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Lamex Food Group: How managed IT services underpin growth

If you’re working in IT leadership, there’s a high chance you’ll have been part of discussions on how technology operations underpin business growth. The key tenets centre around an efficient IT structure meeting compliance requirements and enabling all facets of a business to run smoothly. As a result, the wisdom says, time, money and headspace is freed up to focus on progress, and working towards wider business goals. 

That’s all well and good – but how does it work in practice? A buzzword-laden overview of how a managed service provider (MSP) can seamlessly implement and run cutting-edge IT services that enable growth may sound impressive, but is often lacking detail. When it comes to choosing the right MSP to outsource services to, CIOs and senior leaders will understandably want to know what that relationship will look like. To answer that question, and demonstrate how a working relationship with Arc operates, we spoke to George Leventis, Group IT Director, and Michael Crane, Global IT Infrastructure Manager, from our longstanding client Lamex Food Group – a food logistics provider with 25 offices globally.

For almost a decade, Lamex has procured our services in compliance and cybersecurity. We deliver these with specialist partners like Mimecast, Sophos and Cloudflare to provide services including Extended Detection and Response (XDR), Managed Detection and Response (MDR), Privileged Access Management (PAM), User and Access Management (UAM) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). 

Cost-effective upskilling

Both Leventis and Crane agree that as well as the services and software we provide, our consultancy – which we provide quarterly to Lamex – represents a cost-effective way to upskill internal staff and ensure Lamex is always using the most up-to-date security solutions. 

“Having an MSP on board fills in the gaps,” says Crane. “They’ve got visibility of up to 200 people’s different IT setups, and they know when updates are sent out. So, for example, if certain machines get blue screens, we email them and it saves time getting it sorted. It’s certainly beneficial from a day-to-day support perspective.”

Support on-demand means that internal IT staff are freed from time-consuming troubleshooting. With the speed at which cybersecurity threats evolve, and new technologies are developed, it would be a significant investment to hire experts and upskill staff in response. Outsourcing that expertise for a pre-agreed cost is a sustainable way to ensure that expertise is present. 

“We’re a flat-managed company with about 13 directors, all with a different agenda,” says Leventis. “Myself and Michael are trying to listen to all of them and come up with a strategy that encompasses all their desires in different regions. Our job is to deal with those politics and keep people happy. With Arc, we know we can go to our contact and get the lowdown on what the latest security issues are and what the best practices are.

“We regularly meet with Arc to get an update on the latest trends and technology advances. They come in and have question sessions – we find that cost-effective rather than having to hire a team of skilled personnel.”

Compliance means customer loyalty

A business that can operate smoothly through adversity is one that has a competitive edge, and that was certainly true for Lamex when a ransomware attack hit the food logistics industry. 

“That’s a success story,” says Leventis. “Just before the pandemic, we were aware of a lot of companies in the food business being hit by ransomware. We’d implemented Arc’s recommendations, and we weren’t affected at all.”

“I can give you another example,” adds Crane. “We were hit by a Russian hacker who sent over a million emails in the space of four weeks. They were attempting a dictionary attack [a type of cyberattack intended to gain unauthorised access to a system or account by trying a large number of likely passwords or passphrases]. But because we’d implemented Mimecast as an email filter through Arc, every single one was deflected.”

Leventis says that having the same level of cybersecurity awareness in-house would be difficult, due to the number of concurrent operational priorities. “We’re consumed with the internals and our customers, we don’t have the time to look into these things,” he says. “We usually take Arc’s advice and procure their recommendations if they say it’s imperative to the business.”

Not only does this mean that Lamex clients can expect the highest levels of security, but that Lamex is also a market leader in terms of compliance. This makes them an attractive prospect for new business, as well as fostering loyalty from existing clients. 

“Both suppliers and customers of ours send us questionnaires on compliance,” says Crane. “They ask how secure we are, what we spend on security, our turnover – and we have to tick those boxes. One client sends us these questions annually, and if we can’t meet their criteria, they’d take their business elsewhere. That’s where this partnership with Arc really comes into it, because [we’ll take the questions to them] and they say, ‘We’ve just implemented this new product that meets this requirement’.”

Security safeguards business growth

Leventis and Crane say that Lamex has benefited from Arc’s flexibility, as well as our recommendations and support. 

“This partnership works both ways,” says Crane. “We were introduced to a security software called Darktrace by our US-based MSP, and we wanted to implement it in other regions. We took this to Arc, and now they’re a partner with them, too. We can approach them and say, ‘we’d like to implement this in the EU’ and Arc will support us with that.”

Crane says there are two major ways that having Arc taking care of Lamex’s compliance and security requirements is key to the company’s continued success and growth. 

“Having an MSP like Arc in your back pocket allows us to keep our IT department in-house small, so there’s cost savings there that enables money to be invested in other products,” he explains. “Then there’s the other side – because we’ve implemented their recommendations, we haven’t lost millions [due to hacks]. We’re a $2 billion-turnover business, and it’s integral to business growth not to have money drop out of the business and have to make extra sales to cover the losses. We might be middlemen for food, but we’re very good at what we do.”

Want to know more about Arc’s support services? Read the brochure or get in touch.