World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization, dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to ensure that they can reach their full potential. This is done by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision supports long-term development programs, humanitarian aid and disaster relief projects. World Vision Switzerland currently supports more than 100 projects in 30 countries.
André Mebold, Director of Corporate Services for World Vision Switzerland says, “When a disaster strikes, it is very important that we respond immediately by providing reliable access to our organization’s information platform which is crucial for the success of our relief effort.” This is made possible by an international rapid response team on the site of a natural disaster and World Vision offices like Switzerland supporting both fundraising initiatives and coordination activities.
Daniel Kast, Head of IT for World Vision Switzerland explains: “During a relief effort, we can now recruit former staff to help us by simply providing a G/On token, which enables them to gain access to the resources they need from their home PC. For example, we re-hire former employees who have left us to start a family and no longer wish to work full-time, but would be interested in helping out during a major disaster. With the G/On token they can support us from home because they have time.”
Strategic switch from VPN to G/On
G/On is an important tool for World Vision Switzerland, and not just in the event of an emergency. G/On technology offers some Swiss World Vision employees the possibility to work from home during a weekly home office day. In order to provide home office functionality, a seamless connection to the different servers must be ensured. Prior to switching to G/On, World Vision Switzerland worked with classic VPN. This network solution worked well technically, but the complexity of VPN (like not allowing split tunneling to improve security) prevented a widespread acceptance of this kind of remote access.
The differences are striking. World Vision Switzerland’s experience confirms that individual VPN end user support usually costs the IT department a significant amount of time and effort. ”However, the implementation of G/On was accomplished within just a few days, because no additional software installations were required for any user device or PC. Furthermore, user support is straightforward, because - contrary to VPN - no special skills are necessary and multiple login accounts are not required.” Once a user is successfully logged onto the terminal server, he is allowed access to all resources and applications individually assigned to him or his group.
From the end user’s point of view, André Mebold points out some additional positive aspects: “Even when I am connected with a server through G/On, I can surf the internet or call someone on Skype at any time. Remote access with VPN was much more complicated. I can even print office documents on my local printer at home without any complications.”
Another strategic consideration that was important during the evaluation of the G/On solution was the planned reduction on laptops used in the organization. Since the introduction of G/On, World Vision Switzerland has been able to roll out a desktop instead of a laptop in several cases, thereby saving even more money and support time.
Versatility and usability have been improved and a growing Versatility and usability have been improved and a growing to take their laptop with them. Instead, they can access the server from their home computers hassle-free. An IT staff member explains, “For instance, I can run an important server update at 10 pm in the evening from my own PC at home or any other PC anywhere in the world. I don’t have to carry a company laptop with me.”
Security confirmed by experts
Security vulnerabilities are often discovered in remote access tools. Since data security is critically important for World Vision Switzerland, an independent security expert was asked to carry out an in-depth examination of G/On. The survey confirmed that the access token does not exhibit any security vulnerabilities. All applications required for secure login and tap-proof communication are directly on the token.
Daniel Kast and Raphael Kranzkowski, who were both involved in the evaluation and implementation of G/On, confirm the following: “Thanks to the competent support of Avatech, we were able to use G/On after a very short period of time. They were extremely helpful both before and after sales and have continuously provided excellent service.”
When questioned on the subject of security, Raphael Kranzkowski points out another advantage: “In the event of a workstation failure, e.g. due to fire, theft or technical problems, with G/On and our backups, we would be able to get office staff members concerned into normal operation within a very short timeframe.”
The same would apply if notebooks were to fail while staff members were traveling internationally: Equipped with the token, everyone would be able to re-access their data in any internet café or using a standard hotel computer. They would simply need to plug-in, log-on and carry on working. What more can you wish?