Active Flooring

Active Flooring is a leading provider of commercial flooring services headquartered in Stockport, with offices across the country. When the business received an unexpectedly high quote to renew its aging virtual desktop solution, this was the impetus to explore the market to find a competitive solution.


Active Flooring’s user base comprises of 30+ users spread across its five offices, in addition to mobile workers at numerous construction sites. The company had no internal IT department, so the task of finding a replacement desktop solution fell to Ian Nicholson, as the person best positioned to oversee the transition.

Ian explained, “Our existing IT was clunky and reaching the end of its life. Downtime was becoming far too common and was very disruptive for everyone.

With no in-house IT team, we had also become too reliant on our external provider. This was something we wanted to change. We wanted a supplier that would not only address our immediate IT needs, but also support our ambitions to reduce our dependence so we could take more control ourselves.”



Active Flooring initially chose Phoenix Software’s Azure Virtual Desktop Managed Service, significantly improving desktop performance and uptime. The engagement has since expanded to include various levels of end-user training, access to the Phoenix Services Portal to directly procure Microsoft licensing as and when the business needs them, a 3rd line support agreement, and AzGuardian, a service that proactively monitors and blocks any abnormal spikes in Azure usage in order to protect Active Flooring from hackers running up exorbitant Azure bills.

Azure Virtual Desktop Essentials Managed Service

The Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) has become a popular alternative to physical desktops, where the desktop is provided as a virtualised service on a broad range of clients, from traditional PCs to laptops, Macs, smartphones, and tablets.

Despite the significant performance, availability, and flexibility advantages of AVD, successfully implementing AVD is a highly specialist job which requires detailed knowledge of Azure, Microsoft PowerShell, and networking – skills which Active Flooring does not have in-house. The Phoenix AVD Essentials Managed Service provided Active Flooring with the support it needed to deploy and manage its AVD environment. As part of the service, Phoenix also migrated all of Active Flooring’s users from the incumbent VDI infrastructure to the Microsoft AVD.

Phoenix AzGuardian

Cryptomining fraud incidents targeting Microsoft Azure tenancies have experienced a rapid surge in recent years. Cryptomining fraud involves hackers gaining access to an Azure resource to mine cryptocurrencies without the owner’s knowledge or consent. If left undetected, it can lead to significant and unexpected Azure consumption costs – in one example, a company was left with a bill of £568,000 after a successful hacker was able to spin up cryptomining servers across the globe.

By adopting the AzGuardian service, Active Flooring has the peace of mind that it is protected from such attacks. It achieves this by looking for spikes in Azure usage which would be exceptional for that customer. If such a spike is detected, AzGuardian stops the workload in its tracks and locks the system down, so the hacker is no longer able to use it and rack up a large bill.


The switch to Phoenix Software brought about a significant transformation in Active Flooring’s working environment. Ian stated, “It’s a completely different working day. Exponentially better. Whereas downtime used to be a regular occurrence, I don’t think we’ve even had one crash. The additional training has also empowered me to provide more direct support to our users, while I know Phoenix’s technical support is always on hand to help with more complex tasks.”

Enhanced system stability: Active Flooring has experienced virtually no system crashes, leading to increased productivity and reduced downtime for its workforce

More control: the ability to fix many issues themselves has empowered Active Flooring to address minor problems, like lost files, with ease. The Phoenix Services Portal also provides a simple and quick way to self-procure the licenses it needs

Consistent support: consistency in support personnel. Ian specifically highlighted the advantage of having the same 2-3 people at Phoenix available for technical support, ensuring accountability and a much more efficient support service

Proactive security: AzGuardian safeguards Active Flooring from receiving an unexpected bill as a result of a cryptomining hack of its Azure service

Expert guidance and training: Phoenix Software conducted a training day for Ian to get up-to-speed on how to manage and resolve some of the regular IT support issues that were occurring in the business. It has also provided specialist security awareness training from KnowBe4 to all of Active Flooring’s users to ensure users were better equipped to identify and therefore less likely to fall foul of sophisticated email phishing threats

Working partnership: monthly, diarised reviews with the Phoenix account team provide a regular forum to raise issues and address any upcoming needs that Active Flooring might have, fostering a much more collaborative partnership between the two companies. The need to provide its users with security training for example came about as a result of a conversation during one of these review meetings

The partnership between Active Flooring and Phoenix Software has not only addressed the company’s immediate IT needs, but has provided the foundation for a collaborative partnership where the business no longer feels beholden to its supplier, but is empowered with all the support required, exactly when its needed.

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