Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) is responsible for over 31,000 homes in the Wakefield district. When the housing association launched in 2005, it secured a £720 million fund to bring all its homes up to the ‘Wakefield Standard’—a higher specification than the Government’s Decent Homes Standard.
The move to an end-to-end virtual desktop solution, utilising IGEL thin clients supported by Citrix Xen Desktop in collaboration with the Security Solution provided by DriveLock, has allowed us to provide a high quality, highly effective, highly secure way of working for employees at remote sites.
Eric Backhouse, WDH Infrastructure and Customer Services Manager
WDH’s desktop solution involved published applications from Citrix XenApp to 900 standardised Dell Desktops. The IT and Business Systems Change team began considering changing to a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) because the organisation was facing a number of business challenges.
A major difficulty was the log-on times for people working at remote sites. Although geographically bound within Wakefield, the organisation has 75 different locations and 48 of these were Independent Living Schemes (formerly known as sheltered accommodation), which had 1mb ADSL connections into the IT infrastructure. Furthermore none of these peripheral working areas where securly encrpyted.
Upon chosing the IGEL solution, which promised to have thin clients up and running in minutes, IGEL complemented their service with the Data Security solution DriveLock.
Using the DriveLock Virtual Channel already included in the Linux based IGEL Universal Desktop, access rights and security settings for external storage devices can be configured to whitelist approved devices, even down to the serial number of an individual USB stick. With the central DriveLock Management console and the use of policies, WDH is able to determine which users can access the USB-drives and, for example, specify that a user has read only rights. WDH can also determine which types of les may be read by an external drive or written to the device using the integrated file filter. Additionally, using the Encryption-2-Go functions in DriveLock, WDH is able to enforce encryption onto whitelisted USB sticks to ensure data is secure in line with its corporate policy. This is all backed up with comprehensive reporting and forensics in the Drive-Lock Control Center.
WDH rolled-out 200 IGEL UD5 LX devices to 70 different locations in just two weeks. Today, all 775 PCs have been replaced with IGEL thin clients. The devices use all use DriveLock Security Suite to secure their data and endpoints.
The feedback WDH have been getting from their users was that the IGEL devices are now ridiculously quick and easy to use. Now users can turn on the thin client, log on and launch an application in less than 2 minutes and work in safe environment without any fear of cyberattacks.