Moving To The Cloud: Why You Should Consider Migrating To The iManage Cloud

With the iManage Cloud gaining more and more popularity, it’s no surprise that many organisations are making the move away from on-premise solutions. However, with such a business-critical system as a DMS, it’s essential to make sure that every factor of the migration process has been considered beforehand.

So, in this blog post, Dave Wilson, Managing Director at Tiger Eye, answers all of your need-to-know questions about moving to the iManage Cloud. In this post, we highlight the benefits, the perceived negatives, and the processes involved with moving to the iManage Cloud.

Question 1:

What are the benefits of moving to the Cloud?

Answer:

Firstly, let us highlight why firms are moving to the Cloud and what the key drivers are for making the move to Cloud.

Fewer IT Admin Tasks

Primarily, the key thing to consider is that in moving to the Cloud, all of the servers in a firm’s on-premise system will now be migrated – and managed – by someone else. This means there will no longer be any need to manage the patching or system updates, as the system will always remaining current and up to date through iManage’s management of the system. This enables IT Teams to work on more high-value tasks than the mundane admin tasks required to upkeep their on-premise set-up.

Cost Savings

With fewer servers and physical equipment needed to run a Cloud system – as well as less labour costs needed to maintain it – the iManage Cloud proves to be more cost-effective than on-premise solutions. In addition to this, the iManage Cloud offers a per user, per month, op-ex cost, so Cloud firms can pay as you go and more easily manage and track the costs of their systems.

Security and Scalability 

From a security perspective, Cloud firms benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that iManage’s experts are maintaining all patches and software upgrades needed for their DMS – ensuring that their system remains as secure as possible. With this, staying up to date with the latest technology becomes easier for Cloud firms compared to on-premise clients. Organisations in the iManage Cloud can easily add new features to their DMS by simply performing a client-side upgrade, rather than carrying out back-end updates as is required with on-premise solutions. The iManage Cloud also offers an easier approach to onboarding new users when needed, meaning that a Cloud-hosted system is much easier to adapt and scale as and when needed.

Question 2:

Are there any negatives to moving from an on-premise environment to the Cloud?

Answer:

There have been a number of pieces covering the cons of moving to the Cloud, however I’d say that what are labelled ‘negatives’ by others should perhaps be labelled ‘perceived cons’ – let me explain why.

For example, one ‘negative’ I have heard discussed centres around the effect that moving to the Cloud has on a Document Management System’s integration set-up.

Because many DMS integrations currently include SQL connections and COM based code, these will all need to be changed before a firm migrates to the Cloud, to ensure that these solutions work effectively using the new rest API. To be honest, this is really only following best practice and the COM-based changes will need to be done soon anyway. So, although there is some work that needs to be done before a firm moves, this isn’t a real negative.

Another topic of discussion is data security. Some organisations – including a firm’s clients – may feel a little uneasy about moving to the Cloud, and perhaps may not feel ready to make the move. However, I’m sure that the iManage Cloud’s market-leading zero-trust security model will fill any firm with confidence in the security of their data.

Some people feel that with an on-premise solution, they are more secure. This is because physical servers and physical infrastructure provide a bit of a comfort blanket, with many organisations feeling that if they can see their data, they’ll be more secure. However, of course, the downfall is that although these firms may be able to see the network itself, it’s impossible to actually see what’s going on within it. In fact, it takes most companies take nearly 6 months to even detect a data breach, using conventional security measures.

Question 3:

What kind of internet bandwidth is needed to deploy the iManage Cloud?

Answer:

Something that is key to consider is that once your data is in the Cloud, that’s the only way you can access it. So, wherever you are, you’re going to need to have sufficient internet bandwidth of a reasonably good quality in order to get to your documents and emails.

Depending on the size of a firm, your bandwidth would need to be anywhere from 12 MBPS and 100 MBPS, but this varies depending on the number of employees a business has, the hours in which they operate, and more.

It’s also important to consider having some kind of a failover in place. It’s unlikely that the iManage Cloud itself will be down, however what could inhibit access to the Cloud could well be a firm’s own office internet connectivity.

 Question 4:

Can I trust the iManage Cloud to always be available?

Answer:

The iManage Cloud has the best recorded uptime compared to any other providers on the market. For example, the uptime for the UK Cloud is around 99.995 percent – with some other regions scoring even higher than this.

I think this statistic provides a fairly safe guarantee that the iManage Cloud can be relied upon to always be available.

 Question 5:

How would a failover from the iManage Cloud to an alternative data centre work?

Answer:

Firstly, I’d like to highlight that a firm’s primary data centre will most likely be the one geographically nearest to them, to provide the best connectivity.

With iManage Cloud systems, replication occurs frequently, during which all of an organisation’s online/live store is replicated to another data centre that is twinned within the region that business is working in.

So, for example, if you’re in the UK there’s two locations at Slough and at the Docklands.

Once the system automatically fails over, the firm’s original IP address of their entry point is presented so that from a user point of view, the switch over is seamless.

Another benefit of the iManage Cloud is that in contrast to other failovers, this process does not require any changes to be made manually – firms are automatically changed over to the backup copy.

This data replication goes both ways. So, for example, once the issue has been resolved with the primary data centre (whatever it might have been), iManage Cloud clients can instantly switch back to it. Therefore, with the instant switchovers involved, uptime is not affected and the DMS is always available. This is another reason why the uptime statistics for the iManage Cloud are so impressive.

Question 6:

How can moving to the Cloud save my firm time?

Answer:

When it comes to upkeeping an on-premise DMS, IT teams are required to spend time installing client applications, maintaining back-ups for databases, looking after application servers, applying patches, performance monitoring and more.

This is a lengthy list of tasks and it clearly takes up a lot of time.

When a firm migrates to the Cloud, all of the areas apart from the client application are taken in hand and managed by iManage. This frees up IT Teams, meaning they can spend less time on Admin tasks and spend more time carrying out more innovative, high value work.

Along with time saving, there are also a number of other additional savings to be had, including cost savings.

For example, with the iManage Cloud, there are lower entry costs and running costs. All the time savings and all of the cost savings in turn lead to an increase in business agility, with a system that can quickly scale up or down to meet the needs of the business.

Question 7:

How do I know how secure the iManage Cloud actually is?

Answer:

This is a key consideration for anyone thinking about moving to the Cloud. When a firm gives their data to another provider, it’s important to ensure that not only is the data is secure, but that the hosting provider is taking responsibility for the data they’re storing.

iManage have adopted a ‘Zero Trust’ approach to security, meaning that they do not even trust their employees to look at the data within their Cloud. The only people  that have access to the data within the iManage Cloud are from the firms who entrusted it there – in other words, your staff.

The complete Cloud infrastructure is encrypted at every level. All stages of the document journey are encrypted: from creation, to moving up into the Cloud and back again, with data encrypted both at transit and at rest.

To protect a firm from insider threats, iManage offers clients the ability to make use of ‘need to know’ security and threat analytics with products like Threat Manager and Security Policy Manager, that restrict data to only those who need to access it within the organisation.

Everything that goes into iManage is monitored, and everything that goes on within your organisation is monitored. So, from a security point of view, I don’t think you can get any better.

Question 8:

Which authentication tools can you use with iManage?

Answer:

With the iManage Cloud, there is a sync in place between ADFS, so you can simply use your ADFS login. With this, organisations need only to log in to their desktops as normal and connect to the Cloud from there.

However, if a particular business wanted to be even more secure, they could use SAML, DUO, two-factor authentication or other solutions to increase security – all of these are supported by the iManage Cloud. Some firms have adopted an Azure active directory, and it is worth noting that it is also possible to host a domain in Azure, transferring the authentication process to Azure in the process.

Question 9:

What is the process involved with migrating an on-premise system to the Cloud?

Answer:

The first step is to make sure that both the database and file store/s are ready.

The data needs to be prepared, ready to be moved. This means that the iManage database must be clean, documents must be checked and in place and scripts must be run to check that all of this has been done successfully.

Not only is this a good opportunity to check your data integrity, but it’s also a great time to consider deleting any unnecessary data firms may have been hoarding.

It’s important for firms to know that they are required to pay for as much storage as they use in the Cloud, so in terms of cost saving, it’s simple: reducing one’s footprint in the Cloud in turn reduces how much it’s going to cost.

Once an organisation has their data ready in their database, that business’ iManage Partner would then use a third-party tool to sync the database to the Cloud. Once that has been carried out, there is essentially a copy of the original data in the Cloud, allowing the business to connect to it and test it is working as expected.

From here onwards, the two data sources – one in the Cloud, one on-premise – permanently sync together. At this stage, it’s important to test client connectivity, re-point and test integrations such as email management, test authentication methods and check that everything is working as expected.

Then, that’s it! Sync the data up, turn off the on-premise system and you are Live. The system is switched over, so that users connect from their existing desktops to the Cloud.

Question 10:

What is the migration process involved with moving from an on-premise, unstructured environment (i.e. from a PMS/CMS or similar, with data stored in file shares) to an iManage solution?

Answer:

There’s two ways of doing this, depending on the level of structure applied to the original data source.

In the case of having a PMS, a data conversion would be required.

If a client has structured data that they would like to bring across into an iManage database, they would need to do that on-premise first.

A staging environment would need to be set up first, because this offers an opportunity to ensure that all of the data required for the DMS has been carried across effectively and if not, the data can be changed or transformed during this stage – before it’s migrated to the non-staging ‘live’ environment. After this has all been successfully tested and the data has been thoroughly checked, the client would then move on to the ‘cleaning’ stage, as discussed earlier.

If a business wanted to migrate from a set-up where they did not have a PMS system – or any kind of formal structure – to their data at all, an alternative route could be taken. In this instance, an iManage Partner could build structure onto the dataset directly in the iManage Cloud, reducing the number of steps involved. For example, here at Tiger Eye we have a tool that allows firms to import from a file system directly into the Cloud, as part of our Migration Suite. In this scenario, the tool would simply pick up the data directly from the File Servers and import it into the Cloud structure as needed.

Question 11:

From a support point of view, are there any differences when you compare on-premise iManage support with iManage support for Cloud customers?

Answer:

It really is very similar to any other IT Support relationship, but with an extra step for server-side issues. Let me explain why:

  • With on-premise iManage customers, the relationship goes from customer to partner, with the iManage partner able to address issues directly, sometimes with the assistance of iManage.
  • With the iManage Cloud, the customer would still liaise with their iManage partner, who would resolve any client-side issues for the customer. However, if there were any issues related to servers, these would be passed by the iManage partner onto the iManage Cloud Services who would handle the issue.

Question 12:

Is there a way in the iManage Cloud that I can carry out essential admin tasks?

Answer:

On-premise iManage clients will most likely be used to using the ‘DB Admin Panel’ to carry out Admin tasks. However, within Work 10 and the iManage Cloud itself, administrators have access to a panel called the “IMCC” or iManage Control Centre interface, instead. Clients should be trained by their iManage partners to use the panel, and this should be included as part of their iManage project.

In the panel administrators can carry out all essential Admin Tasks. Both the client and iManage Partner would have access to the panel, as this allows iManage Partners to make changes to Config Files, add integrations and more, as and when needed.

It’s very straight forward to use and has a great range of functions for clients to use, including reporting functions, allowing administrators to monitor their system effectively.

Question 13:

Are there any facilities that come with the iManage Cloud package that don’t necessarily come with iManage in an on-premise set-up?

Answer:

iManage Share is included at no extra cost with all iManage Cloud systems. This tool allows you to collaborate with external parties seamlessly, and it’s very popular amongst our clientele.

We know from speaking to our customers that a common drain on IT resources is the undoing of accidental deletions that staff may often carry out in error.

Another benefit of the Cloud is the ‘trash bin’ feature and with this, deleted files are kept in the trash bin but are easily restored from there, negating the need to restore databases. This saves IT teams a lot of time, as they no longer need to carry out all the necessary procedures required in restoring a deleted file in an on-premise set-up.

Question 14:

What other additional products can firms purchase with their Cloud subscription?

Answer:

All of the iManage Suite is available through the Cloud.

I think this is a good time to note that in contrast to other solutions, iManage is a platform to invest in, with a ‘Cradle to Grave’ or ‘End to End’ approach to Document Management. This means that solutions are available to support companies in every element of the lifecycle of a document – and the business processes involved.

After iManage Work and Email Management, I would say that the most-used feature is iManage Share, because it is included as standard with all bundles.

The next most popular features or products are Threat Manager and Security Policy Manager.

Question 15:

What is iManage Threat Manager?

Answer:

iManage Threat Manager is certainly an optional extra that we are seeing rise in popularity amongst our clients.

It is an AI utility that monitors internal user behavior, highlighting if someone is downloading more documents than usual, or perhaps looking into an area of their firm’s document store that they wouldn’t normally look at.

Threat Manager uses algorithms to learn what users are doing on a day to day basis and alerts a nominated group/individual when someone acts abnormally. This gives key business stakeholders data on user activity, helping to protect the firm from both insider and external threats.

Threat Manager is also a useful tool that helps firms to understand who is using the iManage system correctly within their teams. Highlighting where there may have been weaknesses with the adoption of the system, Threat Manager reports on who is using iManage incorrectly – and who isn’t using it at all.

It’s important to mention that Threat Manager is actually available with any current version of iManage and isn’t specifically available for iManage Cloud customers, but many businesses do choose to add it to their Cloud package.

Question 16:

What is iManage Security Policy Manager?

Answer:

Security Policy Manager is the second most popular add-on that we see being adopted by businesses we work with.

Security Policy Manager moves the data within your DMS from an optimistic to a pessimistic model, and it is a real time saving tool from an IT perspective.

With an on-premise iManage system, when an individual wants to lock down a matter, they need to contact IT, change the security and carry out a re-file process.

All of those elements are still available in the Cloud however Security Policy Manager takes the strain off of IT Teams by putting the responsibility of locking down the matter onto the personnel who should really be responsible for doing so – the people working on the matter. Firms can also set up rules to tie down practice areas to specific employees, too.

Security Policy Manager also provides a full audit of who is working on and viewing particular matters – which is a useful function when a business is required to provide data audits.

Note:

If you’d like to learn more about if the iManage Cloud is right for you – or how Tiger Eye can help you to migrate to it – just get in touch via our website or call us on 01603 293 500.

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