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Case study: Remaining strong during a period of growth with technology

PUBLISHED: 15:41 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:41 23 April 2018

Christina Hinder, HR and Operations Director at EDP

Christina Hinder, HR and Operations Director at EDP

Archant

In this article we look at how The Environmental Dimension Partnership Limited (EDP), worked alongside Tech OP Solutions, Information Security Company, to develop a new infrastructure across its three growing offices in Cirencester, Shrewsbury and Cardiff

The aim was to modernise EDP’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) to continue to ensure a robust data management system which is easily accessible, alongside strengthening its Cyber Security strategy. This is a vital discussion for all board members due to the importance of three crucial factors;

1. Data – How is it stored, backed up and how often?

2. Accessibility - How quickly and efficiently can the data be acquired and maintained by the necessary employees on or off site?

3. Security – How can data be kept secure from continual cyber threats which have already affected 1000s of UK businesses?

EDP and Tech OP have collaborated to bring you a review of this very process.

The challenge

Christina Hinder, HR and Operations Director at EDP, approached Tech Op Solutions three years ago to assist with the challenges they were experiencing managing the amount of data on the existing infrastructure, namely storage levels and accessibility from three separate locations. Tech OP Solutions is well-known for its expertise in securely managing highly sensitive Government data, so was the ideal candidate for addressing the challenges posed. EDP was excited by the fresh approach adopted by Tech OP who understood the issues and asked insightful and clear questions. The team didn’t force any fixed package solutions as it was more interested in finding the right solution for EDP to meet its’ needs. Following this engagement, EDP selected Tech OP to design, support and monitor the entire ICT infrastructure and users across its UK sites.

EDP work with well-respected clients across the construction industry, the renewal energy sector and private clients, thus it is privy to large amounts of data. When businesses hold large amounts of data it is fundamental that this data is secure, backed up correctly and not left open to cyber-attacks which could potentially put the business at risk. Tech OP Solutions provided EDP with a clear road map of its ICT needs, addressing short, medium and long-term ICT strategies. With close to 100 staff, , ultimately, EDP needed its data to be easily accessible, with manageable storage and safe from any unwanted attacks.

The solution

The Certified Engineers at Tech OP Solutions began by completing a comprehensive review of the current ICT at EDP. This included any risks that may apply to the existing network, therefore, how many users are using equipment such as telephones, desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. The Engineers looked at the hardware in place such as servers and the networks connecting them to EDP’s data. The review drilled down as far as individual user accounts, password management and the use of WIFI. When considering Cyber Security, it is always worth ensuring that mobiles are connected to guest networks as well as managing the need for non-business devices on the premises, with vulnerabilities in smart devices being well documented.

Software usage was analysed to understand the rationale for file storage and accessibility which included Antivirus, Anti Malware, Web Filtering, SPAM protection, Firewalls and email best practice. Tech OP investigated hosting solutions and storage options for emails to be backed up, filtered and checked for spam, whilst allowing users to continue using the most current version of MS Office with little, or no down-time.

Remote working was a consideration and how this can be facilitated via external access to secure data storage whilst using external connectivity which can often increase the level of threat.

The final part of the review was business continuity. Understanding the difference between a business continuity plan and simply backing-up data is vital. How long would it take to recover and restore the data for all users to access as quickly as possible?

The recommendations of the comprehensive review were implemented through an 18-month plan, with regular meetings to work through each phase.

The results at EDP have ensured its ICT infrastructure has remained stable, but with a clear improvement path. Staff are fully informed, with the end user experience proving to be positive. Tech Op Solutions acknowledge the importance of good working relationships and is pleased to say; “We have developed a productive relationship with EDP to ensure we fully understand its ICT needs without bombarding them with jargon. Systems are proactively monitored and repaired before failure. Users are supported and Information Security and Cyber threats are regularly assessed and reviewed. This culminates in a positive, engaging relationship from office floor to boardroom, and one which we are extremely proud of.” Simon Leonard, Commercial Director at Tech OP Solutions.

EDP has benefitted from the Complete Care Support Package. This provides a fully outsourced, streamlined IT department with full monitoring and user support. A managed ICT structure for a single, affordable monthly fee.

The outcome

EDP’s ICT systems are monitored 24 hours per day, seven days a week, with a fully automated service desk for 1st, 2nd and 3rd line support available around the clock. This includes a proactive server, PC and network fault monitoring system which will indicate if any part of the infrastructure needs attention. To ensure data remains protected, a fully integrated and managed anti-virus and threat management systems detects and destroys any potential infections. Untrusted emails will be rejected at the point of delivery so will not even make it to employees’ inboxes.

“Working with Tech Op is such a pleasure. They are a dedicated team of highly skilled and knowledgeable engineers for whom nothing is too much trouble. They understand how IT is not only central to our way of working, but vital to us being able to successfully carry out our business and deliver high-quality consultancy advice and project management to our clients.”, Christina Hinder, EDP.

Maybe it’s time you tested your backup and ask yourself ‘how long would it take to complete a full system restore?’ Tech Op Solutions can work alongside in-house IT departments and offer support to onsite engineers.

Tech OP Solutions are Cyber Essentials Accreditors as well as ISO 27001 Certified Cyber Security Specialists. If you need a fully comprehensive ICT review completed, or wish obtain Cyber Essentials certification to support your GDPR or Cyber Compliance, contact Justin Richmond at Tech OP Solutions on 01242 570999 or email support@techop.co.uk.

Tech OP Solutions are running a series of free ‘Information Security’ Seminars alongside the Gloucestershire Constabulary and Skylight9 Limited, for full details see the Tech OP Solutions Facebook page.

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