’s safe. They may hack into your system and take over the account of a staff member to access business data.
New threats, new solutions
If it all sounds a bit alarming, there are solutions out there. Realistically, you may not be able to prevent every single leak or outside threat, but you can lower the risks to your business.
Modern security software has evolved to meet new threats, with some seriously smart technology. Microsoft 365 Business Premium, for example, offers a range of clever, built-in protections against internal leaks and external threats.
Software solutions for human mistakes
Human error is, well, human. It’s going to happen as long as you have staff working with data and sharing information. But with Office 365’s built-in safeguards, you can prevent most inadvertent data loss.
If a staff member is about to send an email containing sensitive data – credit card details or customer information – the software triggers a double-check warning. If the info is going to the right person, no harm done. If it’s not, you’ve avoided a potentially costly mistake.
Your data can be encrypted with a single click, and you can even prevent people from forwarding, copying, or printing confidential emails and documents. With the archiving feature, you retain key data and access to emails after staff leave – preventing the loss of key business information that may have been managed by a single person.
Of course, the software can’t necessarily prevent theft or deliberate leaks – people can always get around security protections if they’re really determined – but it can stop silly mistakes from harming your company.
Outside risks, internal safeguards
External threats are a different story, but Office 365 can help there too. Advanced multi-factor authentication makes it far harder for outsiders to log in to your systems – you can make access easy in your building, but require staff to sign in when they’re at home. You can block entire countries, so any attempts to access from outside your home base are easily identified.
Because phishing scams are now harder to spot, the software does it for you. Safe-links software scans links contained in emails twice – once when the email is received, and again when the email is opened. If the link changes after it gets past the first barrier, you’ll get a warning. Similarly, attachments are scanned and flagged automatically. Unsafe attachments go straight to spam before you even see them.
AI also plays a role. The software watches and learns how individuals in your organisation communicate. If a team member has a sudden string of unusual emails or other communications, the software will flag it as suspicious, and you can work out whether the account has been taken over by a hacker.
Setting up with the right security
Modern tech is all very well, but if you’re not an expert, it can seem overwhelming. How do you identify security risks and loopholes? How do you know you’ve got the right safeguards in place? How do you make sure every device on your network is secure?
That’s where Base2 comes in. Together with Ingram Micro, we’re making sure our customers have access to the best possible cybersecurity protection – without confusion, hassle, or wasted time. Although all our customers already have cybersecurity plans in place, online threats are always evolving, so reviewing your systems is a smart idea. Using the sophisticated security features built into Microsoft 365 Business and Premium plans, we can upgrade your system to prevent outside threats and internal breaches – so you can get on running your business.
If your business needs advanced protection from new threats, get in touch for a chat about our new Business & Premium Managed IT plans.
Make it easy with the right software, hardware, and support
A note from our service delivery manager Mitchell Wright on learnings from Covid-19 and working remotely.
The COVID-19 lockdown saw all kinds of people working from home – with mixed results. Those who were already set up with the tech they needed found it a relatively smooth transition, while others found themselves lugging workstations home and struggling to use remote-working apps. Although restrictions have eased and offices are slowly reopening, the lockdown proved what some already knew – the ability to work remotely is essential in the modern workplace.
At Base2, mobility and remote access have always been available, but COVID-19 forced us to put our tech to the test. Thanks to our comprehensive remote-access toolset, we were able to meet with colleagues and clients, access all files and data, use our phone systems and workflow software, and communicate with co-workers throughout the day – all without leaving our respective houses.
Although it’s looking like we will be able to return to the office soon, we’re not in a rush to get back to our old work habits. In fact, they might just change for good. Working from home and remote client visits save time and money spent on travel – not to mention reducing traffic volumes and emissions. Being able to work anywhere also gives our staff more flexibility to meet family commitments and balance work with home life. It’s a modern approach to business – not 9-5 in the office, but whenever and wherever as long as the work gets done.
Here’s what we’ve learned about working from home – and how to make it work for you:
Remote productivity – the tools and tech you need
Without the right technology, working from home can be an exercise in frustration and inefficiency. If your team doesn’t have access to the tools used in the office, productivity will be affected, and any travel-time savings will be lost.
Fortunately, with cloud-based storage and remote access, you can set your team up to work from home efficiently. Access to file storage, monitoring and management systems, ticketing and time tracking, meetings and collaboration through chat programs and video, even office phone systems can be used from home with a hosted VoIP platform. Some of our clients have taken their phone systems home with them – literally – plugging office handsets into home routers and taking calls as usual.
The Base2 team was well set up from the start, with all of our apps based in the cloud – phones, files, remote monitoring and management, and our job ticketing system. Our team could access all these systems through mobile devices, work laptops or home computers.
Solo work from home is easy, but there’s a perception that being face-to-face is better for communication and collaborative work. Base2, and many of our clients, found that this is not necessarily accurate.
Before and during the lockdown, we saw a huge spike in the use of Microsoft Teams. Our engineering team was able to get most of our clients up and running with the software, so they could benefit from communication and collaboration tools while working remotely.
The Base2 team was no different. We used MS Teams to keep in near-constant contact from home. We used the chat function to keep in touch throughout the day, asking questions about jobs, discussing issues, and even checking in on staff wellbeing with daily health questions, which helped us feel connected at a challenging time. For face-to-face communication, meetings with staff and clients were run through the Teams video platform. This software provides a secure way to run meetings with up to 250 people at a time – essential when in-person conversations were impossible.
Hardware, software, and support
Software systems tend to be the focus when it comes to working from home – but hardware is just as important. If you’re working on an underpowered or out-of-date laptop, for example, you won’t be able to make the most of your software applications. On the other hand, if you don’t have the software set up and ready to go, there’s no point in having the latest hardware.
Every business has different tech needs – some just need internet access and a couple of simple online workflow applications, while others need more complex set-ups with headsets and multiple screens. It’s about giving your team the right tech for their work and keeping it up to date as well. If you don’t update software and hardware regularly, you can miss out on new features and security enhancements.
It’s also about practicality – large desktop set-ups with multiple screens, plus plug-in keyboards and other accessories, aren’t easy to transport if you’re switching to remote work or mixing home and office work. Small, portable laptops are designed for mobility. Of course, super-compact set-ups don’t work for everyone – it’s important to balance flexibility and mobility with your specific business needs.
Features and future-proofing
If you’re switching to a work-from-home approach or mixing remote work with time in the office, you might need to upgrade your tech. Small, sleek laptops are the obvious choice, as they’re easy to transport and use anywhere. During the lockdown, our clients with complex workstations were the ones who found it most difficult to work remotely. If you’re shifting to part-time work from home, it’s simply not practical to have staff moving back and forth with desktop computers and accessories.
However, when you’re looking at laptop options, you need to make sure that small and portable doesn’t lead to reduced work capacity. Most smaller devices now have fewer USB or USBC ports available, making it difficult if you need to connect accessories or extra monitors. Docking stations or port replicators can solve this problem. You also need to ensure that you have the processing power to cope with your work – 16GB of RAM is standard for our engineering team, but different types of work have different requirements.
Reassess and upgrade
Although the lockdown is over, reassessing and upgrading your tech means that you’ll be set up to benefit from remote work, even when things get back to normal. Mobility is no longer a bonus extra, it’s an essential feature of the modern workplace.
And, with help from Base2, there’s no better time to upgrade your hardware. HP is offering cashback on selected HP laptops, so you can set your team up for WFH success without overspending. We’ll also help you set up the apps and systems you need to make remote work simple and efficient.
There are no more server farms, and our datacentre is a thing of the past.
Instead, we’re in the cloud, and Microsoft Azure, the biggest and best of the cloud providers, is our partner on this journey to the future.
A journey that continues with the same vision as when we started – helping businesses achieve their goals.
So, while a lot has changed, a lot has stayed the same.
We still provide a reliable, secure hosting platform for our clients – it’s now faster, simpler and without limits.
Innovation at scale
Saying goodbye to the infrastructure we’d lovingly built, upgraded and maintained for so many years was hard.
But we soon got over it. Hosting our clients’ businesses without any hardware requirements is a dream – no more server maintenance or updates. Our clients can get on with innovating and achieving their goals.
And, with us saving a considerable amount of time and cost, we can focus on supporting our clients’ innovation instead of our infrastructure.
Overall, partnering with Azure unlocks the potential for mid-sized New Zealand businesses to innovate, grow, and keep pace with global competitors in a local environment.
They can be more responsive, less affected by current events, flexible and able to achieve remote working with ease.
And, with the right experience and expertise, deploying your business to the cloud doesn’t have to be complicated.
Having been there and done that, we’re ideally placed to help other businesses make the jump.
The icing on the cake is there is no migration fee. We believe so strongly in the benefits of businesses being in the cloud, that if you have servers on-site, we can help you migrate to Azure’s cloud platform, on us.
Once businesses are on the cloud, the possibilities are limitless.
Systems don’t need to be tied to physical locations and neither do staff.
Your business can choose how it wants to operate to best serve its customers and staff, without being limited by IT constraints.
Business and work happens everywhere, and with the cloud, you can be there too.
One of our clients had their private infrastructure situated at multiple locations across New Zealand, running their own servers and application software.
Taking them to the cloud has been a gamechanger. With everything hosted on Azure, their data and applications sync in real time and are accessible anywhere.
Their whole system can be accessed through a web browser and shifting away from physical hardware means they now get economies of scale as their business grows.
Challenges with data accessibility, sovereignty and reporting are also minimised, and management now has transparency of the business’s data.
The flexibility and simplicity of the cloud give businesses greater resiliency – being better prepared for situations like now – and opens up a world of opportunity.
In short, you can achieve more, with superior speed and efficiency, more cost-effectively and securely.
Join us in the cloud
The cloud is the future, and there will be a divide between businesses that embrace it, and all it can offer, now, and those that try and persevere with the past.
Base 2 used to be a reactive business – dealing with issues when things went wrong.
Now, hosting our business on Microsoft Azure frees up our team and gives us the power to proactively support our clients by improving performance, reducing cost, and helping them seize opportunities.
And that’s why we feel Base 2 is best positioned to support New Zealand businesses that seek innovation and growth to reach their goals.
With its reliability, security and pricing options setting it apart from everyone else, we made the jump. Base 2 was now in the cloud.
The results were impressive, dramatically changing the way we do business and support our clients.
Moving to Azure has made everything faster, easier and simpler. We’ve never been able to solve support tickets like we can now – in certain instances we discovered a 700% increase!
And, now that we’re enjoying the advantages of being in the cloud, our clients are seeing the benefits as well – allowing them also to reach for the clouds and achieve their goals.
When we started 11 years ago, businesses were struggling with the stability and reliability of their systems.
Throughout our journey, a key focus has been ensuring we were providing a consistent, stable platform and reliable, managed service for our clients to host their data, applications and storage.
That is why we invested in the best equipment and software for our data centre and, with our move to the cloud, why we chose Azure to host our clients’ businesses.
Azure has global scale, using data centres all over the world, enabling data to be backed up in more than one geographic location and resources to be delivered from specific locations as needed. Overall, providing greater reliability than a single data centre could.
It also reduces the risk for our clients.
Running their businesses on Azure minimises P1 (major) incidents such as server failures and interruption issues, as well as hardware-related outages – power, internet or building outages.
Microsoft handles these issues for our clients, and with their massive redundancy and thousands of dedicated support staff, any downtime is minuscule.
It’s no wonder that industries like financial services, manufacturing, utilities, health and medical, retail, and governments rely on Azure’s cloud platform.
Not to mention, Azure’s security is second to none. So, we felt completely safe putting our clients’ data and business systems in the hands of the best in the world.
So, if businesses have specific challenges, Base 2 can provide the security and trust that they need for their critical systems.
For example, one of our clients provides medical refrigerators and freezers with built-in temperature monitoring. Their monitoring software must always be online because if the temperature in their refrigerators drops below a certain point, expensive medicines must be thrown out.
Another client, who is in the construction industry, builds homes from scratch. There are a vast number of items that need to be ordered and managed to build a house. The software they use to do this is proprietary and needs to be set up and managed in a specific way. We were able to take their application, set it up in Azure, remove the local hosting issues and make it accessible from anywhere – even on-site via 4G.
Reliability and reducing risk for clients was only step one.
Our clients were doing some pretty cool stuff and looking to incorporate better and more cutting-edge technology into their business.
This meant they needed a high-performance platform that would remove their limits.
And Azure definitely delivers.
Microsoft is continuously pouring money and resources into their datacentres and software so that Azure stays ahead of the pack. Such ongoing investment would be extremely costly for a single datacentre to maintain.
Giving our clients the benefit of large infrastructure with fraction of the costs, allowing them to scale their systems and businesses easily.
By taking advantage of Azure’s latest software and hardware, our clients’ applications run faster and better than ever.
And, without the distraction of service issues, Base 2 can play an active, pre-emptive and strategic role with our clients.
In short, Azure is the ideal solution to help us fulfil our vision of helping businesses achieve their goals
Moving our clients to the cloud
Base 2’s core mission has always been to ensure that our clients’ business goals remain their top priority.
Our partnership with Microsoft Azure enables us to provide the reliability, performance and stability our clients need to grow and thrive.
Recent improvements in internet speed due to fibre optic deep-sea cables made cloud infrastructures the ideal choice for our data storage and management.
Allowing us to continue to support our clients to achieve their goals right now and way into the future.
The next step was to choose a cloud provider. A provider we could rely on and trust with our clients’ data and business systems.
And, there were a few to choose from.
Since we started Base 2, lots of companies had made the leap to the cloud and were providing platforms for businesses to host their storage, software, networking and servers.
These cloud providers include some of the biggest companies in the world – Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Alibaba.
To choose a provider, we assessed each option against what our clients wanted from their hosting solution.
It must be consistent, stable and reliable. The platform has to be secure, and the costs of the solution predictable.
Using that criteria, one provider shone above the rest – Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure.
Firstly, Microsoft spends over USD 1 billion annually on cybersecurity and R&D, making it the most reliable cloud provider among its competitors. So, there’s no surprise that 95% of Fortune 500 companies are using Azure!
One of the reasons we built our own data centre when Base 2 started was so we could better manage and control the security of our client’s data. It meant we can deliver a service that we’re proud of
Therefore, in moving from private to public infrastructure, we needed to be able to trust that whichever cloud provider was hosting our clients’ businesses was as invested in security as we were.
Once again, Microsoft stood out – analysing 6.5 trillion threats daily and with a team of over 3,500 experts ready to support their customers.
Finally, their transparent and competitive pricing models and options enabled us to provide predictable costs to our clients.
Also, Azure matching the price of other cloud providers’ comparable services, and us only paying for the resources we used, meant we knew we could provide our clients with the most cost-effective solutions for their businesses. Better value instead? Sung in harmony with other apps in Microsoft eco-system (teams, One Drive, Office)
To top it off, Azure has free built-in services and tools that allow us to optimise resources, compare cots, and ultimately save money for both our business and our clients.
Supporting our business
In the end, Microsoft Azure was a pretty easy choice, and we migrated our business to the cloud.
The benefits were immediate.
Everything is leaner, and within reach of a web browser – making access and management a breeze and our turnaround time much faster.
Real time syncing takes the pain out of geolocational restrictions, and we now have geographic redundancy between Sydney and Melbourne as a backup. While high end intrusion protection systems keep all the data we host safe and secure.
There is no long a need to travel across NZ to be on site to determine issues.
For our team, the whole support process is super quick because Azure drastically minimises the amount of time stolen away in management and troubleshooting.
Issues can be resolved remotely and are no longer P1 (major) infrastructure related. Support tickets now are majorly related to applications, databases or storage.
Spending less time on server related issues means our team can respond and solve client problems in only 20 minutes. 700% faster than when we were operating our old infrastructure!
Supporting our clients
With Microsoft Azure powering Base 2, occasional server failures and hardware issues, such as power and internet outages, are a thing of the past.
We now have a reliable, secure cloud platform to grow our business and support our clients in growing theirs.
As more clients came on board, our server farm grew to a peak of 200 virtual servers hosted in our data centre.
All the while, our team focused on supporting and providing all our clients stable, secure solutions at a predictable cost.
Everything was going well. However, as we continued to grow, a few cracks were starting to show.
This was happening industry wide and businesses, like ours, were finding the infrastructure they’d built to support their clients, which had been state of the art at the time, was starting to show their age.
Technology was changing. Our clients’ businesses were changing.
And, to continue to fulfil our vision, we were determined to keep pace and innovate.
Old fashioned infrastructure
When we started 11 years ago, having our own private data centre made sense.
Other options, such as the cloud, were too expensive and unproven while using someone else’s physical infrastructure didn’t provide the security or reliability we wanted for our clients’ data.
However, operating a data centre is pretty involved!
You need servers, networking paths, software, air conditioning and power for it to run, along with built-in redundancy, backups, and more.
Suffice to say; it is all pretty costly just to keep it maintained.
Then, add support tickets and P1 (major) incidents which needed the team to spend time dealing with, and the costs were starting to add up.
Looking at our bottom line, we realised this was not how we wanted to operate. We didn’t want to be in fight or flight mode – we wanted to thrive.
And, our business needed to be stable because our clients were relying on us to provide a reliable, consistent platform to host their data and business systems.
Downtime and data overloads
While we were grappling with the cost of our infrastructure, we were also aware of our clients’ goals.
They wanted to grow, and incorporating more, and more powerful, technology into their businesses were a crucial part of this.
Unfortunately, our older infrastructure was struggling to host what our clients needed it to.
Making matters worse, as anyone that’s dealt with hosting would know, if there was a data overload, it would affect multiple clients – slowing down the performance of their systems. A compounding effect that was an issue for the whole industry.
This led to downtime and not a great experience for our customers – both of which needed our team to spend time sorting out.
Things were good when they were good, but that wasn’t good enough for us. We wanted to deliver a great experience on rare occasions that things went wrong.
Sitting back and looking at everything, we realised we had to look beyond the capability of what we’d built. We had to find a new solution – one which would remove the limits from both us and our clients’ businesses.
Welcome to the cloud
Fortunately, a few important things had happened since we last searched for a solution.
Technology had improved – enabling faster internet and wide area network delivery speeds, while data throughput had increased its efficiency.
Fibre was rolled out throughout the country, and there had been an increase in capacity and density of the main internet cable that connects New Zealand and Australia.
These improvements meant that servers based in Australia were now an option. Servers run by the likes of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Alibaba.
The reasons that had stopped us going with a cloud solution initially – cost, speed, and that it was new – didn’t apply any more.
11 years ago, interacting with tech support was horrific.
Unfortunately, for some businesses, this still hasn’t changed.
Companies were being let down by their technical systems and whoever was supporting them.
It was really tough. Technology that had been implemented to make their business operate better and more efficiently was in fact causing the opposite.
If their systems went down, there would be immense frustration trying to get it back up – on the phone to their IT crowd – while money was literally walking out the door.
We wanted to solve this problem. Taking care of businesses’ IT needs, so they can thrive and focus on doing what they know best.
So, we founded Base 2 with the vision of helping businesses achieve their goals.
What businesses wanted
Step one was to understand what our clients wanted to achieve – their goals and objectives.
After listening to their past IT experiences and their business’s vision for the future, we realised there were three things they needed from their IT company to thrive.
Firstly, they needed a stable, reliable, dependable, and consistent service.
This meant systems and infrastructure that wouldn’t go down, and which they could rely on to run their business.
And, on the rare occasion there was an issue, their technical support call would be answered in seconds – the problem dealt with then and there.
Secondly, security was paramount as we’d be looking after their critical business systems and essential, confidential data.
Finally, their IT costs had to be predictable. Managing cashflow is critical for a business and it’s a nasty surprise when there’s a large IT bill around the corner!
With these in mind, we set out to develop a solution that would help our clients’ businesses.
Step two was to build the infrastructure that would support what our clients wanted to do.
We opened our own data centre in Auckland and built virtual server farms to host our clients’ data, systems and services. Our hosting was available globally, so we could even look after our clients using it further afield – such as in Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
We also put in a highly redundant network with failover and 100Mb of dedicated internet (a lot at the time!) to support our growing customer base.
The best equipment and software were selected – IBM and VMware, respectively – to manage and support our clients’ servers.
We checked out the cloud but found it was still too new and expensive, at the time.
Some local providers were building their infrastructure as well, but we wanted to set up our own, so that we could best look after and control the outcomes for our clients.
With our server farms up and running, our clients had access to hosting services across a wide area network or secure internet connection.
To support them, our dedicated team of specialists were onsite and on hand every single day.
So, whenever clients had a problem, they spoke directly to us and had their issues resolved in real time.
Sticking to the vision
With each solution, we brought our clients closer to the things they cared about – their business priorities.
It wasn’t long until we were hosting 150 to 200 virtual servers in our data centre.
And, as more and more clients came on board and technology continued to evolve, there was a demand for more – more space, more speed, and greater security.
All while maintaining consistency, stability and keeping costs predictable.
Staying true to our vision, over the years, we kept our infrastructure updated and maintained, and our support team was always on hand for our clients.