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Posted: 2/22/2011
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BRED Banque Populaire Bank Modernizes IT Environment, Enhances Security by Upgrading Operating System

To meet internal security standards, the French bank BRED Banque Populaire needed to modernize the 4,000 computers in its IT environment. The bank decided to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise and manage its networks with Microsoft Application Virtualization and other Microsoft security and management solutions. Now BRED enjoys enhanced IT security and a more efficient IT infrastructure.

Business Needs
A cooperative bank founded in 1919, BRED Banque Populaire is part of the BPCE Group and one of the largest popular banks in France, with 126,000 members, almost 4,000 employees and partners, and 351 branches. BRED provides local banking services for individuals, small to midsize enterprises, and large economic entities.

BRED relies on its IT environment to support its business activities. From commercial banking to billing manage-ment, nearly all employee activities at BRED involve using a computer and network services to manage information or conduct a transaction. The bank has 3,750 employees, and with branch offices and partners, BRED manages an IT environment of more than 4,000 workstations.

With a staff of 200, the IT department at BRED has to manage the bank’s IT tools, develop applications to meet evolving business needs, and support those tools and applications by maintaining an advanced IT infrastructure. The bank was still running its employee computers with the Windows 2000 operating system, and the aging technology could not support the very high security requirements for employee workstations that had been set by the bank’s upper management.

BRED needed to upgrade the operating system on almost 4,000 computers and at the same time ensure that its existing suite of almost 300 business applications would be compatible with the newer environment. As the bank started making plans for an upgrade project, it also wanted to limit the number of technology providers and partners it would need to engage.

When IT staff at BRED attended a Microsoft workshop that demonstrated the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system, the team was impressed. According to Gérard Sarrazin, Manager of Architecture and Systems Security at BRED Banque Populaire, his team was convinced by the features in Windows 7 as well as the practical experience displayed by the professionals at Microsoft.

"We were absolutely won over by the way Microsoft reached out to us,” says Sarrazin. “They showed up with very practical explanations and experience that really spoke to us."

* Our IT team has used Windows 7 Enterprise to create a very stable workstation, which inspires confidence. It's easy to deploy and administer, with many features specifically designed for business. *

Gérard Sarrazin
Manager of Architecture and Systems Security, BRED Banque Populaire

In order to minimize the number of software providers involved in its upgrade plan, the bank was happy to work with experts from Microsoft Services. Together, the two teams oversaw the deployment of Windows 7 Enterprise and made sure that the 300 business applications in use at BRED would work properly with the operating system.

To help enhance its data security, BRED now uses features native to Windows 7 Enterprise such as BitLocker drive encryption to help safeguard information on computer hard drives. BRED saw virtualization technology as another way to help meet its security needs, and the IT team used Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)—a component of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance—to virtualize applications such as those in Microsoft Office 2010 and deliver them to employee workstations as network services, rather than installing them on individual PCs.

BRED used Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager to develop a workstation access system supported with dedicated smart cards for employees. The bank installed DirectAccess—enabled in Windows 7 Enterprise by the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system—so that remote employees can connect to the bank's network from any Internet connection, with the IT team still managing user access. The bank also used Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise and manage the company’s business applications and security solutions.

BRED worked with Microsoft Services to begin the upgrade in 2010 and it expects to have Windows 7 Enterprise installed on almost half of its PCs by June 2011.

By upgrading its IT environment to Windows 7 Enterprise, BRED has enhanced its IT security and made its IT infrastructure more efficient—all while working with a single, trusted solutions provider.

Enhanced Security
With Windows 7 Enterprise, BRED now has an IT environment that meets the company’s security standards. By using BitLocker, BRED helps keep data safe in case a computer is lost or stolen. With DirectAccess and Forefront Identity Manager, the bank can deliver easy connections to IT services for all employees, while managing and safeguarding network access.

Improved Efficiency
The deployment of Windows 7 Enterprise at BRED has been welcomed as a major and positive IT change for the company. Employees find the Windows 7 Enterprise stable, reliable, fast, and easy to use with features that make business processes more efficient, and remote workers can now access corporate information from any Internet connection.

"Our IT team has used Windows 7 Enterprise to create a very stable workstation, which inspires confidence," says Sarrazin. “It's easy to deploy and administer, with many features specifically designed for business, and that has made all the difference for BRED."

IT administrators at BRED can manage the bank’s operating system and applications more easily. According to Olivier Geffroy, the head of the Windows 7 upgrade project at BRED, the bank’s IT department has streamlined IT management processes by using System Center Configuration Manager to deploy Windows 7, distribute applications, update software, install security upgrades, and troubleshoot workstations from a central console.

Helpful, Trusted Provider
Throughout the project, BRED took advantage of the assistance provided by Microsoft Services to help its own IT team prepare for its upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise. "There were 10 Microsoft associates that we met with every two weeks,” says Sarrazin. “At every meeting, we made great strides on the work for the new workstation environment."

For more information about Windows 7, go to:
Solution Overview

Organization Size: 4000 employees

Organization Profile

BRED Banque Populaire is a French cooperative bank with 126,000 members, nearly 4,000 employees, and 351 branches. In 2009, BRED earned net consolidated profits of €243 million (U.S.$320 million).

Software and Services
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Application Virtualization
  • Microsoft Services
  • Client Solutions - Flexible Workstyle
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Suites
  • Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Client Solutions - Flexible Workstyle
  • Windows Mobile 6 Adaptation Kit
  • BitLocker To Go
  • DirectAccess

Vertical Industries


Business Need
  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Business Productivity

IT Issue
  • Identity, Security and Access Management
  • Desktop, Device and Server Management
  • Personal Productivity
  • Virtualization


Microsoft Services