The Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons and a strategic Aerospace and Defence arm of the Tata Group. The group is fast emerging as a key defence and aerospace player in India with established capabilities and demonstrated deliveries in several critical defense sectors.
The pandemic disrupted businesses and economies globally. Keeping the health and safety of workers in mind, companies adopted the ‘work from home’ model. But for TASL, which is fulfilling India’s defense needs, remote work brought a multitude of challenges including remote access, bandwidth optimization and security of sensitive data.
“We serve the defense sector of India. Security of data is our foremost requirement. In case of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection, the data resides on endpoints but also travels to the endpoints. This was challenging and unsecure for users trying to access critical files remotely,” says Yogesh Kumar, Head IT & Business Applications at Tata Advanced Systems Limited.
Although TASL already had an SSL VPN solution, it wasn’t suitable for all employees while they worked outside of the office. Moreover, challenges like uninterrupted bandwidth, safe onboarding of new employees, security of data, etc. were important to be addressed. To overcome those challenges TASL was looking for a new solution. Citrix, fortunately, had solutions in each of those areas.
Consistent high-speed bandwidth is a major challenge for remote access. One also can’t control the bandwidth usage when the user is working remotely. Despite a five-fold increase in the existing bandwidth, it still didn’t fulfil the need of remote users. It was time to think of bandwidth optimization specifically for the designers who work on 3D designs and those apps are bandwidth hungry. Once Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops was deployed, the scenario changed. After the solution was deployed, designs were rendered without glitches. The solution was working flawlessly even at 300, 200, or 100Kbps of bandwidth.
The remote users were even able to leverage the apps by using mobile hotspot or data card or an ordinary Wi-Fi connection. It was a huge relief and productivity boost.
Onboarding new employees remotely became a norm during lockdown, but it was a challenging affair. Delivering systems – particularly desktops to remote users- was extremely difficult. It required a quick fix. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops came in handy and worked wonders for TASL. They decided to leverage cloud desktops to get new users up and running more quickly than ever. System administrators rolled out the new desktop as a service (DaaS) deployments remotely to their geographically dispersed users from the centralized Citrix cloud console. The company was able to onboard 75% of its new employees, practically everyone barring critical functions like fitters, drivers, housekeeping staff, etc. Out of these, about 75% used the Citrix connection and the rest were on normal VPN. It was a huge relief to the IT team and also resulted in productivity gains from users. It saved time, and multiple other expenses that are required to onboard a new employee.
While bandwidth concerns and remote accessibility were taken care of, there was still a big issue at hand – the challenges of data security when sharing files, specifically in the case of remote workers.
TASL was already using Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops to centralize data and reduce risk in the case of lost or stolen endpoints. They decided to also deploy Citrix Content Collaboration (CCC) for specific use cases such as securely sharing critical files among users internally. Moreover, documents were required to be shared using a secure FTP therefore mandating in-built security and traceability. Using Citrix Content Collaboration, their team was able to provide users with a secure file transfer protocol. That helped users share content without worrying for security of data. The access was only provided after an OTP and proper registration.
“Citrix Content Collaboration was a shot in the arm. IT was a very useful solution as we could prevent users from copying anything on or from the machines. The tools also helped us watermark the documents. In case somebody takes a photograph of the document, we can easily know,” says Kumar.
This also helped TASL to meet the data residency and localization compliance guidelines. Afterall, the data resided within the company. The best part about the solutions was that the IT team was able to adapt to the changing needs of an increasingly flexible workforce while maintaining security and compliance. Employees and users also had a unified experience whenever and wherever they needed to work.
TASL found themselves in a position where Citrix provided the quickest and most robust solution to fit their immediate need. They worked with other security and virtualization providers, to help fit their unique needs, but with longer lead times and more complex rollouts, Citrix became the obvious choice. When implementing the Citrix solution, TASL found that their needs were met with the software on the servers they already had. When configuring the solution, they also were pleased to find that it was so simple, they were able to complete it in less than a day.
“The Citrix team was easily approachable, and they were available whenever we needed them. In our emergency situation, the solution was able to be provided immediately,” he says.
We transitioned to a 100% ‘work from home’ model almost overnight. We had to ensure business continuity and productivity due to a complete lockdown, and severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops came in handy. We survived the lockdown only because of those.