Case Study

Virtualization Addresses TCO, Compliance and Support Expenses

The Background

Europ Assistance USA takes care of consumers, corporate customers and their employees when the unexpected happens, anywhere in the world, providing immediate support and assistance in times of emergency and distress. Leveraging its worldwide network of 39 always-open multilingual assistance centers and 430,000 partners in 208 countries and territories, Europ Assistance USA provides medical travel assistance and duty of care solutions, identity theft resolution and beneficiary assistance services. Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Europ Assistance USA is part of the Europ Assistance Group, which is owned by Global 500 insurance conglomerate Generali Group.

The Challenge

Europ Assistance USA was at a crossroads with its desktops. At 4-5 years old, the organization’s desktops would either need to be replaced or virtualized. Because there were several models of desktops being used, much of the in-house IT staff’s time was spent on debugging desktop and resolving user issues. Constant updates and maintenance on these desktops were also taking a lot of time and effort. Beyond total cost of ownership of their desktops, Europ Assistance USA was concerned with compliance issues related to the nature of their travel assistance, healthcare and financial business. The organization needed to ensure the security of its data and customer information.

The Solution

Europ Assistance USA had worked with Nortec in the past on many projects including the virtualization of their server environment. As Nortec understood their business they were able to give Europ Assistance USA a realistic solution as to what could be done to address their TCO and compliance concerns.

When it came to desktop virtualization, Nortec set up a proof of concept in order to give Europ Assistance USA an accurate model of what could be done and how it would work. The proof of concept also gave Europ Assistance USA the comfort level to move ahead with virtualizing the desktops on their entire operational platform.

The thin clients that replaced the desktops had a life time of 7 to 10 years whereas a desktop would only be good for 3 to 5. Software updates and system changes were quickly and easily tested and deployed using base images and snapshots. Desktop virtualization also addressed the compliance concerns that Europ Assistance USA had by not storing anything on physical hardware to which the end user had access.

Benefits

Desktop virtualization has solved a number of challenging issues for Europ Assistance. The virtualized desktops have reduced total cost of ownership and have reduced the amount of time and money spent on support. Long-term hardware refresh cost is reduced due to the simplicity and resilience of the thin clients used. Support costs are reduced due to more efficient patch testing and deployment processes. With no ability to store data on the thin clients and the ability for administrators to disable the attachment of USB drives, Europ Assistance was also able to mitigate its concerns about compliance. This technology also provides an additional benefit of being able to provide telecommuters the exact same user experience from the office or home office. Manager of IT Operations Shafraz Branudeen believes that deployment of virtual desktops at Europ Assistance USA takes them to a new level of compliancy security and manageability while reducing the Total Cost of Ownership, revolutionizing the way the company managed desktops.

For more information on Nortec, please contact us at georgeh@nortec.com.