UK Export Finance – Transformation with the Microsoft Cloud

UK Export Finance is a Central Government organisation. With 350 employees the London based organisation’s aim is to benefit the UK economy by helping exporters of UK goods and services to win business. UKEF’s existing outsourced IT services contract was inflexible and incapable of meeting their rapidly changing organisation needs. UKEF had some difficulties with the support on their old systems and they strived for the services of a company that could provide proactive monitoring. This was impacted by the growing costs of maintaining a partnership with their chosen vendor which culminated in UKEF looking to switch to a cost-efficient alternative, while minimising disruption to their current systems. There was a substantial risk that changing service providers could potentially threaten the delivery of key organisation tasks.  However, UKEF understood that if the right partner was selected to ensure the project’s success, the switch could drive internal efficiencies and enable further growth. 

The Solution

Government Digital Service (GDS) compliance sat at the very top of the list of UKEF’s priorities, meaning they were searching for a cloud-hosted and infrastructure free environment. UKEF wanted to standardise their current system, citing that they wanted something both ‘modern and mature’. Engaging with risual limited allowed the provider to understand the priorities, critical points and goals of the project.

With this embeded, risual worked with UKEF to develop a solution to transition all UKEF’s back office systems from their existing datacenters to the Microsoft Azure Cloud and Office 365. This involved a complete refresh of the infrastructure, which included establishing new communication links that would support datacenter services in Azure and mixture of rehosting Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows 2019, Microsoft SQL 2016, Microsoft SQL 2017 migration. A new disaggregated service would make use of the cloud, supported by specialist service providers which would replace the previously centralized model. This would be followed by the migration of key services to the virtual datacenter in Azure, establishing new management and monitoring tools and aligning with the Government Digital Service’s cloud-based strategy.

Following this, risual worked closely with UKEF to establish its current security posture, using proactive vulnerability monitoring systems to identify medium-high and medium-low risks across the azure environment. Immediate patching and fixes of all identified risks took place, and for additional security all systems were updated and modernised inline with security legislations.

risual completed an azure migration to consolidate the data assets which were stored in a  variety of locations. To optimise this work, all existing legacy processes were removed and replaced with modern, agile and secure processes on the latest technology to help continuously combat the growing need for robust security.  

The benefits

UKEF were delighted with the outcome of the project, which above all else, helped them achieve significant cost savings as well as providing them with a much more flexible system.

Benefits included:

  • UKEF achieved a 20% cost saving compared to their old partnership.
  • A dynamic system which allows UKEF to work with much more flexibility, something that wasn’t always possible on their previous systems.
  • UKEF now have confidence with the support of their systems, which includes risual Managed Services’ proactive and reactive management of the Azure virtual datacentre and Office 365.
  • There was minimal disruption for end-users, with the systems experiencing no downtime during regular working hours.
  • UKEF are now equipped to deal with any future changes on their system, which has helped push away the idea that their systems are ‘monolithic’. Future-proofing their systems ensures they can continue to carry out key tasks in the future.
  • UKEF now have a secure cloud based environment inline with government security legislations minimising potential cyberthreats.
  • With the azure optimisation and modernisation piece, UKEF have now seen an 30% decrease in monthly costs.

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