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Case Study
SBL innovative system enhancement delights ECS

A complex extension and upgrade of the IT network for innovative private UK business Enterprise Control Systems (ECS) has been carried out by the York office of SBL.

ECS , Wappenham, Northants, which designs and maintains digital video surveillance systems for covert use and electronic jamming devices used in hostile environments, was moving some staff into a new building on its existing site and wanted to upgrade its entire IT system and infrastructure in terms of licensing, security, accessibility and communications.

The company, which gained a Queens Award for Enterprise in 2007, provides digital downlinks between helicopter-mounted cameras and surveillance vehicles to create real-time updates for use in critical situations and supplies diverse organisations including the police, military, British Grand Prix and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

As a young, innovative and rapidly-expanding business, ECS sought the IT upgrade as the first stage of developing a wider partnership with a like-minded organisation to support its ever expanding product portfolio, customer base and IT infrastructure.

ECS production director, Julian Floyd, says: “We wanted to expand our existing IT network to incorporate the new premises, maintaining all functions but with a 40 per cent increase in capacity. We also required the expanded network to be robust, including contingency for loss of power on one or more sites with any switchover to back-up servers being transparent to users. 
Enough servers had to be used in the network to ensure redundancy if there was a catastrophic failure and a backup system to restore the system immediately. The network also had to have a secure, remote dial-in capability to allow remote maintenance for the servers, desktop and clients. It was also vital that system downtime, or any staff, or business disruption, be minimal and that whatever supplier we selected would offer remote, and on-site, support for 18 months.”

SBL, which provides a multi-disciplined ‘total solutions’ capability, took full control of the assignment and, after initial joint strategy meetings, devised an agreed project plan.

A fibre-optic link was installed to connect the server infrastructure in the new facility to the small business server in the existing building. The domain was extended from the Microsoft Small Business Server and upgraded to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2. Microsoft Exchange 2007 was also installed and several scripts created to ensure transparent transfer of the Microsoft Exchange 2003 mailboxes to the new system.

Once complete, a new file server was built and data transferred to the new system ensuring that the SHARE and NTFS permissions were preserved on the new server.

New satellite equipment was supplied through an SBL recommended company. SBL engineers worked alongside the satellite team, installing a Microsoft ISA 2006 firewall to protect the integrity of data received via the new communications link.

SBL deployed the McAfee suite of Edge and Desktop Antivirus products to protect against malicious system attack. Symantec/ Verities Backup Exec was also applied for data recovery in the event of system failure, data loss or corruption. Microsoft System  Centre Essentials 2007 was installed so the entire system can be

remotely monitored by SBL technical staff assessing all alerts and acting according to their content.

As a result, SBL met the ECS brief, creating a secure, resilient and robust system allowing the efficient sharing of information internally and externally with no apparent disruption.

ECS was so impressed with the SBL service that it entered a 12-month renewable contract for IT support and, since implementing the new network, SBL has been contracted to deploy Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 on the ECS system. By using the workflow, indexing and search capabilities of this product, SBL has also implemented a document management system which saves approximately 1.5 hours for each user, each day. Further planned joint projects include implementing electronic forms and custom workflows to ensure that correct approvals are given for each form or task at every level of the company.

“I am impressed with SBL’s innovative approach” says Julian Floyd. “Their expertise gives me confidence that their solutions are both robust and extensible and will allow us to achieve our business objectives.

SBL’s attention to detail, and swift response to incidents, has created a business relationship based on trust and confidence, allowing me to get on with my day-to-day work with peace of mind."

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