With 22 locations across the county, it was difficult to keep workstations updated with the latest applications. The county needed a way to continually distribute the latest software to keep its 2,500 employees productive, and to protect their workstations. Equally important, Larimer County Sheriff’s Department needed to keep the mobile workstation devices in its patrol cars running smoothly.
“It’s imperative that our mission-critical software is available 24x7 to our police officers and fire fighters, who are geographically dispersed across wide expanses in remote areas,” said Mark Olson, computer services manager for Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. “If an officer’s mobile workstation device is down, it impedes their ability to access necessary law enforcement information in the field.”
The county turned to OpenText™ (formerly Micro Focus) partner, DigeTekS, to select the best solution for automating endpoint management and support. “ZENworks Configuration Management solves many support problems that aren’t easy to solve,” said TJ Rowe, consultant for DigeTekS, LLC.
“I don’t think any of the other endpoint management solutions on the market are really viable,” said Olson. “We’ve used remote control products such as VNC but they lacked the security authentication that’s necessary to remote control into user workstations. ZEN works Configuration Management provides directory authentication for better security controls.”
“We considered other solutions like Microsoft SMS but the cost was out of our league,” said Karen Paulus, senior technical support specialist for Larimer County Government.
The county now centrally manages its 2,500 endpoints using ZENworks Configuration Management running in a mixed environment of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Windows. Instead of physically having to visit every workstation to install new applications, IT staff can remotely distribute applications across all workstations. The county now has consistency across its workstations. “Using … ZENworks Configuration Management when we distribute applications, we can trust they were all installed the same way,” said Paulus.
“In the past, our employees could download software on their own, creating opportunities for viruses,” said Olson. “Employees’ workstations are now locked down and we centrally distribute all the software they need, which has increased our ability to control malware.”
If a user reports a problem, IT staff can now remote in to their workstations—whether the user is located in an office or out in the field—to quickly identify and resolve the issue. “Officers love that they can get back up and running, without having to come into the office,” said Olson. “They know they can call on us, even in the middle of the night.”
If the workstation issue can’t be resolved quickly, technicians can now reimage machines “on the fly.” “The imaging features in … ZEN works Configuration Management are easy to use, and help us get users back up and running much faster than ever before,” said Olson.
DigiTekS worked closely with the county through the solution rollout. “DigiTekS helped us to make the most of the product,” said Paulus. “Their advice and training services provided great added value.”
ZENworks Configuration Management eliminated the need for a fleet of people to maintain our workstations... We know installations are trusted and true. This frees our technicians to focus on other projects, instead of being consumed with installation tasks.
Since deploying the solution, the county has experienced significant cost savings. “We would have needed to double our IT staff without … ZENworks Configuration Management,” said Olson. “We have also been able to cut travel costs by 90 percent, and eliminate the need for costly contract staff.”
The solution has also contributed to a more reliable and secure environment. “We can remote into officers’ mobile devices in a secure manner,” said Olson. “This means officers can spend more time on the street instead of worrying about their computer working right.”
“We use … ZENworks Configuration Management instead of having a fleet of people to maintain our endpoints,” said Paulus. “We’ve gained tremendous efficiencies. And, with … ZENworks Configuration Management, we know installations are trusted and true. This frees our technicians to focus on other more important projects, instead of being consumed with installation tasks.”
Running on Linux has also provided financial benefits. “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is extremely reliable and requires much less intervention than other operating systems out there,” said Olson.
We would have needed to double our IT staff without ZENworks Configuration Management. We have also been able to cut travel costs by 90 percent, and eliminate the need for costly contract staff.
Larimer County is the seventh most populous and the ninth most extensive county in the state, spanning 2,800 square miles. Named for the founder of Denver, William Larimer, Jr., Larimer County is home to Rocky Mountain National Park.