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Case Studies

IT asset management

As an internal IT department for healthcare, F4 IT has become an IT service provider supporting 2,500 users from various places that provide services to the National Health Service (NHS). Since rebranding in 2018, F4 IT has continued to expand within healthcare and now supports 15 organisations in North East Lincolnshire and beyond.

With over 100 remote offices and more than 2,000 workstations, F4 IT was in charge of managing a number of IT issues for the NHS. Traditionally, IT assets were spread over locations and teams, which made it difficult to get a clear picture of the overall IT without visiting each location and performing a manual audit. Provisioning and configuring mobile devices was a time-consuming manual process, and remote support was near impossible due to the lack of a mobile device management system.

IT security was another major concern, as there were many vulnerable and unpatched devices at risk of malware and exploits; however there was no way of knowing the overall scale of the problem or how to respond to new threats. For healthcare, security is necessary due to the confidential, personal nature of health data, and breaches bring risks and potential costs.

F4 IT was challenged to find a trusted partner to ensure the secure management of its customers’ services. Dean Blakeman, IT Operations Manager, F4 IT said that ManageEngine’s holistic unified endpoint management solution, Desktop Central, was automatic choice due to its price, features, and integration capabilities with ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus. Desktop Central provides F4 IT with zero-day patch deployment.

By installing the Desktop Central agent on all of its workstations to centrally manage all Windows and third-party software updates, F4 IT has reduced the vulnerability of its IT. For F4 IT, the benefit of this feature is the ability to identify any problem devices and address them outside of the standard schedule. When a zero-day exploit is identified, Desktop Central ensures the patch is deployed to most of F4 IT’s devices within an hour.

F4 IT can now also manage hardware and software assets in its network. Desktop Central provides details of all the assets F4 IT manages, when they are used, and by whom. Instead of performing a manual audit by visiting every remote location, they can now run a report or view a dashboard that provides all the information needed for planning and proactive IT management.

Since F4 IT was already using ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus, by using Desktop Central, it was able to manage all service desk functions within a single suite of products. F4 IT records all its service desk incidents, requests, projects, and changes using ServiceDesk Plus, and then integrates this information with Desktop Central to provide the endpoint management functions required to complete these requests.

With Desktop Central’s unified endpoint management (UEM) approach, now F4 IT is able to perform all mobile configuration, deployment, and security management tasks. Before the ManageEngine solution was in place, users at F4 IT had to visit the IT service with their device to receive this support or be talked through solutions step by step.

Blakeman said: “Desktop Central MDM makes it very easy to quickly deploy organisational policies to new and existing mobile devices. Being able to remotely connect to managed mobile devices and provide support directly onto the device provides great efficiencies.”

Over the past few years, F4 IT has taken on numerous large contracts providing IT support for NHS healthcare. During the 2017 global WannaCry ransomware attacks, many UK NHS and healthcare organisations were affected. In some cases, this resulted in closure of clinical systems, and some even turning away some patients. For F4 IT and its healthcare customers, since the IT was already fully patched with the security updates required to protect against WannaCry in 2017, F4 IT didn’t experience an affected workstation.

Blakeman said: “The time savings we achieve through the use of Desktop Central means that we have been able to provide the same service with 11 technicians that in previous roles required over 20 staff to provide. I would highly recommend Desktop Central to any IT service providers. In my mind it is without doubt the best value product on the market for providing unified endpoint management, and used in conjunction with the rest of the ManageEngine product suite, it has helped us create a highly efficient IT service.”



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