In 2019, Quintain Ireland, a new property development company, approached Nostra for help in designing and implementing a complete IT infrastructure for its business. Working closely with Nostra specialists, the company based itself entirely on the cloud and has developed a secure, flexible and responsive IT network that has allowed it to thrive. In just four years it’s become one of the largest residential property developers in Ireland and, with its large-scale developments of innovative and sustainable communities, is making a real contribution to the country’s housing issues.

Dave Thomas
Finance Operations & IT, Quintain Ireland

“We first approached Nostra in 2019. We were a new company and we knew we didn’t want to be spending time and money on building an IT department, we wanted to keep our focus on building houses. That’s why the idea of an MSP (Managed Service Provider) made sense. We took advice and came up with a list of companies to approach. Nostra was a small and developing business with a real goal-orientated attitude very similar to ours. It seemed a good fit.

After a detailed audit of our needs, Nostra’s recommendation was to go totally cloud based and it seemed like the right opportunity— but it wasn’t a simple operation. We build houses but there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes. We have a development side, designing what we’re going to put on a plot of land, obtaining the planning permission, preparing all the tender information, and then the construction side, working with a number of general contractors to see which one can actually provide the right pricing and the right timing to meet our objectives.

And once the shovels go in the ground there’s the management of the whole project right through to practical completion, and then the sales and marketing side takes over. And behind that there’s our HR and our finance operations and our legal department.

Basing the majority of our work on Sharepoint and all its components has allowed people in all those roles to work really efficiently and collaborate effectively, which is crucial. We use some large-format architectural and industry-specific software that wouldn’t be suited to Sharepoint but Nostra helped us set those up on the cloud specifically for the design team to utilise. And of course the cloud makes it much easier for remote users like our surveyors to do their jobs more effectively. We currently have three satellite offices on sites where staff can access all the documents and designs they require at any of those locations, or even if they’re working from home.

And security is vital, from that remote-working scenario to our head-office functions.

For example, every month we have to make payments to a number of different contractors and, depending on the project, that could be in the millions. Making sure those payments go through securely and efficiently is a number one priority. We can’t afford any operational inefficiencies or the threat of potential data breaches. So security is of paramount importance and from the start we’ve worked with the specialists at Nostra to utilise the very latest in cyber-security systems at every level, most recently with their new Cloud Shield system.”

It’s very comforting to have a good IT partner — we have a dedicated manager and excellent response times in terms of resolving any problems — but it’s also comforting to see Nostra evolving as a company. It’s not standing still, its experts and specialists are constantly spotting trends in the market, tracking industry developments. And that means, with Nostra, we can actually piggyback our way into the future.”


Starting from zero

While the team Quintain Ireland was putting together was vastly experienced, the company itself was brand new. This meant there was no existing model of departmental needs and requirements, and no established working systems and practices in place. Any proposed infrastructure would have to be flexible enough to operate efficiently from day one but quickly adapt and evolve as the company established its optimum work flows.

A multitude of user needs

Quintain’s proposed head-office functions involved several departments, each with their own particular requirements, but all constantly needing the ability to collaborate on projects, reviewing regulation and compliance issues and maintaining tight financial control. Its proposed way of working also encompassed a good deal of remote working by staff, such as surveyors visiting sites but still requiring full connectivity and access to documents and data, much of which were large and complex CAD and design files. While this remote working presented obvious security issues, the hostile physical environment of site work also meant a requirement for resilient hardware.

A paramount need for security

With the recent increase in cyber attacks across every industry, a robust level of data security is vital for all companies, but firms in the construction sector often involved in fast and high value transactions can be particularly vulnerable. As well as becoming targets for ransomware and spear-phishing attacks, they face the added risk of reputational damage, a hugely important issue in a business where reliability and trust are crucial. Any new system would have to address these issues from the outset.


A true cloud formation

After lengthy discussions and analysis, Nostra was confident in suggesting a cloud-first approach for Quintain’s IT requirements. Providing the company with a platform on the tried and-tested Azure platform presented the opportunity to design ways of working that perfectly suited the fast-paced, multi-departmental nature of Quintain’s business. It also removed the need for capital expenditure on servers and IT system hardware and positioned the company exactly as it envisaged itself: agile, lean and ready for growth.

A solution for all users

Using OneDrive and SharePoint allowed secure storage of documents, and the opportunity for full collaboration between individuals and departments but also gave management access control over critical data. While 365 gave users access to established Microsoft office products, it also introduced newer apps that, with training, allowed them to leverage the full power behind the platforms. The cloud-based infrastructure also facilitated the ability for secure home working, vital during the Covid crisis. The specialist architectural and construction software, unsuited to being placed on Sharepoint, were installed on a virtual server on Quintain’s cloud platform, bringing both security and accessibility, as complex drawings and plans for example, could be accessed from site-based satellite offices. Robust and tested hardware, from laptops to printers, were also sourced.

Taking security to new levels

While significant levels of cyber security were established from the beginning, Quintain recently took advantage of Nostra’s newly released security package, Cloud Shield. Using its expertise and experience in real-world data security issues, Nostra has taken several of the leading security solutions it uses regularly and effectively bundled them together in a package customised for each individual customer. By tweaking the products and refining how they work together, Cloud Shield offers a five-layer model of enhanced protection, back-up and disaster recovery that is tailored specifically for each client.


Starting from scratch, Nostra has been able to help Quintain build and develop a flexible and secure IT infrastructure that perfectly suits its needs, both now and into the future. With a managed secure network, cloud platforms and ongoing support, the company has been able to concentrate on developing highly efficient ways of working, from controlling data securely and efficiently to thorough business analysis. Nostra has provided a roadmap for future development, and regular meetings keep everyone focused on the progress of that journey.