As the municipality of Bernkastel Wittlich’s IT environment became increasingly complex, management costs grew, and it was ever harder to ensure consistent antivirus protection and patch management.
An advanced endpoint management solution from IBM enables the municipality to manage its virtual servers more efficiently and ensure consistent protection against security threats.
Cutstime and effort spent on system management, freeing up resources
Boostssecurity by rapidly identifying potential vulnerabilities
Makeslife easier for IT staff with a single management console for all virtual servers
Business challenge story
Running a successful organization in the digital age means unlocking efficiencies in day-to-day operations, so that employees can focus on value-add activities.
In recent years, the German municipality of Bernkastel Wittlich (Kreisverwaltung Bernkastel Wittlich), has transformed its IT estate using virtualization. By running applications on separate virtual servers, the organization reduced the risk of compatibility issues and downtime—without having to invest in additional physical servers.
While the number of physical servers remained static, the number of virtual servers has ballooned—soaring from 15 servers five years ago to around 80 today. Due to the added complexity, the time and cost of maintaining the IT environment began to move upwards.
Jürgen Könen, Head of IT at the municipality of Bernkastel Wittlich, explains: “In the past, we had to maintain each virtual server individually—managing system updates, applying the latest antivirus protection and tweaking the configuration to maximize performance and availability. As the number of virtual servers rose, the task became increasingly time-consuming. What’s more, it was all too easy to forget to update one of the many virtual servers, potentially leaving us exposed to security threats.
“When our antivirus software subscription came up for renewal, it prompted us to think about how we could better manage day-to-day system administration and security in our environment. We knew that if we could find a way to manage all virtual servers centrally, we would be able to reduce risk and cut management costs. After a couple of failed attempts with open-source offerings, we set out to find an enterprise-class solution that would better support our organization.”
Managing the virtual landscape
Joining forces with IBM Business Partner more than IT, the municipality of Bernkastel Wittlich implemented the IBM® BigFix® endpoint management solution, which features Trend Micro antivirus protection.
Jürgen Könen explains: “We turned to more than IT because we trust their expertise, having worked with them on a variety of projects over the last decade. We were also impressed by their strong track record of successful projects, and the useful guidance they have given us.
“In our discussions with more than IT, we explored a variety of products on the market to find the right solution. IBM BigFix emerged as the best fit for our organization, because it allowed us to manage our virtual servers and distribute antivirus software at the same time. The fact that BigFix comes with Trend Micro antivirus protection was a real bonus, because we have used Trend Micro before and know that it offers effective defense against many security threats.”
BigFix regularly scans endpoints to ensure that all patches are up to specification, and that each system is protected by antivirus software. The solution tracks the delivery of updates and patches in real time, and when errors or missing upgrades are identified, the relevant IT staff member receives a notification so they can prioritize their workload accordingly.
“We were drawn to BigFix because it allows us to manage our antivirus software and all endpoints in one intuitive console,” recalls Jürgen Könen. “One feature of BigFix that grabbed our attention is the level of detail that the solution can deliver when identifying groups of endpoints. For example, the solution can recognize whether a thin client has been generated from the same golden image, making it much easier to establish consistency across our environment.”
Saving time and boosting security
IBM BigFix has enabled the municipality to save time on day-to-day system management, freeing up time and resources for other activities.
Jürgen Könen says: “BigFix has substantially reduced the workload of our IT team, giving us significant time savings. I alone save approximately 2.5 hours a week on virtual-server administration.
“In addition, BigFix reduces the need for IT personnel to work overnight and at weekends. For example, we can schedule patches and updates to occur during maintenance windows outside office hours.”
What’s more, BigFix helps to ensure that Trend Micro is consistently applied across all systems, bolstering the municipality of Bernkastel Wittlich’s resilience against threats.
Jürgen Könen concludes: “We are confident that IBM BigFix will help us keep security high and our management overhead low for years to come.”
About Municipality of Bernkastel Wittlich
The municipality of Bernkastel Wittlich (Kreisverwaltung Bernkastel Wittlich) is a local authority for the Bernkastel Wittlich district in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany. The organization provides a host of key community services, including youth centers, education programs, cultural projects and family support structures. Its goal is to forge a stronger community in Bernkastel Wittlich by providing life-changing social services for the residents of the region.
- BigFix Patch
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Headquartered in the German town of Hermeskeil, more than IT offers a wide range of IT support and consulting services for small and medium-sized organizations. The company specializes in deploying and customizing enterprise-class IT security, storage, network, infrastructure and document management solutions to meet the needs of its clients.