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Soapworks is the UK’s largest manufacturers of soaps, supplying to a worldwide client base from their Glasgow based factory. 

Launched by The Body Shop founders Anita and Gordon Roddick in 1988, the business has grown from 14 employees at the outset to employ over 100 staff today, leading the way in modern soap bar manufacturing. 

Company Requirements

Soapworks, made a decision in late 2019 to assess their IT environment and requirements, the result of which was a decision to enter the market to look for a new partner.

Soapworks’ top priority was to find a partner who could deliver a fully managed IT service, delivered in conjunction with their internal IT stakeholders. A key part of this service was to provide the business with strategic IT guidance and help them work towards a secure, continually evolving and modern IT infrastructure.

The Solution

From day one of our relationship with Soapworks, the goal has been very clear - to provide them with a modern and secure IT environment, allowing them to focus on successfully running their business. We are delighted to report that this goal has been achieved but it was not an overnight process.

We kicked off with an audit of their existing environment, including running various security and vulnerability tests, before working with Soapworks to set out a detailed project plan to deliver them a modern and secure IT environment that was fit for their business today and for the demands of the future.

This journey took place across 2020 and can be broken down into four key areas. Here’s an in depth look at each area and how the year played out.

1.Fixing and strengthening the network

An immediate priority was to strengthen the Soapworks network. We quickly delivered several remedial and immediate fixes, as well as closing some security vulnerabilities found within their ageing servers and out of support operating systems.

With a basic level of security deployed and general stabilising of the Soapworks in place, we were able to take more advanced steps to strengthening and securing the IT network. At Kick, we take a layered approach to cyber security, ensuring our customers benefit from both preventative and protective measures. With Soapworks, this included:

  • Next generation antivirus and ransomware software using SentinelOne Endpoint Detection and Response
  • Strengthening the barrier between their internal networks and external web traffic with firewall protection from Fortigate
  • Email protection from spam and phishing attempts using Fortimail filtering

Alongside the layered security measures, we were able to provide Soapworks with the peace of mind that comes from having key business data and applications backed up in the cloud.

In deploying StorageCraft’s Disaster Recovery product, Soapworks need no longer worry about their on-premise infrastructure being reliable enough to provide the levels of backup required for a modern business, and with 99.99% uptime within the StorageCraft cloud, they are safe in the knowledge that should disaster strike, their data and applications will be safe and accessible.

2.Creating a modern IT platform for growth

With the confidence and peace of mind that comes from securing the network delivered, the focus turned to collaborating with the Soapworks IT stakeholders to develop a roadmap to fully modernise their IT platform.

A key step here was to consolidate and modernise the server infrastructure and associated components. This included deploying Office 365 for email migration, allowing for a shift from the existing on-premise email exchange to a cloud-based alternative.

Further work on the Soapworks environment included a company-wide PC refresh to remove all outdated software and operating systems and the deployment of secure VPN access to enable remote working.

With the email exchange now cloud-based and secure VPN deployed, the platform was in place to transform Soapworks into a truly connected and collaborative workplace.

However, before taking this step we were faced with an imminent and much more pressing challenge…

3. Supporting Soapworks through the pandemic

Delivering the Office 365 cloud migration proved an incredibly timely piece of work as the impacts of the Covid pandemic starting to take hold in 2020. This ensured Soapworks staff were able to access key Office 365 applications, including email, from home.

We were able to offer further support with selected Soapworks staff provided with additional remote desktop server access set up to operate legacy applications whilst they were unable to enter the office environment.

4.Delivering the Modern Workplace

With Soapworks’ modern and secure IT platform in place, the next phase of the project, to transition the business to become a Modern Workplace based on the most up to date Microsoft services and applications, will be the next focus with initial steps already taken, with Soapworks now benefitting from:

  • Cloud based technology bringing reduced on-premise infrastructure and costs
  • The capability to work from anywhere, anytime
  • Access to Microsoft Teams, delivering the capability to work collaboratively both remotely and in the office

Our commitment to Soapworks will keep focus on both the security of their network and the continuous modernisation of their workplace; working to ensure that the progress of 2020 is maintained and that we continue to support their growing, evolving business.

"We kicked off our partnership with Kick ICT after an extensive review of the local IT providers in our area and since the start of 2020 we haven’t looked back.

They’ve helped us to better understand our IT environment and the steps we needed to take to properly strengthen it; that’s given the business great confidence that both our colleagues and customers are accessing a highly secure network.

With our cloud journey, the steps taken here have been timely and it’s incredibly re-assuring to know that we can collaborate as colleagues wherever our location may be. In Kick we have a partner who is working to ensure that our technology continues to be modern, connected and working to support our business - it’s great to know that this crucial area of the business is in safe hands"

Kate Beaumont, HR Director, Soapworks Ltd

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