Across Israel, 6,000 Yad Sarah volunteers rely on PCs to provide services that help people who have health issues to be able to stay in their homes. That is why Yad Sarah subscribed to the Windows Intune
cloud-based PC-management solution from Microsoft. Yad Sarah has reduced network security incidents by 70 percent and reduced remote support time by 80 percent. With reliable, highly secure PCs, volunteers are empowered to realize the organization’s vision.
Yad Sarah is a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that provides services to one in two Israeli families. Yad Sarah helps the ill, elderly, and disabled to live productive lives in their homes through services, such as lending medical and rehabilitative
equipment, providing transportation and personal emergency alarms, and running daycare centers and dental clinics. Funded mainly through donations, the organization’s budget is approximately ILS 70 million [US$19 million] a year. Yad Sarah saves the Israeli
economy approximately ILS 1.5 billion (S$400 million) annually in hospital and medical costs.
About 75 percent of the 200 employees at Yad Sarah work at the Jerusalem headquarters, while the rest work alongside volunteers at the branch offices.
“We have made some big changes: migrating from Oracle to Microsoft solutions and creating a wide area network [WAN], so that branch offices can connect to headquarters,” says Irit Katsernov, Chief Information Officer at Yad Sarah. “We have trained nearly
5,000 volunteers to use our systems to accept donations and provide services, such as booking equipment, reserving a transportation van, or arranging for legal help. So you can imagine how important it is to keep these PCs secure, reliable, and up to date.”
The 400 PCs at the Yad Sarah branch offices ran either the Windows XP or the Windows Vista operating system, along with different versions of Microsoft Office productivity applications. Because they were not connected to the organization’s domain, it was
a challenge to manage them.
“If we had problems, we sent out a technical staff member to provide desk-side support, but this was costly and inefficient,” says Tomer Rouah, Network Administrator at Elad Systems, which provides IT services for Yad Sarah. “We did have a remote assistance
tool, but it was not very effective, and we needed to use a virtual private network. But we had experienced some security breaches, and my biggest worry was that we didn’t have any tools to provide endpoint protection.”
In January 2011, Yad Sarah began looking for the right technology to provide better PC management and remote support services for its dedicated volunteers across the country. When Elad Systems suggested the latest cloud-based PC-management service from
Microsoft, called Windows Intune, Katsernov immediately saw its value for the organization. Windows Intune combines PC management, endpoint protection, remote assistance, software distribution and updates, and hardware and software tracking capabilities, and
it includes an option to upgrade to the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system.
“We see Windows Intune as a financially flexible cloud technology that will deliver real benefits, and we can add subscriptions to build up our deployment gradually as our donations come in,” says Katsernov. “For an NGO, it’s a relief not to have to raise
a lot of capital for a critical piece of technology, which would take away from our services.”
||Our first priority is providing the best service we can. We feel that Windows Intune helps us to help others, and we are thrilled. We plan to deploy Windows Intune to all Yad Sarah branch offices.
|| Irit Katsernov
Chief Information Officer, Yad Sarah
In 2011, Elad Systems manually deployed Windows Intune Endpoint Protection to 400 PCs in the branch offices at Yad Sarah. This client software returns information about the PCs to a simple, web-based Administration console when connected to the Internet. “We
use the console daily to monitor the computers for Yad Sarah,” says Rouah. “Now we can control security policies, schedule scans and Windows updates, distribute software, and compile software and hardware inventories. We couldn’t do these things before.”
Yad Sarah plans to use Windows Intune to gradually standardize its IT environment, which will make it easier to provide remote assistance, and to ensure that its systems will run equally well on every PC. “The branch managers are helping us to introduce
the service to our volunteers, many of whom are retired, and show them how to initiate a remote assistance session if necessary,” says Katsernov.
Today, Windows Intune is the only software that Yad Sarah needs to help ensure the security and reliability of its PCs. The end result is that volunteers and staff at Yad Sarah, whether in headquarters or at one of the branches, are provided with what
they need in order to realize the organization’s vision.
By using Windows Intune endpoint protection to keep malicious software definitions up to date, Elad Systems has helped to enhance the security of the WAN at Yad Sarah. “Since we deployed Windows Intune, we have reduced incidents of malicious software attacking
the network by 70 percent,” says Rouah. “Because we can use the software inventory to see exactly what people are running on the PCs, we can identify potential threats.”
Improved Remote Support
Now that Elad Systems has retired its remote management tool and uses Windows Intune to support staff and volunteers, it can resolve issues much faster.
“All you need is a connection to the Internet to initiate a remote assistance request,” says Rouah. “We are solving issues in minutes instead of sending an IT professional to the site, which could take days. Now, my engineer is saving up to 80 percent of
his time. We are working on more strategic services for Yad Sarah, such as deploying Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.”
For Katsernov, the biggest benefit of using Windows Intune is that Yad Sarah now has more reliable PCs that volunteers can use to serve the people who need the organization’s services.
“A more stable environment equates to more satisfied staff and volunteers,” Katsernov says. “Our first priority is providing the best service we can. We feel that Windows Intune helps us to help others, and we are thrilled. We plan to deploy Windows Intune
to all Yad Sarah branch offices.”
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