We believe that quality IT is more that just head-knowledge and certifications.

Backing Out of the Cloud

It was an exciting day for NSF Notinc. The new cloud service looked amazing. The contract was signed, the data was imported, and staff were being trained. It is what everyone loves about cloud services. They are so easy to get into and start using. Most of them look nice, and with a bit of staff engagement – they are ready for use. NSF Notinc was happy.

This is how our story begins today. It’s a position thousands of business leaders have been in. The allure of the cloud. It is virtually impossible to run a business without utilizing cloud technology. We all benefit from the massive computing resources we affectionally call the cloud.

Back to our story…

We could copy/paste the first paragraph here as it applies again. What? Here’s how! You see, we’ve moved a few years down the road. NSF Notinc. is still winning in business. Their first cloud solution, well, it works and it’s ok. But, a newer, better, faster, prettier solution has come along. And, NSF Notinc’s needs have evolved. So, they moved into a new cloud. And, they have gone through training, staff are happy, and they are adjusting well to the updated feature set. They’re pretty happy with their new setup.

Cloud PAIN

Here’s the pain point. NSF Notinc is now juggling two cloud services for roughly the same purpose – old and new. Our client is paying two providers. Staff are managing accounts, passwords, and wasting time looking for information across multiple cloud solutions. “Let’s see, if this information is in System A or System B – or split between both?”

Our Engagement

CCI received a “help” call. We were asked if it would be possible to extract data from the legacy cloud service and make it available locally – such as an Access database. Our client was tired of paying for two cloud solutions.

Here’s the “gotcha” moment. Very few cloud contracts are signed with an eye on egress. Most specialized cloud applications make it easy to get data in, many offering an import service. However, once the data is there, how does one extract it? The service provider in this case was not interested in assisting with outward data movement – are you surprised? Instead, CCI had to use existing tools in the cloud application to extract the data. Some came out usable, some took a fair bit of manipulation to make useable.

Tip – Any large cloud application contract you sign should have a clause that discusses what happens to the data at the end of the engagement. And, be specific here. A database backup may have your information so spread out it’s hard to reconstruct. Or, we’ve seen contracts where the data is promised in PDF format. PDF format is better than nothing but will be largely useless when it comes to importing and populating a new system with that information.

Project Overview

After a few meetings, CCI understood the data-set – a rather complicated mix of legacy payroll and benefits information. We used the tools built into the cloud provider’s solution to get as much data as we could. With much effort, we had a data-set that was usable and could be manipulated.

Data work isn’t just about database design – it’s about really understanding the data, how it works, what it correlates to, and how the end-user will interact with it. Here is where Jeffrey really shines. With 20+ years of enterprise database design and management experience, he was able to get his arms around the information and build an Access database that staff was able to use. The look and feel resonated with our client.

Is Access under-powered for this? Not at all. Sure, we all enjoy a big SQL back-end with custom coded front-end. But why? Our solution costs them virtually nothing going forward. Staff are able to navigate the forms and features of the legacy database, and they aren’t paying cloud storage costs.


We took the pressure/pain off NotInc. We engaged and walked them through the compliance process. How did NotInc benefit?

  • Increased cyber security posture. NotInc is safer as a result.
  • Compliance with their customer’s risk management department means keeping that customer.
  • NotInc has this process behind them, next compliance request they receive – they ready.