Case Study: Telecoms company keeps distributed workforce secure and compliant amid rapid growth
A challenge encountered by some companies during periods of rapid growth can include major strain on IT departments, as new employees and technologies come online in a short timeframe. While the IT team is responsible for deploying, tracking, securing and gaining insights from connected devices, they still must also balance managing their existing day-to-day tasks – resulting in resources being spread thin.
8×8, a provider of cloud voice, video, collaboration, and contact centre solutions, serving more than 1 million business customers, has more than 2,000 employees and will be expanding at a rate of 20-25% projected growth every quarter for the next year. This translates to hundreds of new devices being brought into the 8×8 network every few months.
As 8×8 started on this growth path, it identified that it needed to deploy tools that could accurately keep track of laptops, mobile devices and tablets company-wide. It also needed to ensure all devices – existing and new – remain secure and compliant; and quickly deploy vital software that requires admin rights across its growing network.
These areas represented the three biggest challenges that could backlog the IT department and halt employee productivity.
Meeting the challenge
To enable its small IT team to efficiently support a rapidly growing, geographically dispersed and increasingly mobile workforce, 8×8 engaged ManageEngine’s Desktop Central.
The IT team was using Quest KACE, but after dealing with that tool they set out to find a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution that would be the right fit for their IT department. The evaluation process was long and it involved testing leading UEM vendors such as Ivanti, JAMF and more.
8×8 found these solutions to be too complicated and required professional services to get started. The team finally zeroed in on ManageEngine, which only required an experienced engineer to follow easy installation guidelines for the initial deployment.
ManageEngine’s Desktop Central, a unified endpoint management solution, allows 8×8 to manage servers, desktops, VM’s, laptops, tablets, POS machines and smartphones from a central location. The platform supports Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, which was important since 8×8 has a diverse range of company devices – including roughly 30% MacBooks, and some Linux machines.
Routine tasks such as installing patches, distributing software, managing software licenses and monitoring software usage, asset management, preventing the use of prohibited software, remote system management, USB device management, OS imaging and deployment are all automated.
Through the platform, 8×8 can also manage mobile devices to deploy profiles and policies, configure devices for Wi-Fi, VPN, and email accounts, distribute software applications, containerise the work profile, troubleshoot remotely, geofencing and wipe off corporate data in case of device loss.
They also have the option of customising how the devices are used. In addition, Desktop Central had the added benefit of inventory management and tools that allowed control of devices from anywhere, which has been useful for an IT team that spans across the U.S. and Europe.
The OS deployment feature enables 8×8 to leverage PXE deployment to all their offices globally. So a team in London can deploy PXE images to new computers just as fast as the one in Cluj Romania, or San Jose, California.
John Thomas, 8×8 Systems and Network engineer says, “Desktop Central from ManageEngine has helped our helpdesk team to better reach our remote and travelling employees globally in real-time, without requiring users to VPN for assistance. It’s reduced the time it takes to help employees (especially sales team members) while they are out of office.”
“Desktop Central also provides us with real-time remote installation capabilities, so not only can we remote control and monitor our users’ PCs, but we can also remotely deploy applications, patch systems and efficiently maintain our environment, allowing us to meet our global Security and Compliance guidelines. This is very helpful for new GRDP accounting rules.”
Benefits from this initiative
Desktop Central’s real-time and automated capabilities has streamlined operations for 8×8’s IT management team, allowing them to address 250+ tickets daily with ease, with average 280 remote control sessions a week. The increased efficiency has been tenfold, with the team able to resolve more simple issues remotely, which has allowed time to be delegated to higher-level tasks and issues.
It has also created a more holistic view into how the company’s technology is being used. The platform provides 8×8 with new insights via auto-generated reports that analyse asset information and dashboards that visualise the security status of devices, including highlighting areas susceptible to breaches. 8×8 also now has access to granular data on the apps running on managed devices and can ensure employees are working in compliance with licensing and company policies.
Desktop Central has revolutionised the way IT works at 8×8. “It’s impossible to overestimate the benefits of going mobile in terms of employee satisfaction and productivity. It is a great feeling to know that we are helping our workers become more agile and productive. We are empowering them to provide great customer service while Desktop Central provides us the necessary infrastructure. Desktop Central deployed in AWS has been a great decision,” Thomas adds.