Network support specialist Smart CT expands into growing trend for SD WAN

Network support specialist Smart CT expands into growing trend for SD WAN

IT maintenance expert Smart CT is expanding its workforce skills to offer new Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD WAN) technology support to its partners.

The Reading-based company, which was the subject of a management buyout earlier this year, specialises in supporting partners with networking support through its 80 staff based at more than 40 locations across the UK, Europe and the US.

It can provide parts and engineers to replace and repair broken business-critical networks to IT suppliers who support an extensive range of organisations – from household brands to industrial businesses – who need connectivity to networks or servers.

But it is now further utilising its engineering network to include the growing trend for companies using SD WAN as part of its support services.

Chief executive Andy Morgan said Smart CT won a recent contract with a client servicing a veterinary chain to install SD WAN in 1,000 sites around the country. Training has been given where needed to bring more Smart CT engineers up to date.

The contract involved a private equity firm that had acquired 1,000 independent practices. “What they needed to do is make sure they had a standardised networking infrastructure which would allow them to have a highly secure network but also be operated by centrally with greater visibility of its network,” said Andy.

“Because of our spread of skilled people around the country, we had the kit delivered to our local hubs and then used our team to install it at each site across the UK and Ireland. Then we supported the network so that if anything went down so we would have a part and an engineer at any of those sites within four hours to make sure they were up and running again.”

He said Smart CT is fast developing the skills of its engineers to offer wider support. We have traditionally been mostly focused on traditional networking infrastructure but we are actively pushing to service evolving technologies like Fortinet, HPE Aruba, Meraki and Palo Alto who are big SD-WAN players offering a highly secure product,” he said.

“It adds another string to our bow and is something we are starting to do more and more as big businesses further adopt the SD-WAN technology. We have installed thousands of sites including providing a maintenance support service post installation.”

“We can see many more in the pipeline. It’s another building block as we extend our networking portfolio. It’s great for us because we have a vast engineering team that is skilled in this area and it gives us more of a chance to utilise those skills.”

SD WAN is cloud-based and allows complex applications to be accessed locally from a central hub. Its advantage is that it is highly secure and doesn’t rely on localised software.

SD-WAN monitors the performance of each site’s links so that the fastest connection is reserved for the most important traffic – such as VoIP phones or applications dealing with transactions. Lower-priority traffic, such as backups, can be switched to slower connections to protect the network.

SD WAN also allows network engineers to respond quickly to requests for new services and make changes to existing ones. Many tasks that would have taken hours or days to accomplish now need only minutes.

“We have several other IT customers with their large-scale retail, government and industrial customers looking to install SD-WAN across Europe. It can work efficiently over a vast number of multiple sites no matter the geography,” said Mr Morgan.

“Our reputation is growing and we are extending our services in this direction because more companies are excited by our reliable track record. They recognise that we have skills developed over 20 years and a reliable resource of engineers strategically located across the UK and Ireland that allows us to install and maintain SD-WAN technology on behalf of our partners.”

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