Birmingham LGBT

We are proud to have recently teamed up with Birmingham LGBT (BLGBT), the city’s leading charity advocating for and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities in Birmingham and beyond.

After an initial assessment we established the Leadership Team at Birmingham LGBT required their staff to work remotely while delivering a consistent user experience, enabling them to deliver support to those in need whether working remotely or in office. Some users were experiencing issues with connectivity which meant they were not as productive and engaged as they could potentially be.

It was also recognised that they also wanted to ensure their charity was future-proof and safe from cyber-attacks and security breaches, as they hold sensitive data. Some of this is medical data, therefore there was also a need for this to be in-line with NHS Compliance Standards.

Following this assessment a series of recommendations were made to address issues and to improve the IT platform at Birmingham LGBT-

 Microsoft 365

All users were assigned Microsoft 365 Business Premium licences- allowing the charity to make the most of the not-for-profit licencing available. This subscription allows for access to many platform and security features required. The many features 365 has to offer help ensure productivity and consistency for users no matter the location they are working from. OneDrive provides a convenient platform for shared file access- allowing offline usage which is invaluable to users experiencing poor connection issues at home.  With Sharepoint File Storage providing direct access for users, with specific permissions applied as appropriate, easily managed using security groups.

Azure AD is part of office 365, allowing management of user access and security- giving the ability to create security groups, as mentioned above, to provide access to files and folders. We also deployed 2 factor authentication as an extra layer of security.

Office 365 also offers a cloud- based filtering service – Advanced Threat Protection- this helps protect against unknown malware and viruses by providing robust zero-day protection and includes features to safeguard from harmful links in real time within Office 365.

Security

With the Increased flexibility and mobility introduced to BLGBT’s network, we had to look carefully to protect their data and manage risk of leakage to outside of the charity. Careful consideration was put into this given the presence of medical data- therefore the platform was designed in-line with NHS Compliance Standards . To address these risks, Microsoft Intune was configured and deployed to act as a device for account management. Carefully tailored policies were implemented on all company issued and personal devices – isolating the organisation’s apps and data from personal apps and data on the device. This allows BLGBT management of all data and applications and the ability to remotely remove these applications and data. The facility to further tailor these policies allows the organisation to set conditions to control access to Office 365 applications to add an extra layer of security. Next generation antivirus was also employed, protecting the organisation from not only know virus threats but also from any malicious threats at a behavioural level and stops malicious threats at source.

One step ahead

It was important to ensure the charity has reliable and failproof back up and disaster recovery in place- in order to achieve this we utilised Sharepoint where data resides and can be synchronised with individual OneDrive accounts – giving this data basic levels of recovery by default. 365 cloud storage is very resilient – allowing deleted data to be retrieved for up to 30 days and data replicated to several locations. A cloud-to-cloud back-up solution was also put in place to protect against malicious activity- ensuring that even permanently deleted Items can be recovered in both mail and OneDrive – backing up several times through the day.

The Future

Serveline are proud to now work alongside Birmingham LGBT, with our virtual IT department acting as an extension of the charity with our managed IT support. We also work closely with the organisation to provide ongoing consultation and regular account management to provide an IT Roadmap – ensuring the best use of available technology and charity specific donations available in the tech sector.

Serveline have been a big improvement over our previous supplier. From the beginning, they’ve been clear and helpful, and any issues that arise are always dealt with quickly and efficiently. The work to integrate the 365 solution was completed really quickly, making it possible for us to continue our work easily during the Covid lockdown, and making the return to the office a simple transition
Riley Daniels
Finance Officer