Brack Capital Properties NV (BCP) is a Netherlands-based real estate company traded on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. It owns, manages, and develops residential and commercial properties in Germany worth 1.5 billion Euros.
The company’s IT solutions cater to a wide variety of mostly non-technical internal customers at 30 locations, including property and facilities managers, bookkeepers, financial controllers, engineers, and construction managers. A typical property management office includes a hardware firewall, VPN, Internet router, printer, and several computers. Employees accessed cloud-based CRM, email, and on-premise ERP and a financial database at the Dusseldorf main office. All traffic from the corporate offices in the Netherlands is routed to and stored in a cloud-based Azure perimeter security solution to comply with Dutch financial regulations.
BCP’s hardware-based VPN system was reaching its end of life in 2020. While there were not many VPN users, those who did connect suffered from poor network performance, and the IT manager was spending too much time handling complaints.
“Our hardware VPN solution was end-of-life. If more than three or four people were using it at once, it would become abysmally slow,” says Amos Geva, the IT Manager at Brack Capital since 2006. “I read about Perimeter 81 in TechRadar, and the idea of migrating to a cloud-based VPN sounded very interesting. So I ordered ten licenses to try it out. Installation was rapid, and our users were thrilled how easy it was to connect to the network. I was delighted with the product.”
In February 2020, Geva, who is based in Israel, was on a trip to BCP’s main office in Germany as Covid started to hit the news. He asked the management if they needed to prepare for Covid, but they adopted a wait-and-see policy. When he landed in Israel the next day, new Covid regulations unexpectedly sent him into isolation. Just hours later, Israel had its first government-mandated closure.
“I saw the writing on the wall and called our office in Dusseldorf,” says Geva. “I told them that I had recently installed a great software VPN that would let us rapidly enable our employees to work from home during the pandemic.”
Geva called Perimeter 81 and told them that he needed 100 licenses ASAP since they expected to send their whole company home. “Deployment was swift. Within two days, I had installed 100 licenses, and people were able to work from home. Perimeter 81 was a life-saver for our business.”
Transitioning to a mostly work-from-home environment was chaotic since Brack had very few laptops, and there was a critical shortage in their supply chain. Since laptops weren’t available, they installed Perimeter 81 on Intel® desktops that people took home, along with their chairs, monitors, and other essential equipment.
“Some were lucky enough to take home Intel® mini-computers and plug them into their monitors and keyboards at home. It wasn’t a laptop, but it was a close second. Others had to make do with 5-year old computers that we had in storage—we just reformatted them and got them quickly ready for use.”
But not everyone was able to work from home. Brack couldn’t shut down its whole operation as property managers still had to go to work at least once a week. Brack manages 12,000 residential units with families that need services. They were considered critical workers that must go into the office even during the German government’s mandated shutdown.
For Geva, Perimeter 81 was an island of calm in the storm. “Perimeter 81 was always available to answer our questions. Their expertise was extremely helpful, and they were there every step of the way to help us very rapidly scale our WFH workforce.”
Perimeter 81’s ease of use helped Geva rapidly deploy the solution, but it wasn’t the only key to Brack Capital’s WFH success.
“Perimeter 81 gives you a personal Customer Success Manager who delivers a boutique level of service that complements their unique software solution. A lot of time, when you work with a large famous-name vendor, you’re just a number and can get lost in the system. But with Perimeter 81, if I need something related to the product or about best practices, my account manager responds right away. This level of service is critical to our business.”