Understanding The News: Embracing The Cloud

*The Cloud Has Finally Come Of Age*
**A New Consulting Service Forms**

***Acris Technology, the software development company behind Mortgage VCO, a full suite of cloud-based software applications and business support resources for mortgage bankers and lenders, has launched a new consulting service designed to help lenders and other financial service companies build an entirely cloud-based virtual corporate office. Named VCO Airlift, the new consulting program will identify the specific steps a lender needs to undertake to run a compliant, scalable, paperless, virtualized mortgage office without the expense and complexity of on-site servers, software, maintenance and upgrades, while taking into account the company’s existing software and business needs. Airlift will also pinpoint the savings in dollars that lenders will realize by freeing themselves from on-site servers and legacy systems and migrating to a virtual environment.

****Airlift specifically leverages lessons gained since Acris Technology has been managing and hosting virtualized platforms since its inception in 2005. Earlier this year, Acris Technology launched VCO Desk, a virtual office platform tailored specifically for the mortgage industry. Through a secure Citrix environment, VCO Desk enables racks of servers to be replaced by an array of hosted, load balanced virtual servers, allowing desktop users remote access to all of a company’s applications and data while providing greater IT power, scalability and security. Developed and refined over the course of years, VCO Desk had been in use privately for years by Laguna Hills, California-based Millennia Mortgage to process over $10 billion in funded loans.

****“Everyone is talking about cloud computing, yet it is not clearly understood by many small and mid-sized lenders in a way that makes it actionable,” says Martin Williams, CEO of Acris Technology. “Because we have ‘been there, done that’ with our own virtual office platform, VCO Desk, it occurred to us that we can guide others who are weighing this transformation but aren’t sure how to get there. We’re calling it VCO Airlift because it is designed to ‘lift’ companies into a cloud-based environment, where so much more is possible.”

****While some additional expense and equipment may be required to build a totally cloud-based mortgage office – such as procuring sufficient high-speed Internet service and configuring dual monitors for staff, for example – virtualization allows lenders to save an enormous amount of money that is normally spent on IT staff and on-site, physical servers, which typically handle email, database, file storage and other functions. In comparison, a virtual corporate office uses secure, remote servers to handle all of a company’s IT needs, while allowing staff to use emails, files, electronic documents, loan origination software and customer relationship management (CRM) tools just as they normally would. In addition, in most cases, lenders do not have to give up any of their current applications or software to place their business in the cloud.

****Once a lender signs up for Airlift, Acris consultants will perform a thorough analysis of the lender’s existing technology infrastructure and software applications and return with a clear set of steps indicating what the lender needs to create a virtual office, what challenges specific to the lender may exist, and the different options that are available. Participants in Airlift are under no obligation to buy Acris Technology products or services, but will benefit from a thorough report and access to online tools and resources for moving their business into the cloud.

****“With mortgage rates at all-time lows, now is an opportune time for many lenders to be considering a cloud-based future,” says Richard Johnston, president of Acris Technology. “Right away, they get greater data storage with automatic backups, better security and unlimited scalability to handle an increase in business – all with lower overhead. But they also get the ability to leverage mobile technology, add remote staff, and more easily manage today’s tough compliance challenges through a single, common platform.”