Compete 366 provides expert Azure Infrastructure advice to SyberNet

This case study explains how Compete366 worked with SyberNet to migrate their IT infrastructure to Azure PaaS.


Established over 20 years ago, SyberNet provides a service for integrated and automated card payments over the phone.  The service allows organisations such as Local Authorities to collect payments from customers over the phone.

The business operation is based in Ireland, and the initial hosted environment was based in a Dublin datacentre.  Since then, SyberNet had grown to have 4 data centres in different geographies with around 40 Virtual Machine Servers.

In a highly complex and regulated industry, it is mandatory for SyberNet to be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

The Business Challenge

As the business continued to grow, SyberNet was looking for a way of simplifying its IT operation and infrastructure whilst also managing costs.  This needed to be achieved without sacrificing security and satisfying the compliance requirements of the business.

In addition, maintenance updates on the large number of Virtual Machines (VMs) were becoming onerous and complex, partly due to SyberNet offering a 24x7x365 service offering. In addition, at the time of the COVID pandemic, travelling to data centres UK became onerous, so the team was looking for a solution that would avoid any travel time and remove the need to have physical access to servers, firewalls etc.

The two founding directors, John Melody and Alan Rockall started evaluating options to move their IT infrastructure into the Cloud. The first decision to take was which cloud service provider to select – AWS, Microsoft or Google?  A full evaluation of the support services and costs of each was carried out and a decision was made to choose Microsoft Azure.

Alan and John then needed to work out how to rollout the MS Azure infrastructure and support the migration and was looking for a partner to provide specialist expertise in this area.  As Alan explains “We talked to Compete366 who offered us a way forward in our transition and gave us the confidence to go ahead.  They were able to advise us on Azure architecture, deployment, security and optimisation.”


SyberNet now has a secure, scalable, robust, and easier to manage infrastructure that is fit for purpose, compliant and scalable for the future, that delivers the following key benefits:

  • Cost savings – there will be no need to re-invest in hardware for the business going forwards which means that full lifecycle costs will reduce substantially.
  • Focus on core business – using Azure PaaS has allowed SyberNet to move out of the hardware business, with all the associated additional costs around antivirus protection and upgrades.
  • Simplified Disaster Recovery – The SyberNet databases had all been built to manage replication into back-up databases with the on-premise data centre solution for disaster recovery. That requirement was all vastly simplified by using Azure MySQL.
  • Easier support for web apps – SyberNet provides a service where customer agents (in call centres) can process payments on behalf of callers (agent assisted payment). This web-based payment set up where the agent uses a web application has also become much simpler, because of the way Azure supports building app servers (Using Apache Tomcat – an open-source application server).
  • Simpler maintenance updates – There is a PCI requirement that all critical patches on VMs have to be installed within 30 days. This had to be done manually across the 30-40 machines previously. Now the Azure infrastructure takes care of system updates using automation that makes this happen virtually automatically, based on a schedule that SyberNet set up to meet these requirements.

The Solution

Compete366 was selected to work with SyberNet to deliver this full re-platforming and re-architecting of their services using Azure PaaS (Platform as a Service) options.  As John explains “The Azure PaaS is much better for us and is inherently more resilient and scalable.  It has reduced both our resource requirements and the room for human error when managing our infrastructure”.

Compete366 were on hand throughout the project to help with architecture options and give expert advice and guidance in helping SyberNet design a new architecture for their environment.

The aim was to create a more secure, scalable, robust, and easier to manage infrastructure that was both fit for purpose and scalable for the future.

Project Details

The initial infrastructure build process started and initially focused on setting up the operational pieces – such as building VMs and implementing telephony.

Key project considerations were around:

  • How to handle network security and access in a Cloud environment.
  • Re-engineering VPNs to access customer data.
  • Access to services on the internet for processing payments / emails etc.
  • Firewall implementation and set-up

The Azure cloud environment was set up in early 2023 when SyberNet started migrating their customers into the Azure environment. Now the whole operation is run using Azure infrastructure.

In the last 2 months, SyberNet has been through its annual PCI DSS audit in the new environment and the team were delighted that this was successfully completed and certified.

Working with Compete366

As Alan explains “Ever since we started the project, we have had a regular monthly meeting with our project lead from Compete366, and everything has gone very well.  When we have service tickets, our questions get resolved right away.”

John adds “We started from a small base with Azure – what we didn’t have was the Azure expertise – this gap in our knowledge was filled in well by the Compete366 consultants. We have learnt a lot about Azure and what it can do for us and have been pleasantly surprised at its capabilities”.

Future Plans

SyberNet’s business is continuing to grow with new customers coming on-board all the time.  The business is processing millions of transactions a month on behalf of its clients, so it is essential that it can easily grow capacity to handle the number of concurrent phone calls and transactions.

As the business grows, its ability to scale rapidly has been made so much easier using the highly flexible Azure infrastructure.

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“It’s great to work with the Compete366 team, the team members are really knowledgeable, helpful and responsive. No question is too difficult for them. They have really helped us to manage our Azure costs and ensure we have the right environment. When we bring a new customer on-board we can scale up immediately via the Azure portal and quickly make environments available to our customers.”

“We also find that there’s never a heavy sales pitch from them – they are technically focused and recommend what’s right for us.”

Paul Coyne, Rusada

“We had great support from the Compete366 AVD expert, who was really helpful, and guided me through options to tackle issues that arose.”

“The great thing about our AVD set up is that we have a custom set up for each project which Compete366 showed me how to do. And with the scalability and flexibility of AVD – we can meet clients’ expectations and get project users up and running more quickly.”

Amir Dangol, Senior IT Manager, Integrity

“We were immediately impressed with the advice that the Compete366 specialists in Azure Architecture were able to provide. This was all new to us and we really needed some external expertise that we could use to get our questions answered. The beauty of working with Compete366 is that we transferred our Azure consumption to them, and at the same time received all of their advice and guidance free of charge.”

Tim Entwistle, Head of Software Development, Herrco

“Working with Compete366 has been like extending our own team – they are extremely and easy to work with. Right from the outset, it was clear what was on offer – everything was presented to us in a straightforward and uncomplicated way. They also provided just the right level of challenge to our developers and saved us time and money by suggesting better ways to implement our infrastructure.”

Oliver Mackereth, Project Director, Hanse

“Compete366 were able to help us leverage some useful contacts in Microsoft. We really value the expert advice and guidance that they have offered us in setting up a highly scalable infrastructure. We are also setting in place a regular monthly meeting which will allow us to further refine our architecture and ensure we keep on track as our requirements grow and change.”

Matt Brocklehurst, Technical Director - AWOL Adventure

“I have been delighted with the migration, where my team worked very hard, supported by expert advice from Compete366, and achieved everything in the timescale we had set out. Compete 366 made sure that we didn’t make any expensive mistakes, and guided us through the process”

Darrell Cann, Managing Director, APEX
Jon Milward

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