Building façade systems provider, Benx, has overhauled its IT infrastructure with a suite of IT solutions from technology partner OGL Computer, to improve performance, and protect and secure data from cyber-crime.

Formed in 2002, Benx manufactures, customises, sells and provides advice on materials for construction including insulation, roofing and cladding. Its clients include Premier Inn, Holiday Inn and the University of Warwick. Thanks to its specialist services for the building industry, Benx has grown to generate over £35 million turnover annually, and is currently recruiting team members across its Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and South East England (Essex) office locations.

Recognising that its legacy IT infrastructure needed an overhaul to meet the business’ growth plans, Benx appointed OGL Computer as its IT partner following a competitive tender process. OGL Computer was selected for the wide range of flexible and scalable solutions.

Resilience and growth were particularly important to Benx, alongside being able to control the cost associated with IT infrastructure and services.

Kuldip Bhandal, IT Manager, Benx, comments: “My predecessor had been in the company since it started and so had all our hardware. He was only working with what he’d been given but a lot of hardware wasn’t compliant or bought from reputable companies. The business at that time was turning over around £200,000 but now, with a turnover of around £35 million, we needed an infrastructure that could support our growth. We’d grown so quickly that the company hadn’t had chance to evaluate the IT infrastructure, so they continued to put plasters on it rather than focusing on a long-term strategy.

“Previously our outdated servers couldn’t handle the load and our growth plans, and this was crucial when discussing our options. Benx needed to invest in a long-term IT solution that was bullet-proof, and that enabled us to easily adapt and scale to manage future growth.”

The OGL IT Solutions team implemented an interim solution that improved performance while the full overhaul was taking place. This gave Benx time to make an informed decision on how it wanted to move forward, based on OGL Computer’s recommendations, rather than being rushed into immediate action.

OGL Computer designed a private cloud infrastructure solution, providing centralised resources from OGL Computer’s highly secure UK based data centres. This offered added resilience and protection, while ensuring Benx’ data was available, backed up and secured against any disasters.

To increase productivity and collaboration across Benx’ UK offices, OGL Computer migrated the company’s email servers to Microsoft Office365 and deployed Advanced Threat Analytics that provides protected access to the business’ online management portals. VMware Essentials Plus was also installed to keep systems running while essential maintenance was taking place.

“We wanted to bring a technology partner on-board because we didn’t have the in-house resource to manage the level of services needed to support Benx,” Kuldip continued. “Three years ago, Benx experienced a ransomware attack and this was a big driver in investing in a system upgrade. The company didn’t have full backups or a tested disaster recovery plan, so it was a shock and left the business down for two to three weeks. It highlighted to us that if you don’t invest in IT you’re going to be in trouble.”

To ensure full protection for Benx, OGL Computer’s cyber security division, CyberGuard Technologies, implemented next-generation anti-virus, Carbon Black Defense, to help shield Benx’ network via real-time monitoring and advanced security measures. Benx engaged CyberGuard’s Security Operations Centre Support (SOC) to identify and report on suspicious or malicious activities, protecting user endpoints by offering a rapid response to suspected cyber threats on all devices, before they came up.

Steve Bennett, Enterprise Solutions Architect at OGL Computer, concluded: “Benx is a great example of a business that did not overhaul and update its IT infrastructure as it grew, which is a common mistake in businesses of all sizes. Legacy systems can become stale, making operations and processes static. A complete review of every business’ infrastructure is required regularly to ensure they have what they need to not only continue rapid growth but to ensure that they have the most flexible solution to ensure security as they expand.”