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Oxford architect selects OGL to safeguard business growth with infrastructure overhaul

Oxford architecture practice Gray, Baynes & Shew has overhauled its IT infrastructure with a suite of technologies from OGL, to boost business productivity and protect its business while maintaining its position as an award-winning architectural partner. 

Based at St Thomas House on Becket Street in Oxford, Gray, Baynes & Shew (“GBS”) took advantage of a free network appraisal which uncovered some concerning weaknesses and cyber threats. 

The firm works across a range of business sectors including education and healthcare to create buildings for learning, healing, resting, playing or for worshiping. It is on Oxford University’s Capital Projects Framework and has completed projects at a number of colleges including Corpus Christi and Lady Margaret Hall.

Poor IT is the last thing any business wants, but it’s especially true of architects that use high-intensity CAD software (computer aided design) for their design work, which demands a powerful, well-managed and well-maintained infrastructure.

Realising that its incumbent supplier was not proactive or delivering the level of IT service the practice required, GBS asked OGL to conduct a free network appraisal. This audit is used to establish a company’s baseline security and identify where gaps lie, which is how OGL uncovered some concerning weaknesses and cyber threats. 

The network appraisal examined every one of the firm’s network assets, from physical servers, virtual servers, network-attached storage (NAS), to firewalls, workstations, printers and much more. The result was an extremely detailed and valuable third-party perspective for the firm’s IT team.

Tony Stewart, IT Project Manager at Gray, Baynes & Shew, explains: “I knew our infrastructure needed work following the shift to more home-working during and since the pandemic, but I was shocked to be shown the extent of its weaknesses and gaps. To hear that a relatively simple check by OGL uncovered our login credentials and passwords had been compromised and were on the Dark Web was a huge eye opener.”

GBS appointed OGL as its IT partner after discovering that its legacy IT infrastructure needed an overhaul and recommended a suite of technology products and services that included server configuration, Synology storage and cloud sync, firewall security, anti-virus, SaaS backup, remote monitoring and patch management.

The patch management service is now the firm’s first line of defence. It blocks unwanted traffic [is this true – is it Patch Management that does this – I would have thought it was AV?], whether that’s protection from emails with very large file sizes or executable files which autorun. While Synology storage helps GBS to manage, secure and protect its data.

Matt Thorneycroft, Business Development Manager at OGL, concluded: “IT and cyber security is so important these days, it must be resourced and financed accordingly. Tony was realistic about the work needed to get the network to a good, robust place, following years with an IT provider that didn’t appear to be pulling their weight any longer.”