AOC Archaeology Group is one of Britain's most experienced heritage consultancies. For over 30 years they have been running excavations, advising on heritage planning, conducting archeological surveys, and providing conservation services to their clients nationwide. They also manage Scotland’s only archaeological conservation laboratory where they carry out sophisticated post-excavation analysis. Today, AOC has 100 field staff and 50 office-based employees spread across six busy sites.
Field archaeology generates a large volume of data, including photographs, CAD, GIS data and 3D models. AOC’s server infrastructure was aging and rapidly becoming unfit for purpose, and the company’s existing IT suppliers were struggling to meet the demands that AOC’s data management placed on the company’s infrastructure.
As a result of relying on local servers, there were also different approaches to data management between different departments as well as across the six office locations. Additionally, we identified a number of business-critical vulnerabilities in AOC’s infrastructure and processes which had the potential to put core operations at risk.
From the outset of this project, we took a thorough and methodical approach to our work which consisted of four key phases: Cyber security audit, recommendation, implementation, and review.
As a matter of urgency, our lead engineer and Cyber security engineer visited each of AOC’s six locations to conduct a thorough Cyber security audit. This involved mapping the WiFi and 4G signals at each site, reviewing the cabling and network cabinets, assessing the vulnerability of the network, and carrying out health checkups on all staff computers.
We then took the information compiled from the site audits and compared it with the industry standards as defined by the National Cyber Security Centre. We used this comparison to generate a detailed report of the areas where AOC’s current posture was falling short of complying with current regulations, along with our suggestions for resolving each issue.
The headlines were that AOC’s IT estate was ageing and no longer meeting their operational needs. In response, we proposed a new server infrastructure co-located in a data centre near AOC’s head office in Edinburgh. This would enable all employees to access and share data, regardless of which location they were based at, or whether they were working out in the field.
However, before we could establish the co-located server - and in order to get the maximum benefit from it - we first needed to make significant improvements to the existing on-site infrastructure.
We developed a clear plan of how the recommendations should be implemented and then set about readying AOC’s IT environment to integrate with the new server. Carrying out the plan involved our highly specialist teams working in cooperation to complete works according to a meticulous schedule.
Our expert structured cabling team designed and laid upgraded cabling at all six sites. Alongside this, the networking team arranged for updated network hardware to be installed in every office. New network switches and additional wifi access points were put in to ensure optimal connectivity.
A vital element of the plan was guaranteeing AOC’s internet access so that every site was able to connect to the centralised server. To do this, we included redundant internet capability, which AOC can turn to if the primary internet connection fails. As well as this, we set up next generation firewalls which also provide virtual private networks (VPNs) between the locations, keeping site-to-site traffic protected.
With the connectivity, cabling and Cyber security up to the necessary specifications, we then copied over all files from each location and moved them into the new co-located storage, before finally retiring the legacy on-site servers.
Once AOC’s new server was up and running, we rigorously cross-checked our own work to ensure that every gap we had identified had been successfully filled. After submitting to the accrediting body, we then established a timetable of regular reviews to ensure continued compliance.
The new server centralises and secures data storage for all of AOC’s projects. A user-friendly file structure makes it easy for team members to find relevant data quickly. This combination allows teams to collaborate more effectively across the different sites and facilitates better alignment between field and office workers.
The updated network hardware gives both AOC and Texaport full visibility of the networks at each site. This lets us manage the network through proactive monitoring and tailor our troubleshooting to any problems that we identify.
By establishing a schedule of regular security reviews with AOC, we ensure that they are keeping up with regulatory standards and are in good shape for unannounced spot checks. With our guidance, they passed their Cyber Essentials certification with flying colours - a feat that felt far beyond reach just months before.
Following the success of this project, we became AOC’s managed IT provider. We now maintain their infrastructure, manage their software licences, proactively monitor their devices for threats, and are their go-to team for any IT related issues.
Through enhanced IT performance, preventative Cyber security management, and swift problem resolution we are proud to have succeeded in restoring AOC’s trust in their external IT partner.