Blog: All Things Nortec

How Nortec Modernized IT for United Way of Southwestern PA

Background 

United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania improves the lives of people in local communities through support services and advocacy. It is a branch of the national nonprofit; however, it manages its own operations. Business for United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is cyclical, and it staffs up or down throughout the year. There are 150 full-time employees, including a small IT team. 

The nonprofit holds sensitive personal information that needs to be properly stored and secured, like social security numbers, bank account details and other financial data. Before partnering with Nortec, a different IT provider managed its on-premise email, data storage and tech requests.

Problem 

Licensing was the main concern when United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania started talking with Nortec. The managed services provider United Way was engaged with at the time had improperly set the nonprofit up with outdated server licensing with an inadequate number of seats. Because of this, the organization was potentially facing a fine from Microsoft for license violations. 

Even though the organization maintains highly sensitive personal identity information, tight security protocols were not in place. Devices like laptops were not tracked or managed. Additionally, United Way did not want to continue managing on-premise infrastructure, preferring the flexibility, scalability and security of a cloud-based environment. Their former provider was not able to offer cloud-based solutions.

Solution 

When Nortec started working with United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, they secured licensing for Microsoft 365 for nonprofits. This immediately resolved the licensing issue and saved the organization 60% on the cost of Microsoft 365 without losing features or cutting corners. This is because Microsoft 365 for nonprofits costs significantly less than the standard enterprise option and even the lower-tiered solution the nonprofit had in place. 

Data center contracts United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania had in place prevented them from immediately transitioning their entire organization to the cloud. To lay the foundation for the eventual migration, Nortec identified which tools could be implemented immediately. On-premise email was shifted to Office 365, and the nonprofit now uses SharePoint to collaborate in the cloud. To make the organization more secure, Nortec activated features within Microsoft 365 like multi-factor authentication to track devices, control data and add transparency. 

At the outset of Nortec’s work with United Way, Paul Wismar, one of Nortec’s top cloud architects, met with the organization to understand their needs and sketch out what their cloud environment would look like. Taking the time to outline the entire process reassured United Way’s team Nortec was putting together a cost-effective, transformative program tailored to their needs.

Benefits

With the proper licensing in place, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is no longer facing a fine from Microsoft and has experienced significant cost savings on their business software. These savings will be extended into the future as they scale their data storage up or down, in accordance with their needs. 

The Microsoft 365 suite has increased visibility into operations and made information easier to obtain. Now, United Way can see all touchpoints in one place and review security reporting around individual users and devices. Plus, business applications are accessed through the platform, making workflows more efficient for end users. Everyone’s devices are now enrolled, tracked and configured with proper security controls, like multi-factor authentication. 

Before, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania managed multiple vendors. Now, they work with a single provider who supports United Way’s IT team, relying on Nortec for everything from quick ticket resolution to expert IT advice. With this strategic partnership, Nortec works closely with United Way, ensuring they have the ongoing support they need to fulfill their mission and take care of their community. 



Nortec Communications - Washington D.C