Muskegon Family Care is a Federally Qualified Health Center, offering a full range of medical, dental, behavioral health and other support services for people of all ages, accepting all patients whether insured, underinsured or uninsured, regardless of their ability to pay.
As many healthcare facilities, Muskegon Family Care suffered financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patient visits were either postponed or canceled, and resources had to be diverted to introduce express testing stations for Muskegon Family Care residents. Michael Holder, Director – Technology Operations for Muskegon Family Care, was asked by the CEO, Daniel Ogelsby, to perform an in-depth assessment of IT infrastructure to determine if any cost savings could be made: “When I looked at streamlining our processes, management of our endpoints was an obvious candidate for improvement. We had a variety of disparate tools and separate processes but nothing that could easily provide a big picture for tracking and inventory purposes. Every month 150 of our desktop and laptop devices had to be patched and updated with any of the 40 applications in use within the organization. This involved a manual and in-person effort of some four hours per device, as end users were waiting for updates. We were also conscious that we didn’t have automatic 3rd party patches, which could leave us vulnerable to security breaches.”
Holder had previous experience with Micro Focus ZENworks and knew that this could provide the answer: “I had found ZENworks to be easily scalable in the large environments I had previously worked in, and the user-friendly interface made for a short learning curve.” A full assessment and ROI exercise convinced Muskegon Family Care leadership, and soon the ZENworks implementation was underway. ZENworks Configuration Management was deployed to manage automated application distribution, remote control management to support troubleshooting, and a hardware and software inventory, all through a unified web console. “Even though ZENworks is easy to implement ourselves, I worked with Micro Focus to ensure we adopted a best practice set up, which was very helpful,” says Holder. “One of our network administrators was creating ZENworks bundles for automatic application deployment within just 30 minutes of being shown how it works.”
ZENworks Patch Management enables Muskegon Family Care to monitor patch compliance, quickly identify and assess vulnerabilities, and automatically apply updates and patches to meet pre-defined standards in line with corporate policy. “Patch management was a gap we identified. Before we deployed ZENworks Patch Management, only 65 percent of our devices were patch-compliant, leaving us vulnerable. Once we implemented automatic patching, this increased to over 90 percent, drastically improving our security,” says Holder.
The Vertica Analytics Platform was introduced as a fail-over server for the ZENworks database. Leveraging Vertica’s data analytical capabilities allows ZENworks to display trending dashboards for security. This gives Muskegon Family Care an easy to use dashboard and management communication tool to track their patch compliance over the course of any given time period.
In a sensitive healthcare sector, data security and privacy are key. ZENworks Full Disk Encryption deploys policies to encrypt all Muskegon Family Care-owned hard disks containing sensitive data, ensuring that the data remains protected if the device is lost or stolen. One interface is leveraged for reporting, auditing data, and asset inventory. This streamlines processes and increases productivity.
“The transition to ZENworks was transparent for our users,” says Holder. “This was only possible due to native functionality built into the product. It executes application delivery perfectly, and allows multiple shortcut options for commonly used launch points (Desktop/Start Menu/Taskbar etc.). Using a ZENworks DMZ server also allows mobile clients to be completely on-premise or VPN connected and still retain the ability to receive critical security updates, remote control support, and new application installations. The ease of implementing this technology is traditionally a Network Admin’s nightmare for on the configuration and implementation side. I am very pleased this is not the case with ZENworks! In case of another COVID-19 lockdown this will make our lives so much easier.”
“Now that we have separated applications from operating system updates and converted them into ZENworks bundles for automated delivery, updating a device is done in 30 minutes instead of four hours, a time saving of 90 percent. The clinical teams are extremely pleased that the Technology Operation team can spend more time with them to proactively identify and resolve IT issues. Overall, we have ZENworks to thank for the additional time we can now spend with our customers.”
He concludes: “Having all our devices version-current and secure, with compatibility across our organization, has reduced our vulnerability and improved predictability for easier budgeting. Our ultimate goal was to achieve cost savings and we were pleased to see full ROI within a year. By retiring our disparate tool strategy and adopting ZENworks, we have ongoing annual savings of 90 percent to our operating budget.