Case Study Image

Lighting Manufacturer

Client Case Study




Background


IT Results have worked with this lighting manufacturer since 1995, when we were engaged to network several PC’s together, using Windows for Workgroups, enabling their accounts team to all work on Sage Accounts, simultaneously.

Since that time, we have provided the company with a virtual IT department, managing the day-to-day running of their IT infrastructure, and introducing a range of IT solutions to enhance the operation of the business.

Given that we are the sole supplier of IT services to the company, we provide a number of functions, which are discussed below:




Managed IT Support


The company employs 30 staff, who are either stationed at their offices in London, or work remotely using VPN connections from various locations across the UK. Each user has access to a Dell laptop or Workstation, which we administer remotely.

We install, and support, various software packages that are used by the company in their daily operations, including:

  • Microsoft Office 2019
  • Sage 50 Accounts / Manufacturing
  • SolidWorks
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Veritas Backup Exec
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom
  • HCL Notes / Verse

We manage 5 Dell servers, running a mixture of Windows 2012 or 2016 Server software, and performing the following functions:


dell openmanage login image
  • A Windows Domain Controller providing file and printing services
  • 2 HCL Domino Servers, which provide both email services and management databases, used to operate the business
  • Terminal Server hosting Sage Accounts and Manufacturing for remote users
  • Standalone Windows Server performing nightly backups using MSP360 Backup and Google Cloud Storage
  • SpamTitan Email Gateway, running in a virtual machine, providing spam filtering and anti-virus protection for all inbound emails

In addition to the above, we are also responsible for the specification, and procurement, of all hardware and software for the company. We handle all software licence renewals, obtaining quotes from multiple suppliers, in order to get the best possible deal for our client.





Email System Support


We introduced the company to Lotus Notes, back in 1999, which they subsequently adopted as their email system. They have used various iterations of the software over the years and are currently running version 10 of HCL Notes / Domino, as it is now known.

The email system is deployed in-house, giving the business complete control over all their data.

All users can access their emails in several different ways:


hcl notes image
  • Notes Client - which gives users full access to their emails and company management databases, via their desktop / laptop machines
  • Verse Client - allowing users to receive their emails and calendars on their Android / Apple mobile devices
  • Nomad Client - gives users full access to their emails and databases on mobile devices, albeit with some reduced functionality, compared with the Notes client
  • Webmail Client - allows users to access their emails and calendars using SSL enabled web browser sessions

The Notes email system is protected by a SpamTitan email gateway, which sits on the network perimeter, filtering out all spam messages and malware, using several real-time blacklists (RBL's).

The Notes email system is protected by a SpamTitan email gateway, which sits on the network perimeter, filtering out all spam messages and malware, using several real-time blacklists (RBL's).

We monitor the spam filters on a daily basis, checking for false-positive messages, which we subsequently release to specified members of staff. We also implement rules to prevent messages sent by specified senders, from entering the internal mail system.





Small Business Websites


The company utilises a number of web services, to aid communication with customers and suppliers, including a WordPress website and an in-house email system. Consequently, we have implemented the following solutions:


Website

We provide technical assistance for the website, troubleshooting any back-end issues with WordPress, and ensuring that plugins are kept up to date.


Web Hosting

We are responsible for the configuration and management of the web hosting account, used for the company's website.


Domain Names

The company has an number of domain names that we administer on their behalf, including the processing of renewals, as and when required.


DNS Hosting

We administer all internal and external DNS records for company, including those required for web hosting and smooth email delivery.


Website Security

We have implemented a Sucuri Web Application Firewall, in order to protect the company website from attacks from potential hackers.






Cyber Security Services


Keeping the company's computer network and data secure, is one of our major priorities.

In order to help facilitate this process, we have implemented a number of security measures and procedures, which include:

hacker image

Keeping the company's computer network and data secure, is one of our major priorities.

In order to help facilitate this process, we have implemented various security measures and procedures, which include:

  • Anti Virus - All servers, workstations and laptops are protected using the latest Symantec Endpoint Security software.
  • Firewall / VPN - We maintain the company firewall, including all external IP addressing, NAT and VPN configurations.
  • Backup Solutions - The company uses MSP360 Backup Server software in conjunction with Google Cloud Stoage, for daily backups of selected data. At the weekend, an entire system snapshot is taken and stored to one of several external hard drives, that are rotated on a weekly basis.
  • Passwords - All users have to maintain complex passwords in order to gain access to the company's various IT systems, including the Windows domain, VPN's and HCL Notes systems.
  • Server Patching - All servers are regularly checked to ensure they have the latest patches from Microsoft. We also check with Dell for any driver / BIOS updates and apply them, as and when necessary.





Systems Development


The company is an extensive user of HCL Notes / Domino for it's day to day operations, with it currently using version 10 of the software.

We are responsible for all Notes / Domino administration, including registering users and groups in the Public Address Book, setting up servers, and maintenance of the email system.

We have built a number of bespoke Notes databases for the company, including:



CRM Database

The Customer Relationship Management system is used to store information about customers, track projects, and diarise meetings / hospitality events.



Sales Quotation System

The system is used to prepare and store quotations for customers, based on projects that may be specified by a number of different companies.



Job Card System

The Job Card system is used to manage customer orders, utilising workflow to move jobs between departments, until goods are invoiced and shipped.



Web Queries Database

Customers send in requests for quotations via email. The requests are then placed on the Web Queries database, so that the sales team can take the necessary action.



Annual Leave Database

The annual leave database is used by all staff to book any holidays they wish to take. It is also used to track any time taken off due to illness etc.



R&D Drawings Database

This database is used by the R&D department to store information about product designs, related to lamp housings and associated accessories.






Mobile Device Support


ipad image

All members of the sales team are afforded a company mobile phone, running Android 10. Each phone is configured to receive the user's business emails and calendar appointments.

Several users also have Apple iPad's, which we have installed the HCL Nomad client, allowing users to not only access their emails, but the various Notes management databases as well.

As part of our Virtual IT Department service, we manage the company's mobile phone account, arranging new lines and handsets when required.

We also deal with mobile phone contract renewals, negotiating with the current provider, in order to help lower the monthly expenditure on devices and tariffs, wherever possible.




VoIP for Small Business


Voice over IP image

Pre-pandemic, the company utilised an in-house PBX telephone system, with several ISDN lines, which was fine for users based in the office.

Then the lockdowns started, and users were having to work from home, making access to the telephone system a lot more complicated.

To get around this issue, we suggested the company look at implementing a cloud-based Voice over IP solution, with the telephone system hosted by a specialist provider.

After an initial trial period, the solution was deemed a success and we subsequently moved the company over to the VoIP system, which has not only given their users the freedom to work from home, but has also helped to reduce call costs.


With regards to internet connectivity, the company has utilised various solutions over the years, including ADSL, FTTC, and an EFM circuit.

Whilst the EFM solution was robust and fault tolerant, it also cost a lot to operate, at over £300 a month.

Consequently, when it came to renewal, we provided the company an alternative, fault tolerant solution, in the form of 2 FTTC lines connected to a Draytek router, with failover capabilities. Each of the FTTC lines are sourced from a different supplier with different IP ranges, to avoid a complete loss of internet access, in the event of a problem with a particular provider.

In implementing the above solution, we halved the monthly expenditure on the company's internet connectivity, whilst giving a similar level of service to that of the EFM solution.





IT System Relocation


During the course of our involvement with the company, they have moved premises on several occasions as well as opening and closing various manufacturing facilities.

In each case, we have been responsible for co-ordinating the following:


 Patch Panels / Cabling

Ensure that each new site has sufficient network points and patch panels to support the IT system, arranging the installation of additional cabling, where required.


 Telephony

Arranging the installation of ISDN 30 channels, along with any required telephone points, and moving the existing telephone PBX to the new premises.


 Internet Connectivity

Liaise with ISPs to arrange the installation of new internet connections. Order IP address ranges for use with new connections, in order to deploy in-house servers, externally.


 Servers & Workstations

Decommission IT systems at old sites and rebuild networks at new premises. Reconfigure all workstations and servers for use with new internet connections.


 Web Services

Configure firewalls for use with new internet connections. Re-map internal servers to new external IP addresses. Reconfigure DNS records to reflect new IP address ranges.




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