Executive Summary: The Eye Center Adopts Microsoft 365, Increasing Security and HIPAA Compliance with Ciracom Cloud’s Expertise
About The Eye Center
The Eye Center is one of the leading practices for eye care and LASIK procedures in Virginia and Washington D.C. With 30 years of surgery experience and more than 40,000 successful vision correction procedures, The Eye Center has garnered international repute in laser vision correction.
Prior to working with Ciracom Cloud, The Eye Center’s evolving business and growing team needed a more secure email platform and various integrated solutions to maintain and increase their productivity across their offices, all while remaining unaffected by troublesome outages and downtimes.
The Eye Center was previously using a more expensive email platform; one with much older technology that provided them with up to 23 mailbox users. This encouraged its staff members to use their personal, less-protected email addresses to have access to web-based systems.
Being in the healthcare industry (and being HIPAA-compliant), The Eye Center has always been very security-conscious regarding their systems. This created a need for a more advanced, secure, stable, and cost-efficient way to provide corporate email addresses for all their employees while maintaining high levels of security for all their data. The Eye Center recognized that the ideal setup would involve keeping work-related communications and data safe across all their projects, official devices, and more.
Beyond experiencing challenges with their previous exchange provider, The Eye Center’s additional goal was to maintain a very high uptime, and to be free from costly outage interruptions for its staff.
The solutions that Ciracom Cloud recommended for The Eye Center included:
- Email migration from their previous provider into Exchange Online (Plan 2), Exchange Online Kiosk, and Office 365 Business. Also, the installation of Defender 365 as an add-on license for their email, which reduces malware risks.
- Deployments of Cisco Umbrella, Group Policy, and File Replication Services for a more secure and productive working environment.
“Ciracom Cloud has supported us with everything that we have ever needed to improve our company. They are always there with solutions and even recommendations ready that make our company operate the way it operates now. We’re super productive.” - Michael Rewolinski: Chief Technology Officer
When Ciracom Cloud first began working with The Eye Center more than 20 years ago, the initial project scope included email migration. The Eye Center was in the initial stages of utilizing web-based systems that required email addresses to log into, because of the restrictions with the number of users, some of their employees had to use their personal email addresses. Ciracom Cloud’s recommendation was to roll out:
- Exchange Online Plan 2 – for doctors and managers
- Exchange Online Kiosk – for majority of their staff
- Office 365 Business – for their accountants
Switching to Microsoft 365 was not only cost-effective but provided several benefits. These included:
- More tightened security – Users received more advanced add-on licenses, such as Office 365 Defender which went deeper than their previous email provider’s security by following links and opening attachments in Azure from their email accounts to check if it contained any harmful content.
- Bigger mailbox storage – They were given up to 100GB for Exchange Online Plan 2 and 2 GB for Exchange Online Kiosk.
- A higher service level agreement (SLA) and uptime.
- Overall, Ciracom Cloud enabled users to utilize the cloud and allowed them access to more secure SaaS applications through their individual logins.
The Eye Center is one of the early adopters of the Cisco Umbrella, which is a security service that performs content filtering. Cisco Umbrella whitelists sites employees are allowed to visit, therefore, restricting their devices in terms of following undue malicious sites and links.
One of the successes that The Eye Center has been enjoying presently is the ease of installing their tools, browser extensions, and applications through a technology called Group Policy. Group Policy allows Ciracom Cloud to configure workstations remotely and in faster phases based on their office locations, and from there, processes become more automated.
This has significantly reduced the time of completing manual and complicated installations by automatically granting employees access to machines and tools deployed by Group Policy. For example, The Eye Center’s office printers are one type of those machines, and once they plug in and access their computer, it will in turn automatically be granted access to the office’s printer.
File Replication Services (DFS)
Dr. Ayman Boutros, one of the leading ophthalmologists at The Eye Center, wanted a very high uptime so he and his staff could be reliably unrestrained by any outages. Aside from a Dual Internet Carrier that automatically moves traffic from one line to another in case a failover happens, Ciracom Cloud implemented File Replication Services (FRS), more commonly known as Distributed File System (DFS). With DFS in place, users can still access files in the event of an outage because of its ability to replicate file shares per office or per location.
Before this system was implemented, employees would have previously had to access files from their main server every time they experienced network interruptions. Now, employees need not worry about retrieving shared files whenever they need them, even if their connection is temporarily disrupted.
Cloud computing and immense security improvements have made working remotely as seamless as possible for The Eye Center, especially during the pandemic.
“Electronical Medical Records (EMR) and Practice Management Systems (PMS) are now all cloud-based. Our staff can access them anywhere as long as we have internet connection,” said Michael Rewolinski, who has been with The Eye Center for more than 14 years. EMR is a system which stores patient’s medical records, and PMS is a system The Eye Center uses for patient scheduling and billing.
According to Rewolinski, they used to access these systems through a VPN, which for him was not as reliable as he had hoped. They struggled with downtime and lagging internet often; since moving to the cloud, however, they can now work from anywhere, anytime and with incredibly fewer issues.
Rewolinski also commented on the email migration solution that Ciracom Cloud provided. “With Microsoft migration, we definitely had a lot less downtime with emails and fewer issues with our email servers. It’s linked with Office 365, which makes sharing internal admin files a lot easier and with a lot fewer needless interruptions,” he said.
Rewolinski has commended Ciracom Cloud for ensuring that all their medical records are safe and secure, too. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a data loss. Not one,” he recalled.
“Ciracom Cloud has supported us with everything that we have ever needed to improve our company. They are always there with solutions and even recommendations ready that make our company operate the way it operates now. We’re super productive,” Rewolinski said. When asked what he is most impressed with, Rewolinski replied, “The Ciracom Cloud team always has super-fast responses to our tickets and exercises high attention to detail. With cloud technology, its pure ease of functionality. You always have your data backed up and you always have access to it. It’s amazing.”
Interested in updating your business’s Microsoft technologies and migrating to the cloud? Book a free, 15-minute appointment with one of Ciracom Cloud’s experts here!