IT for Remote Work
Preparation is everything.
Just ask the IT team at Christian Brothers Services (CBS), a nonprofit organization that provides benefits programs to congregations, organizations, and dioceses throughout the United States and Canada. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the organization needed to switch to work-from-home operations, it easily did so. That was, in large part, because of the IT solution — including a remote work IT component — US Signal had helped it put in place.
It's a story worth sharing because it demonstrates the importance of planning for the unexpected.
The CBS Move to US Signal
CBS’ relationship with US Signal started a few years back when its on-premises IT equipment leases and contract for its backup data center were expiring. It was the ideal time to get out of the IT infrastructure business and reap the benefits of outsourcing.
The US Signal team took the time to understand CBS’ business requirements, HIPAA compliance issues, and its security and user access needs. That knowledge enabled US Signal to develop a multi-faceted solution that went beyond taking on management of CBS’ data centers. It put the critical components in place to enable CBS to quickly adapt to changing business conditions in the future.
The US Signal Solution
Among the solution components were US Signal’s Enterprise Backup-as-a-Service (EBaaS) and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS). Both would help protect CBS’s data, mitigate downtime, and ensure accessibility should business-disrupting events occur. Because they are fully managed by US Signal, they’d also free up CBS’ own IT staff to focus on other endeavors.
Internet service with US Signal’s Managed Firewall would ensure bandwidth needs are met while providing a best-of-breed protection strategy against Internet threats. In addition, redundant MPLS WAN would minimize any potential downtime associated with a loss of connectivity and provide predictable network performance for a high-quality end user experience.
Another important solution component was VMware’s Horizon View, which US Signal hosts on its Hosted Private Cloud. Doing so ensures the secure delivery of virtual desktops and apps for end user computing. That was important because a large part of CBS’ workforce traveled across the US to visit customers. Equipped with company-supplied mobile devices, they needed to be able to securely access CBS applications and data wherever they were.
Transitioning to Windows 10 had helped because of the operating system’s built-in security mechanisms, as did the implementation of measures such as multi-factor authentication and a special password manager. Using US Signal’s Hosted Private Cloud with its secure, single-tenant environment, dedicated compute and storage resources and PCI- and HIPAA-compliant security, further enhanced overall security.
Hear what CBS' CIO says about working with US Signal.
While CBS had considered various scenarios as part of its disaster planning, a global pandemic was fairly low on the list. Nonetheless, when COVID-19 hit and forced many businesses to implement work-from-home operations, CBS was ready. Even employees that didn’t have company-issued devices were able to quickly get them and use virtual desktop technology to access their full Windows desktops and all of their data.
According to CBS’ CIO Tom Drez, “The best compliment we've received from customers during the pandemic has been that they had no idea when talking to our employees that they were not in the office. All of our customer touch points continued to operate the same.
“We were also able to be responsive to the business on an enterprise level, as well as to every single business unit,” he added. “Outsourcing services to US Signal freed up our whole IT team to focus on emerging issues and higher value activities rather than dealing with IT infrastructure.
“We didn’t have to alter our course for the pandemic year. Our work with US Signal set us up well for that.”
That’s not the end of the story. CBS is currently working with US Signal to transition to its VDI solution to two VDI platforms in geographically separate markets. Switching to the more resilient design will help ensure that if one site has an issue, the other site can continue to provide users with their desktops and data.
It’s yet another example of ensuring that business can carry on as usual regardless of what the future holds.
For more details about US Signal’s work with CBS, download the case study. You can also learn about how companies like CBS have weathered the pandemic by watching Lessons Learned from the Pandemic: Remote Work and Security.
As always, feel free to contact US Signal if you’d like to learn how we can help your organization prepare for what’s now and what’s next. Call (866) 274-4625 or email [email protected].