How the Azure Cloud Saved the Day for a Worldwide Non-Profit Supporting a Remote Workforce During the COVID Pandemic
For any company or organization with employees working remotely, having a stable, reliable way to communicate and send or receive needed supplies and equipment is essential to maintaining operations.
So, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many organizations–particularly those with a global workforce–were suddenly against a wall. Such was the case with this international humanitarian medical non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides medical assistance in conflict zones and countries affected by endemic diseases, across national boundaries and irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation. The organization is active in 70 countries with more than 35,000 personnel, including medical professionals, logistical experts, and water/sanitation experts.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, things changed suddenly and very significantly for this organization. With the majority of employees already working remotely, this specific requirement was not so much of an issue. However, a serious challenge occurred around onboarding new employees. The organization is constantly bringing on new staff all over the world, and part of the onboarding process is providing them with laptops with the ability to VPN into the office to access needed applications, files, and other information and tools. They needed to provide those new users with a way to work remotely with a device already in their possession. Until they had that solution in place, hiring would be at a complete standstill, so something needed to be done very quickly.
The good news for working remotely…Microsoft Azure
This seems like an impossible task to do in a short period of time, but the organization was very fortunate in one respect: They had recently moved from the ground to the Azure cloud with the assistance of AKA Enterprise Solutions as a first step towards the goal of eliminating all infrastructure and applications on premises and to go 100% cloud. With Microsoft Azure in place, the organization already had what they needed to extend their network in the cloud, allowing access from anywhere to business applications and files from a web browser, tablet, or laptop. They can even use “legacy” applications through a virtualized remote environment in the same, secure way they would typically have.
What’s even more fortunate was the fact that this project could be executed very quickly. In just a few days, the AKA Azure experts configured and deployed remote desktop services on Azure so onboarded users could use their existing computer or other device to access through a website resources they need but are not SaaS-enabled. Users log into a portal and, depending on their user account, have access to any applications or other internal resources—as well as associated file servers that are on premises. We also helped them put security measures in place to protect them from ransomware attacks.
Within just a few days after initial discussion of the issue, 20 new hires were already onboarded. The new solution is also easily and quickly scalable; the organization’s IT team can at any time add capacity by simply adding a server in just a couple of hours. With the cloud solution, the organization’s ability to serve those in need was not impacted.
Change doesn’t have to be hard…you just need the right technology
Regardless of the reason, moving to the cloud just makes sense–and it doesn’t need to be difficult. Azure can truly enable the modern workplace at a reasonable cost; you can keep your entire workforce productive during difficult times and “normal” times. Contact AKA to discuss your needs and timeline. We can help with advice, expert architecture, or whatever you need to keep your organization moving forward.
Read these two blogs for more on facilitating a remote workforce and more with Azure: