The pandemic forced many companies to adopt a work-from-home approach. This was the case for one of our clients, [name withheld] a multinational firm with multiple locations around the United States. The pandemic caused many of their locations to become vacant, with no staff, so they began the process of closing some of these offices. To do this successfully, they needed to explore ways to give their employees full access to work from home.
To accomplish this, it was imperative that employees have access to all the applications and data necessary to do their work. They had to be able to make and receive calls from home as if they were in the office. All these had to be done in a secure manner.
Since VeeMost itself had recently adopted the remote-work approach for most of its staff and contractors, we understood what it would take to accomplish this goal and give their users a seamless experience.
Working from home exposes companies to security threats, so cybersecurity needed to be at the core of any solution implemented. With our experience and expertise in various areas of technology, we proposed and implemented a combination of different technologies described below.
1.) Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): Using the VDI platform available with Citrix, we created a virtual desktop for each employee. All their applications and data will be accessible while they are in the Citrix desktop.
2.) Anyconnect VPN: Since the customer was a Cisco shop, we implemented the cisco anyconnect VPN which allowed them to establish a VPN tunnel to the main location and access their applications and physical desktops. This option was open only to a select group of employees. The rest were instructed to use the Citrix platform.
3.) Company-Owned Devices: With VPN, we ensured that only company-owned devices that were properly installed and protected could access the network. The policy used to accomplish this involved using certificates and Cisco ISE.
4.) Secure Identity Service: We recommended and implemented Cisco ISE to properly secure the environment. With Cisco ISE, only corporate workstations running all the company-recommended security software such as antivirus, were allowed on the network, especially through VPN.
5.) Multiple Secure Authentication: The rise of security incidents around the world necessitated the need for Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). We chose Cisco DUO, integrating in into the Citrix environment, the VPN and all sensitive applications.
6.) Next-Generation Firewall: We implemented a firewall platform that was capable of stopping an attack in progress. It had the capability of looking into the traffic passing through the network, examining and blocking much more than the traditional firewall. We chose the Cisco Firepower since the customer was a cisco shop.
7.) Cloud Phone System: We migrated their phone system from an in-house PBX to a cloud-based phone system. This allowed the staff to make and receive calls as if they were all in the office.
8.) Collaboration tools: We recommended and configured the Cisco Webex suite of collaboration tools that allowed them to collaborate efficiently. With Webex they were able to attend all their meetings virtually, share content, could do instant messaging, and many more.
Just like VeeMost, the customer saw a significant increase in the productivity of its staff and also a reduction in expenses as a result of the work-from-home adoption.
The company was able to close down several office locations and still give users access to everything they needed to continue their work. This decision helped the company remain solvent during the pandemic.
The Security features we implemented to safeguard their data gave them the needed peace of mind that their information was secured.