"A faster, more stable and cost-effective network" for NRS Healthcare
Innovative shift from on-premise to highly-secure hybrid Agile Cloud, with FourNet
NRS Healthcare is one of FourNet’s oldest customers. The healthcare provider has been on a continuous digital transformation journey over the last decade. Its latest technology upgrade, designed and delivered by FourNet, has been to shift NRS from an on-premise telephony and Enghouse contact centre solution to an innovative hybrid Agile Cloud service, ensuring the longevity of the contact centres with Microsoft Teams as the standardised communications platform across the business.
By replacing MPLS with highly secure SD-WAN, NRS is now leveraging a host of additional, cost effective services from FourNet
NRS Healthcare is a leading provider of products and services designed to support independent living. The company, with 28 offices across the UK and its headquarters in Leicestershire, supplies a wide range of daily living and disability aids, along with in-house occupational therapy capabilities to help people live independently in their own homes.
It’s a key partner of the NHS and local authorities, and a core part of the business is conducted through its website and 400 agents across various sites.
NRS were using Avaya IP Office and Enghouse Contact Centre on premise. While the functionality was completely fit for purpose for NRS, the virtual infrastructure on which the telephony system and contact centre was sitting was struggling to cope. NRS was also using MPLS to connect their HQ and other sites, which had disadvantages:
- All traffic needed to go through their HQ. This meant there were single points of failure and separate internet circuits were needed.
- Winding down and provisioning new sites where the contract had ended was time consuming.
- There is no agility in MPLS, which is also expensive.
NRS worked with FourNet to examine whether Microsoft Teams was the right solution to replace IP Office. The company had used Teams extensively over Covid, and found it helped with remote working as setting up remote users with an on-premise IP Office is complex.
Its decision to standardise Teams as the platform of choice meant that 1,200 employees across multiple locations would be required to be move to one consolidated, integrated system.
The business has also previously invested in one network security solution, but wished to replace that with Fortinet network security in partnership with FourNet, requiring wholesale change.
The FourNet Solution
With security and resilience a key priority, FourNet’s solution was to employ a hybrid approach to cloud, through our innovative, fully managed, Agile Cloud service.
Moving to Teams for their Unified Communications solution, unlocked a host of advantages for NRS
- Moving from Avaya to Teams ensures the longevity of the Contact Centre, since Enghouse’s long-term strategy is for tight Microsoft integration
- NRS knew that FourNet had a mature direct routing platform in Agile Cloud, so if the solution was moved toAgile Cloud, it could be consumed as a service and there would be no more reliance on their own infrastructure.
- FourNet also provides analytics, call recording and disaster recovery as standard, so NRS could leverage these services easily
- Agile Cloud has many customers using Teams andEnghouse, therefore NRS knew it was a tried and trusted reference architecture.
- We also addressed PCI Compliance requirements for NRS and switched on our PCI descoping solution which is part of Agile Cloud.
- NRS needed MPLS to assure the quality of service of their Avaya IP Office calls from HQ out to branch sites,by moving to Teams – which is based in Azure on public internet – the need for MPLS was removed.
- NRS already used Gamma for SIP which was delivered- over the existing MPLS. Migrating the SIP into Agile Cloud was a simple process, as we are connected to Gamma from multiple data centres already
- NRS have easily enabled Enghouse omnichannel, as it’s simple to add into our Agile Cloud solution. We already have the DMZs required for hosting webchat, whereas for customers with on-premise solutions this requires significant work.
With the need for MPLS gone, FourNet explored the benefits of SD-WAN with NRS. There were many advantages to this:
- Quick provision of new sites (5G, use existing internet circuits, prestaged Fortinet NGFW that FourNet would install quickly on site).
- Fortinet NGFW are a complete security solution in a box, therefore each site can break out locally to the internet for their web based SaaS with a full security stack.
- Home workers were fully catered for by a ZTNA client which connects back into the SD-WAN giving the same security stack for users that are out of the office
- Agile Cloud is built upon Fortinet products, so connecting Agile Cloud to the NRS SD-WAN was simple, and from Agile Cloud NRS can work with FourNet to manage their SD-WAN estate, including:
- Management – easy provision and management of the SD-WAN configuration
- Analytics – all traffic on the SD-WAN is analysed and passed to FortiLabs for threat inspection
- End User Client Management – the same security policies to all users
With NRS on the SD-WAN, NRS are now leveraging many more services from FourNet, because it's extremely simple and cost effective to do so.
- Replacing legacy Cisco LAN and wireless solutions with FourNet “SD-Branch” solution.This uses Fortinet switches and access points and ismanaged by the AgileCloud platform, with network access controlacross the entireestate
- Authentication services
- Mail and Web proxies
- Future SIEM and SOAR functionality
As a result of the project, we now have a better, faster, and more reliable network, giving us a stable and secure environment and telephony platform. We cannot fault FourNet. The team have been brilliant, kept on top of everything, and resolved any issues. I would have no problem working with them again.
IT Infrastructure Manager, NRS Healthcare
Our future-proofed hybrid cloud solution provides NRS with a standardised communications platform via Teams at a cost-effective price, with the latest network security from Fortinet, and hosted in our highly secure data centres. As one of FourNet's oldest customers, we're pleased to be continuing our strong business partnership with NRS, upgrading and refreshing their technology when they need it, and ensuring that their systems are safer, resilient and more secure than ever.
Account Director, FourNet