By Doug Wertz
ACCESS YOUR DATA 24/7 AND PROTECT IT IN THE CLOUD
First-hand experiences around getting buy-in, making the switch, and moving forward
Insurance agencies and brokerages should consider moving to the cloud to provide 24/7 access to data and ensure that their information is backed up and secured. At Clockwork Insurance Services, Inc., where I serve as director of IT and claims administrator, we moved to the Applied Cloud in December 2014. Our in-house servers were in need of replacement, and it was the perfect time to make the transition.
To achieve buy-in from the owners, it was important to explain why the move to the cloud was ideal. As the director of IT, I had to provide proof to the owners that:
- Agency data would be secure and protected/backed up
- Only our staff could access the data
- Month-end reports would be saved electronically
- There would be no restrictions on the time of day to logging in
- We would have the ability to create form letters and use mail merge on our own
- We could continue to use two monitors
Enjoy a fast, seamless cloud transition
The move to the cloud was a smooth one, with the software support team helping us make a copy of our data several weeks prior to the scheduled migration, including moving our email. Additionally, we performed two cleanups of the data before the initial move to the cloud was made over a weekend. Moving the data to the cloud took just one day.
After installing the remote desktop applications (connection client, Screwdriver Printing client, V Channel client, and an Applied upload center on each user’s workstation), staff members were able to open up their remote desktop, log in to the private cloud server, sign into our management system, and they were live in the cloud.
Since we made the move, I am able to log in while I’m away from the office and work just like I would while sitting at my desk. I have access to customer policy information and other crucial information to report a new claim loss. I can also process the IVANS daily downloads and assign the downloaded eDocs and policies to the CSRs.
In addition, since the transition to the private cloud platform, our agency has been online 99.9% of the time. As long as we have access to the internet, we can log in and work. This was one of the major factors in the owners making the move to the cloud, and it’s a big relief for them to know they will have access to agency information on a 24/7 basis.
Another advantage is knowing that their data is backed up daily, and there is no need to take home the prior day’s backup.
The move to the cloud also served us well during the pandemic. Clockwork is located in several states (Metairie, Louisiana; Kansas City, Missouri; and Neenah, Wisconsin), and being on the cloud made it very easy for the owners to decide to allow staff to take their workstations home to work remotely.
Why make the move to the cloud?
There are several reasons why moving to the cloud made sense:
- The cloud provides remote access to our data from anywhere, 24/7
- Remote offices have easier connection to our customers’ data
- The owners have peace of mind knowing their data is secured and backed up in the cloud
- Since we are located in the New Orleans area, with the long hurricane seasons, we no longer have to worry about protecting our computer data if a disaster hits the area; we know our data is protected since it is being stored in the cloud
- All the updates/upgrades to our management system are done by a support team
[S]ince the transition to the private cloud platform, our agency has been online 99.9% of the time. As long as we have access to the internet, we can log in and work.
Having been on a local network for many years and now on a cloud platform for the past five years, I recommend agencies and brokerages that are looking to move to the cloud consider moving their local network to the cloud platform as well. You will save on IT expenses since you will not be managing your local servers.
Once you have made the move to the cloud, you and your staff will have access from anywhere you have access to the internet. And, you will sleep better knowing you are using the latest software and your data is backed up and secured.
Doug Wertz is director of IT/claims administrator at Clockwork Insurance Services, Inc., in Metairie, Louisiana, and a member of the Applied Client Network (ACN), the independent global user community for Applied Systems. On behalf of ACN, Wertz is the latest contributor to this quarterly TechKnowFile column.