Case study: Christchurch firm re-engineers IT systems and cuts operation costs

Operations director Brent Cameron says overall operating costs have reduced and the speed and functionality of the network have dramatically improved

Christchurch electrical goods wholesaler R Redpath Limited has taken advantage of CodeBlue's new layered security service as part of a major upgrade of its IT systems.

The layered security service is designed to make it easy for customers to plan, implement and manage an integrated IT security capability appropriate to their business.

Established in Christchurch in 1945 as a family business, Redpaths is an independent electrical supplier with branches covering the South Island, from Nelson to Invercargill. Operations director Brent Cameron says the company's IT systems, supporting 200 seats at nine branches, were beginning to reveal pain points for the business.

“Redpaths expanded rapidly in the early 2000s, and our systems were just band-aided to keep the business going,” he says. “No thought was given to the potential future problems we would face – we thought we'd deal with that when we had time.”

A decade on, Redpaths network was slow, particularly in the bandwidth provided to mobile trade customers, who use the company's mobile platform under an umbrella scheme for mobile communications. Windows 2000 was due for an upgrade, as were the desktops and servers. Data resiliency in terms of management of backups and disaster recovery provisions was inadequate. Data security, in terms of protection from both internal and external threats, was not well managed. Phone systems were ageing and not well integrated with the network. Printing, at a significant cost, was not being handled efficiently.

CodeBlue was chosen to lead the upgrade, using its CIO-driven strategic planning process to fully review the IT systems and the overall business situation before making a recommendation for a solution tailored to Redpaths needs.

The project began with a top to bottom re-engineering of the company's IT infrastructure. Servers were moved to the cloud and consolidated from 12 to eight. Desktop systems were standardised and replaced, and Windows 2000 was upgraded, with Windows Server 2012 and a Microsoft services provider licence agreement giving Redpaths a single fee for Microsoft apps with automatic upgrades.

The wide-area network was upgraded to a fully managed WAN with fibre. A fully integrated Mitel VoIP system replaced the existing phone systems, and trade customers and partners were switched to a 2degrees mobile solution.

Printing needs were reassessed and the incumbent provider offered a solution based on a mix of large MFD printers and personal printers with higher quality and output but at a lower monthly operating fee.

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CodeBlue's data resiliency and layered security services solutions were implemented, delivering disk and tape backup and full failover in the cloud. The layered security solution incorporates SMX for inbound and outbound email security, Fortinet's FortiGate for firewall management, and a full local workstation and cloud server antivirus and malware solution. Data resiliency and layered security and all monitored and managed as part of the CodeBlue services contract.

Cameron says overall operating costs have reduced and the speed and functionality of the network have dramatically improved. “We also have a much more secure system with high levels of disaster resiliency and data security.”

Redpaths' Cameron says the transition to the company's new solution has been an extremely smooth process.

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