Ward Williams Associates is a leading professional construction consultancy, providing a range of client focussed services for building and civil engineering projects across all sectors of the industry. They work with over 400 clients in the property and construction sectors, with offices in London, Gloucester, Exeter, Plymouth, Salisbury and Truro.
We have worked with WWA since 2013, providing IT support to their users, as well as managing their multi-site network. As an industry-leading organisation their main concern was security, so we worked with them to review their systems and set up industry-standard online security measures.
It was also important that their large team be able to work remotely and communicate securely with each other, so we helped identify IT solutions that would allow their team to work efficiently from anywhere.
With a new office in Manchester and lots of expansion planned, WWA needed a scaleable, secure phone system that would grow with them. 3CX was the obvious choice: a VoIP phone system that would allow their large team spread over multiple sites to communicate internally and with clients. 3CX allows users to use their company phone number from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing for seamless service wherever their team are working.
With extensive planning by the Piran team to ensure a smooth transition, we moved seven offices simultaneously to the new phone system. Before the switch, we rolled out training on the new system for admin users in each office, enabling their team to manage the transition without any disruption. Making use of the 3CX Mobile application in conjunction with physical desk phones and conference phones, all of Ward Williams Associates telecommunication needs were comfortably met.
Louise Simms, Partner(s) Co-Ordinator gave us some feedback on the transition to the new phone system:
“Sam and the wider Piran team were a huge help during the switch over process and guided us through the whole thing seamlessly.
Our switchboard teams are now able to see who is available and when, ensuring we can deal with external calls quickly and efficiently – which is a huge advantage in a rapidly growing business.”
With a large team split across several offices in the UK, a secure multi-site network was essential to allow WWA teams to communicate with each other.
We also implemented a site-to-site VPN, which allows multiple sites to connect with each other over the internet securely. We used Cisco’s DMVPN technology, a really secure and efficient software that will allow WWA to scale their network, easily adding new users or a new office site.
“All of our team need the ability to work remotely, either at home or on site. Connectivity is critical and security must be maintained as we work on many confidential projects. Piran has ensured the whole team are able to work wherever they are and at all times; this was tested to the full during the bad weather conditions in 2018.”
We provide IT support and security to a whole range of organisations, large and small, so we understood the need for really secure systems and processes. We worked with WWA to ensure that their procedures followed industry standards set out by the government (including IASME certification) and that their systems were protected against online threats.
We also looked at other ways to keep their network safe, like two-factor authentication and PAM, a new password management system that allows for passwords to be reset across multiple platforms.
Some of the security systems we set up to enable WWA to meet their requirements:
With lots of employees communicating across multiple networks and as a requirement by many of their clients, it was crucial that WWA were ahead of the curve when it came to online security. We carried out an audit and implantation through the Cyber Essentials scheme. Cyber Essentials is a government-backed, industry supported scheme that helps organisations protect against security threats.
WWA wanted to ensure that their 100 users were working securely, so we helped them implement two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires two different forms of identification: a password and a contact method (for example a mobile number) which helps protect businesses – and users – by making it more difficult for someone else to sign into their Microsoft account.
Advanced Threat Protection is a Microsoft Office 365 security solution that safeguards against threats posed by email messages, links (URLS) and collaboration tools. It allows users to define their own threat-protection policies, view reports and automate threat investigation and response.
Cisco Umbrella is cloud security software that has lots of very useful features. It allows for early detection of malicious software such as Trojans and worms, and provides protection by black-holing known bad sites. Umbrella is delivered as a cloud service and so can be implemented very quickly.
As well as providing ongoing IT support, we continue to work closely with the team at WWA to ensure that all of their security systems are up to date and support their continued success.
Tanya Brownridge, Partner says “WWA works with many Public Sector clients and on confidential projects where IT security is paramount. Piran has helped us gain Cyber Essentials accreditation, enabling us to work with more clients across the UK.”
To find out how we can help you improve your security systems, get in touch.