NMBS has increased the security of its IT systems and sped up its accounts access for members by moving all its IT infrastructure to Cloud storage.

Previously, NMBS had physical servers at its head office in Leicester that housed all its internal and external data infrastructure, including hosting its databases and online resources for members.

Over recent months, however, the Buying Society has been working with a third-party company to transfer this data to two data centres in Newcastle and a backup facility in Milton Keynes– with the project being completed successfully in late February.  The project has been managed by NMBS’ IT Manager, Jamie Freer, ably supported by the internal NMBS IT Team.

Cloud storage involves holding a company’s data on servers based in a remote physical location from the company itself. This data can then be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

Julie Langford, Finance and Operations Director at NMBS, said: “Cyber-attacks are becoming more and more common for businesses in all sectors.  NMBS’ cyber security was already robust, but we wanted to take it to the next level to protect our data and that of our members.  It is also the first step towards our gaining ISO 27001 accreditation, targeted for the end of 2020.   

“By moving our IT infrastructure to the Cloud, we can not only take advantage of our own security resources, but also those of the data hub we’re working with, which is one of the leading companies in its industry. This means our members can rest assured that their information is safe and secure, and that our systems will always be online and available when they need them.”

Having the data hosted remotely, in multiple locations, also means it is protected from the risk of loss or damage in the event of physical problems occurring at any one location.

NMBS has permanent access to its infrastructure on the Cloud network via two secure connections – with one acting as a failsafe to ensure members experience little or no downtime when using NMBS’ systems.

Another key benefit of moving NMBS’ data to the Cloud is that members can take advantage of the increased speeds and storage capacity available through the data centre – so members will now see that Report Centre, NMBS’ online dispute resolution facility, is quicker to access.

As NMBS continues to grow and expand in support of its members, having a system that can quickly be developed will help the Buying Society be even more responsive to its members’ needs, as Langford explained: “Previously, if we wanted to expand or needed to replace our IT equipment we had to physically buy and fit a new server, which could result in downtime for our members as the work was carried out. Now, we simply call the data centre and ask them for some more speed, or space, and they can action our request almost instantly.”

Another benefit for NMBS itself is that its team can access the information they need from anywhere with an internet connection, giving them the flexibility to work remotely more often, and spend more time with members.

Langford concluded: “The ability to work remotely allows us to be more flexible with our own expansion and recruitment plans, so that we can adapt quickly to the industry’s changing working practices. It also means that we no longer need an internal server room at our head office in Leicester, and we already have plans to re-use that space.”