ONI: Prestige Nursing + Care’s IT infrastructure on the road to recovery

ONI

Prestige Nursing + Care has been providing home-based nursing and care services in the UK for over 70 years. However, the company’s IT infrastructure was severely lacking, resulting in reduced connectivity and little resilience. With 2,500 staff and 45 offices across the country, this wasn’t an option, so Prestige called upon ONI to design a solution that would cure all.

Challenges

When Prestige first engaged ONI, the agency was facing multiple IT-related business challenges. A growing organisation, but with a relatively small IT team, Prestige had previously decided to outsource key IT infrastructure services relating to voice, data centre and Wide Area Networking (WAN) to a variety of vendors. Various challenges relating to these services had arisen.

The consumer-grade ADSL on which the company’s WAN relied did not provide Quality of Service management (QoS). As a result, call quality delivered by Prestige’s Avaya-based, cloud hosted VoIP platform was variable and could not be guaranteed.

Furthermore, the VoIP solution could not support video conferencing, which the company needed for remote staff interviews. Making heavy use of out-of-hours call forwarding, Prestige needed to be able to make changes to this service quickly and easily, at any time of day or night. The existing telephony solution made remote administration of such changes difficult, and there was no suitable, responsive managed service alternative available.

Slow response times and limitations in the existing data centre vendor’s service resulted in data centre outages. As a result, Prestige were forced to rely on firewalls beyond their end-of-support dates, which were subject to security vulnerabilities, potentially putting the entire business at risk.

 

Solution

With the WAN the first of Prestige’s outsourced contracts to fall due for renewal, ONI recommended an MPLS WAN to deliver the higher bandwidth and QoS required. The MPLS WAN also provided flexibility over the contract term, proactively providing bandwidth increases at each location as local exchanges were upgraded.

During discussions following up the WAN project it became clear that Prestige needed help with its managed firewall. The agency’s existing data centre provider had proved unable to keep the firewall updated from a support and security vulnerability perspective. ONI designed a resilient, managed firewall as a service solution based on Cisco adaptive security virtual appliances, running out of ONI’s Tier 3+ data centre facility in Luton.

Through its delivery of the managed firewall, ONI was able to demonstrate the capabilities of its full range of Nimbus cloud services solutions. This prompted Prestige to ask ONI to design, 10 months ahead of the termination of their existing data centre contract, a highly resilient cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution, complete with cloud-based disaster recovery and backup services.

Working closely with Prestige in a highly consultative manner, the ONI team augmented the company’s limited IT team resources with its own considerable industry experience and expertise. ONI offered Prestige a series of solution options, each with clearly explained features and benefits, allowing the agency to make a fully informed business decision on the best way forwards.

 

Care in the cloud

With Prestige’s existing cloud services provider withholding access to key virtual disks, migration to the new IaaS cloud service platform could have been problematic. ONI’s experienced cloud services team addressed this issue with a bespoke application-level migration plan to mitigate risk in the data centre move. Prestige’s ONI cloud services went live one month ahead of schedule.

With Prestige’s outsourced cloud-based voice solution contract due to end soon, there was a valuable opportunity to leverage the new WAN and cloud-based data centre services to deliver cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) to all of the agency’s 45 locations. Having a single provider designing, managing, supporting and optimising their key, interdependent IT systems would allow Prestige to deliver a much-improved service to their internal and external customers.

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