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Case Study September 28, 2021

Case Study: BL Harbert International

Platform

AWS

BL Harbert International (BL Harbert) is a privately-owned construction company with U.S. and international operations, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. The company provides preconstruction, construction, design-build, and construction management services. They specialize in design-build, construction management, and general contracting for national and international clients representing construction markets of every kind. At the core of their success is a decentralized decision-making and management operating philosophy. This has led to the formation of two distinct operating groups: the U.S. Construction Group and the International Construction Group.

BL Harbert needed a managed services provider (MSP) who was accustomed to managing customers that deal with various federal compliance standards. Connectria came highly recommended by a partner, CSS International Inc., as an organization with the service expertise they were in search of.

The Challenge

BL Harbert International was looking for an MSP to replace its previous provider. Their ultimate goal was to move to a new provider with more skills and resources to manage and secure their AWS Account. Additionally, BL Harbert wanted their new MSP to have additional compliance skills to provide further account protection as well as necessary improvements for cost transparency and savings.

“We’re a construction company and what drives us to focus on regulations is that we’re a federal contractor. 98% of our international division business is with the U.S. federal government. Previously, we used to leverage on-premises data centers and disaster recovery failover between our internal environment. Four to five years ago we did a lift and shift into AWS. In approaching Connectria, we were really looking for a provider familiar with AWS best practices and guidelines to keep our environments in line with various compliances,” said Jason Jowers, BL Harbert International, Director of Infrastructure.

The Solution

Connectria billing was adjusted to provide BL Harbert full cost transparency. Connectria also guided the purchase of a compute savings plan for EC2 and Lambda. What the savings plan means is simply that as long as BL Harbert uses a certain amount of compute hours, they get them at a cheaper rate which allows for more flexibility than a traditional reserved instance. This helped Connectria provide BL Harbert with essential cost savings of nearly $20,000 each month.

Connectria also provided appropriate guidance around AWS and our multi-cloud platform management tool, TRiA, which allowed BL Harbert to compare its environment against multiple key compliance standards. TRiA’s dashboards also alert the BL Harbert team to what needs to be remediated for compliance along with providing insights around AWS spend.

As BL Harbert is a rather large enterprise, its size factors into their unique need for strong compliance support. Connectria runs compliance reports through TRiA, to help identify and remediate a lot of easy wins. This includes gaining better control by removing any unnecessary access keys, rotating keys appropriately to prevent any sort of leakage, and reducing dependency on keys in favor of role-based authentication. Key rotation can be scheduled or set on a timer and at Connectria we use TRiA, which actually notifies us whenever a key needs to be rotated, either every 60 or 90 days based on the different compliance types.

The Results

Connectria delivered services for BL Harbert beyond that of a normal MSP. We provided managed services while also fulfilling the roles of other third-party contractors. Connectria provided BL Harbert with much needed improved guidance and understanding of their AWS environments. BL Harbert had better support with Connectria as opposed to their previous MSP which further translated into cost savings by leveraging Connectria’s internal tool, TRiA. Connectria’s cloud management platform helped BL Harbert better understand insights around their AWS spend. Connectria also helped remediate preexisting issues in BL Harbert’s environments to help get them to a better place.

“With Connectria, things are good,” said Jason Jowers.

BL Harbert recently signed up for additional services and support with Connectria and is looking at opportunities to expand their AWS environment/footprint as they look at opportunities to streamline processes, additional cost savings, improved reporting, and a continued central focus on compliance.

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