Success Stories: Destination BC

FuseForward partnered with Destination British Columbia in 2020 to help the Vancouver-based organization enhance their security posture, improve business continuity and simplify operations through managed services, while providing ongoing support and strategic advice.

 

Enhancing security and business continuity with managed services

For industries across the board, digitization promises to help businesses boost competitiveness and reach new markets. Tourism is no exception.

Vancouver-based Destination British Columbia provides online services and programs for provincial marketing, destination development, research and industry learning. Alongside their visitor information site HelloBC, the organization supports a network of local tourism operators through referrals, learning resources, market data research and training programs.

As a services-oriented organization, Destination BC maintains a streamlined internal IT team and works with external services providers to manage their applications and provide strategic advice. To enhance their security posture, guarantee business continuity and simplify their operations, the organization partnered with FuseForward in 2020, after a competitive RFQ process.

 

Providing peace of mind with managed services

“Our focus is on marketing and development, supported by a relatively small (but mighty!) internal IT team,” Chris explains, “our aim was therefore to find a service provider who could help us manage day-to-day operations while acting as a strategic partner. FuseForward ticked all the boxes.”

Destination BC’s WordPress, analytics and digital asset management AWS environments were, until last year, managed by three separate providers. Alongside long-term security, business continuity and cost savings goals, the organization was seeking to streamline their operations by consolidating the three accounts into one.

FuseForward worked with Destination BC’s existing service providers to take over the organization’s managed accounts and technical support. A first step involved taking over the management of Destination BC’s WordPress environment, which supports its websites, DestinationBC.ca and HelloBC.com.

Technology is like any other piece of equipment: it’s great when it just works and you don’t have to constantly keep an eye on it. I don’t have to spend my time worrying about our infrastructure, because FuseForward is there to handle it.

Chris Chong, IT Operations Manager

FuseForward then migrated the other two environments and implemented the cloud management system FuseControl, which enables FuseForward’s team of AWS-certified engineers to control and monitor applications and workloads. The support of FuseForward’s expert team is equivalent to that of four in-house team members.

Optimal availability with an enhanced security posture

Like many companies, Destination BC’s business is highly reliant on the availability of its online services. One of the organization’s main reasons for choosing to partner with FuseForward was their strong security background.

Before beginning the transition, the FuseForward team conducted a thorough security assessment and documented the organization’s existing environments and policies. They provided Destination BC with a series of recommendations on how to improve their posture. They implemented the cloud application security service FuseSecure, which takes a multi-layer approach to security with access management, firewall configuration and encryption.

The availability of Destination BC’s services now exceeds 99.95%. FuseForward continues to maintain a comprehensive security system, relieving Destination BC of the need to hire specialized security staff. At the same time, a strong, documented security policy reassures stakeholders and improves audit preparedness.

“Working with partners such as FuseForward means that at any time, we can say “Here are our security measures, our security policies and our governance”. This also means we’re ready for any audits that might come our way,” Chris adds.

 

FuseForward takes security seriously. They have strong processes in place to catch and mitigate breaches, and take the time to educate us about security incidents and the best ways to tackle them.

Chris Chong, IT Operations Manager

 

Feeling supported throughout the transition

The transition involved working closely with several stakeholders over a period of several months, including Destination BC’s former service providers, and the web marketing agency Verb Interactive, which manages its websites.

“We need our partners to be able to work together seamlessly, and FuseForward are great at letting people in and collaborating effectively with everyone involved,” Chris says “They’re confident in what they do and are a pleasure to work with.”

Regular cadence calls enable the partners to make collective decisions, update each other and make sure all stakeholders are on the same page. The calls are also a chance to advise the Destination BC team on best practices and to walk them through disaster recovery protocols.

We really needed someone to come in and say, “Hey, you need to follow this and this protocol”. We learned a lot, and we’re glad we have FuseForward keeping us informed of any gaps and what we can do to improve our practices.

Chris Chong, IT Operations Manager

Online Learning Platform Canada

 

Results of our work

Fully managed applications that enable Destination BC to focus on their core business

Streamlined operations with three applications under one account

99.95% availability thanks to improved monitoring and services

 

Multi-time zone support and expertise equivalent to four full-time staff members

 

Next steps: cost reduction and improved scalability

With the transition complete, the next step will be to optimize costs by right-sizing instance types and identifying potential savings through AWS Reserved Instances. The partners are also planning to implement auto-scaling to improve scalability and help the organization better manage the variations in traffic that come with the seasonal nature of their business.

“We look for partners who are forward-thinking, innovative and offer a good value proposition. This whole experience has definitely met our expectations,” says Chris.


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