Calbridge Homes Ltd. has crafted quality residential properties in Alberta since 1978. As a family-owned business, they are committed to providing homeowners with an exceptional experience built on trust.
Don Riemann was appointed the organization’s IT manager in 2020—a challenging time for IT leaders given the sudden onset of remote work. With an ever-evolving security threat landscape and increasing demands for out-of-office connectivity, Don and his IT team of three had their work cut out for them.
Many IT teams today are navigating growing demands and subsequently limited resources—and Don’s team is no exception. While they were tasked with managing daily support requests and spearheading strategic initiatives, the sudden stay-at-home mandates meant they would also need to pivot to enable remote workers—and fast.
The team managed to get their 100+ users critical access to the organization’s network, enabling productivity from home. But as employees began accessing the network from an increased number of unmanaged endpoints, it raised a red flag for Don and his team.
“We were able to get staff working remotely, but security was a growing concern,” says Don. “When we started working with IX Solutions, we wanted to strategically harden our environment and be proactive about testing for and identifying vulnerabilities to ensure we would be prepared in the event of a malicious attack.”
For Calbridge, this meant assessing their entire security landscape from the ground up—including basic protocol like corporate password management, multi-factor authentication (MFA), critical infrastructure, backups, cyber security monitoring systems and more.
Beginning with a 365° assessment of the organization’s security posture, IX Solutions worked alongside Don and his team to fortify the network and enhance their security protocols. Endpoint security was the first priority.
To start, the organization’s wireless network was hardened, multi-factor authentication (MFA) was introduced, and an advanced corporate password policy was rolled out. Together, these best-practice measures work to prevent external users or threat actors from accessing the network while balancing ease-of-use for employees.
Pivoting from a reactive to proactive threat response plan also included implementing Microsoft 365 Defender—a solution that enables IX Solutions to monitor and respond to unusual network activity in real time.
With threat prevention measures in place, it was time to assess the organization’s disaster recovery plans. Previously, Don’s team managed backup servers strictly on-premises, increasing their vulnerability to physical risks including fire and flood. The solution? Migrating their backups to Azure Cloud. This critical change ensures the organization’s valuable information is accessible and that downtime is minimized in the event of an incident.
For Don’s small team, automating manual tasks is key to saving time and money. To alleviate manual reporting from IT to senior executives, IX Solutions implemented Microsoft PowerBI—a unified, scalable platform for enterprise business intelligence. PowerBI streamlines updates to a dashboard, providing the Calbridge leadership team with ongoing executive insights and reducing the need for IT intervention.
After months of collaborative effort to enhance Calbridge’s cyber security posture, it was time to put it to the test. Don engaged an external IT security agency to perform a penetration test—an ethical hacking practice wherein a professional attempts to breach an organization’s network. The goal? Determine whether the security perimeter could withstand an attack and identify areas for improvement.
“The report came back saying that we passed the penetration test and that they were unable to breach our environment,” says Don. “The combined efforts of password strengthening, MFA, and Defender monitoring ensured our system was secure.”
While Calbridge has made strides in strengthening their security, Don knows there is always more work to be done. His team continues to work with IX Solutions in a Managed Services capacity, maintaining their backup solutions and threat detection and response on an ongoing basis.
“I’m consistently impressed with the professionalism, knowledge and quality of the technology solutions introduced by the IX Solutions team. They came in, assessed our infrastructure, and provided us with the tools we needed to improve our data security. I now have peace of mind knowing that our data and environment is more secure. We greatly value their ongoing guidance and expertise.”