Founded in 2007, AMARAS offers software-plus-services solutions for supporting IT systems. It had been using third-party solutions to remotely troubleshoot customers’ PCs. Plus, its customers had been having issues with malicious software. AMARAS began offering Windows Intune, a cloud-based PC management solution. The company and its customers benefit from reduced costs, enhanced security, faster service, and expanded business opportunities.Business Needs
Founded in 2007, IT service provider AMARAS has seven locations in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The company specializes in supporting desktop computers and offers software-plus-services solutions for monitoring, managing, and supporting IT systems and projects. It has more than 20 customers that include small to midsize enterprises that have between 14 and 2,000 computers.
To manage its customers’ PC infrastructures, AMARAS used a third-party desktop-sharing solution. To conduct inventories, AMARAS had to travel to customer sites and manually identify and count software instances. The company’s customers monitored their own PCs, and, when issues arose, they alerted AMARAS and granted the service provider permission to remotely access their desktops and address problems.
For example, when SFB GmbH, a consulting firm with 19 employees that is an AMARAS customer, needed assistance, one of its employees would have to manually start the desktop-sharing application and install a virtual private network (VPN) application. This enabled AMARAS IT professionals to provide remote assistance to SFB GmbH employees.
SFB GmbH had been using a complimentary third-party application to protect its PCs from security threats. Because most of the company’s employees work in other countries, they rarely connect to the corporate network to get software updates, which left their mobile computers vulnerable to malicious software (malware) attacks. At one time, because security had been compromised on their PCs, two SFB GmbH employees—10 percent of its workforce—were unable to use their computers for three days, which cost the company several thousand dollars.
To address its customers’ concerns about PC management, AMARAS looked into cloud-based solutions. For SFB GmbH and other customers, the company had already successfully deployed cloud-based productivity suites from Microsoft Online Services that combine Microsoft Office desktop programs with communications and collaboration tools. “SFB GmbH likes using Microsoft Online Services very much,” says Sebastian Summerer, Key Account Manager for Online Servers at AMARAS. “They like that they can work from anywhere in a secure environment.”Solution
In August 2010, AMARAS decided to conduct an eight-week pilot program with Windows Intune, a solution that simplifies how businesses manage and secure PCs using Windows cloud services and the Windows 7 operating system. It deployed Windows Intune software and services internally and at two customers. The deployment process took only a few hours at each site. AMARAS is using the solution to replace third-party tools for PC monitoring and servicing. Windows Intune is available to customers on a per-month, per-seat subscription basis.
||Thanks to Windows Intune, we get email alerts and easy visibility into an organization’s PCs. We can respond more quickly, and we can be proactive instead of waiting for a request from the customer.
Key Account Manager of Online Services, AMARAS
The company is offering Windows Intune to its customers as a service provider, which means it can manage customers’ PCs remotely from a simple web-based console. AMARAS needs a standard Internet connection and a Microsoft Silverlight–enabled browser, and end users need to be connected to the Internet.
AMARAS IT professionals can use Windows Intune to automatically install updates to users’ PCs, manage desktops remotely for rapid problem resolution, and automate the inventorying of software assets. They can proactively monitor PC health and set security policies. And, they can take advantage of the malware protection that is built on the same Microsoft Malware Protection Engine used by the Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection Suite, as well as the automatic email alerts from Windows Intune about critical PC issues.
Each active Windows Intune subscription includes a license to upgrade to the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system, which offers security features such as BitLocker, which helps keep data safe by encrypting the entire drive, and BitLocker To Go, which encrypts data on portable storage devices including USB flash drives. SFB GmbH has standardized its PC infrastructure on Windows 7 and deployed the data encryption features.Benefits
By deploying Windows Intune to its customers, AMARAS expects to be able to reduce its costs and its customers’ costs, tighten security on managed PCs, respond faster to requests, and expand its offerings.
By using Windows Intune, AMARAS expects that its IT professionals will spend only 15 percent of the time they used to spend on managing PCs. Its customers avoid the costs of installing on-premises servers. AMARAS estimates that customers that adopt Windows Intune can save between €2,000 and €3,000 (U.S.$2,885 to $4,328) a month. Thanks to endpoint protection, customers avoid the cost of third-party security software.
By adopting Windows Intune, AMARAS customers get reliable protection from malware threats. “With the endpoint protection in Windows Intune, customers with remote employees feel more secure,” says Summerer. “Their workers don’t have to connect to the company network to get all the latest fixes and updates.”
Because IT professionals using Windows Intune can provide assistance remotely, AMARAS can provide better support to its customers. “Thanks to Windows Intune, we get email alerts and easy visibility into an organization’s PCs,” says Summerer. “We can respond more quickly, and we can be proactive instead of waiting for a request from the customer.”
Expanded Customer Base
AMARAS expects that by providing Windows Intune, it can streamline its IT workload and expand its customer base. It is using the time saved on PC management tasks to train its IT professionals on advanced technologies so that it can increase its offerings. The company expects that by deploying cloud-based services, it can support more customers with its current staff.
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