With a long and illustrious history, The Wine Society can trace its beginnings back to the summer of 1874, when its founders Major-General Henry Scott, Royal Albert Hall architect, and R. Brudenell Carter, a prominent ophthalmic surgeon, decided to set up a special organisation for wine lovers to try the best international wines at the fairest prices. What’s more, rather impressively, the company even names renowned writer and author of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as one of its earlier members.
Over 145 years since its inception, The Wine Society is now more successful than ever, with 145,000 active UK members, and continues to uphold its founding belief that ‘good wine from around the world shouldn’t cost the earth’. Indeed, as a member-owned cooperative, the organisation prides itself on putting ‘passion before profit’, and offers over 1,300 affordable, hand-picked, fine wines.
Based in Stevenage, in the UK, The Wine Society sources its award-winning selection of wines from producers located all over the world, and also offers a wide range of alternative liquid refreshments, including craft gin, beer, cider, and soft drinks. The organisation has also recently launched a new website, where customers can make purchases, alongside its on-site showroom and call centre.
The Wine Society had gone through a period of underinvestment in its IT functionality – its infrastructure and systems had therefore become outdated and in some cases at the end of life. An organic approach to its IT architecture had resulted in platforms and systems that were increasingly slow and unreliable and took immense effort to maintain. There had also been no strategic approach to design, and a lack of control over change, resulting in inconsistency.
TIEVA was therefore invited to perform a network audit and review of infrastructure, and subsequently made both tactical and strategic recommendations for improvement.
To strengthen the organisation’s network, resolve the issues that it was experiencing, and to future-proof the business, TIEVA recommended and implemented a range of innovative, interrelated solutions. Central to these was the fact that the current network hardware, at the organisation's headquarters, was declared to be end-of-life and end-of-support equipment, which meant that if any hardware issues occurred, or any support requirements arose, the company would not be able to fall back on the manufacturer for assistance.
A new, enterprise-grade Cisco Systems network was therefore designed and installed across the organisation, with internal connectivity upgraded to include diverse, single-mode fibre, routed to each of the internal switch cabinets, providing redundancy for both connectivity and hardware.
The Wine Society’s existing wide area network (WAN) connections were also upgraded to dual leased lines, using diverse suppliers, to ensure resilience and redundancy, provide higher speeds, when needed, and generally improve performance. A new network management tool – SolarWinds – was also installed, providing greater visibility, enabling performance monitoring, and supplying alerts to any potential issues. This allowed both the organisation and TIEVA support team to proactively monitor The Wine Society’s network and address any issues before they became a problem.
In addition, the security of The Wine Society’s network was not overlooked, as an essential element of today’s IT infrastructure. To provide robust protection from cyber threats, TIEVA’s firewall as a service(FWaaS) was employed, supplying a strong security perimeter for the organisation’s IT environment.
As a result of the work carried out by TIEVA, The Wine Society’s IT issues have been addressed, and it now has a reliable, resilient network, plus the peace of mind that it is protected from potential IT security threats with state-of-the-art technology.
The organisation also has much greater visibility of its network, than it had before, and an IT provider that it can work in partnership. With access to TIEVA’s outstanding 24/7/365 support and on-site engineering, as required, it can rest assured that it will now have prompt, high-quality assistance, whenever needed.
Consequently, TIEVA was delighted to hear that The WineSociety was very happy with the service it has been receiving, and actively welcomed the chance to voice its satisfaction in this case study.