The challenge: Helping attorneys work remotely without limitations
When asked what the law firm’s 3,600 users, including 1,600 attorneys, wanted in a mobile technology experience, they said, “What I get in the office.” In other words, they wanted the same applications and files on their remote devices that are available to them on their office PCs, without any change in the visual experience. They also wanted the handoff between devices to be seamless so they could resume working where they had left off, without time-consuming, cumbersome logon and restart procedures. To give workers the most productive remote tools, this law firm began to look for ways to solve this problem.
The solution: Delivering an in-office experience with Citrix XenDesktop software
The law firm’s IT staff began to think about their options. Although workers could access the corporate apps and data using the Citrix XenApp solution, they missed the familiarity of their desktops. Virtual private networks offered a personalized experience but required attorneys to carry heavy laptops. Firm leaders wanted to make the most of their existing investment in the Citrix XenDesktop solution and XenApp virtualization software, rather than spending time and money licensing an additional product from another vendor. They also wanted something that would be easy to deploy and efficient to manage and administer.
With this guidance in mind, the IT staff suggested the firm take advantage of the Remote PC Access feature of the XenDesktop solution, which gives workers an in-office user experience from any remote device. The partners agreed, and the IT department launched a three-month pilot program with a select group of workers. The result? The program was a resounding success. “The solution was everything we expected,” says the firm’s IT architect. “Users loved it because they felt like they were at their office computer.” The deployment team upgraded to the current version of XenDesktop software and rolled out Remote PC Access to the remaining workers.
Today, the firm has deployed the Remote PC Access feature of the XenDesktop solution on each of the nearly 4,000 devices in the company—whether attorneys and staff choose laptops, tablets, or smartphones to work remotely. Employees can securely access applications, such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Word, as well as the associated files from any device, giving them the flexibility to work anytime and anywhere. Attorneys especially like the ability to work offline from remote locations such as courtrooms, where Internet access is often unavailable. For those workers who bring their own devices to the office, the firm uses the Citrix XenApp published desktop feature to provide an affordable shared desktop experience. The Citrix NetScaler Gateway solution supports high-bandwidth connectivity among the company’s offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Key benefit: Letting attorneys serve clients efficiently even when working remotely
Whether they work in the office, from home after hours, or in a courtroom, attorneys and staff get their own personalized IT environment with all the familiarity and functionality of their office PCs. Those who travel no longer need to carry heavy laptops to access their personal desktops. “People were worried that we would adopt virtual desktops and essentially take their personal desktop away,” says the firm’s IT architect. “With the Citrix XenDesktop Remote PC Access feature, they still have a personalized work environment but they also get the device flexibility and ability to work offline. It’s the best of all worlds.”
Key benefit: Enhancing worker productivity and system security
Attorneys can log on to desktop PCs and access their work in just seconds. One attorney calculated that XenDesktop software with Remote PC Access helped him shave 20 seconds from each logon process, saving hours over the course of a month. The firm recently implemented Microsoft Azure Multi-Factor Authentication, which means attorneys can identify themselves with just a ingerprint, further speeding the logon process. Integration between the Microsoft product and the Citrix NetScaler Gateway solution simplified deployment of the new biometric feature. Integration with technologies such as the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface secure boot feature makes meeting clients’ security requirements easier.
Key benefit: Increasing IT administration efficiency and reducing costs
The IT management features of the XenDesktop solution help the firm’s lean IT department quickly and efficiently provision computer access on every endpoint. Automated scripts replace a cumbersome manual provisioning process that previously required an admin to deploy software device by device. With each administrator responsible for supporting 15 workers, the automated provisioning feature saves a significant amount of time, freeing workers to concentrate on more value-added tasks. In addition, because remote access functionality was already included in the firm’s existing XenDesktop solution, the law firm saved $140,000 on additional licensing fees.
As it completes a migration throughout the firm to Microsoft Windows 10, the IT team can take advantage of the interoperability features of Remote PC Access, such as the secure boot feature, touch screens, sophisticated new chip sets, and multimonitor configurations. The firm is also considering introducing Apple Mac devices, supported by the Citrix DesktopPlayer solution. “Citrix is a strategic technology for us,” says the IT architect. “We couldn’t be competitive in our market without this kind of remote access technology.”