Affordable Windows

NCS IT Assists Affordable Windows Internal IT Team in Replacing Ageing System with StarWind Hyperconverged Infrastructure

The customer

With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, Affordable Windows Systems Group is one of the UK’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of aluminium and PVCu windows, doors and conservatories. Based in the North West, the large company employs over 300 staff across 7 sites with their head office located in an advanced purpose-built facility in Blackpool.

Their business needs

The seasoned manufacturer has seen rapid company growth which has increased the need to update the company’s ageing infrastructure. Before working with NCS IT, Affordable Windows had a support agreement with another supplier which was no longer able to provide the solutions the expanding company required.

How we helped

NCS IT assisted Affordable Window’s internal IT team with replacing the existing Storage Area Network (SAN) system with a modern StarWind hyperconverged infrastructure and a new backup platform. This resulted in the creation of a highly available and ultra-resilient network for the company, designed to keep the system running through syncing and replication – if a failure is experienced. Next generation firewalls by leading vendor SonicWall were also installed as part of developing Affordable Windows’ disaster recovery plan.

Technologies implemented

  • StarWind Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)
  • Secure links to Microsoft Azure platform
  • SonicWall firewalls
  • Cloud backup platform agent Veeam
  • Microsoft 365
  • Mimecast to protect emails
  • Cabling
  • Extension to internal IT team to provide second line services
  • 24/7 monitoring
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

The team at NCS IT are really conscientious and great at sharing information with our smaller internal IT team - they have also provided us with a lot of excellent training.

David McVey - IT Manager, Affordable Windows

MhIST

NCS IT Continues to be a Trusted IT Provider for Mental Health Charity MhIST During Pandemic

The customer

Since 1992, MhIST (Mental Health Independent Support Team) has provided mental health support to communities throughout Bolton with counselling, mental health advocacy, dramatherapy and issue focussed self-help groups.

Their business needs

Like many other companies, when the pandemic hit the UK in March 2020, MhIST required a new IT system in order for its employees to be able to work from home. With only two ageing laptops, often only used for presentations, MhIST required a big rollout of hardware and a way for the charity’s employees to work from home, communicate and collaborate on the same system.

How we helped

NCS IT has been a trusted partner of MhIST for over 15 years, acting as a third-party IT team for the charity and providing: IT helpdesk support; kit supply; infrastructure and consultancy. The past year saw the NCS IT team support the charity in transitioning to working remotely for staff members. This involved the supply of new Hewlett Packard laptops, Phillips monitors with integral docking stations, Wi-Fi dongles for staff without broadband at home and a remote access system.

Technologies implemented

  • Support
  • Consultancy
  • Kit supply – file servers, PCs, laptops
  • Remote access
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

The staff at NCS IT team are always happy to help and act quickly when we need something done - I'll often ring in the afternoon and it's sorted the same day or the day after. NCS IT has really done some amazing and ground-breaking work for us over the years.

Dr Melvin Bradley - CEO, MhIST

M3 Project

NCS IT Supports Charity M3 Project with Move to Remote Working

The customer

Based in East Lancashire, M3 Project is a specialist charity that offers advice, support and accommodation to young people, aged 16-25, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Their business needs

As a people-based business with 8 employees, the charity has a fairly lean structure and therefore requires an external IT company to help them with all of their IT needs. Before the pandemic, the non-profit was office-based and therefore in March 2020, when the first lockdown happened, the charity needed to act quickly in order to continue supporting young people by supplying employees with remote working setups.

How we helped

Prior to the pandemic, NCS IT worked with the charity to move it to cloud-based reporting and accounting systems, with an office-focused IT system. As the charity’s employees made the move to working from home, the NCS IT team helped with the transition to a remote system in the Cloud which allowed staff members to share access to important documents and communications.

Technologies implemented

  • Cloud Hosted Server
  • Remote working setups
  • Kit such as computers and laptops supplied
  • Cloud file access via SharePoint and OneDrive as part of Microsoft 365
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

We're a homeless charity and not experts in IT, so it's great to be working with an IT team that explains what we need and how everything works in an intelligible and jargon-free way. NCS IT are incredibly flexible and know how to interpret our non-techy requests.

Alan Dorrington - Charity Manager, M3 Project

Quick Reach

Quick Reach Gains Infinite Scalability with Migration to Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

The customer

Founded in a dusty old warehouse in 2014, Quick Reach has rapidly become one of the top powered access companies with multiple branches across the UK and plans to expand even further.

Their business needs

As Quick Reach’s existing on-premise servers were at capacity, the growing company needed to modernise their IT infrastructure quickly to aid their expansion of more branches coming online and an increase in resources in their offering.

How we helped

As Quick Reach had already been a client of NCS IT for a long time, providing a managed service and full helpdesk support, our team was able to implement a plan immediately with a full understanding of the company’s existing systems.

We migrated and decommissioned Quick Reach’s on-premise servers, located in various offices and connected to depots around the country, and moved the firm onto a full cloud solution run entirely on Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure – with the addition of the world’s largest mail platform Microsoft 365.

This provides full flexibility and the ability for Quick Reach’s systems to grow with infinite scalability. It also offers full resilience as Quick Reach’s various office IT systems are no longer dependent on any other office – if a branch system experiences a failure, the other branches will continue to work unaffected.

Technologies implemented

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft 365
  • Cloud backup
  • InspHire server running Microsoft SQL
  • Teams
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Full helpdesk support
  • Monitoring of all systems
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

With our business rapidly expanding, we need an IT provider with a flexible approach and the right solutions. NCS IT has the skills, capacity and technology to continue to grow with us, and our system migration from on-premise to cloud has shown their ability to do so successfully, on time and on budget.

Joanne Anderson - Financial Director, Quick Reach

Excotek

NCS Supports Excotek Transition from Sister Company + Modernises IT Infrastructure

The customer

For over thirteen years, Excotek has supported the operations of global digital service providers by providing vendor and supply chain agnostic technology solutions from its headquarters in Padiham, Lancashire.

Their business needs

After transitioning away from its sister company, Excotek’s team required the ability to outsource some aspects of the company in order to maintain a lean environment. This included a third-party IT company to provide support, services and the skillsets to ensure business continuity. With the head office based in Lancashire, it was essential for Excotek to choose a nearby IT company in order to make visits to the site, such as to provide staff training, more accessible when required.

How we helped

After carrying out a full audit, NCS was tasked with taking over the pre-existing infrastructure and updating the firm’s systems with the servers especially requiring an update. New SQL servers, software with the primary function of storing and retrieving data, were additionally provided to cater for the firm’s new accounting application and web-based customer portal – innovating both the company’s and their world-leading clients’ experience.

Working with NCS means Excotek now has a reliable extension of its team, ready to support the company with whatever it requires – whether that’s supporting the remote management of staff laptops, providing SharePoint training or ensuring the company has the processes in place to achieve Cyber Essentials certification.

Technologies implemented

  • Servers hosted in data centre
  • New SQL & Active Directory Servers
  • Microsoft 365 and SharePoint set up and training
  • IT Support & Helpdesk
  • Cyber Essentials qualifications
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

Choosing to work with NCS has been very effective. Tasks are completed in an efficient and timely manner and the level of help and advice has been excellent. I’m very, very happy with the service that we've received so far.

Mark Wood - Chief Technology Officer, Excotek

The Sutton Group

NCS Supports the Sutton Group with Merging IT Infrastructure to Simplify Management

The customer

Based in Bacup, Lancashire, the Sutton Group is a footwear retailer and wholesaler that has been around since 1956. It first emerged as Wynsors World of Shoes before partnering with other companies and forming the group, which now has more than 40 stores and runs an ecommerce website.

Their business needs

Whilst the company has worked with NCS as support for over 15 years, the group’s in-house IT team occasionally needs additional help when investigating and implementing new systems. This time, the company needed to deal with several overlapping issues caused by growth and expansion of the business that included: increasing the IT systems’ performance, simplifying maintenance of the IT infrastructure and reducing physical space occupied by hardware.

How we helped

After a thorough investigation, the Sutton Group decided to hyper-converge their IT infrastructure, which meant replacing separated legacy infrastructure and combining it into a single system – significantly reducing the physical space occupied by hardware and simplifying the management of the infrastructure.

Technologies implemented

  • StarWind HyperCoverged Appliance
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

We have worked with NCS for over 15 years. The team has a good understanding of our existing infrastructure and provides welcome insight to new and relevant technologies when we are exploring new projects.

Barry Miles - IT Manager, The Sutton Group of Companies

Fuel Proof

NCS Saves Fuel Proof from Disruption After Virus Scare

The customer

Over the past 20 years, Fuel Proof has made a name for itself as a global leader in the field of fuel storage equipment. Based in Lancashire, the firm has a client base spanning every continent and including many of the world’s largest companies.

Their business needs

As the business grew, the company found it was unable to continue to manage its IT network due to a lack of technical expertise. Fuel Proof had also suffered a virus/ransomware outbreak on its network due to a member of staff opening a suspicious file, leading to the company’s fileserver and accounting system being encrypted by the virus.

How we helped

Fuel Proof called NCS for support and the team was able to prevent any further damage to the network by the virus and minimise the downtime for the business. NCS continues to support Fuel Proof with the management of their network and fileservers, whilst continuously researching ways to increase efficiency and innovation with the latest technology.

Technologies implemented

  • Management of network and servers
  • Virus prevention and protection
  • IT support and help desk
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

NCS have been a great company to work with from the start. They understand exactly how Fuel Proof works and what we need to be able to grow and move our business forward.

Ben Pilkington - Managing Director, Fuel Proof Ltd.

Buckhurst Plant Hire

Growth and Improved Communications for Buckhurst Thanks to Remote Access Offering by NCS

The customer

Founded in 1993, Buckhurst Plant Hire operates nationwide, with over 70 staff, supplying a range of hire equipment across three divisions: plant hire, utility plant hire and transport. The company’s head office is based in Rossendale, Lancashire, with additional depots in Leeds, Bathgate and Aberdeen.

Their business needs

Prior to working with NCS, Buckhurst was operating on an outdated IT infrastructure which prevented further growth due to its limitations in speed, reliability and accessibility. The depots were operating on their own individual networks meaning there was no coordination or communication across the company.

How we helped

We recommended a 4-phase process to be complete over time for Buckhurst that included initiating remote access to allow depots to share resources, reviewing cabling and upgrading broadband and existing servers.

Not only has the new IT infrastructure improved communication throughout the plant hire company, it also supports its plans for future growth and expansion. After competition of the project, Buckhurst opted for a support package to make the most of NCS’ knowledge of their new system should any problems arise.

Technologies implemented

  • Remote access with new remote desktop server
  • Updated cabling
  • Fibre broadband
  • Microsoft 365 Email
  • SQL server
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

I chose NCS as the right solution was offered at a good price. It gives us greater peace of mind knowing they are local to our head office too.

Lee Gansler - Managing Director, Buckhurst Plant Hire

Repechage Europe

NCS Takes Repechage Europe Global with Remote Access and Reliable Infrastructure

The customer

Established in 1980, Repechage is an American professional skincare brand offering a range of cosmetics to luxury spas and retreats around the world. Repechage Europe is the distributor of these luxury products throughout the UK and Europe, with its head office and training facility in Lancashire.

Their business needs

Repechage Europe’s Managing Director Val Cooper inherited an existing IT support when she joined the company. However, after reviewing the infrastructure, she found it unreliable and the advice and solutions being offered by the existing IT company very limited.

Not only did the system cause downtime, it also didn’t support the business from a productivity point of view. In addition to the infrastructure not supporting remote working, often required due to the business’s presence in the US and Europe, and online training sessions, the email system didn’t allow employees to manage multiple email accounts across several devices.

How we helped

NCS updated the company’s server which was slow and outdated, synced emails, installed guest wi-fi for the company’s training room and set up remote access to allow access to documents and software whilst out of the office. Happy with the installation, Repechage Europe’s Rossendale office committed to an ongoing support contract with NCS, which has seen virtually no IT issues for the team and provided a reliable and accessible IT infrastructure inside and outside the office.

Technologies implemented

  • Dell fileserver with Microsoft ‘Small Business Server’ software
  • Guest Wi-Fi
  • Remote access and syncing
  • Ongoing support & helpdesk
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

I continue to use NCS because I have absolute faith in their ability to address any queries or problems I have quickly and efficiently. In my opinion, their customer service is second to none. I can't praise them enough.

Val Cooper - Managing Director, Repechage Europe

Briggs Automotive Company

Briggs Automotive Company Goes Remote with NCS IT Cloud Solutions

The customer

Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) is a British car manufacturing company based in Liverpool. Founded in 2009, the company is responsible for developing the Mono, the world’s first road-legal, lightweight, high-performance sports car.

Their business needs

Like most companies around the world in 2020, BAC had to adapt and become more flexible with their IT systems to enable employees to work from home, in order to stay safe and follow government guidelines during the pandemic. As the company continuously develops new innovative tech within the automotive field, it was also important to keep the company’s intellectual property secure whilst sharing remotely to employees and stakeholders across Europe.

How we helped

Working as a key technology consultant, NCS IT established a secure VPN infrastructure for BAC staff to be able to work remotely during the pandemic. We also liaised with cloud backup provider Acronis to create a full backup solution for all on premise and cloud workloads and developed the Acronis Cloud File Share to assist in moving large data assets around Europe securely and efficiently.

Technologies implemented

  • VPN infrastructure
  • Acronis Cloud Backup
  • Supply of hardware
  • Helpdesk support
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

NCS are our trusted delivery partner for all of our Acronis services, allowing us to make use of the latest cloud technologies and keep BAC cyber secure.

Mark Rayner - Co-founder, Briggs Automotive Company

Flexipol Packaging

Flexipol Packaging Modernises IT Infrastructure with NCS to Support 24/7 Operation

The customer

Since 1994, Flexipol Packaging has specialised in the manufacture of packaging products for food, chemical and animal feed industries. Based in Haslingden, Lancashire the company employs over 100 staff in four separate buildings on a 40,000 sq ft site.

Their business needs

Prior to working with NCS, Flexipol Packaging had outgrown its IT infrastructure with its network cabling system not providing full coverage across its site – leaving some staff without access to important information. As a 24/7 manufacturer, Flexipol Packaging wanted to ensure their IT systems were always online and available.

How we helped

NCS was tasked with modernising Flexipol’s infrastructure which involved a review of company-wide hardware, a restructure of its fibre optic cabling to inter-connect the three buildings and an assessment of the company’s server infrastructure to improve an already-resilient system. An investment in new hardware meant the company’s core IT systems stayed online even if there was a failure or power outage – a must for Flexipol’s 24/7 service.

By working with NCS, Flexipol Packaging can rest easy when it comes to manufacturing downtime. The company has also seen a decrease in IT management time as when updates and patches are released, one server can be temporarily taken off the network and updated safely, knowing the other server is running the business as normal.

Technologies implemented

  • A resilient network cable structure with HPE managed switches
  • New fibre optic links
  • StarWind all-flash Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI)
Office workers talking to each other next to computers

We didn't approach any other companies to propose on the project as we were confident NCS would provide the perfect solution.

John Higson - Financial Accounts Manager, Flexipol Packaging