Case Study: Japan’s NDC combined Microsoft Azure and Parallels RAS to build at an affordable cost

Organization  NDC

Nihon Business Data Processing Center Co., Ltd. (NDC), was established in Kobe, Japan, in 1968. Today, its 2,207 employees serve customers from its headquarters and through branches in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Himeji.

NDC has three primary business areas; IT solutions, medical support, and public welfare administrative services. The public welfare administrative services business encompasses areas such as help desks and other operations for local governments and screening nursing care insurance applications.

Since its foundation, the company has been able to generate robust growth by leveraging synergies from its unique business structure. NDC’s CTO Masahiro Takeda, explains that, “It is challenging to identify and share information and build knowledge bases in Japan because so many processes at medical and welfare institutions remain paper-based. We can take advantage of our core competence in IT solutions in deploying tablets and PCs to enhance clerical efficiency and security for such institutions.”

Challenge: Ensuring high security for personal information data by digitizing survey forms

Currently, cities in Japan screen the physical and mental conditions of people applying for nursing care insurance to determine the extent of required care. The process includes going through certification application forms, medical opinions from physicians, and a host of other documentation.

One city decided to outsource this work. NDC was commissioned to undertake a project to handle screening, the production of questionnaires, and the submission of printed materials. With difficultly in optimizing security when storing assessment form data on servers and for printed data, NDC needed to maintain an advanced security and virus safeguard setup, including for tablets in order to fully digitalize and eventually take over from paper.

Solution: Implement a low-cost Internet separation method that isolates virtual machine browsers from work PCs

The predominant approach to safeguarding work PCs has required buying and installing dedicated servers and software. For this project, NDC has enabled the customer to avoid complexity and costs by suggesting Browser as a Service on Azure, its proprietary solution. This setup uses Microsoft Azure on the cloud, with Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) running on Azure. This means that virtual Web browsers can access the Internet, while only the screen display information goes to work PCs. Parallels RAS client software is installed on these PCs to use Web browsers remotely through Azure. This solution dramatically reduces the risks of malware exposure and internal information leaks.

Nobuo Inamaru, who oversees the Tokai district operations for this project at NDC, says that, “As it is easy to set up servers on the cloud using the template that we developed for Azure, servers can be used immediately after installation. Another advantage of this setup is that you can start with a minimal configuration that is easily scalable.”

Parallels RAS plays a vital role in this NDC solution by limiting direct access from PCs to the Internet and permitting access solely for communications between client software on PCs and Parallels RAS on Azure. This setup is seamless for end users, as the system appears directly connected to the Internet.

Another key advantage is it eliminates concerns about PC data storage because no Internet access data remains on client machines. The costs benefit for IT administrators is significant because of its swift installation and easy maintenance.

Attesting to these advantages, Keiki Kamada, a senior operator in NDC’s Internal Information Systems Division, says, “I found building an environment combining Azure and Parallels RAS very simple, with Parallels RAS being up and running in around half a day. Setup procedures were easy to follow, and I completed the entire task, including user policy settings, in around three business days.”

Benefits: NDC maintains solid security through Internet isolation, delivers outstanding savings, and completes set up quickly

Deploying the Azure and Parallels RAS package has many benefits. The customer enjoys a solution that delivers the mandated security and is user friendly. The paperless processes enhance efficiency. Mr. Kamada also notes significant time-saved in administrative tasks with the new setup, saying, “While certain tasks such as registering user accounts could be an issue at sites without system administrators, the Azure and Parallels RAS package means that you can handle such tasks from a desktop at another location. This makes set up and changing settings very fast.”

Mr. Takeda found that the project revealed the great potential of Parallels RAS. He says that, “Information management at medical and welfare services sites in Japan is predominantly paper-based. Lost documents are a key drawback that the project has eliminated by making procedures paperless. The Parallels RAS environment ensures excellent security, as no data remains on access machines.”

NDC has been able to generate new synergies by bringing the IT expertise it has accumulated over the years to medical and welfare services. The company plans to continue focusing on creating solutions that leverage the unique security and efficiency capabilities of Parallels RAS.

Business Summary

A city in Japan commissioned NDC to undertake a project to support screening for its nursing care insurance program. NDC set about drawing on its IT prowess so data could be exchanged online without compromising security.

Solution Summary

NDC overcame the challenge of maintaining security over the network of personal and other information in nursing care assessment forms by proposing a solution that employs virtual Web browsers based on Azure. This solution dramatically reduced the risks of malware exposure and internal information leaks. It also eliminated the need for server hardware, making it possible to build a low-cost environment.

Benefits Summary

Using virtual Web browsers has resulted in excellent security, and by using Azure to eliminate server hardware, NDC was able to deliver a very short construction and launch lead time. The new setup is easily scalable and flexible and offers outstanding cost performance.

(Quote)

“I found building an environment combining Azure and Parallels RAS very simple, with Parallels RAS being up and running in around half a day. Setup procedures were easy to follow, and I completed the entire task, including user policy settings, in around three business days.”

—Keiki Kamada, senior operator in NDC’s Internal Information Systems Room

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