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Varri imports and distributes climbing and outdoor equipment, with customers in the sports industry, rescue industry and building industry. The company has a wealth of expertise in climbing and fall protection equipment but its original three employees had to depend on a more restricted source of IT knowledge when the company was founded in 2008. “A friend helped me to set up our own server and I was responsible for operating and maintaining it. It was housed in a toilet and a cupboard at various points”, explains founder and owner Marius Olsen. This solution worked fine for many years. The company’s data backup routine consisted of taking a copy home on an external hard drive at somewhat irregular intervals. However, the setup was not without its challenges, particularly as Olsen alone was responsible for all IT operations. “I remember one day when I had finally taken some time off to do a bit of climbing but I had to go back into work to fix the server because it had stopped working. That time the power supply was the problem; another time it was the CMOS battery.” Olsen explains that a new start-up company can probably get away with more than an established organisation. However, as the company grew and employed more people, supplied more products and worked with more suppliers and customers, there came a point when finding more professional IT solutions became necessary.
“We had to choose between building on our existing setup, investing in better equipment and perhaps employing an IT consultant to operate it, or we could outsource the work to professionals who could guarantee stability and security. We chose a cloud solution from Konica Minolta called HydraCloud. We’ve now been working with it for seven years”, says Olsen.
The HydraCloud solution allows the company’s order systems, accounting systems and everything else to run on servers located in Konica Minolta’s ISO certified data centres in Norway. Varri employees log into these systems via a remote desktop. Varri no longer operates its own servers, and the only IT equipment left in the cupboard is a firewall and network switches provided by Konica Minolta as part of the cloud agreement.
Olsen is especially pleased that this setup has freed up a lot of his time to focus on the core business instead of on technical IT solutions. “I now have more time to focus on our suppliers, customers and markets, and I sleep well at night knowing that all of our IT equipment works properly at all times,” says Olsen.
Varri has actually experienced first hand how important it is to have a secure setup: It is one of a very large number of companies to be attacked by ransomware in recent years. One Monday morning, the employees discovered that the systems had been hacked. All systems had been locked down and encrypted, and on the printer there was a ransom note from the hackers demanding a hefty amount for unlocking everything again.
“The incident was not too much of a problem for us because a data backup every night is part of the service from Konica Minolta. We were able to roll back to a backup from just a few hours earlier so we were up and running again as normal in just a few hours”, says Olsen.
The incident was a good reminder of how vulnerable Varri was when it was running its own server in a cupboard with an old backup lying around at home on an external hard drive.
“I hardly dare to think about what would have happened if the ransomware attack had happened before we moved to the cloud solution. The backup could have been two weeks old”, he says.
The Norwegian company Varri imports and distributes climbing and outdoor equipment and has customers in the sports industry, rescue industry and building industry. The company, which was founded in 2008, has wealth of expertise in climbing and fall protection equipment, but restricted in IT. When the company was founded, a fried of company owner Marius Olsen helped him setting up the server, which was housed in a toilet and a cupboard at various points, and Olsen was subsequently responsible for its operation and maintenance.