Case Study

Cloud Managed Services

Alaska Rubber Group

Unifying Alaska Rubber Group on a cohesive cloud system

Since 1969, Alaska Rubber Group (ARG) has provided the distribution and sale of industrial and hydraulic hoses, fittings, lifting and rigging equipment and related industrial products for a wide variety of markets. ARG has since expanded into 13 locations throughout Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. Alaska Rubber Group’s locations are home to the largest hose and rigging fabrication and testing equipment in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest and are fully equipped to manufacture custom hose assemblies, wire rope, chain, and synthetic sling assemblies.

To keep up with extensive company growth and maximize service delivery in an increasingly digital world, ARG needed a solution to unify all location operations into one secure cloud ecosystem.

Challenge

As ARG acquired business after business, they developed a growing need to modernize and align IT operations into one cohesive strategy. Their ever-growing team was utilizing disparate domains on local Active Directory servers at geographically separate locations. Customers were driving an increased demand for digital access to products and services. ARG turned to the Citrix cloud to centralize document management, but back-office teams struggled with user adoption of the system.

ARG’s goal of doing business with larger organizations also meant they would need to meet heightened IT governance criteria. They desired a cost-effective way to accommodate the addition of future business while improving operations in the cloud.

“Folks [at Arctic IT] not only see us as a client from a ‘one box’ perspective, but they understand our folks, who they are, and some of the inter-workings of our frontline people and what they need to win. It’s been a really collaborative relationship.”

Mike Mortensen

President & CEO, Alaska Rubber Group

Solution

When the timing was right, ARG selected Arctic IT as their new Cloud Managed Services Provider. Arctic IT’s ArcticCare 365 solution, built around the Microsoft 365 cloud platform, allows ARG to manage the entire organization’s users through a single Azure Active Directory. On the Microsoft cloud, their team can collaborate and manage documents seamlessly using OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams.

During onboarding, Microsoft 365 was deployed to all 13 locations in phases. Arctic IT implemented multi-factor authentication (MFA) enterprise-wide to boost the security of employee access to systems and prevent identity hacks from cybercriminals. ARG IT staff teamed with Arctic IT to configure security and compliance policies using features included in the Microsoft Security & Compliance Center. Arctic IT also helped ARG connect the Microsoft cloud to their external line of business applications via Meraki networking equipment for added security.

To support user adoption of the new cloud software, Arctic IT provides regular training courses on best practices for Microsoft 365 apps like PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Outlook. As part of ARG’s subscription to ArcticCare 365, they also benefit from

  • Quarterly audits of Microsoft 365 security and compliance standards
  • Routine firewall updates and patches
  • Azure Active Directory support
  • Microsoft 365 license and tenant management
  • Quarterly phish testing to keep employees vigilant
  • Remote Tier 1 U.S.-based help desk (on call 24/7)

Results

Due to the complexity of ARG’s network across a vast geological area, it was critical to bring together all assets, data, and users. Arctic IT, in lock-step with ARG, successfully migrated all locations onto one centralized Microsoft 365 cloud platform. ARG can now work from a unified interface and inventory system to meet their client’s needs more efficiently – and maintain a birds’ eye view of their enterprise.

“We’re starting to attract a lot of new customers because of our ability to do some interesting things that normal, traditional industrial distribution hasn’t started to make the investment in,” said Mike Mortensen, President & CEO of Alaska Rubber Group. “By having a partner like Arctic IT that is not only servicing us with the tools that we need for today, but is looking around the corner for what’s coming – knowing our growth trajectory and really partnering with us, understanding our vision and coming to the table with ideas and solutions that not only allow us to prepare for that growth, but to be secure and confident that we can achieve where we want to go – has been really key to us.”

With a cohesive cloud system on ArcticCare 365, ARG is poised to bring on future locations using a seamless technical approach with minimal downtime.

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