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“WE KNOW WHERE OUR COMPUTERS ARE LOCATED AND WHAT’S ON THEM”
Solar introduced Excho as a part of the management strategy for creating a more agile, efficient and secure organisation.
ECHO GIVES SOLAR A DETAILED OVERVIEW THAT IS ALWAYS UPDATED
With its many branches around the world, the sourcing and service company Solar has several thousand computers. The group’s ambition is always knowing where the many units are located, and what software is on them. Additionally, Solar wants to protect the company’s data as well as possible. This has become a reality after implementing Echo, the Software Asset Management solution, from NetCloud.
“Mainly, we have automated the way that we handle our devices,” explains Morten Junker Juul, IT Technical Development Supporter at Solar’s Group Service Desk. “When a computer is returned to us, we reinstall it and scan the barcode so that the unit is locked before we store it. Then it is correctly registered, and our storage is always up-to-date.”
The solution also offers Solar a detailed and always up-to-date overview of the software stored on the units.
“The system warns us if some units do not have the versions of SCCM, antivirus, encryption or other features that must be installed on them. Echo corrects this automatically and makes the unit comply again.”
Echo also assists the employees so that they are sure that only approved software is installed on their units.
”We have reduced the volume of shadow IT substantially. Now we can constantly monitor if something is going on on the computer which is outside the approved norms.”
FREEZES COMPUTERS WITH A CLICK
If a laptop is stolen, the IT department can freeze it by simply pressing a button so that data is no longer accessible. This is especially important, not least in relation to GDPR, as Solar is now always able to document that outsiders have not had access to, e. g., sensitive personal information.
Frank Christensen is IT Security Manager at Solar’s Group IT He and his staff have several examples that the solution has contributed to a higher degree of security in general.
“Some of our computers have been stolen. We have been able to shut them down at once, avoiding that they are used for cyber-attacks against us. We have quite frankly removed data. We have actually been able to retrieve one computer – but it is especially the data that we are happy to be able to secure quickly and efficiently.”
If Solar loses a computer, it is a potential breach of data. In such situations, the security staff uses Echo and a number of other tools to document to the Data Protection Agency that group data is secure and that the computer has been wiped and locked.
“We are so much up front that our data breaches according to the Data Protection Agency are not eligible for reporting. This is because we are able to show documentation right away that we empty the computers, so that data does not end up in the wrong hands,” says Frank Christensen.
BACK INTO OPERATION AGAIN
Echo automatically checks up on where Solar’s units are located. If they are not active, they will be collected and put back into operation again. Solar has achieved significant cost reduction by removing such ’black devices’. The demand for buying new computers is no longer the same and computers do not risk ending up in a drawer where they remain until they are outdated.
“When we got the system up and running, we found 50 ‘sleeping computers’ in the organisation If I am not mistaken, we even had 2 or 3 here in the IT department…,” says Frank Christensen. He also points to the fact that 15 to 20 computers turned up that Solar had no idea it owned. But now, the company does.
The overview also makes it a better experience for staff to user the helpdesk. Now, when the system is fully updated regarding the computer’s actual condition in real time, the helpdesk is able to follow Solar’s thousands of units at the increasing number of work at home stations and the group locations all over the world..
AN OUTSOURCED SOLUTION
Solar has opted to implement the Echo solution as a managed service.
“The business case is really good for us because we pay according to usage. We are not paying for inactive licenses and we can scale the number of units up and down,” explains Frank Christensen; underling the importance of the newest initiative developed by NetCloud for Solar: a Power BI solution where data is always presenting warranty status and battery level for all of the group’s units.
“NetCloud has a knowledge that we do not possess. By using a managed solution, we always have access to the best resources and competencies. This is very reassuring and offers us a commercial edge.”
Frank Christensen and Morten Junker Juul appreciate the cooperation with NetCloud.
“It is going really well. We draft our thoughts and NetCloud transfers them directly to Echo. They are also good at customising the solution so that it can handle the specific needs we have at Solar An off-the-shelf product is not good enough for us and NetCloud meets that need for us,” says Frank Christensen.
The two do not hesitate to recommend the Echo solution for other companies.
“It is an obvious tool if you want to protect personal and business data on a high level. Echo is also relevant for companies with many units that leave the location. Here, the solution is quite unique. Also, NetCloud’s API is easily accessible and makes it possible for you to add new tools on top of the solution.”
ECHO IN THE FUTURE
The next step will be to implement Echo in Solar’s affiliates around the world.
“Then I will be able to see if there are 10 unused computers in the Netherlands, 50 in Sweden and 200 in Denmark, and then we can start to move them around internally. This opens the gates to a universe of unique storage management. This makes sense, not least in a world subdued by a pandemic, enabling us to constantly restructure and achieve a lot of costs savings,” says Morten Junker Juul.
Together with NetCloud, Solar is also expanding their dashboards with new warning features.
“This will improve our opportunities to clarify if something deviates from the set standards. It may be units that change name so they do not adhere to our standards; it may be devices leaving the country or usage of banned software. Our insight and options to react just gets a lot better,” says Frank Christensen.
“In 6 to 12 months, when we have travelled further on our journey with Echo, we will surely be able to reap even more benefits. We have opened the door to a truly magnificent cooperation. Software development moves so fast that the threats from not having a solution like Echo are so serious that we have no other ambition than to keep on expanding the solution to make Solar even more agile, efficient and secure,” Frank Christensen sums up.
"Some of our computers have been stolen We have been able to shut them down at once, avoiding that they are used for cyber-attacks against us."
IT Security Manager, Solar Group IT