Our client Trent and Dove Housing (TDH) had an urgent requirement to enable a large number of users to work remotely.
TDH approached A4S to support them in the delivery of the necessary laptop infrastructure, with the long term infrastructure picture in mind; A4S proposed to deliver the build using the automation provided by the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and create custom configurations within the clients existing IT infrastructure therefore any solution would eventually become the clients long term strategic solution.
A4S worked closely with the highly capable TDH IT Team to understand their needs focussing on the requirement to automatically enable features such as:
Always on VPN.
Complete build automation.
Hard drive encryption.
Centrally managed anti-virus and anti-malware protection.
Understanding the urgency and criticality of the client's need; A4S carefully reviewed the environment and proposed a solution to the TDH IT team before putting designs together for shared review session, this ensured full transparency on both sides before any work was undertaken and careful inspection of the client's environment was undertaken to ensure any infrastructure changes needed to support MDT, automatic certificate enrolment and always on VPN did not cause any operational issues.
In close collaboration with the TDH IT team; A4S designed and built a new fully automated and roaming laptop build within 3 days that still aligned to the long term strategic solution, this was only possible using our extensive library of pre configured and tested configurations such as MDT sequences, group policy configurations and reference architectures for solutions such as Windows Routing and Remote Access.
What is Microsoft Deployment Tooling? See the image below and go to this link!
Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) the client was able to image a large amount of laptops in an incredibly small amount of time whilst knowing that each laptop would enable safe and secure remote access to the client's applications and enable their workers to be productive during the current virus pandemic.
MDT is a solution that fully automates a server or windows client build, A4S have utilised this invaluable toolset to introduce consistency, repeatability and speed when deploying new Windows solutions, this removes pressure from the deployment and reduces risk to the client as each build has been tested in previous deployments and has a high chance of being right first time with minimal reconfiguration.
A simple example of an MDT sequence is below:
In order to enable continuous ongoing administration and eventual seamless remote access to on-premise applications and data A4S have also delivered Windows Remote Routing and Access Service, this solution will initially be used to allow IT administrators to provide support for it's users.
Custom group policy configuration re used from previous client deployments ensures a client's Windows domain will be updated with tried and trusted changes, this reduces risk and speeds deployment.
The delivery of this solution means that the clients workers can now work remotely safe in the mind that the laptop being used is being produced in a repeatable and safer manner with all the right tools and configurations applied.
The TDH IT teams knows that the laptops being deployed are fully managed and will be centrally reconfigured to become the clients long term strategic laptop build with all the necessary applications delivered using Microsoft App-V and persona delivered using UE-V, offline folder replication will also be utilised to ensure the users home drive is accessible at any time.
Throughout the delivery; full, detailed and secure collaboration was undertaken between A4S and the TDH IT teams using our transparent online Service Design and Transition toolset as per this link, we thank the client for their quick adoption and immediate use of the toolset as this greatly helped delivery and ensured efficient and informative communications at all times.
The client IT Team quickly engaged with the A4S Service Design and Transition Team in a friendly and helpful manner which greatly contributed to a quick, professional and secure delivery.
Following delivery we were extremely grateful for very positive and supportive feedback such as:
"Our users can now work from home using a laptop build that is properly configured".
"it's amazing that our laptops are now fully managed from a configuration, Window/Office updates and anti-virus perspective".
We can now deploy new laptops incredibly quickly that reduces pressure on the IT Teams and keeps our customers happy".
"The A4S online service design and transition tool was a very positive experience".
"Even though the work was delivered in an urgent fashion; it's all part of the longer term solution hence no effort has been wasted".
In summary; our end user compute is incredibly important and this new solution has quickly and safely enabled the home working of many more staff which is critically important when ensuring our business can remain productive and meet the needs of its customers.
Would you like to know more about our hybrid cloud approach and this delivery?
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