CTI Group became a division of global telecommunications technology and solutions provider Enghouse Networks in 2015. It provides a comprehensive range of electronic billing and invoice management solutions, as well as carrier grade analytics and cost recovery software products. Headquartered in Indianapolis, its products and solutions enable leading telecommunications service providers in North America and Europe to effectively manage telephony costs through its high-quality call accounting solutions.
- Global telecommunications solution provider
- Delivers on-premise, SaaS and managed services solutions
- High-quality communications management software
CTI Group’s existing F5 Application Traffic Management solution was nearing the end of its life cycle. It had been in place for a number of years and security patches and updates were no longer being released by the provider. In an effort to prevent potential security and operational issues further down the line, Rick Byers, Director of Hosting and Information Security at Enghouse Networks, contacted Softcat to investigate a replacement solution.
“Softcat provided our original F5 solution,” said Rick. “We’ve worked with Softcat for more than a decade and they know how we operate and what functionality we would need to deliver a resilient and secure environment for our critical IT services. Although we knew we wanted to continue with the existing provider, we wanted Softcat to assess whether the upgraded F5 solution on offer would be fit for purpose and could be configured to match our specific business needs. As usual, Softcat didn’t disappoint.”
Critical success factors
- Secure replacement for end-of-life Application Traffic Management solution
- Improve resilience and security for business-critical infrastructure
- Ensure upgraded solution would be fit for purpose
“We kicked off the process with workshops designed to illustrate the improved functionality of the upgraded F5 solution,” said Phil Hargreaves, Softcat Networking & Security Specialist. “We also carried out a comprehensive evaluation to better understand how to successfully migrate existing services. This evaluation helped define the rules and skill sets that would be needed to make the implementation as smooth and trouble free as possible. We even went above and beyond what we needed to do by carrying out a security health check to ensure the solution was a good fit for the client.”
“The workshops gave us real confidence,” said Rick. “They confirmed that sticking with the original vendor would minimise any requirements for extra staff training and ensured we would have the in-house expertise to successfully operate the new solution.
“Softcat’s preparatory work came to the fore during the implementation. All of the work it had put into right-sizing the solution, customising rules and ensuring it fulfilled our precise needs paid dividends. Over a three-week period Softcat provided the professional services to support a successful implementation and ensured it was configured correctly for our needs. Implementation and migration were carried out remotely due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The majority of the work took place out of hours and the project was completed with absolutely minimal downtime and no disruption to our business as usual (BaU) activities.
“We were pretty much spectators while the solution was implemented –but we were always kept in the loop. Softcat provided a clear overview of what was being implemented and ensured that we had the information we needed to get the most out of the solution moving forward. That collaborative account management was one of the most important elements of the solution implementation. We trusted Softcat to get it right first time and they did.”
- Informative workshops to define right-sizing and solution configuration
- Close client collaboration to ensure a fit-for-purpose solution
- Solution implemented with minimal downtime and business disruption
The F5 BIG IP Application Traffic Management solution provides the capabilities needed to balance loads across critical applications. It ensures that applications aren’t merely ‘always on’ but much easier to scale and manage from an operational perspective. End-to-end encryption ensures a seamless user experience, and resilient security functions help minimise the risk of DDoS attacks or data loss.
“The solution is exactly what we needed,” said Rick. “The main benefit is in facilitating business as usual. Our in-house team was already competent with the previous solution and Softcat did a great job of bolstering that existing expertise to minimise any additional training requirements. And the new solution will help to accelerate user interactions, increase network efficiency and comprehensively support effective working within the organisation.
“The updated version features enhanced security and resilience alongside improved performance. I’m a great believer in buying once and buying well. Yes, there were other, possibly cheaper solutions available in the marketplace, but they may have ultimately ended up costing more. With F5 Big IP, I’m fully confident that we have in place a robust solution that enhances security and performance without the need for time-consuming and costly additional training and familiarisation. Softcat’s professional services support throughout the implementation was worth its weight in gold.”
Benefits at a glance
- Optimal Application Traffic Management solution
- Minimal training and familiarisation required
- Close collaboration and technical support
“There’s a very good reason why we have used Softcat for more than a decade,” said Rick. “We see it as a tried and trusted vendor that is always happy to give that little bit extra to add value to what it does. Working with Softcat guarantees access to knowledgeable and talented specialists that absolutely understand our specific business needs. And because it understands what we do and how we want to do it, it goes to great lengths to ensure that solutions are configured to enhance operational efficiency. Softcat is always professional, always responsive and when required, solves problems quickly and efficiently.”
“We trusted Softcat to get it right first time and