BSB Design Unifies Project Content and Dispersed Team
With Egnyte, the AEC firm made collaboration faster and more secure for workers at home and in multiple offices, reducing IT support needs.
IT Benefits of Unifying Content Management:
80% reduction in file recovery and access permissions support tickets
Time and effort redirected from troubleshooting to advancing business goals
More secure file sharing
“Egnyte has been a hit across the company. Navigating between offices is much easier because we’ve consolidated everything into one secure repository.”
System Administrator • BSB Design
The fast-growing architectural and design firm BSB Design conducts business across 11 offices across the United States. Since the pandemic, it has also used a hybrid work model, with many employees working remotely. “We have staff still working from home, but others wanted to come back to the office once it was safe,” explains Brendon Good, Systems Administrator at BSB. “Multiply that across 11 offices, and collaboration becomes a bit chaotic.”
Partnering with Egnyte was key to maintaining a cohesive workflow across these various locations. Egnyte’s cloud-hosted content management system serves as the firm’s new center of gravity, unifying its dispersed teams and yielding major dividends in productivity, security, and collaboration.
BSB manages a wide array of content including, but not limited to, files in Revit, AutoCAD, SketchUp, and Photoshop. With no centralized content management system established across the firm’s 11 offices, BSB used a hodgepodge of platforms to manage these files. “We had Windows on-prem file servers, OneDrive, Dropbox, SharePoint, and a few people using Microsoft Teams,” says Good. “Different offices were using different systems, with at-home team members relying on VPNs to access files stored on those systems. It was the ‘Wild West’ – we often had no idea which system someone was using.
This paradigm – teams in various locations using various systems to manage a large and diverse volume of content – created significant headaches. Good focuses on several challenges:
Data loss With so many systems in place, BSB lacked the bandwidth to universally guarantee file backups. “We controlled the IT and did backups for Windows on-prem, but not Dropbox,” Good explains. “Also, sometimes people working from home would access a file via VPN and download it to their computer to work on it. We don’t back up our staff’s personal computers, so if one crashed, we could lose the latest file version.
Uncontrolled access Some of the systems BSB was using lacked critical access controls. “Staff would share Dropbox or OneDrive files via links with no expiration date and no password protection,” says Good. “As a result, we couldn’t get a handle on who was accessing what data.”
Slow collaboration Stakeholders working within the same server could immediately see any modifications to files on that server. But, as Good explains, “When someone downloaded a file onto their own computer, other stakeholders had to wait for that person to reupload the latest version to the server. That caused a real slowdown.”
These challenges became a major burden for Good and his team. “People in one office often wouldn’t know how to update access permissions to safely share a file with another office using another system, and would come to IT for support,” Good says. “Between that and areas like file recovery, I was drowning in support tickets.”
BSB began looking for a way to unify content management workflows across all offices and at-home workstations into one system. The first solution Good tried, Peer, successfully unified the firm’s 11 offices, but didn’t eliminate remote workers’ reliance on VPN. “We needed a solution that would bring in-office and at-home folks together, working from one platform, with no need for VPNs,” Good explains.
Solution: A Cloud Platform That Checks All Boxes
BSB began evaluating Egnyte’s cloud-hosted platform as a way to create uniformity out of their myriad of systems. “Egnyte was a way to consolidate our sharing platform,” Good explains. “It allowed staff, whether working from home or in one of our offices, to access files from one centralized environment.
During the evaluation, the team drilled down into three key areas:
Data recovery When team members make updates to files in Egnyte, those files are automatically
saved in the cloud and can be accessed via Egnyte’s intuitive version control features. “That gave people the flexibility to recover older versions of files themselves rather than going through IT,” says Good. “With our on-prem solution, file backups required a lot of handholding. Egnyte made it easy.”
Powerful access controls Egnyte made it easy for dispersed staff to share and collaborate on files securely. “Egnyte has features that make it much easier to control access, like single-sign-on and the ability to set expiration dates on shareable links,” says Good. “And setting permissions for files and password-protected links is easy enough that people don't have to rely on IT support. While we didn’t want people in one office to have unfettered access to another’s project folders, Egnyte made it easy to adjust those interoffice permissions as needed.”
Accelerated collaboration The cloud-based workflow that Egnyte facilitated essentially freed the team from VPNs and the slowdowns they imposed. “The reason people downloaded files to their hard drives to work on them was that access by VPN was so slow,” Good explains. “Now they can access and modify files directly in Egnyte, and their changes get synced at the speed of their internet. And because everyone is working in this same cloud repository, we don’t have to wait for file changes to replicate across every office.”
Benefits: Smoother Collaboration and a More Productive IT Team
From a collaboration perspective, partnering with Egnyte has made BSB’s 11-office hybrid workforce feel like they’re all “in the same room" working from the same server. Sharing and accessing files is simpler, faster, and completely secure. Content recovery is in the hands of the staff. Workarounds for remote access are rendered unnecessary
“Our staff can work with other offices much more quickly thanks to Egnyte,” Good says. “People no longer need to download files to their own machines or wait for someone to upload the latest version.”
BSB’s new unified content management workflow has dramatically reduced the burden on its IT team. “I used to get about 10 support tickets a day from someone needing access to another office’s file server, or help recovering a file,” says Good. “That has dropped about 80%.” The reduction in support needs has translated to major time savings, which Good is now able to divert away from putting out fires and toward more productive activities. As Good says: “My team has become more project based. We’re working on more projects for the company rather than troubleshooting IT issues.”
BSB doesn’t just plan to keep using Egnyte for active projects. Looking ahead, Good also hopes to use Egnyte’s archival and retention policies to store projects once they’re finished. In the meantime, he’s thrilled at what Egnyte has made possible for his team. “Egnyte has been a hit across the company,” Good says. “Navigating between offices is much easier because we’ve consolidated everything into one secure repository.