These are the cornerstones of an effective organizational response to the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, for many businesses, they also represent almost insurmountable challenges. This is true even for businesses with highly-distributed workforces.
ConvergeOne recently experienced this firsthand. A top-tier IT services organization, ConvergeOne works with some of the largest enterprises in the world, including 75% of Fortune 100 and around 50% of Fortune 500 companies. Owing to the nature of its industry, the majority of its employees work remotely on a regular basis.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of our team members never saw the inside of an office,” explains Collin Buechler, ConvergeOne’s CISO. “It was always remote.”
Initially, ConvergeOne supported remote staff through a VPN. However, as the organization continued to grow, it eventually shifted to BlackBerry® Digital Workplace along with the BlackBerry® Secure UEM & Productivity Suites – Limitless Suite, supported by BlackBerry partner Awingu. Together, these solutions allow the organization to securely, efficiently, and cost-effectively support a highly-diverse, distributed workforce.
More recently, they proved instrumental in keeping ConvergeOne operational amidst COVID-19.
“BlackBerry Digital Workplace and Awingu provide a ‘one-two-punch’ that enables our workforce without compromising our security,” says Buechler. “Like many service providers, we have extended teams situated overseas. Originally, in order to allow them to service our clients, we’d create small, isolated exceptions in the firewall in the region block we had for certain areas, targeting specific corporate offices – that’s no longer something we need to do.”
Recently – and following the example of many other countries – the Prime Minister of India put the country on lockdown, advising all residents to stay inside for three weeks, closing all businesses. This included the very same corporate offices that ConvergeOne’s engineers were working out of.
“John Dubois and the rest of the BlackBerry team enabled us to complete the testing, training, and deployment of BlackBerry Digital Workplace to our engineers in India twelve hours before the lockdown went into effect,” explains Buechler. “Without the joint solution, we would have lost over 150 engineers. However, thanks to BlackBerry and Awingu, they can keep working to support our clients, even in the face of a national lockdown.”
It’s not just in India that ConvergeOne is seeing benefits from its BlackBerry deployment. It has been able to keep its entire workforce remote without worrying about whether or not its own infrastructure is up to the task. More importantly, it’s able to do so without putting corporate data at risk, thanks to BlackBerry’s strong security controls.
“Our Director of IT Security was shocked by the fact that our VPN concentrator wasn’t getting crushed by the surge in remote connections,” Buechler recalls. “I pointed out that it was because no one was using it. They were all connecting through BlackBerry, so they didn’t need to hit the concentrator.”
“Without BlackBerry Digital Workplace, I think ConvergeOne would be in the same boat as a lot of companies are right now,” he continues. “Dealing with an overloaded VPN concentrator, struggling to find a secure way to support employees who are working from home, or simply ceasing operations altogether.” -