Modern Workspace / Hybrid Infrastructure: Solving Remote Working And Mobile Challenges

Thomas Duryea Logicalis solves Griffith Hack’s remote working and mobile challenges

Griffith Hack is an intellectual property (IP) firm with offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, and Brisbane. Going beyond the traditional IP firm offering, Griffith Hack provides robust analysis of the IP landscape to inform clients’ strategic IP and investment decisions, and to help them get the maximum research and development funding available. Instead of simply protecting existing IP, Griffith Hack works to use clients’ IP to open up new opportunities.

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Challenges
Ageing software and infrastructure meant Griffith Hack faced three key pain points: a legacy external gateway that made it difficult for remote workers to access critical applications; the need to send large files and collaborate with clients and partners; and the challenge of improving mobile device management.

Remote Access
With a datacentre based in Melbourne, Griffith Hack found that it was difficult for users to run some applications from their other offices due to lag times. Time is valuable to a law firm and its clients, and these users needed to access vital software daily, but performance over the WAN for some core applications was very slow.

Additionally, Griffith Hack needed to let attorneys and other staff work remotely and securely. This had been accomplished in the past through an old Microsoft terminal solution, but this needed to be upgraded. Gavin Townsend, Infrastructure Manager, Griffith Hack, said, “This firm runs on communication; it’s our bread and butter.

The technology we were using for remote access connectivity and the edge gateways were all coming towards end of life, so had to be replaced. We needed a centralised and controlled environment that would let users work from any office or anywhere in the world, fast.”

Sending files
The firm needed the ability to easily send large electronic files such as PDFs and portfolio documents, which could be dozens of files at a time. Griffith Hack had been using an on-premise FTP site to do this, which was inefficient and time consuming for the IT department. Gavin Townsend said, “As a law firm, document security is paramount so we had to make sure staff weren’t using sites like Dropbox to share large files. We wanted to remove those unmanaged applications that synchronise files between our workstations and external environments, while at the same time making it possible for users to share large files securely and easily. Using our FTP site was fine for basic transfers but it wasn’t feature rich and it meant someone from the IT team had to set up an account each time, upload the documents, share the details with the client and then close the account when finished. We needed to find a more efficient way to do this.”

Mobile device management
The final challenge that Griffith Hack needed to solve was better mobile device management. Under the previous system, mobile devices had to be completely cleaned and reformatted once a person left the firm. This protected sensitive information but it also meant that employees may have lost any personal information or apps that had been on their mobile device if they hadn’t backed up properly.

Gavin Townsend said, “Wiping an entire device is fine if a device is lost or the employee has left the firm and handed it back. However, most of the time it was an amicable departure and if the employee was using their own device", it could cause problems.

We needed to find a way to separate business and personal information on mobile devices so that we could safely remove certain software without wiping the device.

Solution
Griffith Hack had been working with technology services company Thomas Duryea Logicalis for a number of years. The firm chose a suite of products from Citrix to solve its key challenges, and worked with Thomas Duryea Logicalis to implement the solution.

Gavin Townsend said, “We considered the market and Citrix offered the best functionality and security for remote access and published apps. It’s also widely used and we had engineers and resources to support it, so it was a known entity. Implementing it was a relatively straightforward exercise.” Griffith Hack uses Citrix Workspace Suite with NetScaler to deliver secure access to apps, data, and services from any device. The Citrix Workspace Suite includes Citrix XenApp, Citrix ShareFile, and Citrix XenMobile.

Citrix XenApp publishes remote applications and complete desktops so users can work from anywhere securely. It cuts transaction times by as much as 300 per cent, so the practice engagement software runs as smoothly in other cities as it does in Griffith Hack’s Melbourne office. Meanwhile, Citrix ShareFile lets Griffith Hack send large files. It lets users access, sync, and share files securely from any device, inside or outside the organisation. Using this has removed the need for the Griffith Hack IT team to manually set up and manage FTP accounts.

Additionally, Citrix XenMobile mobile device management and mobile application management solution lets Griffith Hack configure, secure, and support mobile devices. It protects the firm’s data and can selectively wipe any device at any time. Gavin Townsend said, the Citrix solution effectively solved each of our pain points, letting Griffith Hack provide a better user experience and be more efficient, which results in improved client service.

Benefits
Since implementing the Citrix Workspace suite, Griffith Hack has seen immediate benefits. Gavin Townsend said, “Users don’t really care how they get remote access; they just want it to work. This solution does that. People actively enjoy using the ShareFile functionality because it is more professional than the old FTP approach”.

Tools like XenMobile have made it easier to manage systems. This frees up the IT team’s time to work on proactive, strategic projects rather than administration tasks like provisioning devices or configuring systems.

“Without the Citrix solution and the help from Thomas Duryea Logicalis, the firm simply couldn’t work the way we do now. Citrix truly connects our workforce with our IT systems and our clients, irrespective of their location or device and it does so professionally, efficiently and securely.”

Partnering with Thomas Duryea Logicalis
Griffith Hack limits its use of contractors, preferring to develop knowledge and skills in-house where possible. However, it engages with contractors to bridge knowledge gaps and overcome temporary resource shortages. As a Citrix Platinum Partner and one of the largest Citrix providers in Australia, Thomas Duryea Logicalis was the obvious choice for Griffith Hack to partner with to solve its IT challenges.

Gavin Townsend said, “Some vendors don’t like our model of engagement but Thomas Duryea Logicalis has always been happy to give us what we need. Sometimes that means managing an entire project, while other times it means working alongside us for a few days to get over a hump, then transferring knowledge to our team and providing ongoing support as needed.

“Realistically, we couldn’t have completed this entire project by ourselves. We were upgrading and configuring systems that people needed to use daily so we couldn’t afford for things to go wrong or be delayed. Thomas Duryea Logicalis worked with us to mitigate the risks. The team’s knowledge and experience helped ensure a smooth, seamless transition”.

“Working with Thomas Duryea Logicalis also meant that we could be very efficient. Instead of attacking the project in a piecemeal way when we had time, Thomas Duryea Logicalis provided a project management structure. That meant we had clear timings and could coordinate the internal resources we needed to get the build done”.

“I love working with Thomas Duryea Logicalis. We’ve had the same contact from the beginning of the relationship and nothing is too much trouble. The team is readily available and we trust the depth of expertise within the team.”

“Importantly, Thomas Duryea Logicalis takes the time to understand the business: it’s not about what they can sell to us, it’s about how they can help us fulfil our needs. For example, the team negotiated with Citrix directly on our behalf to change the existing licensing model which bundled the tools we needed together, making it more affordable to get all the tools at once.”