British Legion looks for savings with Wan upgrade

Armed forces support organisation the Royal British Legion has completed a networking infrastructure refresh that is predicted to save £100,000 a year in operational costs.

Armed forces support organisation the Royal British Legion has completed a networking infrastructure refresh that is predicted to save £100,000 a year in operational costs.

The charity, which has 50 offices in the UK and more than 450,000 members, is building a lights-out disaster recovery centre and needed to upgrade its wide area network.

The legion began the Wan upgrade last year. The first stage was the move from BT Kilostream lines to a faster multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) network from Energis.

At the same time, the British Legion implemented broadband ADSL-based IPSec virtual private networks for smaller branch offices and remote workers. These used Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for security.

Richard Lovelock, head of IT at the British Legion, said, “The original Wan was costly and slow. It was not going to be good for expansion, especially for disaster recovery. The MPLS allows us to have a virtual circuit to our disaster recovery centre.”

Although the Wan implementation went smoothly, Lovelock said, “It took a very long time to get a layered connection to the Energis network. But we only had one problem with a DSL connection, and it may have been electrical.”

Another reason why the organisation upgraded its Wan was to support its Citrix thin client environment, which includes Presentation Server, Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Office, Exchange and human resources applications. “Our network users are 100 % reliant on the Wan,” said Lovelock.

The British Legion’s next project, scheduled for completion by the end of the year, is to set up its disaster recovery site in the Greater London area. It will remotely run and monitor the site itself.

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