Highly secure workplaces drive mobile productivity
Centra chose to align its cloud journey with Microsoft technologies back in 2014. A key reason for choosing Microsoft was the company’s flexible licensing model that aligns with the different digital tool sets required by a diverse workforce that includes executives, administrative staff, and firstline clinical workers.
Another critical factor was the willingness of Microsoft to work with Centra to meet its security requirements. “We needed to keep our data within the continental United States, and Microsoft agreed to that with our tenant,” says Jody Hobbs, Managing Director of Business Applications and Information Security Officer at Centra. “So, we became one of the first healthcare providers to move all employees to Exchange Online.” Today, to protect employees from increasingly sophisticated attacks, Centra uses Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, an email filtering service that helps protect against malware, viruses, and malicious hyperlinks in emails.
Centra knowledge workers use Office 365 ProPlus, the most productive version of Office that employees can install on up to five devices, including PCs, Macs, tablets, and mobile phones. “ProPlus was one of the major attractions for us, because it lays the foundation for mobility,” says Hobbs. “We encourage everyone to use OneDrive so that no matter where you are, your files are accessible from the cloud.”
Darrell Manning, Director of Project Management at Piedmont Community Health Plan, a health insurance company owned by Centra, experienced the benefits of mobile productivity when the CEO emailed him one evening, asking for a file. “I thought I would have to go and get my laptop, connect to my Wi-Fi, and take 15 minutes to access the corporate network through the VPN and look for the file on a shared drive,” he recalls. “Then I remembered I had uploaded the file to OneDrive. So, I just used my phone to find it in the cloud, hit share, typed in his name, and hit send. I was done in less than a minute.”
Centra will use Microsoft Intune, a component of Enterprise Mobility + Security, in conjunction with Office 365 ProPlus to help ensure that employees are productive on all their devices, while safeguarding the organization’s data. “We are replacing our current mobile device management solution, Citrix XenMobile, with Intune,” says Hobbs. “We’ll be registering approximately 2,500 mobile devices both for our corporate device users and for some employees who bring their own devices to work.”
The company is also increasing the security of clinical data by introducing Microsoft Azure Multi-Factor Authentication for anyone attempting to access clinical applications outside the organization’s firewall. IT staff replaced its RSA key fobs solution with Multi-Factor Authentication within Azure Active Directory Premium P1, an Enterprise Mobility + Security component. “We want clinical workers and knowledge workers alike to have the flexibility of mobile workplaces, and Office 365 is the way to achieve that level of productivity, with the same feature-rich capabilities for everyone,” says Hobbs.
Centra uses Exchange Online Archiving and Legal Hold for compliance and plans to deploy the data loss protection (DLP) functionality within Office 365 Security & Compliance Center to boost its ability to protect patient information and comply with HIPAA. “We’ll be using data loss protection policies for our outbound email encryption to safeguard protected health information, and we are also evaluating Azure Information Protection for the data that’s stored in Office 365 to create more DLP policies,” says Hobbs.
Azure Information Protection is a component of Enterprise Mobility + Security.