A recent interview with our Group Managing Director, Richard Lane, that appearted in Business Direction Magazine.
A free-thinking IT company tells Business Direction that when it comes to data security and digital solutions, there is no place like home.
After over 30 years in business, EBC Group certainly has the wherewithal to give companies and their staff safe passage through choppy waters.
From Donald Trump’s Data Act, which has made many think twice about allowing one of their most precious commodities to be stored in American cloud-based systems, to the challenges of Covid-19 to the ever evolving demands of international trade, managing director Richard Lane, for one, can be proud of his company’s prescience.
It began with his decision, taken right at the outset, to establish EBC Group’s own, standalone data storage and processing centres.
“I think our offer is unique in that respect,” he said. “Microsoft is a global player, of course, and most IT companies are happy spinning their data up there in the Cloud.
“But you just have to look at recent events, at the difficulties people who are suddenly working from home have had in accessing files stored on distant servers, and at Trump’s Data Act, which allows Federal agencies to take a look at people’s data if they suspect wrong doing, and you question that approach.
“You’d think those agencies would have to have solid proof, wouldn’t you, before they could seize data, but it has worried a lot of UK businesses - suddenly their data doesn’t look so secure.”
Cloud-based services have been driven by the giants in recent years, by the likes of Google, Amazon and AWS. But ask their customers where all that data is stored – even just the country – and the vast majority have no idea.
That has never sat comfortably with EBC. Richard said: “We don’t, and never have, broken data sovereignty.
“We have three data centres, in Birmingham, Northampton and Bristol, so that nothing goes outside of the UK.”
The company’s 68 members of staff are all direct employees too. “We don’t use third-party staff at all – we feed and water everything ourselves.”
That self-sufficiency has now come into its own. EBC’s volume of calls expanded eightfold following April’s lockdown announcement.
The stampede to set whole workforces up at home proved a logistical challenge for those companies that had to start from scratch.
Laptops sold out overnight and many didn’t have the telephone systems or software in place to allow remote access for all.
Worse still, company data was suddenly ultra-vulnerable due to the weakness, and sometimes complete lack of, cybersecurity surrounding those who were able to work from home.
Doing its bit in the eye of the storm, EBC’s solution was to give clients the software they needed to close the gaps free of charge.
It also provided 40 iPads for use by Worcestershire hospital patients suffering from Coronavirus, thereby giving them a means of communicating with their loved ones.
Needless to say, IT is all about communication - and ease of communication at that – so finding a different way of continuing business as normal when the situation is anything but is key.
Again, EBC’s prescience has stood it in good stead. When it comes to Voice over IP (VoIP) systems, telephone companies usually deal with the voice element and IT companies the data. However, EBC Group specialise on both sides of the equation.
Printing and mail sorting is, well, sorted too. It provides both Cloud Managed Print and Managed mail services, which have proved invaluable during the past few weeks.
With the latter, for example, a company that had furloughed its staff could have its mail redirected to one of EBC’s Mailing Centres, where EBC staff open mail, scan then email it to the intended recipients. Customers include NHS departments and Avon & Somerset Police.
“Full accreditation, security and trust are central to operations,” said Richard. “The customer has to know their data is safe.”