Barristers’ accountancy firm advocates data security with Microsoft Office 365

Our customer is a firm of accountants that specialises in dealing with the accounting and tax affairs of barristers. When their server warranty expired, the firm decided to start their cloud journey by migrating email to Office 365. 14 days and a smooth migration later, they now enjoy the added security of Microsoft servers, transparent remote working and freed time for the IT manager.

Key points

  • Avoided capital outlay of buying new server
  • Migration to Office 365 was fast and smooth
  • Increased security with encryption and Microsoft cloud servers
  • Saved time on IT management
  • Staff remote work easily and transparently


The firm provides accountancy advice and guidance to more than 3,000 barristers and their chambers. It also has a rapidly expanding accounts and audit section.

IT consultant Ian Russell has looked after the firm’s IT for the past 18 years and has a long-standing partnership with Cloud Direct.

The challenge

The firm’s server warranty with Dell was up for renewal, however Dell would only agree to a two-year minimal contract. Very aware of the growing trend of moving away from hardware towards cloud based systems, the firm wasn’t keen to replace the existing on site servers.

Instead, they wanted to minimise the capital outlay for the firm while also providing staff with more reliable remote access to their data and email.

The firm had already used Cloud Direct for LiveVault and Connected Backup, and trusted Cloud Direct to help the firm take the first steps towards cloud. The firm agreed to Ian’s suggestion of removing the hosted exchange server element and moving their email to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365.

Like all financial businesses today, the firm relies heavily on email, so it was critical that the migration avoided creating disruption or downtime.

Ian said: “We’ve always had a very good service with Cloud Direct, so I suggested we go with them for the Office 365 email migration, with a view to retiring our servers completely over the next year to 18 months.”

The solution

Cloud Direct moved the firm from Exchange 2010 with Outlook 2010 to Office 365. From the point of view of the firm’s employees and 3,000 barrister customers, the migration was seamless.

Ian said: “The migration process was very smooth. Mainly due to Cloud Direct’s experience, efficiency and good communications – it was pretty seamless. Behind the scenes, there were a few glitches that the support team solved and I had a few tricky onsite things to work out. However, from the point of view of the firm and their clients, it was seamless and painless.

“The move to Office 365 immediately solved some niggling problems we had been experiencing with the Exchange 2008 release. For example, the out-of-office was misbehaving. But with Office 365, these quirky problems have just gone away.”


The accountancy firm’s migration was so smooth, that it was only 14 days between the first phone call to Cloud Direct and sign-off on the completed project.

The firm now has remote access to emails and has saved on the cost of Exchange servers. With 3,000 customers and stringent data regulations, they now enjoy the peace of mind – and high compliance levels – that come with Microsoft’s cloud technology.

Ian said: “Security and encryption is very high on our agenda, so we now have the added confidence in Microsoft servers. Their reliability is so much better than any physical box we had. Before, if we had a hardware problem it was immediately a serious problem. Now, with Office 365, people just fire up another PC and they’re working again.

“Office 365 looks after itself, so it’s freed up my time, which is great.”

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