The centrally managed solution virtualizes the desktop environment to provide employees with secure access to the applications and data they need to perform their jobs regardless of their location.
Inconsistent desktop environment breeds inefficiency
Continental Motors Group, a world leader in the development of aviation products, was experiencing reoccurring infrastructure outages that frequently disrupted its operations. Located on Mobile Bay in Mobile, Alabama—just a half mile above sea level—Continental was concerned that a natural disaster could damage its on-premise infrastructure and bring the productivity of its office and manufacturing teams to a grinding halt. To alleviate this threat and improve the reliability and resilience of its IT environment, the company partnered with Versiant Corporation, a North Carolina-based IT service provider, to migrate its infrastructure to the cloud.
At the time, Continental was also experiencing issues with its aging desktop environment. With applications and compute stored directly on individual workstations, users could not readily access and share files, and risked data loss if a device was lost, stolen or damaged.
This traditional deployment also caused a series of productivity issues. For starters, IT had to visit individual workstations to troubleshoot issues or install updates. This was inefficient from an IT perspective, but also impacted user productivity as they waited idly as IT serviced the issue.
Continental also lacked consistency across its desktops as employees used different applications and software versions, making it more challenging for IT to effectively manage issues and conduct routine maintenance. These inconsistencies also impacted the workforce who had trouble opening shared documents across various software versions.
To resolve these issues and provide Continental with some additional performance- and security-enhancing features, Versiant recommended its desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solution.
Centralized infrastructure bolsters efficiency and security
To develop a tailored DaaS solution for Continental, Versiant conducted an in-depth evaluation of the organization’s applications, needs and challenges to better understand the day-to-day impact on users. Versiant also assessed the manufacturer’s hardware and the network options available in the remote area, ultimately redesigning Continental’s wide area network and integrating it into the DaaS solution for improved performance, speed and scalability.
To provide a consistent and accessible environment, Versiant DaaS virtualizes the desktop, moving applications and compute from individual computers to a centralized server. Deployed in the cloud to support Continental’s need to move its infrastructure off-site, DaaS utilizes a single, virtual desktop image. This standardized landscape improves visibility and control, allowing IT to perform updates, apply patches, troubleshoot issues and reconfigure the environment from a unified location. This updated image can be quickly pushed out to users across the organization, providing access to the new environment the next time they log on.
DaaS also allows the organization to enforce how corporate information is stored to improve accessibility and encourage collaboration. This also ensures information is properly backed up, managed and maintained.
The inherent security and performance of DaaS allows Continental’s workforce to seamlessly move between on-premise and remote locations by replacing the VPN connection with a direct, secure Citrix VDI connection. Continental can also execute more granular security controls so only approved users can access specific functions, applications, or documents. This allows the organization to customize access protocols to meet unique or fluctuating needs.
To ensure Continental uses the solution to its full potential, Versiant conducted trainings to introduce the staff to the new environment and its enhanced capabilities. Versiant also continues to manage the solution to allow Continental to remain focused on its core manufacturing business.
Remaining productive during COVID-19
Since migrating its environment to the cloud and adopting DaaS, Continental has significantly improved its operational efficiency. First, with its data and applications in the cloud—away from the dangers of hurricanes and flooding—Continental strengthened the resilience and reliability of its operations. DaaS also improved the performance and security of its desktop environment. This began with the ability to easily manage the desktop environment from a single location to avoid time-consuming, inefficient trips to individual desktops. Without these interruptions, Continental’s staff can also remain focused on their work.
DaaS also allows IT to quickly restore the environment from a backup if a problem occurs. This agility is crucial in minimizing lost data and improving work efficiencies for its staff. These efficiencies are further supported by the consistent, high-performing desktop experience the centralized deployment delivers to the office. This consistency eliminates the issues related to sharing and opening documents across multiple application versions and the complexities of supporting diverse desktop infrastructures. It also improves access to printers and other peripheral hardware.
Because the transition to DaaS was part of an infrastructure refresh, Continental also realized some cost savings.
Additionally, DaaS improves the security of remote log-ons. With multiple overseas manufacturing facilities, Continental’s executive team travels frequently. Before DaaS, this team connected to the corporate server via a VPN, which introduced risk into the environment if the endpoint device used to access the network was not updated with the most current cybersecurity features. The VPN connection could also lag, impacting productivity and escalating user frustration.
DaaS allows remote employees to securely access applications and data from any location, any time, and on any device with the same ease, security, and speed as if they were in the office. It also offers an additional layer of security as data is not stored on the device, minimizing the risk of a lost or stolen laptop.
This dynamic remote accessibility was crucial to Continental’s continued operations during COVID-19. DaaS seamlessly scaled to accommodate its workforce as they transitioned to a work-from-home situation during the pandemic, providing access to everything they needed to remain productive and engaged.
“We were very fortunate to have had this solution in place during the pandemic,” said Rhett Ross, CEO at Continental Manufacturing Group. “It allowed our business to continue to operate in a time when others shut down. Versiant has helped us achieve an environment that drives our efficiency and operational integrity day after day.”
Continental Motors Group