Executive Summary: Marea Strategies Achieves Its Goals To Be A 100% Cloud Company through Ciracom Cloud and Moves to a Zero Trust Security Posture
About Marea Strategies
Marea Strategies, which was established more than two years ago, is a political and public affairs consulting firm specializing in facilitating communications between clients and their targeted audiences.
“Marea” is a Spanish term that means “tidal wave”. Melissa Zamora, Marea Strategies’ Founder and President, shared how much she likes the beach, the force behind the ocean itself, and that power that comes with it. She also worked with Groundswell Communications for 13 years prior to building her own company. “I think it’s a nice knot, in terms of where I came from and keeping with our whole water theme,” she said.
Initial Challenges/Problem Details
Marea Strategies used to share offices with Groundswell Communications until the latter decided to move offices. This prompted Marea Strategies to go 100% cloud to be able to transition from working on-site to working remotely from home. Currently, Marea Strategies has two active employees; but previously, they were using a physical server that needed additional space for storage. There were costs associated with the upkeep of said server as well, and those costs were very impractical for server maintenance just for two employees.
Additionally, they were experiencing far too much downtime with their VPN connection, whenever they needed to work remotely.
In order to transition to a 100% cloud company, Ciracom Cloud made the following recommendations:
- Installation of Microsoft 365 applications, the latter of which includes SharePoint Online, OneDrive, Exchange Online and Microsoft Intune
- Spanning Backup for Microsoft 365
- Implementation of Webroot and Cisco Umbrella to boost their cybersecurity
- Deployment of Kaseya VSA for remote monitoring management
Installation of Microsoft 365 Applications
Marea Strategies was overly reliant on their physical server when accessing files, and that required more time and effort, while risking high downtime. Upon Ciracom Cloud’s assessment of their infrastructure, migration from their local server into both SharePoint Online and OneDrive was conducted. With those processes in place, Marea Strategies no longer had to worry about downtime as Microsoft assures 99.99% uptime.
With Marea Strategies’ vision of being a 100% cloud company, Ciracom Cloud enabled Autopilot using Microsoft Intune, a mobile device management solution which is part of Microsoft 365 Business Premium package. This was deployed to remotely configure work laptops/desktops. Once an employee receives the provided laptop/desktop and logs in to that equipment, all their necessary settings and applications will automatically be installed with very minimal effort. This feature eliminates the need to manually install applications in new and existing work devices, which often happens when onboarding new employees.
Ciracom Cloud was able to consolidate Marea Strategies’ business needs by deploying Microsoft solutions; now they can access their emails and files more easily, securely, and completely independent from a physical server or a VPN connection.
“That office-to-home transition has been pretty seamless because we have everything stored in the cloud. We literally just brought our computers home. Before things officially shut down, I told my employees to do a trial work-from-home day to see if we’d be missing anything and we really weren’t because we thought through all of this with Ciracom Cloud in advance to make sure that everything we needed was in the cloud,” Zamora further detailed.
Spanning Backup for Microsoft 365
Spanning Backup for Microsoft 365 provides daily automated Microsoft 365 backup that auto-discovers new and/or altered content to secure. This supplies organizations with reliable backup and recovery assurances for their Microsoft 365 from Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.
Zamora has shared how, before Ciracom Cloud, she struggled to recover lost documents on which she had put in a tremendous amount of work. “Before we were fully integrated into the cloud, I remember I’d be working on a document on my desktop and if I wasn’t saving it properly and that document went away, I would lose all that work. But now, that document is saved automatically, and I know that the thing I’m working on is protected every step of the way and that just gives me so much security.”
“What’s also crucially important to me is the fact that I don’t feel like I’m just a name or a phone number with Ciracom Cloud. We have some unique data security needs for some of our clients, and real and reliable people from Ciracom Cloud have always taken a very comprehensive and individualized approach with us. I can’t say enough how much that is appreciated.” - Melissa Zamora: Founder and President
Webroot and Cisco Umbrella to Boost Security
Cisco Umbrella is a cloud security solution that blocks all malicious activities through whitelisting, content filtering, and further blocking known bad sites. While Cisco Umbrella is more proactive, Webroot is reactive. This antivirus solution was put in place to prevent the occurrences of debilitating cyber threats.
Kaseya VSA as a Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM) Solution
Kaseya VSA enables Ciracom Cloud to remotely troubleshoot and fix issues found in users’ work laptops/desktops. In the event a user can’t access their files in SharePoint, Ciracom Cloud can easily connect and access the laptop remotely to fix the problem. Because Marea Strategies has been working from home since moving out of their shared office with Groundswell Communications, having a remote monitoring and management solution made complete sense for them.
Security, accessibility and flexibility are the three most important things that were considered when Ciracom Cloud designed the unique solutions for Marea Strategies, especially considering the line of business and industry they’re in. With the solutions Ciracom Cloud has implemented, Marea Strategies can now work remotely and securely from anywhere independent from VPN connection using Microsoft solutions. “I am really impressed by the accessibility and the ease with which I can truly access data anywhere. I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago and tried not to work, but a situation arose, and I needed to work from a remote location after all. And with Ciracom Cloud, I could. That really gives me peace of mind, knowing that I can do what’s needed as long as I just have my computer and a Wi-Fi signal,” Zamora shared.
Besides implementing security cloud solutions, Cisco Umbrella and Webroot, Ciracom Cloud has been consistently changing Marea Strategies’ virtual work environment and security features to be in compliance with their audits, as well.
“During audits, our clients would hire a third-party organization to run it and a representative from Ciracom Cloud would be on one of those conference calls to answer questions and help them understand where we’re at from a security perspective. That’s really great because I don’t have to be the security expert in this, because I’m not,” Zamora explained. “I can spend my time looking for business and servicing our existing clients instead of spending extra time working on our IT and security, which is really important to me and is now thankfully being handled,” she added.
“What’s also crucially important to me is the fact that I don’t feel like I’m just a name or a phone number with Ciracom Cloud. We have some pretty unique data security needs for some of our clients, and real and reliable people from Ciracom Cloud have always taken a very comprehensive and individualized approach with us. I can’t say enough how much that is appreciated.”
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