Using cloud solutions to deliver a greenfield IT infrastructure
Diversity Council Australia (DCA) is the independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace. DCA wanted to move away from legacy systems and start afresh with an IT environment that was simple, cost effective, flexible and supported its operations. DCA approached Kytec to implement and manage Webex Calling, a range of Cisco security solutions and Microsoft (Office) 365 with Veeam back-up/data protection.
The recent strong interest in D&I has been the result of organisations recognising that diverse and inclusive workplaces improve organisational performance, effectiveness, profitability and revenue generation, as well as lower risk.
DCA provides unique research, events and programs, resources and expert advice across all diversity dimensions to a community of over 700 member organisations.
The ultimate aim of DCA is to provide value for its members and core to this is engagement around content, insights and advice.
Challenge and Opportunity
DCA had a legacy IT environment, more as a result of evolution than planning. The need for flexibility and working from a variety of locations – intensified by COVID-19 – meant it was the right time for DCA to rethink its IT infrastructure, from more of a ‘greenfield perspective’.
After a competitive tendering process, Kytec was selected to design, deploy and manage DCA’s new strategic IT infrastructure. The presented solution consisted of a number of technologies with key objectives to leverage cloud solutions: to minimise IT overhead and the need to manage upgrades and to leverage their inherent flexibility and scalability.
Webex Calling was deployed as a cloud-based telephony system with a ‘soft client’ which means that calls can be made from a laptop without the requirement for a physical handset or on-premises PBX. Webex Calling was integrated with Microsoft Teams for collaboration.
With staff working from home and other locations, security was a key part of the DCA solution. Broadly, threats are increasing in volume and sophistication. Even amateur hackers have access to sophisticated malicious software and malware as a service is starting to mushroom.
Protection of email, web traffic, applications and personnel from malicious actors is a continuous, pervasive activity that cannot be satisfied with merely perimeter security. Staff members are working from a variety of locations thereby exposing DCA to a greater risk of malicious threats.
Content in various forms, is the primary value DCA offers its members and it needs to be protected. DCA chose Cisco’s IT security solutions because of its architectural/holistic detection, management, and notification of threats across a range of platforms. Specifically, DCA rolled out Cisco AMP (Advanced Malware Protection), Email Security, and Umbrella which provides early detection of threats and protection against suspicious and malicious websites. In addition, all the endpoints are managed through a Mobile Device Management solution from Meraki to control and protect the DCA-owned devices.
Completing the picture is Microsoft 365 (Office 365) which is the platform for email, document sharing (SharePoint) and storage (OneDrive). Kytec advised DCA that while Microsoft offers geographical redundancy with its OneDrive cloud solution, ultimately the client is responsible for backing up their data. So Kytec implemented Veeam data protection/backup on the Microsoft 365 platform.
The implementation did not take place in normal circumstances. The roll out happened in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic. So, interaction between Kytec and DCA was done via video calling. Hardware went from the Distributor to Kytec, and then after imaging, the hardware was sent to DCA using contactless delivery.
“The move to a new IT environment was a big project for DCA. We were delighted that the transition went as smoothly as it did due to Kytec’s assistance, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic!”, Catherine Petterson, Operations and Communications Director, Diversity Council Australia.
A platform for a positive future
Technology is the backbone of DCA’s operations, particularly with more flexible and distributed working. The DCA Board has a strong interest in managing the risk of working from different locations and the business is focused on attracting, retaining and providing value to members.
The IT solution delivered by Kytec was simple, scalable and was designed using a greenfield design process, so all DCA’s requirements and future plans were taken into account.
“Not only does the Kytec solution deliver in terms of our technical and support requirements, it has been cost effective and allows us to grow as we need to”, Catherine Petterson, Operations and Communications Director, Diversity Council Australia.