The Korte Company is a U.S.-based fully integrated design-build construction firm founded in 1958 with a reputation for delivering high-quality integrated design and construction services. Its client list includes well-known organizations such as Hershey’s, Kraft Foods, NASA, and Anheuser-Busch. Korte has grown to hundreds of employees across many offices in the U.S. and is one of the seven founding members of the Design-Build Institute of America, an organization that defines, teaches and promotes best practices in an integrated approach that delivers design and construction services.
The Korte Company’s construction projects require a variety of documents and design files that range from pre-job work to the completion of the project. The Korte Company originally kept project data on local file servers in its regional offices, but users found it difficult to access files across hundreds of folders and subfolders, and roaming users could not access files away from the office.
Three years ago, director of IT Barry Kauhl and his team implemented a customized Microsoft SharePoint solution to better organize and manage project files. Additionally, Kauhl deployed Dropbox for Business to provide external access of files to Korte clients. But while files were more organized and accessible to users, SharePoint required IT and users to tag each folder and file with extensive metadata – a cumbersome process that decreased productivity throughout the organization. Managing copies of files in both SharePoint and Dropbox also required IT resources. Kauhl realized a better solution to file management and collaboration was needed.
“At the end of the day, we were really looking to improve our operational efficiency. We wanted a solution that our users would adopt and that would empower our IT team to easily and effectively manage our project files and our users.”Barry Kauhl, Director of IT
The CTERA Solution
Korte deployed CTERA cloud storage gateways at regional offices, partly to restore the trusted style of NAS home directory and network file share access that employees found most productive. In addition to serving as NAS storage devices, the gateways act as backup appliances for the offices, creating snapshots of project files and backing up CTERA appliance snapshots to Korte’s virtual private cloud (VPC) on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This feature is particularly useful in the cases of an accidentally deleted files or malware-infected files, where previous versions of files and folders can be easily recovered by either Korte IT managers or end users. Recently, after a Korte project became infected with a Ransomware virus, Kauhl’s team was able to simply roll back versions of the project to a non-infected earlier state, and restore the file.
Korte also issued CTERA Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) to all employees, allowing them fast access to the files they work on wherever they are. All Korte field agents use iPads, and they use the CTERA mobile app to retrieve and work on documents in real-time. Previously, Kauhl and his team would manage a single Dropbox account for the entire company, and the manual processes involved in creating and sharing links were cumbersome and inefficient. With CTERA all Korte users share files and securely work with both internal and external users according to predefined security policies. In total, CTERA delivers a unified solution that allows Korte to manage office files and roaming user file access.
Upon choosing CTERA to simplify how Korte users store, share and protect their files, Kauhl saw immediate efficiency benefits. “With CTERA our users are able to manage themselves,” Kauhl said. “Everyone in the organization uses CTERA: they manage their own files, they share projects externally, and they recover previous versions of files if they need to. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from users; they really like how easy CTERA is to use and they enjoy working with the solution.”
CTERA EFSS solves another maintenance issue for Korte IT. Previously, IT would back up users’ My Documents folders at night, but if a user’s machine was off the network – because the employee turned off the computer or brought it home – backups could not take place. Now, with Korte users working on documents synced directly to the cloud via the CTERA Portal, the CTERA sync engine keeps changes consistent across all access points while also providing accessibility to previous versions of files to avoid accidental data loss.
CTERA’s integration with Active Directory is another feature Korte IT appreciates. Korte users simply log-in using their existing network credentials and are fully up and running with CTERA, with no need for IT to set up a separate security element.
There are noticeable cost benefits for Korte as well. CTERA does not require large upfront expenditures; the gateways are low-cost appliances that integrate with the cloud of an organization’s choice – in Korte’s case, AWS – a model that drives significant cost savings over traditional on-premises storage solutions or SaaS services that charge a premium over the prices of IaaS offerings.
Kauhl sees CTERA as a critical component of Korte’s disaster recovery plan moving forward. He plans to deploy CTERA Server Backup agents to protect on-premises servers directly to the cloud and help build out a larger disaster recovery plan for the organization.