Case Study: Private cloud at Wolfestone

By Stuart Sumner
26 Oct 2012 View Comments

Translation services firm Wolfestone employs 30 full-time staff, but also has access to 5,000 local translators worldwide, which it believes gives it the edge over other firms who don't necessarily use native speakers.

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With customers like NATO, the BBC and RBS, it needs a highly secure way of sharing data and collaborating globally. The firm is growing quickly, though with an annual turnover of around £2m, it's not looking for a solution that is overly complex and expensive.

The answer that immediately presents itself is, of course, the cloud, but which flavour?

Roy Allkin, who as operations director at Wolfestone is responsible for the technology side of the business, explains to Computing that the firm decided to choose the private cloud, partly because of the security fears that give many organisations cause to doubt that the cloud market is yet fully mature.

"We didn't go for the public cloud because we were worried about the security of our data," says Allkin.

"We translate some sensitive documents for organisations such as NATO and law firms, and on a day-to-day basis documents that concern intellectual property such as software strings, network plans and patents pre-launch. We have a 256-bit encrypted server in a locked room and documents are stored on Raid array servers, and we have ultimate control over this," he adds.

So direct control of the data and its security is evidently of paramount importance to the firm. It's possible to retain this structure and gain some of the vaunted benefits of the public cloud – like cost saving, flexibility and agility – by building a hybrid cloud, mixing on and off-premise services. Wolfestone considered this as an option, Allkin explains.

"The hybrid option was something we considered, for example for archiving of old information. But we decided that if we were investing in hardware and server space anyway, we may as well keep things simple from a data management perspective."

Wolfestone's private cloud is hosted on servers in the UK and allows for secure access for the firm's 5,000 translators around the world. But more than just hosting translation materials and client documents, it also houses the firm's CRM, project management module, finance, billing and translation memory system.

"It manages our whole business process," says Allkin. "It has all client information and project details which start off with sales, which when they proceed with a project is sent to translators via the system, who log in from wherever they are in the world. The system updates us on progress and then when it's completed the system notifies us."

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