Dublin Simon empowers people to access and retain a home by providing housing, prevention, addiction treatment, emergency response and other targeted interventions, through advocacy and partnership. Dublin Simon’s core values are Community, Respect & Empowerment, Excellence and Innovation and Accountability and Integrity.
For Dublin Simon, the main IT challenges included ensuring that a stable and secure environment is in place for a rapidly growing organisation spread over multiple locations.
These challenges can be broken down into 3 key areas:
How to manage important Data
Dublin Simon staff need to be able to quickly and easily access service-user records, often out of normal working business hours to provide a full picture of the people using their services. They also need to ensure that the information meets GDPR guidelines in terms of data protection and storage. HR data is also a key consideration here; Dublin Simon has over 300 staff and 100 volunteers.
The importance of IT Infrastructure
Due to the multiple locations and centralisation of data, network access and stability are key to the optimum functioning of the organisation. The environment needs to be secure and proactively monitored to prevent potential outages, with redundancy in place.
Planning IT for future growth
Dublin Simon is a progressive, ever-changing organisation. The systems that are put in place need to be scalable to allow the organisation to grow and take advantage of new and emerging technologies that can help them support the housing crisis.
How to solve IT issues?
supportIT have been providing Dublin Simon with a fully managed support service for over 15 years. Dublin Simon’s support contract is designed to provide the organisation with a reliable, responsive service; supportIT provide unlimited telephone, email and onsite support for all users in all locations with guaranteed response times. An engineer also goes onsite on regular basis to support users directly and scheduled installation days are organised to upgrade user infrastructure.
To ensure network stability supportIT have infrastructure and server monitoring in place with Dublin Simon which alerts the support engineers to any issues that could cause network outages.
‘We have a multi-faceted approach with Dublin Simon; the Helpdesk engineers support the users on a day to day basis and monitor the environment, the onsite team take care of housekeeping tasks like renewals, the installation team are responsible for the infrastructure upgrade projects and the account management team ensure the site runs well from an operational point of view. Their approach to IT is fantastic, they embrace new technologies and are a great example of how a not-for-profit can effectively use IT to run their organisation better.’
Joe McGivern, CEO supportIT
How GDPR affects IT solutions
To meet their data protection and security requirements, Dublin Simon now has award-winning Anti-Virus, ESET in place on all users machines and server infrastructure. It is a fully managed and monitored service so any potential threats are flagged and actioned. Dublin Simon’s communications environment is also protected at a high level by SonicWall Security products that are configured to ensure maximum protection. Dublin Simon also have extra layers of security in place with strict Group policy parameters and web traffic restrictions.
To comply with GDPR guidelines Dublin Simon undertook a GDPR process on all data; in conjunction with our consultancy team, they assessed where all data was located, who has access and how long it was stored for. This process has enabled Dublin Simon to put systems in place at all levels to comply with the GDPR guidelines.
Dublin Simon has been at the forefront of the housing crisis so have grown at a rapid pace over the years. In fact, supportIT have been involved in over 40 upgrade projects over the last 15 years. supportIT moved Dublin Simon to Office365 a number of years ago to take advantage of the Microsoft free licensing programme and the benefits of the Cloud. In recent years, the focus has been on virtualisation projects to allow for greener growth without the same hardware requirements. And to support the changing nature of the workforce, remote working has also been key for Dublin Simon; supportIT rolled out Microsoft remote desktop for all users to allow them to securely work from remote and periphery locations, with optimum speeds. Disaster Recovery is now the focus in line with industry compliance regulations around data protection; supportIT has a disaster recovery environment in place that gives Dublin Simon optimum return to service guarantees and is tested yearly.
‘supportIT took on a major project of restructuring the works of our entire organisation. The solutions required great flexibility which we received in abundance.’
Martin Hannigan, CFO, Dublin Simon