Money Advice Case Study

Project Type : Azure SQL Paas, Azure Virtual Desktop

Sector : ISV (Independant Software Vendor)

Our Customer

Money Advice proudly released its first software application “BrokerCRM” in 1997. Software companies cannot deliver solutions unless experienced industry professionals with in-depth domain knowledge are heavily involved in the scoping, specification and on-going development of the ultimate software solution. Combining the experience from the development of software products with industry knowledge, the software team at Money Advice released the new Money Advice+CRM platform in Mar 2014.

In building the software we have had a strong focus on CPC 2012 compliance requirements and GDPR requirements. Money Advice have built powerful CRM functionality which includes document management, marketing suite, and pipeline management with fees and commissions management.

Their Challenges

Money Advice as an ISV already have strong technical skillsets when Tier3Tech became their preferred IT and Cloud Provider. However, there was a need for an outside advisory role from an efficiency and security perspective, to ensure Money Advice always kept on track of the latest Azure technologies and the latest security threats that persisted in the marketplace. Compliance is core to the solutions Money Advice offer their clients, so ensuring maximum adhere to regulatory measures for their own software was extremely important. It was therefore felt a wise decision to acquire specialised Azure expertise to assess where further improvements could be made on their existing Azure environment where their software resides.

Some of the key challenges to overcome were as follows :

Amalgamate individual Azure tenants into a single managed Azure tenant

Maximise cost efficiencies for the resources required the Money Advice CRM software without compromising performance or usability

Ensure the Azure environment has maximum security levels in place on a continuous basis

Replace an already secure RDP access for developers with the newer and even tighter security measures via Azure Virtual Desktops as an additional jump box security layer

Optimisation and management over resources from a Microsoft Azure cost perspective

Management of the Azure Resources on a continuous basis by an external company specialising in Microsoft Azure

Our Solution

As compliance and adherence to regulatory bodies such as the Central Bank of Ireland is imperative for Money Advice, the continuous strengthening of Azure environment via the latest Microsoft technologies was key. Part of this additional security enforcement was a full review of the current Azure environment. While tight security measures were already in place post review, one new Microsoft solution was recommended to tighten down even further the security of remote access for developers. Especially in Covid times where remote working became the new norm. An Azure Virtual Desktop environment was built as a jump box solution to where the developers can access their coding platform. This replaced the previous RDP access for developers as it was now no longer required. Benefits were as follows :

The Azure Virtual Desktop solution acts as the gateway for access to the Azure environment itself. Meaning Money Advice no longer have the need to assign and manage IP addresses to employees in Ireland, India or elsewhere. Especially Dynamic IP addresses which are more difficult to manage as opposed to static IP addresses.

Easily apply the right access controls to users and devices with Azure Active Directory Conditional Access.

Reduce vulnerabilities and help keep Virtual Desktops secure by leveraging reverse connections and security solutions like Azure Firewall, Azure Sentinel, and Azure Security Center.

Management of the Virtual Machines and the SQL PaaS environment on a continuous basis is part of the remit by Tier3Tech. Optimisation of resources to ensure the maximum efficiencies from a performance and cost perspective was also part of the service provided by Tier3Tech. With innovative techniques and technical skillsets in this field, both were achieved without any disruption to Money Advice clients.

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

Tier3Tech deployed the Azure Virtual Desktop solution for Money Advice and the results meant an immediate enhanced strengthening of the already secure Azure platform for its developers. The AVD Process streamlined the secure access process by developers without the need for manual IP lockdown by site location.  This allowed for a more user-friendly feel for the developers along with adding extra security measures, so it had a double impact. Along with this, the monthly cost savings have been significant post implementation of optimisation techniques by the Tier3Tech team. Continuous optimisation and management of the Azure environment is in progress by Tier3Tech engineers. A SharePoint project in conjunction with PowerAutomate to extract key information for Money Advice software is also on the roadmap with testing phase underway.  

Quote From Customer

“Money Advice as a long-standing software company based in Ireland and India, we pride ourselves on the quality of our CRM software and the security it offers our clients. Continuously keeping on top of the latest threats is challenging and time consuming, so this is where Tier3Tech fit in well with the company. Having moved away from a Private Cloud to the Microsoft Azure platform for better security and features for our clients, in turn Tier3Tech are now innovatively implementing optimisation techniques to further secure these environments for our clients. ”