A Secure System in the Cloud
WREN is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund and Scottish Landfill Communities Fund.
WREN was established in 1997 and since then has provided over £200m to more than 7,000 community and environmental projects throughout the UK.
WREN operates from a central office, with a team of field staff supporting projects and funding applications.
A reliance on multiple onsite servers and ageing PCs and laptops were all prohibitive to mobile and collaborative working and left the business susceptible to security threats.
The company website and all emails and documents were stored locally, creating complete dependency on the local servers. The 6-8 on-premises servers were stored in a large rack, taking up valuable office space and generating significant maintenance and upgrade costs.
The primary objective was to remove the need for local servers and consequently the associated overheads, security shortcomings and restrictions on mobile working.
Breakwater IT suggested and implemented the move to Office 365™, shutting down the onsite servers. Office 365™ enabled WREN to easily share information, be more responsive, and to work efficiently and securely from any location or device.
As part of the online Office 365™ package, WREN had access to SharePoint® and OneDrive. The migration of all files to the SharePoint® platform immediately removed the costs associated with holding data on physical servers. It offered a secure place in the cloud to store, organise and collaborate.
Yammer, another product within Office 365™ online, presented the ideal place for employees to communicate internally, making sure everyone is up-to-date with company information.
Emails were transferred to Office 365™, a service hosted in the cloud gave the reassurance of guaranteed uptime and emails always being up to date and available to mobile workers. It also offered a large amount of storage space, shared calendars and team chat.
Built-in security tools within Office 365™ protected against unknown threats, malware, viruses and phishing attempts. To further secure WREN’s email service, Mimecast was installed – a powerful email filtering service that eliminates spam and other unwanted email.
The WREN website was moved to a hosted platform, introducing additional security and back-up assurances and removing the reliance on costly servers. Anti-virus and web filtering solutions were set-up to effectively manage users’ internet access and provide a safe browsing environment.
Ageing PC’s were replaced with new laptops, improving the working experience and creating time efficiencies for employees. A new hosted phone system introduced all the flexibility that the cloud offers. Features of the phone system were now available from wherever a user has internet access, with maintenance and upgrades happening automatically without the need for on-site visits or a reliance on local infrastructure.
WREN have moved from an IT system that was inherently reliant on internal servers and solutions to one that is primarily cloud-based.
This transition has simplified WREN’s processes, initiated flexibility for users, increased security and back-ups and lowered overall costs.
There is no longer a requirement for unwieldy servers, this permitted an easy office move to new premises. The WREN office no longer has to dedicate space to a server room and instead houses a neat patch panel and firewall.
Employees have the option to work from home or any location that requires it.
A switch to cloud-based solutions including Office 365™ and SharePoint® has removed the need for physical infrastructure, cutting overall IT costs by over two thirds. Security is more robust than it has previously been, with reliable anti-virus, website and email filtering and threat protection.
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