Customer Story

Weekend database upgrade makes for 100% secure transactions

HSS Hire modernized its database infrastructure with encryption capabilities to enable secure credit card transactions.

Actian HSS Hire customer story

About HSS Hire

HSS Hire (HSS) has been providing equipment management and hire services to large businesses, trade, and DIY customers in the UK for more than 60 years. During that time, HSS has developed a nationwide network of more than 265 supercenters and branches as well as a UK-wide logistical capability that ensures access to the right tools and equipment at the right time, wherever customers are in the country.

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HSS Hire needed to upgrade its database infrastructure to incorporate transaction encryption functionality that would ensure 100% secure credit card transactions. However, HSS Hire lacked the internal resources to ensure a smooth transition.

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HSS Hire engaged Actian Services to perform the database upgrade.

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Actian Services performed the database upgrade over the course of a single weekend with minimal business disruption.

When it comes to renting tools, equipment, and related services, HSS Hire has been the go-to company in the UK for more than 60 years. The firm developed not just a reputation for excellence but also a nationwide network of supercenters and branch offices complemented by a logistics infrastructure that made it easy for customers to obtain the tools and services they needed—whenever and wherever necessary.

Not surprisingly, HSS was keen to get onboard when the Internet began to gain momentum. It developed, a site where customers could get up-to-the-minute information about equipment availability, check their invoices, and more. The site tied into an early version of what is now the Actian X hybrid database, which HSS had already been using to support its operations—from tool and equipment inventory management to accounts management, invoicing, availability, delivery, and more—for years.

But placed demands on the database that its traditional back office operations had not. The more customers interacted with HSS online, the more types of online interactions they wanted to conduct, and therein lay a challenge: HSS had not designed its core database with online payment in mind. The design of the database itself was not problematic, but it could not provide support for encrypted online transactions. HSS knew that it needed to provide an environment that was 100% secure if it was going to accept credit card transactions through its website.

To gain the level of encryption it needed HSS was going to have to upgrade its database, and therein lay the second challenge: HSS lacked the internal IT resources and expertise to perform the database upgrade. So HSS did what comes naturally to a leading firm in the resource rental world: It hired experts who could come in and perform the upgrade quickly, properly, and cost-effectively.

The Solution

HSS turned to Actian Services, a dedicated team of database professionals who work with companies to get the most from their Actian software installations. With a focus on helping organizations reduce costs while maximizing flexibility, Actian Services always takes an open and honest approach to meeting customer needs. The group offers a wide range of products, services, and technical skills designed to ensure maximum return on investment and optimized deployment time.


Actian Services helped HSS upgrade its database to a version that would provide the transaction encryption support that it sought. After working closely with HSS to understand key business and process relationships, Actian Services put in motion a plan to upgrade the HSS database. Over a period of just one weekend, the team upgraded the software, verified that the upgrade was fully compatible with internal procedures, and benchmarked the new database to ensure that the upgrade did not compromise application performance.

“We knew we had to upgrade our database in order to benefit from encryption and make sure our online website offering was fully compliant,” says Dennis Joseph, Computer Services Manager at HSS Hire. “Actian Services was on hand to help us upgrade our database with minimum disruption. They ensured a smooth transition to the new database platform.”

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