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Case Study: Contact Center Securely Enables Work-at-Home Agents With Cloud Desktops

**Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from the Digital Issue, “ Virtualizing Desktops in the Cloud ,” which is available for download from Channel Partners Cloud Insights .**

The Challenge

A large contact center, which provides a variety of consumer product/technical support services, had been exploring virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) options for its work-at-home agents. The fluctuating number of employees, their ability to work remotely and customized home-built corporate applications challenged the IT staff to provide a secure, compliant and consistent desktop to its employees. These remote workers needed access to applications and data in a speedy fashion in order to handle customer calls.

For the companys IT staff that meant provisioning, managing, updating and protecting a desktop environment spread across multiple access devices and platforms, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs. When considering the sheer volume of endpoint devices in use, these tasks seemed overwhelming. The bring your own device” (BYOD) to work trend made matters even more challenging as employee-owned devices accessing corporate resources posed increased security risks.

The Solution

The company presented these challenges to an AT&T team, which worked with the client to show that substantial savings and efficiency could be achieved by using a desktops-as-a-service (DaaS) solution. AT&T Virtual Desktop Service (AT&T VDS) moves the traditional device-based desktop environment into the AT&T cloud. Rather than storing programs, applications and data locally on a PC hard drive, these reside and run on a remote centralized platform within an AT&T Internet Data Center.

AT&T designed an HVD infrastructure specific to the contact centers requirements by building a private cloud for the customers hosted virtual desktop users, giving them a highly secure private environment that is physically separate from other customer environments. The solution is a fully managed Citrix Xenapp and Xendesktop platform with Wyse Thin Client hardware supporting 2,000 agents in the Americas.

To access their desktops, AT&T VDS users download a client application that works on a range of endpoint devices, operating systems and platforms. A common interface delivers a consistent desktop experience as users switch between eligible fixed and mobile devices from a desktop PC to a smartphone, laptop or tablet throughout the workday. With the added flexibility to use their own devices as they work nearly anywhere, contact center employees can transition to a hosted desktop solution, which increases employee efficiency and ultimately customer satisfaction.

While the service can be accessed over the Internet or VPN, using the desktop via the AT&T network delivers the high-speed, low-latency performance that users expect from a traditional desktop environment whether it is over the Internet or a mobile connection.

AT&T VDS centralizes management of customer user bases. Instead of physically interacting with each individual device, customers can manage a mix of fixed and mobile devices over the network. So, they can provision new devices, deploy software images and applications, and apply patches, fixes and updates quickly and easily. It provides the IT staff with a faster, easier way to manage the constant influx of endpoint devices, while ensuring the security of the data and applications. 

While customers manage their virtual desktops, AT&T monitors and manages their cloud infrastructure. Combined with 24/7 support for customer administrators and end users, AT&T VDS can ease the burden on IT staff, allowing them to work on other priorities.

The Result

After implementing the AT&T solution, the contact center is now able to turn up a new employee desktop with a corporate image within a matter of hours rather than the several days typically required in the past when the company had to physically ship hardware to each employee.

AT&T now manages the network, server and storage infrastructure for the customers desktop, with 24/7 support surrounded by a service level agreement. As a result of moving to the AT&T managed infrastructure the contact center was able to avoid making a significant capital expense to purchase new servers and storage assets. 

In addition the hosted virtual desktop solution allows the employees fast access to the corporate applications they need to effectively do their jobs. The desktop delivered to each employee is now more secure as all of the corporate data resides in the data center. Remote employees now have flexible desktop access from virtually any device resulting in reduced desktop support costs and the ability to securely provide a work-at-home program. 

The contact center also realized the added benefits of multiple layers of protection for the desktop environment by:

  • Storing data in the cloud, not on devices, thus lessening mobile computing risks.
  • Centralizing the deployment of security software, updates and patches over the network, rather than installing and updating protection on individual devices, plus using two-factor authentication to keep unauthorized users out. 
  • Connecting users to the desktop environment via a site-to-site VPN, an MPLS or an AT&T VPN, allowing users to access their desktops in a more secure manner.
  • Utilizing a private cloud environment of virtualized servers and storage assets and the enterprise-class security of an AT&T Internet Data Center to realize the layers of infrastructure and network security not achievable with a device-based approach.  
  • Increasing protection from business disruption by replicating data across AT&T data centers.

Editor’s note: This case study was submitted by

AT&T

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