Monroe Wheelchair

How Monroe Wheelchair used AWS to protect their business from outages and direct resources more efficiently.

For Monroe Wheelchair, 2017 turned out to be a pivotal year for their IT infrastructure. When the year began, they were facing end-of-life hardware, gaps in their systems from backup to security, a mountain of office paperwork, and vulnerabilities they hadn’t yet imagined. By the end of the year, they had an AWS-based solution that included Amazon WorkSpaces and the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) that helped them protect their business from outages, lost productivity from unexpected downtime, costly over-provisioned infrastructure, and service disruptions that cut into their revenue.

The Challenge

A business specializing in creating better lives for people with disabilities, Monroe Wheelchair of Rochester, N.Y., provides complex rehab and mobility solutions across New York State. Much of the company’s business centers on rehabilitation, so their team is frequently on the road providing critical maintenance for wheelchairs and other equipment people rely on. By the end of 2016, the company realized they’d outgrown the capabilities of their longtime IT service provider. They found they needed more bandwidth and strategic thinking for IT and turned to Innovative Solutions in early 2017.

Soon after the relationship with Innovative began, the issue of Business Continuity became an urgent consideration when a Monroe Wheelchair main office lost power during windstorm, knocking them offline for days. All of their servers were in their Rochester headquarters and they couldn’t use their computers or phones, so their other locations couldn’t operate either. The cost was steep: severe service disruptions, employee downtime, and lost revenue.

It became clear that Monroe Wheelchair’s on-premises infrastructure was end-of-life and no longer supported. It could not meet the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) expectations of Monroe Wheelchair. They needed a way for users across the organization to have reliable access to their IT infrastructure and sensitive PHI data, even in the case of a site failure. So, while we were preparing to recommend a solution to replace the customer’s hardware as it neared its end of life and losing its warranty, our team also made Business Continuity a priority to help the company mitigate the risk of power loss.

The Solution

After looking over the options and the multi-year cost-of-ownership models the Innovative team put together, Monroe Wheelchair quickly knew the direction that was right for them, and that solution was built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), a cloud-based service that would enable a fully managed, secure Desktop-as-a-Service solution. With AWS, the company would have a virtual, cloud-based environment so their users could access documents, applications, and resources—anywhere, anytime. Two key components from AWS came into play:

Amazon WorkSpaces
This Desktop-as-a-Service program lets users connect to their employer’s entire IT infrastructure from any computer with a browser, because the hardware, storage, and memory are all hosted in the cloud. It offers users the secure mobility of working from anywhere, decreased need for troubleshooting, and rapid deployment.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
This AWS cloud-native server enables Monroe Wheelchair to scale up or scale in the most cost-effective way. For instance, if they don’t need server capacity and storage in one area, they can reduce their usage, while scaling up to use software they’re implementing in another area. They’re never over-provisioned, which means they’re never have to pay for services they don’t use.

Since Monroe Wheelchair migrated their entire infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company runs its major line of business applications in EC2 and the users’ desktops in Amazon WorkSpaces. Users are able to work remotely without a dependency on any of their offices or weather. Their environment is backed up automatically. By using AWS, Monroe Wheelchair is able to redeploy the infrastructure to another region in the case of a major failure.

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