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Hybrid cloud solutions for one of the largest tourist attractions in the South West

Alchemy Systems have been providing this important client with a wide range of services for over five years. Services include IT network infrastructures, hybrid cloud solutions, VoIP telephony, disaster recovery systems, ongoing maintenance and future planning.

The client is a large, successful, multi-faceted business. Based around one of most famous tourist attractions in the South West, welcoming over 300,000 visitors a year. The client is also heavily involved in businesses in the surrounding area. These include the hospitality industry, along with property development, rental and maintenance.

Alchemy Systems solutions

Initially, we were contracted to provide support for their old IT and communication systems. The client was also keen to use our expertise and advice to harness the benefits of new technology. This would then increase flexibility, speed, reliability and security, cut costs, improve business communication and make all their systems more resilient.

Our first step was to create a VPN for their office network when superfast broadband became available locally. We kept the old broadband network in place to act as a back-up. The VPN provided a cohesive network between offices, and gave employees secure access to the intranet while travelling on business.

Once their communications were up to a good standard, we replaced their old server with a HyperV solution running several virtual machines.

With a fast, reliable internet connection in place, we were able to move their phones over to a VoIP system. This then also saved them significant amounts of money on calls. The VoIP system also makes internal collaboration easier – all the main offices can quickly set up conference calls.

We used Microsoft Office 365 to migrate their email onto the cloud. This removed their reliance on a single connection and enabled staff to access email from anywhere. All mission critical infrastructure is protected by UPS equipment. This ensures the business is uninterrupted.

Improved hotel communications

In 2014 the client also completely refurbished a hotel. It was an ideal oppotunity at that point to upgrade as everything had been stripped back. We advised installing Category 6a networking, which has a capacity of 10 gigabytes – very fast and future proofed.

Every room now has network points and a fully monitored WiFi system, with sign-in. The hotel can now harvest the log-in data for use in marketing campaigns. We also installed VoIP telephones throughout the hotel. Alchemy Systems are responsible for the maintenance and support of all the systems and equipment.

Efficient payment handling

The attraction has a number of busy shops and cafes which take payments from visitors. We designed and installed a fully segregated, secure VPN infrastructure. A range of devices including iPads and iPhones can then take payments over the secure VPN.

We conducted a risk assessment of the whole site. We then provided the client with a complete disaster recovery system, with cloud back-up for their email, and disc rotation for data.

If the system goes down, staff just need an internet connection and they can carry on working. We can then rebuild the server from the back-ups.

Looking to the future

We are in the process of installing a fibre backbone throughout the site. There are also plans to bolt on public WiFi facilities, once it is complete. We are also discussing implementing Microsoft Skype for Business.

As new technologies come on stream, we anticipate our work for this highly successful client to continue. Therefore enabling them to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, while delivering enhanced service levels to their increasing numbers of visitors.