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May 10, 2022 • News

The Exposure Group makes the switch to Paprika Hosting

As they celebrate a 25-year relationship with Paprika, the group turned a new chapter late in 2021 when they migrated to run on Paprika’s hosted cloud service.

The Exposure Group (now re-branded as The Casbah) is an independent creative communications agency with offices in London, New York and Paris. It comprises Exposure Promotions, Beauty Seen companies and Threesixty. Pre-pandemic the group turnover was just below £40Million with 200+ staff in the UK, USA and France.

Ben Stratton-Woodward, Exposure’s Global Head of IT, took some time out to talk to us about why they chose to make the transition and what it means for them in the future.

“Being a cloud-first company meant we were really resilient when the pandemic hit, and I think that opened us up to the opportunities that come with cloud adoption” said Ben, connected by Zoom from his sound-proofed home music-room-come-office.

“Moving to Paprika hosted seemed like an obvious thing to do because ultimately now, in terms of the technology we use, we want to focus on what’s easiest for the user and I think everyone is on board with that. Since the pandemic, we’ve reduced the size of our real estate. We’re now working across fewer floors and one less building because we have a work from home hybrid model going forward (hence why I’m at home).”

Paprika launched their cloud service in 2013 so why did Exposure wait until 2021 to make the change?

“Back when Paprika first offered us the cloud-hosted solution, our CEOs would have had a different opinion about cloud technology and hosting our tech in the cloud and what that means for the business.

Now, we’re all familiar with cloud technologies. I think that can probably be said for everybody but it’s worth shining a spotlight on it because we’ve all seen such huge progression.

We all leaped forward probably 5-10 years in terms of remote services and working from home and how we work during that pandemic 2-year period.”

It’s my job as head of the IT team to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make our users' life as easy as possible.We’ve got a fairly good reputation for doing that and that’s because we work from them (the users), backwards. It’s essential that we find out what they need and then work out how we facilitate that behind their requirements.

Information security is high on the agenda of every CIO and Head of IT so with Paprika’s service having ISO 27001 accreditation and with two hosting sites providing a “hot” standby, we asked Ben if this was a key factor...

“The motivation to move to the cloud was about convenience for the user, but it was also about security. Most people care more about convenience, but Paprika’s security credentials have a meaningful impact as well.”

“Before we switched, we were having issues with connectivity. The overhead of looking after a server was a headache, and the responsibility of that, plus the overhead of protecting that data and backing it up, was costly and time-consuming. Now we’re able to say we’ve made the key data easier to get to for those that need to access it and we can roll in extra security levels which have been really helpful. That means we can tick more boxes with clients and potential clients because they will ask these questions.”

The process

"I don’t like making seismic changes unless I know it’s the right choice but with Paprika we definitely got that validation."

Once Ben had made his decision the migration happened in a matter of weeks. Things progressed quickly with a test migration first and then the live migration a few weeks later.

“Generally, I’m pretty thorough when it comes to things like speed testing and making sure we cover all bases and safeguarding the end-user before investing. But with Paprika we were fairly ruthless with checking that we were migrating to a superior service.”

So, what is Ben’s overall conclusion?

“Anyone arriving at Paprika afresh should consider cloud straight away. Even for those currently enjoying Paprika on-prem, the benefits of hosted outweighed the self-hosted option for us because it’s a great all-around solution, the benefits truly are tangible."