Challenge: To provide highly secure employee access to critical information, while increasing efficiency and cutting costs

Solution: DME from Excitor

Benefits: Employees can work more flexibly,  hardware and services costs have been significantly reduced and efficiency has been greatly improved.

“Enabling BYOD means we can now roll out more devices and also enable our managers to work more flexibly to get their work done before the morning if they choose – Why wouldn’t we do more of this? “

Value and Trust

The financial services industry is evolving fast, consumers want good value for money, trust in the institutions they bank with and the latest services. Newcastle Building Society is the biggest building society in the North East and the eighth largest in the UK. It is constantly evolving to make sure that its mortgage, savings and insurance products are the best fit for its customers.

This creates a fast moving environment for Steve Watchman,  IT Executive at Newcastle Building Society who recognised the changing nature of financial services, the need for faster decisions, more ad hoc meetings, and for external contacts to access critical information as well as the need for IT to keep costs down. Steve’s challenge was to deal with all of this while keeping the security of sensitive data at the heart of any changes being considered.  He shared his story with us.

What was the problem?

“We had a few challenges – the world had moved on since we originally deployed Blackberry – employees started wanting to use their personal smartphones and tablets for work and when we wouldn’t let them because they weren’t secure this led to a lot of frustration.

Our Blackberry environment had reached the end of its life and was quite expensive so we couldn’t roll out beyond senior managers.  We also have external groups such as non exec directors who needed access to document based business critical information for board meetings, but who could not easily access our systems because of data security – for these people we were forced to resort to sending them paper based information packs. Neither worked – we needed more flexibility for our staff and non-execs needed information that was up to date”

“By letting our users bring in their own smart devices, and using DME, we reduced hardware and service costs which means we can increase the number of users without spending any more money”

Security Demands

“Security is a big deal for us. As a financial services company the Society is rightly paranoid about possible theft of financial and customer data. We strictly control access to resources by locking down our entire physical infrastructure to stop people randomly plugging into the network.  Our stringent security means that we can’t do simple things like walk into a meeting room and plug in a laptop and our Wi-Fi network is also heavily restricted .  This all drove us to resort to a paper based approach to meetings – it was entirely inefficient.”

Two Birds, One Stone

“Initially we thought of these as disparate and unrelated challenges – We started looking a range of options beginning with web based distribution solutions to replace dependence on paper but they were really clunky. To replace Blackberrys we started by looking at a straight swap for cheaper mobile device management (MDM) options.

Then we came across the secure container approach that allowed not just secure mobile email and application support on mobile devices, but could separate business data from personal data securely on employee smartphones and tablets. It was a bit of a light bulb moment – we realized that we could let employees access critical information on their iPhones, iPads and Samsung Galaxies and it was likely that all the non execs would have iPads as well.  We realised we had found a single solution to several problems.”

Excitor’s DME

“We looked at a range of MDM solutions, but Excitor’s DME application stood out. The user experience was great, their secure container approach meant that our security requirements were covered and configuration was simple as users could provision themselves in a few minutes. To cap it off the pilot was up running in half a day and we haven’t really touched it since!”

Ecommnet – I assumed they would be from Kent

For the integration work Excitor recommended a company called Ecommnet. I couldn’t believe it when I found out they were just up the road as these companies are nearly always based in Kent or in the South East at least.

Robert and the team were excellent, they qualified our environment quickly, were very strong on integrating security and mobile environments and the pilot went in easily. It was nice to deal with a company that was more than just a reseller, they truly believed in the solution and it was a great win for us to find their set of skills just down the road.”

Happy Staff AND Lower Costs

“By letting our users bring in their own smart devices and using DME we reduced hardware and services cost significantly which meant we can increase the number of users without spending any more money.

The solution gives us more flexibility as we can publish critical documents to a secure intranet, integrate with Sharepoint or give secure access via mobile email. Our internal and customer meetings are becoming more productive; we have more up to date information to hand and can make decisions more quickly. The security is top notch – I can plug into the secure network with my iPad and pull off documents and because DME has its encrypted containerised approach I know it is secure.”

The future

“The whole process has started to help us think about the way we work. One area for consideration will definitely be in how we deliver services to our larger business customers, while out on the road. More applications are coming up all the time and now we know we are not limited by security and cost, the sky is our limit.”

Get in Touch

  • I’ve nothing but praise for Robert and the team and despite their long trading history have seen how they have maintained a strong, exciting and invigorating culture of success within their business which, for me, having had 20 years in application development is often more important than pure technical capability as it’s this consultative and empathetic approach which extracts the requirements from non-IT staff to enable Ecommnet to design and deliver a stronger better product.

    — Jason R Wilkinson, Head of Business Transformation, Westfield Health
  • During our 2FA POC and subsequent move to live system, Ecommnet provided a very attentive and responsive support service whenever we encountered problems.  Using the team’s web support portal to raise support calls and requests for changes results in a fast response and provision of support ranging from phone support, through remote console access to site visits as required. Due to the implementation of the 2FA system we now have secure remote access to internal resources while ensuring security compliance.

    — Allen Haigherty, Technical Support Officer, Kirklees Council
  • With the team’s help I was able to get the OTP authentication set up in time for our PCI audit. I just want to say I was very impressed with the level of service and the responsiveness, and the fact they were able to help us out under incredibly tight timescales speaks volumes.

    — Robin Whitehead, Technical Director, Iridium Corporation
  • Robert and the team were excellent, they qualified our environment quickly, were very strong on integrating security and mobile environments and the pilot went in easily. It was nice to deal with a company that was more than just a reseller, they truly believed in the solution and it was a great win for us to find their set of skills just down the road.

    — Steve Watchman, IT Executive, Newcastle Building Society
  • Ecommnet was able to create and deliver an all-new website that has in a short space of time received many compliments and generated enquiries. The team is accessible, helpful and responsive and have removed the ‘pain’ of IT. We were so pleased that they’re now entrusted to look after all our IT infrastructure.

    — Nick Bailey, Director, Elan PR
  • After 6 weeks of implementation issues with a competitive product, Ecommnet were a breath of fresh air, helping us out of a very tricky situation with a great solution in just two days. What a fantastic team; extremely helpful, technically competent and able to deliver.

    — John Clayton, Network Consultant, Kirklees Council
  • Ecommnet has proved an invaluable partner, especially when developing technology solutions to loosely defined business ideas. They bring a diverse range of ideas from their work to produce innovative approaches to solving problems. They will back their ingenuity by sharing in the risk of developing solutions, and having proved a concept will ensure the same team work with you to create a fully fledged product.

    — Michael Bennett, Director, Charles Stanley & Co Ltd