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News International Stays Current and Secure With Chrome for Business

NI Group Limited is home to some of the biggest and most popular British newspapers, including The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun.

Challenge

About two years ago, NI Group Limited decided it was time to move to the cloud, with the goal of helping employees become more productive and work together more closely. The company moved many of its IT infrastructure and customer resource management systems to cloud providers, and switched its internal email and collaboration systems from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. Gareth Wright, Head of Infrastructure and Enterprise Operations, manages support and service for the company’s 4,500 desktop PCs and 1,000 Macs, tablets and smartphones. Wright said the company was mostly using Internet Explorer 8 at the time of the change, but wanted a browser that was more compatible with the modern web-based applications the company was starting to use.

In addition, the IT department was spending large amounts of time installing patches and security fixes for Internet Explorer. Wright and his IT staff worked with a third-party service provider to help package and deploy Microsoft’s “Patch Tuesday” fixes once per month. This involved pre-packaging the application, testing it internally, then deploying it to a select group of testers in the company, a process that took three to four weeks to complete. When the testing and deployment were finally complete, it was usually time to start all over again. Because of the cost and time required to deploy updates to Internet Explorer, the NI Group Limited team couldn't keep the company updated with the latest version of the browser, and always ran at least one version behind. Running an old browser version left the company and its employees vulnerable to potentially serious security flaws.

Solution

As part of NI Group Limited’s move to the cloud, the company switched default browsers, from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome. The switch allowed the company’s 5,500 Google Apps users to have a smoother, more integrated experience with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive and other collaboration tools. It also incorporated a faster browser experience and automatic updates to maintain the highest level of security possible. “It’s all about improving the users’ experience,” Wright said. “We had a number of complaints about Internet Explorer’s speed, so getting Chrome out to our end users was an extremely important part of our switch to the cloud.”

The company has several legacy applications that require Internet Explorer, so NI Group Limited still runs it in parallel with Chrome, but since the switch in September 2011, Chrome is the most popular browser among employees and has been installed on more than 5,000 devices. Wright said the company would like to eventually move to a single browser as more and more legacy applications become compatible with Chrome. “Ultimately you want to get to one browser and for us, the ideal browser would be Chrome,” Wright said. “But, it seems to take some of the other enterprise vendors a while to catch up to new applications as they come out.”

Benefits

Chrome’s auto-update feature automatically checks for browser updates anytime a user connects to the Internet, and immediately installs updates whenever they are are available. This ensures that every employee always has the latest browser features and gets the latest security fixes as soon as possible. Auto-update also has gotten rid of the need for Wright’s team to spend several weeks building, testing and deploying patches for Internet Explorer every month, and eliminated the expense of hiring an outside consultant. “Before, we had to control updates and deploy them to all the desktops. It was very systematic and took up a great deal of time,” Wright said. “Now, we don’t really have to worry about browser security because that’s something Google takes control of. That gives us a good peace of mind.”

Since switching to Google Apps and Chrome, NI Group Limited has had about 60 percent fewer email support requests than it typically did with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook. This not only frees up IT staff time, but also improves employee productivity. Gmail is much more reliable, and employees no longer have to worry about email being down or inaccessible.

Chrome gives users at NI Group Limited a more functional and reliable browsing experience, with noticeably improved speed. Users no longer have to resort to Control-Alt-Delete to exit lagging browsers, and can depend on Chrome for fast access to the information and tools they need. “It’s significantly quicker,” Wright said. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from users about that. If you try to open 15 or 20 tabs in Internet Explorer, it will crawl into a hole and stop your machine. You can do that with Chrome on the exact same hardware.”

About News International

  • newsint.co.uk
  • London, UK
  • NI Group Limited is home to some of the biggest and most popular British newspapers, including The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun.

Goals

  • Move entire organization over to the cloud, starting with Chrome for Business and Google Apps.
  • Reduce or eliminate IT time spent building, testing and deploying patches for the browser.
  • Use a modern browser that was fully compatible with Google Apps and other newer business web apps.

Results

  • Improved security and had fewer support tickets after switching to Chrome for Business.
  • Eliminated the need for extensive major browser upgrades, saving IT time and money.
  • Deployed a faster and more secure browser for employees.