How Ground Construction Limited gained control, security and compliance

“When it came to the more complex scenarios, no one could do it…except Egnyte.”

Ryan Gray Group IT Manager

Big Business, Big Risk

To say Ground Construction Limited (GCL) runs its business on a massive scale is an understatement. The company’s projects and 50-plus tower cranes dominate the London skyline. When it’s not putting up 33-story residential and commercial buildings, it’s tearing them down as an expert in the high-risk world of demolition. But it was risk of another kind that was causing concern for GCL’s IT team.

Ground Construction Limited Site

The Challenges Were Many

If Supporting GCL’s existing Windows File Server and Active Directory environment was a relatively straightforward process, managing security permissions was not. GCL’s employees had too much uncontrolled access. Not only did this create information governance problems, the approaching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) meant the company needed to get a handle on, and restrict access to, all its sensitive customer data.

While many staff had too much access, others had too little. The bulk of GCL’s work happens onsite—in locations across London and the South East of England. Engineers and project teams needed the latest drawings, plans and work schedules to do their jobs. These files were massive – often in excess of 2GB. Even with 4G and fixed-line connectivity, remote workers struggled to up-and-download documents. Consequently, many were stored locally on laptops, and backed up to USB drives. This not only created version control issues, access and collaboration was impossible until personnel could make the trip back to HQ.

GCL’s complex file structure was a problem too. Multiple departmental and Group company drives were storing tens of thousands of files relating to live and completed projects, tenders, and all the usual data needed to support a rapidly growing business. IT needed a simple, fast answer.

“Egnyte has become a way of life. When staff ask for documents, the answer’s always 'it’s on Egnyte.”

Ryan Gray - Group IT Manager

Challenges Overcome

The first order of business for Ryan Gray, the company’s incoming Group IT Manager, was to gain control of this complex information environment. The second was to institute a permission-based approach, limiting file access and sharing to authorised personnel only. The third was to deliver secure access for onsite teams. Accomplish all this and GCL would enjoy fast, secure file sharing able to drive productivity and efficiency across the business. Moreover, sensitive company data would be locked-down and protected in compliance with GDPR and wider data protection regulations.

With onsite access so critical, it made sense to explore the cloud. Ryan began his due diligence with Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. As discussions moved to more complex scenarios, it became clear these products couldn’t manage the kind of sub-folder permissions GCL needed. Having extended his search to other cloud-based platforms, Egnyte Connect proved to be the only platform able to address all his criteria.

Deployment to GCL’s 100 onsite and 70-plus office-based staff proved to be a painless experience. According to Ryan, staff quickly embraced the new platform. The link-share functionality impressed, allowing users to ditch the free, (but slow) online file transfer applications. Similarly, Egnyte’s ability to access older versions of any given document was a much-valued feature when users over-saved the copy they were working on—something they did often.

Today, with Egnyte as GCL’s default file management and sharing platform, onsite teams of engineers, project directors and site administration can create and work on documents within a secure group. These documents automatically sync with the cloud and are replicated on an on-premise server at HQ. This local access addresses employee demands for speed without impacting bandwidth, and supports IT’s need for information redundancy and disaster recovery.

Other key benefits of the Egnyte solution include:

Information governance and compliance

GCL’s ability to define folder and sub-folder permissions at a granular level, and to provide a clear audit trail of all changes made, securing access, driving information best practice and delivering the visibility and data management required under GDPR.

Seamless sharing and collaboration

GCL can rapidly share the tens of thousands of pages of documentation, CAD files, and project specifications needed to allow teams of engineers, project architects, and site admin officers to work with the same digital documents from multiple locations, and get the job done.

Instant engagement with external partners

When managing a project as a principal contractor, GCL can establish permission-based access to specific project files and folders for clients and subcontractors. Upon completion, permission can be instantly revoked, and all warranties, groundworks data and other necessary documentation is shared securely via the link-share functionality. All links are tracked and client actions recorded.

Instant engagement with external partners

Egnyte’s cloud-based functionality is key to developing a single, centralised file structure, and a ‘single version of truth’ for documents and files across the business. The ability to provide a synchronised local copy on all devices accelerates user access and provides an on-premise back-up copy of all data.

Ground Construction Limited Cloud

The Rewards

A business the size, scale and sophistication of GCL needed a strong information foundation. Now it has one. And although the Egnyte platform represents a major step change in terms of functionality, information security and resilience, the familiar interface and simplicity of use ensured rapid and enthusiastic adoption across the company.

Not only has Egnyte enabled a more collaborative and productive working environment throughout GCL, the company has been able to maximise its investment and deploy a scalable platform to manage future growth.

Aside from the user benefits, GCL’s IT department continues to enjoy full control of its information environment. A single view of the entire file structure and documents, alongside the ability to accurately report against who has access to what, and the actions they take, make periodic department audits a fast and pain-free exercise. Staff changes can be identified and permissions granted or revoked depending on need – with compliance clearly demonstrated to internal leadership and external regulators.

By outsourcing ownership of its file server environment to Egnyte, GCL has streamlined its operating environment, eliminated the need to support on-premise infrastructure, and reduced information governance costs. All of which means Ryan and his team can focus more attention on delivering more innovative projects.

“As a principle contractor, it couldn’t be easier to give sub-contractors and clients secure access to all the information they need.”

Ryan Gray - Group IT Manager