Connecting nationwide offices
Tourism & Leisure
Central office in Norfolk, regional offices nationwide
Original Cottages is a family-owned business specialising in high-quality, self-catering accommodation throughout the UK.
With their hub based in Norfolk and other local agencies situated across the country, advisors offer insider knowledge on the best places to stay, explore and retreat to.
There are 23 local brands that make up the Original Cottage family and customers can book anything from a two-night weekend break to a six-month extended let in the low season.
Original Cottages comprises a number of local offices to ensure a knowledgeable client service, and as a result required a centrally-managed network structure with reliable internet and email.
A number of local brands, based in Cornwall, needed updates to their network to bring them in line with the capabilities of other Original Cottages offices. Employees required secure network sign-in, consistent internet connection and the capacity to check email regardless of location.
It was important to Original Cottages that they create and maintain a network that offered everyone the same, dependable network coverage using a cost-effective and centralised solution.
Breakwater IT worked with Original Cottages to advise on the most effective combination of technologies to achieve secure connectivity across its local offices.
To ensure each requirement was answered in the most effective way, a number of market-leading solutions were recommended including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Meraki and Datto.
There were three local offices in Cornwall; Wadebridge, Porthleven and Penzance that Breakwater IT implemented system updates for. Breakwater’s Engineers arrived on-site on Sunday and worked through to Friday to complete the project, fitting in with employees to ensure minimal disruption.
Perhaps the most fundamental upgrade was to standardise all users to a Windows ‘Professional’ Operating system, connected to Original Cottages’ Azure network.
Microsoft Azure enables Original Cottages to run their private network in the cloud, a scalable and economical solution for a company with a large number of offices and users. Azure ensured a consistently high level of performance and availability through its global distribution of datacentres.
The move to Azure removed the requirement for on-site servers and went a long way to achieving a secure, centralised network.
The Meraki Firewall was employed across all three sites and offered simplified cloud-based management, secure internet and connectivity to the Azure public cloud. This provided the regional offices with the capacity to analyse network traffic, with the same high level of protection against malicious threats. Meraki also enabled the assignment of network level access for different devices, ie stipulating specific rules for iPads.
Within the Wadebridge and Penzance offices, Breakwater installed a Meraki Wireless Access Point. Managed in the cloud, this solution worked well for Original Cottages’ multi-site requirements, cutting the cost and complexity of traditional on-site wireless controllers.
Datto switches connected all of the devices in the offices, enabling them to talk to each other. The benefit of Datto was its cloud management, enabling Breakwater to remotely monitor and support this function. Datto is extremely reliable and offered a good solution to deliver robust network performance with simplified management.
Email in the regional offices needed to be migrated to Office 365, from their existing onsite mail servers and other public cloud solutions. A shift to Office 365 allowed employees to access email, contacts and shared calendars from any location. It also synced emails in real-time, meaning information was up to date regardless of the device it was being viewed on.
Breakwater installed and, will support going forwards, a number of technology upgrades that worked together to provide Original Cottages with improved overall efficiency, security and resilience of their network.
Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Meraki Wireless Access all complemented each other to deliver greater capacity for mobile working and reliable connectivity.
Datto and the Meraki Firewall ensured the network was fully secured, with policies that remained current even as content and applications changed.
In simplifying the IT solutions within these three regional offices, it enabled employees to focus on their roles, knowing they have reliable technology to support them.
A move to the cloud for emails and hosting also reduced operational costs in the long-term and is a scalable solution that can be built on as the business continues to grow.
Technology is such an interesting and ever-evolving field and in my role I am fortunate to be able to expand my knowledge whilst undertaking hands-on projects to support our clients.
As part of the Service Desk, we work together to deliver advice to a wide range of organisations and I assist the team by helping to resolve issues and respond to enquiries, grasping new technologies and processes as I go.View my profile >
A Secure System in the Cloud