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Case Study: EC-Council Leverages Peak 10’s Public Cloud and DRaaS

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The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants, known as the EC-Council, is a member-based organization that certifies individuals in various information security and e-business skills. It is the owner and creator of the world famous Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) and EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)/License Penetration Tester (LPT) programs, Hacker Halted conference and workshop series, and the EC-Council University. The EC-Council offers training programs and a variety of services in over 92 countries through a network of more than 500 global partners.

The Challenge

It would be an understatement to say that the EC-Council knows technology. After all, its services include IT training as well as certification for what it calls “ethical hackers.” Knowing the ins and outs of IT security is the organization’s business. Not surprisingly, IT infrastructure plays an importance role in enabling the EC-Council to deliver its services.

As the organization’s service offerings expanded and its customer base have grown over the years, its IT infrastructure has undergone numerous changes. Servers, networks and other technology assets were upgraded or added. New software was implemented and updates made. Patches and other maintenance activities increasingly consumed valuable IT resources that could have been dedicated to revenue-generating activities instead. The overall IT infrastructure was becoming excessively unwieldy and time- and cost-intensive to maintain.

Then an internal buy out took place, and Steve Graham, who currently serves as the company’s executive senior vice president, stepped into the role of chief technology officer (CTO). The time seemed right for a complete technology refresh. It would involve consolidation; eliminating legacy systems; migrating everything off the older servers; and implementing more flexible systems that could scale as the company continued to grow. Moving to the cloud and implementing a disaster recovery (DR) solution were also on the agenda.

It would be a major undertaking that Steve knew his staff couldn’t efficiently take on by itself and still keep the EC-Council operating smoothly. A third-party provider was needed that could offer both the solutions and assistance to help make the endeavor a success — all while helping the EC-Council minimize disruptions to its business.

The Peak 10 Solution

Rob Elliott, the EC-Council’s global marketing manager, had previously worked with Peak 10 while with another company, and recommended that Steve reach out to the IT infrastructure solution provider. St eve toured Peak 10’s facilities and was impressed – not just with the technologies, equipment and services available but also with the expertise and professionalism of the Peak 10 staff.

“We knew what we wanted and had very specific demands,” Steve explains. “We wanted to augment some things and consolidate others. We also wanted to do some of the front-end work ourselves but hand off other tasks. Peak 10 was more than willing to collaborate with us, and recommend various strategies and solutions.”

Steve adds that what really sealed the deal was Peak 10’s competitive pricing. Peak 10’s solution, the Peak 10 Public Cloud ultimately delivered enough savings that the EC-Council could also take advantage of a cost-effective, reliable DR solution and add on more managed services — including OS management, system administration and data protection — to help free up its IT staff even more.

The EC-Council had also been interested in incorporating a “hot site” for its DR solution, and had asked Peak 10 for how to best implement one. Peak 10 recommended a solution that offered more of the reliability, scalability and cost savings that could best meet the EC-Council’s needs — the Peak 10 Recovery Cloud.

The Recovery Cloud, a Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution, enables the EC-Council to take advantage of the reduced costs associated with multi-tenancy while accessing the cloud resources to restore services in the event of an application or entire site failure quickly, securely and regardless of where its production environment is housed. The solution features continuous data protection (CDP) versus scheduled replication happening a few times a day, resulting in less data loss in the event of a failure. In addition, it features industry-leading recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO).

The Results

At the onset of the technology refresh initiative, the EC-Council had 28 servers and managed all the updates and security for them, including the intrusion protection system (IPS). With the move to Peak 10, the company was able to consolidate down to eight servers. The use of cloud load balancing also helped the organization in its consolidation efforts and yielded a more streamlined public network for its customers.

The EC-Council staff reports that the migration went smoothly, including the testing that was conducted both in the US and internationally. The first measure of success was zero downtime during the transition, which was easily achieved.

“Proper planning and testing were key,” Steve explains. “Peak 10 worked very closely with us every step of the way, and our customers didn’t experience any disruptions. Everything from our ticketing systems to the handling of customer service issues is now probably 10 times better before. Our systems are more secure, and our staff is freed up from many of the day-to-day tasks that were previously taking up much of their time. With the implementation of the Recovery Cloud, we have greater confidence that our business won’t experience business-disrupting downtime.

Plus, we are saving an estimated $80,000 a year.

“The technology refresh was a big change for the EC-Council, bu t one that yielded even bigger results,” Steve adds. “We think Peak 10 pla yed an essential role in that, not just in terms of the time- and cost-savings generated by their solutions. Their approach as ‘partners’ rather than just as ‘vendors’ made a difference. We are happy to continue working with them to help e nsure we keep delivering services at the highest level of quality and reliability.”

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