Press release -
Revolutionary computer fleet renewal by Nordic Choice Hotels after cyberattack
After systems and computers were affected by a big virus attack in December, Nordic Choice Hotels needed to renew the computer fleet. But instead of buying new hardware, existing PCs were converted to CloudReady from Google, which delivers a Chrome OS experience.
As one of many larger companies lately, Nordic Choice Hotels experienced a serious virus attack by criminals in December. The attack was by an aggressive ransomware virus, which meant all the affected computers were encrypted and effectively unusable. But with guests both staying and arriving at the hotels, the company needed an agile approach and in less than 24 hours, the first hotel was operating in the Chrome OS ecosystem from Google. And in the following two days, 2000 computers were converted all over the company consisting of 212 hotels in five different countries.
– We already had an ongoing pilot project initiated by one of our coworkers who came up with the proposal to convert our existing Windows PCs to CloudReady. We wanted to upgrade a large part of our computer fleet, but by converting them we could save both cost and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as increase the security level in the company. So when we suddenly had to deal with the cyberattack, the decision to go all in and fasttrack the project was made in seconds, says Kari Anna Fiskvik, VP Technology at Nordic Choice Hotels.
The decision made the hotel company recover way quicker than normally after a cyberattack. If every single computer had to be scanned and cleansed with antivirus software, re-installed with original OS and with all datalines to the hotels taken down to avoid further infection, the recovery would have taken weeks instead of days. In addition, both hours and efforts for the staff were massively reduced and the guest impact as low as possible.
– Put simply, we cleaned all the computers and installed Google’s CloudReady instead. Both from when the project started last spring, but especially during the cyberattack, we’ve received enormous help from Google and their Norwegian partner Devoteam, ensuring we easily and efficiently could make the switch as quickly as possible and get our hotels back online when we were attacked, Fiskvik says.
The perfect project
By changing software instead of hardware, Nordic Choice Hotels will save more than 60 million NOK, and save the planet at least 1750 tons of CO2 emissions and that’s not including an estimated 25% lower electricity consumption from computers on Google’s CloudReady. Around 4000 computers in total will be converted, and in addition to saving the planet climate gas emissions from producing and transporting new hardware, the company also avoids 4 tons of electronics waste. The computers are estimated to get an extended lifespan of around 60 percent from the conversion.
– This is the perfect project. It will also ease the working day for our employees when they don’t have to spend their time and frustration on outdated computers. The company is already working with cloud computing, so it was an easy decision to make when we learned how much we would save both financially and in greenhouse gas emissions by cooperating with Google on the conversion, says Torgeir Silseth, CEO at Nordic Choice Hotels.
Breaking “business as usual”
For Google, this is one of the largest conversions in Europe and the largest corporate Google CloudReady conversion in the Nordic countries. With the high season for cyberattacks, this transformation also greatly reduces our exposure in the future, as the operating system has so far proved to be immune against such attacks.
– Ransomware is a very real and growing problem for many different industries right now including healthcare, infrastructure, and hospitality. At Google, we have worked hard to help eliminate this risk with our CloudReady solution, which is why we’re so excited to partner with Nordics Choice Hotels. Built on Chrome OS — which has never had a reported ransomware attack — CloudReady comes with a suite of default features that work to stop ransomware attacks from taking root, says John Solomon, VP and GM Chrome OS, Google.
Nordic Choice Hotels hopes other companies will be inspired and look for alternatives instead of just purchasing new and similar hardware over and over again. To manufacture a PC, you need 66 different minerals, which are not an inexhaustible resource. In 2007, Google became the first major company to be carbon neutral and is now aiming to run on carbon-free energy 24/7 by 2030.
– With cloud computing, we are reducing the need for the continuous hardware replacements we have been used to for so long. This addresses a key thing when facing climate change, which is breaking the “business as usual”. Nordic Choice Hotels are leading the way with this project and we believe this is the perfect example for other companies, says Edvard Lundberg, Chrome Enterprise Lead, Nordics at Google.
Nordic Choice Hotels is one of the largest hotel groups in the Nordic region with over 200 hotels and 17,000 employees in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The company markets the Comfort Hotel, Quality Hotel, Clarion Hotel and Clarion Collection chains, as well as 34 independent hotels and the longstay brand Strawberry Living.