The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for relations with other countries and international organizations. It also provides consular services to Turkish citizens who live overseas. To provide a more productive, secure, and easy-to-use working environment for its employees, the Ministry upgraded 3,000 computers to the Windows 7 operating system. Employees can now efficiently generate the nearly 2,700 documents that the Ministry produces every day, and they can more easily access Ministry systems from remote locations. IT staff also takes advantage of the advanced security and system manageability features in Windows 7, such as AppLocker, BitLocker, DirectAccess, and the Problem Steps Recorder.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is Turkey’s liaison with other countries and with international organizations. The Ministry also manages Turkish diplomatic and consular missions in countries around the world and is responsible for promoting the country’s political, economic, and cultural interests. The Ministry has approximately 5,000 employees and more than 1,000 career diplomats in its 185 worldwide offices, which include 107 Embassies, 11 Permanent Representations, and 67 Consulates General.
The Ministry’s IT needs are handled by the Department of IT and Communications service unit. The IT group performs a wide range of services, including maintaining personnel records, managing daily correspondence, performing political and economic promotion activities at overseas offices, and providing consular services to the 5 million Turkish citizens who live abroad. To support these services, the Ministry requires a robust and stable IT infrastructure.
||Windows 7 offers a performance advantage that will increase employee productivity, and I believe it will play an important role in improving our business processes and public satisfaction.
Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Turkey
“We deployed our centralized IT environment five years ago and started to keep electronic records of all official/consular transactions made by Turkish citizens living abroad,” says Naci Koru, Deputy Undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ”In addition, we launched an e-Consulate application in the United States and since then have deployed it worldwide. The application allows citizens to receive many consular services without physically visiting a consulate or an embassy. Eight years ago, we implemented a document management system built on Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 development system and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 data management software that electronically processes all Ministry correspondence. We have dozens of IT projects that are completed or in progress, with the goal of transforming our Ministry into a real e-Ministry.”
The Ministry implemented its first Internet application on the Windows NT operating system in 1995 and has used Microsoft software and technology ever since. Today, the Ministry is an end-to-end Microsoft shop, with 3,000 employees working—until recently—with the Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista operating systems.
The IT group keeps a close eye on emerging technologies. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs tracks technology closely, and we focus on IT projects that enable us to play a pioneering role among Turkish public institutions,” says Koru. “Another focus is closely integrating all of our systems, including those in overseas offices.”
Because employees worked on a variety of operating systems, the Ministry experienced a decrease in user performance and productivity. It was also more difficult for IT staff to manage the systems and keep them secure and operating reliably. The Ministry wanted to keep pace with recent technological advances. “From a user productivity perspective, system performance plays a key role. We want to provide the most reliable operating system possible in order to minimize work interruptions due to technical problems,” says Koru. “We also have a large number of users who need to access centralized Ministry resources from remote locations around the world, and we need to be able to access and troubleshoot those systems when problems arise.”Solution
In response to its desire to keep its technology infrastructure robust and up-to-date, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs evaluated the Windows 7 operating system. The Ministry found that Windows 7 uses system resources very effectively and comes with built-in support for advanced security, remote access, and communication features.
Based on the positive results of its evaluation, the Ministry chose to install Windows 7 Enterprise on all of its desktop PCs. The project began in September 2009, when the Department of IT and Communications migrated 80 percent of the Ministry’s 3,000 client PCs to Windows 7, beginning with the computers at its home offices in Ankara, Turkey. The IT staff completed the migration to the remaining 20 percent of computers by the end of November 2009.
The Ministry operates a central virtual private network (VPN) to connect users from all of its global networks. With the VPN, employees around the world can connect to central resources and applications, and Turkish citizens living abroad can continue to access the same services they receive in Turkey. With the DirectAccess feature in Windows 7, the Ministry has been able to establish temporary, security-enhanced connections in small countries or recently opened offices until their systems are included in the central VPN.
As a government entity, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs places a great importance on data security. The Ministry has enhanced security by implementing the authentication and authorization capabilities of the Active Directory service and Group Policy settings, which can be applied across a given site, domain, or organizational unit. IT staff can now better control remote users’ access to centralized applications. The Ministry has also deployed an additional layer of security with Windows 7 features, such as AppLocker and BitLocker drive encryption. IT staff uses AppLocker to achieve more granular control over the installation and use of applications, while it uses BitLocker to prevent unauthorized access to private data, which is particularly important in the case of a lost or stolen portable computer.
||Windows 7 will help us more easily support remote users, and that will minimize work interruptions due to technical difficulties.
Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Turkey
To provide technical support to employees working in remote offices, the Ministry’s IT staff takes advantage of the Problem Steps Recorder feature in Windows 7. This advanced screen-capture tool records the user’s interaction with an application, and this provides the IT support group with a detailed screen-by-screen view with accompanying information about keyboard strokes and mouse clicks.
The Ministry uses the Windows Server 2008 operating system in its data center, and along with the upgrade to Windows 7, the Ministry has been testing Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V virtualization technology. The Ministry expects to benefit from the strong interoperability between Hyper-V and Windows 7. To reduce communications costs and improve user productivity in remote offices, the Ministry has also started to implement Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 as its enterprise communications platform.Benefits
By upgrading to the Windows 7 operating system, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has enhanced the reliability and security of its PCs, while providing a more productive work environment for employees. Overall, the Ministry has improved its business processes and its consular services to Turkish citizens.
Enhanced Performance and Productivity
With Windows 7, employees benefit from fast startup times, improved application performance, and useful features that improve daily tasks. “Speed is an essential part of improving both document management processes and consular services,” says Koru. “Windows 7 offers a performance advantage that will increase employee productivity, and I believe it will play an important role in improving our business processes and public satisfaction.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs generates an average of 2,700 documents a day, and the performance increases will have an impact on document management. “Most of our workload consists of writing, sending, and managing these documents,” says Koru. “For this reason, the document management system that we implemented eight years ago had a revolutionary impact. We have renewed this platform with the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and Windows 7, which provides high-speed performance to users.”Better Remote Access and Security
The Ministry has more flexible options for managing remote access services with the DirectAccess feature in Windows 7. “Previously, our field offices had to wait for IT staff to enable a central VPN connection for them,” says Koru. “Now they can immediately have temporary, secure access to centralized resources at the Ministry’s headquarters.”
Using Active Directory and Group Policy settings, the Ministry has also improved the security of its internal network. It has further enhanced this security with AppLocker and BitLocker to monitor the types of applications that employees install and to encrypt data to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive government information.Improved User Support
Before upgrading to Windows 7, the IT staff had difficulty supporting remote employees who worked from the Ministry’s international offices. But with helpful features, like the Problem Steps Recorder in Windows 7, it is easier for the IT group to resolve technical issues remotely. This reduces downtime and enables employees to remain productive.
“Windows 7 will help us more easily support remote users, and that will minimize work interruptions due to technical difficulties,” concludes Koru.
Works the way you want: Windows 7 will help your organization use information technology to gain a competitive advantage in today’s new world of work. Your people will be able to be more productive anywhere. You will be able to support your mobile workforce with better access to shared data and collaboration tools. And your IT staff will have better tools and technologies for enhanced corporate IT security and data protection, and more efficient deployment and management.
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For more information about the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs services, call (+90 312) 292 10 00, or visit the website at: