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Posted: 7/2/2012
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Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior Saudi Ministry Engages Support Services to Upgrade IT Systems and Improve Security

The General Administration of Forensics Evidence in the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior wanted to upgrade its older IT infrastructure and improve IT processes. With the help of Microsoft Services Premier Support, the group enhanced network security, installed updated software, and trained the staff in operational excellence—and completed the one-year engagement in just six months. With its new technology capabilities, the ministry is able to solve crimes faster.

Business Needs
The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior is responsible for the national security of Saudi Arabia and includes the kingdom’s police, civil defense, and rescue operations. The General Administration of Forensics Evidence is the crime-solving arm of the ministry, with headquarters in Riyadh, approximately 150 regional crime labs around the country, and smaller municipal labs in key cities.

* We have to be more advanced than the criminals we are fighting. With the help of Premier Support, we can now assemble evidence faster, pool our expertise, and solve crimes faster. *

Colonel Fareed Alim
IT Operations Manager, General Administration of Forensics Evidence, General Security in Ministry of Interior Saudi Arabia

The Forensics Evidence group maintains a central database in Riyadh where all national crime-related data is stored. However, prior to 2011, municipal and regional offices transferred this data to Riyadh by fax and mail because there were no electronic links between offices. Mailing evidence risked damage and loss and also delayed police work. It could take months to assemble all the evidence for a crime.

The lack of electronic connection between offices was just one problem the group faced. Its entire IT infrastructure was outdated, and the IT staff lacked training in best operational practices. The environment was unstable and sometimes unavailable due to the lack of proactive monitoring, there were many connectivity problems, and the systems were prone to security breaches due to improper security updates.

All these problems impaired the ministry’s ability to solve crimes. “Today, forensics are so important in police work, and most forensics work is dependent on technology—DNA searches, chemical analysis, and so forth,” says Colonel Fareed Alim, IT Operations Manager, General Administration Forensics Evidence. “Saudi Arabia experiences terrorist attacks and other threats; we have to respond with all the means we have.”

In 2008, the Saudi government signed an agreement with Microsoft to provide software and support to its many ministry departments and branches. Microsoft Services met with representatives from each branch to determine the state of their IT landscape, create a new IT roadmap for each, and prioritize the work. This review revealed what Alim already knew: Forensics Evidence was one of the groups facing the most challenges.

Forensics Evidence engaged Microsoft Services to help it stabilize its IT services, reorient its staff from a reactive to a proactive approach, and modernize the environment by using the latest Microsoft software. It worked with Microsoft Services consultants to create a technology baseline and roadmap. Alim’s team then implemented the roadmap in phases, using Microsoft Services Premier Support to provide guidance and support along the way and train employees on Microsoft best practices.

The group identified six engagements that it hoped to complete in a year:

  • Upgrade all servers to the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system and implement Active Directory Domain Services

  • Deploy Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 to provide malware protection for the group’s 1,100 PCs

  • Implement a new file-sharing process

  • Deploy Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to deploy, manage, and update PC software

  • Implement Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 to help secure the network

  • Implement Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 to provide a modern messaging system

While the original plan allowed 12 months for all these engagements, Forensics Evidence completed the work in six months, from November 2011 to May 2012. During all the engagements, a Premier Support Technical Account Manager, Bander Yaghmour, orchestrated all services, opened support tickets when needed, provided on-site workshops for the ministry staff, and ensured that the staff understood how to maintain the new environment according to the principles of the Microsoft Operations Framework. “Using the Value Triangle from the proven Premier Service Delivery Methodology, we could address customer IT priorities and attain customer desired state very efficiently,” Yaghmour says.

By engaging Microsoft Services Premier Support, the Saudi Forensics Evidence group was able to quickly upgrade its IT systems, train its staff, and enhance network security, all of which contribute to faster, more effective police work.

Solve Crimes Faster
Today, with more robust IT systems and a better trained staff, Forensics Evidence is able to process evidence faster and solve cases sooner. “We have to be more advanced than the criminals we are fighting,” Alim says. “With the help of Premier Support, we can now assemble evidence faster, pool our expertise, and solve crimes faster. All of our people are connected and working together now. We can do a database search of DNA profiles from any location.”

Train Staff to Use Technology Effectively
Upgrading the IT staff’s knowledge was a success for Forensics Evidence. “We have all the technology funds we need, but the equipment is nothing without people who know how to use it,” Alim says. “Developing our people is our most important goal, and Premier Support has been invaluable here. Microsoft is surprising us all the time with new technologies, and we want to know how to take full advantage of them. We trust the Microsoft Services staff implicitly. They’ve helped us create unbreakable solutions. Working with Microsoft every day has made an enormous difference in my staff’s effectiveness.”

Enhance Security of IT Systems
Premier Support helped the group create a more secure network, including identifying the appropriate hardware, installing the necessary software, and helping the staff understand how to keep the environment secure. “The security of our IT systems directly impacts the security of our country,” Alim says. “I used to be afraid of all the external threats, but I don’t worry any more. Now we have the right software and processes to control the security of our network and data.”

Modernize IT Systems in Just Six Months
Forensics Evidence was able to upgrade its IT environment in only six months. “It was really incredible to get this work done in six months—half the time we had scheduled,” Alim says. “The Microsoft Services team really did a fantastic job. I would recommend Microsoft to anyone.”

Microsoft Services
Microsoft Services is a global team of professionals who are dedicated to helping customers maximize the value of their investment in Microsoft software. Microsoft Services touches customers more than 715 million times a year, helping them plan, deploy, support and optimize our technologies. They also work closely with Microsoft Partners by sharing their technological expertise and product knowledge on a regular basis.

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 4000 employees

Organization Profile

The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior is responsible for the country’s national security. The General Administration of Forensics Evidence is the kingdom’s central crime research lab.

Software and Services
  • Premier Support for Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007
  • Datacenter
  • Premier Support for Enterprise
  • Premier Support for Enterprise

Vertical Industries
  • National Government Agencies
  • Defense

Saudi Arabia

Business Need
Support and Services


Microsoft Services