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25 May 2011

Security and confidence: virtually guaranteed

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L ancashire Constabulary is responsible for policing the county of Lancashire, with its population of 1.5 million, in Northwest England. Its IT goal is to support frontline policing, by delivering appropriate technology to its 5000 officers and support staff.

Secure access to IT systems is provided using two different security classifications: restricted and confidential – the latter being the most controlled. Driven by new legislation governing nationwide sharing of information, the force needed to segregate the restricted and confidential networks, and also enable users to switch easily from one network to the other.


“The success of this desktop virtualisation project has enabled Lancashire Constabulary to save money and meet complex security requirements. ”

A virtualised desktop infrastructure (VDI) approach was chosen to address the force's challenges, because it was scalable and would meet security requirements. Plus, it was cost-effective since physical desktop hardware would not need to be replaced.

An off-the-shelf VDI product was selected by the force, but its native connection broker did not meet security standards to segregate the restricted and confidential networks. An alternative broker was required to manage, secure and provision Lancashire Constabulary's virtual desktop environments as well as brokering connections. Quest vWorkspace was selected because it was the only broker capable of meeting the force's security requirements to segregate the restricted and confidential networks.

Lancashire Constabulary was then forced to reconsider its entire approach because the vendor of the other parts of the VDI solution drastically increased its price. "We had already established that vWorkspace was the only broker solution that could meet our security requirements. It was therefore a huge relief that its flexibility to work with different hypervisors didn't narrow our choice of VDI, especially as we were already constrained by a tight budget," explained Colin Fitzsimons, senior systems engineer at Lancashire Constabulary. "Without the Quest solution, we would have been forced to consider other approaches, which would have impacted our deadline and budget, potentially jeopardising this project."

A Microsoft Hyper-V approach was subsequently chosen, and Lancashire Constabulary was selected to join Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 R2 Early Adopters programme, which helped to keep the force's desktop virtualisation project within budget.

With the full VDI solution implemented, Lancashire Constabulary's desktop virtualisation management solution delivers the levels of security required to comply with UK government regulations. "vWorkspace enables us to segregate our confidential and restricted networks, which ensures our systems meet security standards," said Fitzsimons. "Based on our Active Directory, we can control exactly who has access to what."

Lancashire Constabulary's VDI management solution generated time savings during the implementation and continues to do so during the ongoing management of the VDI, minimising impact on the users. "When we rolled out the VDI solution, we were able to set-up desktops overnight," said Fitzsimons. "We can quickly and easily provision different images on desktops in a matter of hours, implement new applications overnight, and roll-out patches immediately."

In addition, the management of Lancashire Constabulary's VDI environment has been simplified. "The Quest solution provides our IT staff with the ability to manage VDI sessions, Remote Desktop Services (RDS), and virtualised application servers - all from one interface," said Fitzsimons.

To sum up, Fitzsimons added that "the success of this desktop virtualisation project has enabled Lancashire Constabulary to save money and meet complex security requirements. This ultimately helps police officers work more effectively, to spend more time on the front line."


Customer: Lancashire Constabulary

Industry: Police force

Challenge: Desktop virtualisation management with complex security requirements

Solution: Quest vWorkspace

Benefits: Police officers and support staff can work more efficiently; met complex security standards within tight budgetary and time constraints; minimised impact on the users; simplified management of VDI environment


Biography

Michel Roth has over 10 years of experience working with application and desktop delivery technologies. He currently fulfills the role of Principal Product Architect in the Desktop Virtualisation Group of Quest Software. Michel's specialisation is in desktop virtualisation.

Michel has spoken at many industry conferences, including Microsoft TechEd, BriForum and Pubforum, and is a frequent author for sites such as MSTerminalServices.org and BrianMadden.com. In his spare time he maintains the website Thincomputing.net .


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