Ripley-Grier Studios is a true New York success story. In their 30+ years building their business with ambition, real-estate savviness, and an eye for recognizing talent, they currently have four premiere locations with 91 rooms in central New York. Their goal? To create inspiring places for artists, performers, and teachers to express their creativity.


By following through on their desire, they have won the prestigious first-place of Back Stage Readers’ Choice Awards campaign every year — and believe that good karma and luck were the key factors in keeping their business growing and thriving.


But with great growth came great challenges. Suddenly, their internal IT was neither experienced nor had the time to take on the responsibilities themselves. They needed a new, dedicated team of network specialists available around the clock.


The Challenge (before Amoeba Networks)

Ripley-Grier Studios’s IT needs were grand, indeed. With almost a hundred rooms and more in planning, they constantly tried to get programs to not crash and find new applications that fit their needs. At the same time, they had network connectivity issues — something customers started angrily remarking on. 


The collaboration between Amoeba Networks and Ripley-Grier Studios started in 2015 when the studio IT was run by one of the partners, Michael Dimen. Along with needing a larger IT team, Michael was thinking about retirement. That’s when he found Amoeba Networks and set up a meeting.


After gathering as much information as possible from Michael and analyzing the environment, the challenges proved greater than previously realized. The first and most obvious was converting an environment previously run by one IT guy into a supportable MSP environment. 


That included network-level challenges like finding and replacing all switches in the environment, building a better WiFi network, bolstering perimeter security with Sonicwall appliances, and improving bandwidth and site-to-site interconnectivity. Furthermore, the 37 staff had personal email accounts — not exactly the most secure thing for a thriving business.


Lastly, Michael Dimen built a Microsoft Access application to handle specific business needs. And while it served the studios well for years, it was in dire need of modernization and replacement.


The Solution (after Amoeba Networks)

To solve Ripley-Grier Studios IT challenges and give them a digital landscape to support their business, artists, and creators, Amoeba Networks got to work. Among the many solutions crafted for the studios, the main initiatives focused on better cybersecurity, PCI compliance, and improving the customer clientele experience.


Starting with better cybersecurity, the team reduced the perimeter attack surface by closing down ports at the perimeter firewall, integrated Sonicwall security appliances, and implemented a company-wide password policy — as well as moving away from personal email accounts to secure, company hosted email via Google Apps.


Amoeba also designed and installed a state-of-the-art camera monitoring and security system and an entirely new, updated phone system that have both been a huge benefit. 


Amoeba achieved PCI compliance by integrating a PCI compliant payment gateway for customer credit card processing. And to improve the customer experience, a new, wireless mesh and dedicated guest wireless network using Ubiquiti Unifi AP and controllers gave everyone using the rooms a smooth, uninterrupted internet experience.


Good WiFi is crucial for the artists, says John Norman, the Chief Operations Officer at Ripley-Grier Studios, who cannot believe his luck:


“I cannot believe my luck. They have always held my hand and walk me through every single step related to IT/Tech for our company. They have changed the way that we work and our working environment. My job is completely different. We consider them part of our family, another group of employees from our company, all sharing the same culture. They have a way of making you feel like you are their favorite client.”


- John Norman, Chief Operations Officer at Ripley-Grier Flexible Spaces



Furthermore, a new comprehensive software platform tailored to the studio’s needs replaced the old Microsoft Access application. And with regular meetings and reviews, they continue to assess progress and discuss recommendations, giving them more room to scale.


The Results

The complete extension of solutions is wide — and the results are far-reaching. Ripley-Grier Studios could finally use IT to their advantage without worrying about faulty technology. Amoeba played a critical role in undertaking the company network and IT culture. He also says Amoeba has been key in that process. 


By replacing the old application with a new software platform, they have saved studio costs and increased productivity. They were very impressed with the organizational skills of Amoeba, offering comprehensive guides, spreadsheets, training manuals, and hands-on expertise for every new initiative, guiding them every step of the way.


With expertise in every area of IT, Amoeba takes its consultancy and advisory part seriously. For Ripley-Grier, that meant getting recommendations for the right programs, vendors, and the right approach — plus getting great deals on things like internet access and other solutions that fit their business best.


“Amoeba has been key in our growth over the last years. They have helped us by finding the right products, having a team of experienced IT consultants at our disposal, and ensuring we have the most convenient tools to reduce costs and increase productivity. If I had to describe Amoeba in three words I would say: efficient, secure and productive.” 


- John Norman, Chief Operations Officer at Ripley-Grier Flexible Spaces


As the studios experienced, “we can’t do that” is not in Amoebas vocabulary. With a real excitement finding solutions to every unique business challenge, Amoeba helped Ripley-Grier Studios overcome many disruptive IT challenges, including a year-long problem with their ISP that Amoeba solved in one month.


And thanks to the implemented endpoint security software and regular security reviews, Ripley-Grier Studios IT infrastructure can now ensure business continuity. While many other businesses fall victim to the ever-increasing number of ransomware and other attacks, their current strong security posture ensures they can stay operative during worst-case events and disasters.



Ripley-Grier Studio’s rich history and expansive growth let us know that this is only the beginning. Now that the studios are enjoying an IT landscape that supports their business goals and all day-to-day activities — while improving the experience for their customers — they can focus on what they do best. 


With Amoeba Networks managing and monitoring their network, servers, security, and applications, they finally have the breathing room to next-level their business operations, providing inspiring, flexible spaces to artists and creatives in the heart of The Big Apple. 

Want to tune your IT to your business needs? Contact us today!



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