ncommunities is using a next-generation network from NTL Telewest Business to underpin its operations and deliver mobile working for its staff.
The housing provider, which manages 22,300 properties in the Bradford area, is linking its eight key offices plus smaller sites across the network, providing IP telephony for 750 staff and organisation-wide business continuity. 250 tradespeople responsible for supporting Incommunities’ properties are using mobile devices to access in-house data systems, enabling them to receive job details while on the move.
Incommunities’ previous network had a central hub office connecting to district offices, meaning that any problems at the hub would cut IP telephony and data connections to the whole organisation. The new Metro Ethernet VPN connects all sites to each other, enabling core business systems to be situated on two sites, guaranteeing the highest level of business continuity.
Jason Baines, ICT infrastructure manager, Incommunities, said, “Our new network underpins everything we do, from rent collection to housing repairs so it’s vital that our network operates efficiently and without downtime. NTL now ensures business continuity across all our sites, meaning we can be confident in our ability to provide the highest levels of service to our customers.”
The new network also enables Incommunities to use virtualisation to split systems across multiple servers to further increase operational flexibility. This includes a new storage area network which is replicated between sites to enable faster, more efficient access to information across Incommunities’offices.
Incommunities is also now using a web-filtering appliance from Bloxx in order to provide internet access to an unlimited number of employees without compromising security or incurring excessive licensing costs.
Andrew Bland, senior network administrator, Incommunities, said, “We decided to go with an appliance-based web filtering solution as we wanted to have control but didn’t want to spend lots of valuable IT management time updating and upgrading the solution.”
The Bloxx appliance enables Incommunities to run a transparent proxy as it has different platforms and did not want any client-side configuration. The transparent proxy also prohibits internal abuse as it would be effectively invisible within the network. This frees up internet bandwidth by controlling the amount of web pages that are viewed.
Bland added, “Not only does Bloxx provide the functionality and flexibility we need in a web filtering solution, their no-cost-per-user pricing, ease of administration, and simple but in-depth reporting functionality beats our previous solution.”