SAMH operates from its administrative centre in Glasgow and across over 70 sites, relying on robust and reliable wide area network (WAN) connectivity to facilitate the exchange of data between devices in all locations.
For a charity like SAMH dealing with an extensive range of often sensitive and confidential information, having a single WAN in place and holding all data in one central location rather than on individual PCs is a key requirement and helps ensure security and privacy is maintained. Unfortunately, with budgets tight across the sector, SAMH was having to run the individual offices over what were effectively ‘home-style’ broadband connections.
Consult and create
Over time, workers at the SAMH offices, from which most of the mental health services are run, were becoming dissatisfied with the increasingly poor connectivity of the network.
John Stoner, Head of Information Systems, SAMH said: “Our staff were getting more and more frustrated with the fact that connections were dropping. It was disrupting their work, so we decided to take action to rectify the problem.”
SAMH had been using Pulsant for its core network connections in its head office for many years. The approach had proved successful and Pulsant had an excellent record of keeping systems up and running to consistently high performance levels. SAMH therefore took the decision to turn to Pulsant to provide WAN connectivity.
“We have worked with Pulsant for more than 15 years and have built a high level of trust with them during this time,” Stoner added. “We seriously considered choosing them for our WAN when we first set up our main network but at that time their primary focus was on big pipe connections rather than small office Internet connections. Pulsant has subsequently expanded to cover both.”
SAMH also knew that network reliability would be improved by working with Pulsant as a single Internet service provider (ISP) rather than with multiple ISPs, as was previously the case. “The network, as a whole, is simpler and more robust following the Pulsant implementation,” said Stoner. “If you were to run a trace on an Internet connection over the old system, there would have been 15 different steps. However, by using Pulsant we have managed to reduce this to just two.
Integrate and activate
Unlike other providers, most of whom offered more expensive options, Pulsant recommended and subsequently installed a cost-effective ADSL network for SAMH. This met all of the charity’s needs for a consistent and reliable network connection without a significant increase in outlay. The implementation and roll-out were simple and without complications.
The new ADSL infrastructure establishes a direct connection between computers, at the charity’s offices, and the central servers in Glasgow. The Internet browsing and video streaming traffic is carried over the external web, keeping down network costs and demands on bandwidth.
Support and evolve
SAMH has been very impressed with the robustness and reliability of the Pulsant system since implementation. Unlike many other wide area network solutions, Pulsant’s offering is highly cost-effective but, for the charity, one of the main benefits has been the high standard of service and support that they have received from Pulsant.
The longstanding relationship between the two companies is based on trust and accessibility. Pulsant has an in-depth understanding of SAMH and its core aims and objectives and its staff are knowledgeable and well-informed. Stoner concludes: “We have an excellent business relationship with Pulsant. As they are now running the whole of our wide area network, we know that whatever problem we might have, whether it is technical or high-level business, they will take ownership of it and will be open and engaging with us in addressing the issues raised.”