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Case Study: Preim

Residential estate and garden village managing agents beat downtime with Datto

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Some businesses are just always on call. Whether it’s the middle of the night, Bank Holiday Monday or even Christmas Day, Preim Property Management has a duty to look after its customers. Downtime? That’s out of the question.

Who is Preim?

Preim is a leading residential property management company based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Their team of experts successfully manage 12,000 homes on 160 estates across England and Wales – from just a few homes to garden villages with large communities and facilities. In five years, Preim has grown three-fold and now has 23 internal staff. In addition, there’s an extensive network of contractors who Preim utilise to do everything from mowing lawns to repairing roads. Preim is also responsible for handling payment. Hundreds of thousands of pounds pass through Preim every day as the cash of landlords, tenants, and developers exchange hands.

Preim
IT support

Sensitive Material

Preim’s data estate – all 120GB of it – is therefore composed of highly sensitive data. The details about the property, the owners and the status of their account sit on Preim’s database – even direct debit details. All information is tied into QUBE, a works management system that also handles invoices. If an outage occurred, payments would halt and maintenance work would cease.

Preim had backup so they had felt safe. However, when the TalkTalk hacking of 2015 hit the news, it prompted a complete review. According to the BBC, nearly 157,000 of its customers’ personal details were accessed at a cost of up to £35m. A disaster like that would be devastating to Preim.

The property management firm turned to an insurer to put their minds at rest – but the questions they were asked only made Preim more concerned about their current solution. It began to look insufficient in the face of such aggressive hackers.

Like many companies, Preim has little internal IT support because there just isn’t the need on a day-to-day basis. “We outsource everything,” said Neil Oakey, Director and Joint Owner, “So we looked immediately to our Managed Service Provider, Complete I.T. for advice. We rely on their recommendations.”

Outsourced IT

Working with Complete I.T. allowed Preim to maintain focus on their top priority – their customers. It also guarantees they have experienced and certified “staff” who are up to date with the latest technologies and solutions and a team of fully trained technicians at their disposal. It may be time consuming and difficult for a small or medium-size business owner to focus the time and energy to maintain these technical standards.

Preim had been working with Complete I.T., a Peterborough-based MSP, who were keen to suggest Datto.
“We looked at their situation,” said Account Manager, Karen Charlton, “and knew that this was the right solution.”

Datto utilises hybrid cloud technology where on-premise servers are protected on Datto appliances and mirrored automatically to the Datto Cloud, improving fault tolerance while reducing the reliance on bandwidth speed.

IT Support

The hybrid cloud backup process provides a great deal of data security by generating a backup locally and then replicating the backup off-site. With local hardware, all data is in-house, protected by pre-existing firewalls, security protocols, and the encryption inherent to the backup device. Furthermore, by sending encrypted data to dedicated data centres, users are ensured that there are redundant copies of the data secured off-site in the event of a disaster. It was an obvious decision!

To minimise disruption, “the transition happened over the weekend”, said Neil. “When they came back to work on the Monday, it was all set up.” The other benefit of working with Complete I.T. for Preim was Screenshot Verification, a feature that they particularly came to appreciate. This allows the user to verify that restores are working as they should. Following a backup, the system automatically boots virtual machines from the backup and takes a screenshot of the OS login screen. This is then sent through to Preim, just for extra peace of mind. “The email gives us reassurance,” said Neil.

After the install, Complete I.T. worked with Datto to perform a full Disaster Recovery (DR) test – something Datto always recommends. Being familiar with your recovery protocol, personal responsibilities, and expected length of downtime can be very beneficial.

Finally…

It was a success; Preim was able to recover all their data from 6 servers in just 6 hours.

“It works, it gives us freedom to do our jobs without worrying,” said Oakey, “that’s all I want from my IT.”

You don’t need an extensive in-house team in order to implement a Datto solution, nor will it cost the earth. As Preim found out, all you need is a dedicated IT partner. If you’re worried about business continuity and disaster recovery in your business, contact enquiries@complete-it.co.uk

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