"Parallels Secure Workspace allows us to simplify things greatly. We have a small Digital team, with fewer components to manage, we can concentrate on adding value in other core business areas. With local agents and many elements in the back end, Citrix added too much complexity."
Kingdom Housing Association has become the first organization in Scotland to adopt Parallels Secure Workspace, the browser-based workspace that enables highly secure access to company files and legacy applications.
Based in Fife and working across East Central Scotland, Kingdom Housing Association (KHA) is a Registered Social Landlord with charitable status and provides housing that meets a wide range of needs. Kingdom Housing has developed over 4,000 affordable homes, the majority for social rent, and provides mid-market rental properties, affordable housing for sale, and factoring services.
For 20 years Kingdom Housing Association operated its IT platform with Citrix, Microsoft Office, Exchange and thin clients as the main backbone. In 2017 Gary Haldane (Head of Digital, KHA) decided to shift gears and adopt a “Cloud-First, Mobile-First" strategy.
The goal — a simple-to-manage, more flexible, more user-friendly, more cost-effective and customer focused digital workplace.
Kingdom chose to adopt Google’s G-Suite in favor of Microsoft Office & Exchange. They moved from a dedicated infrastructure to Google Compute Platform (GCP) SaaS solutions and provided all employees access to data via secure, quick, and inexpensive ChromeBoxes, Chromebook devices, or mobile phones.
However, one piece of the puzzle was missing — an easy way to give secure remote access to its legacy platforms such as Orchard Housing Management software and financial systems, including Open Accounts and Brixx.
Parallels Secure Workspace proved to be the perfect solution as it makes legacy applications and desktops seamlessly available via HTML5, and in a browser.
Despite being an avid user of Citrix, Kingdom Housing was unable to settle on a Citrix solution for their transformation journey. They needed something that was simple and affordable.
Parallels Secure Workspace enabled Kingdom to take the next step in its digital transformation journey.
Kingdom Housing Association values the simplicity of the Parallels Secure Workspace architecture with only one Virtual Appliance in front of a classic RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) back-end. End users can access their applications from their Chrome Browsers.
Parallels Secure Workspace provided not only simplification, but also a steep reduction in operating costs — the Citrix environment was deployed on 18 VMWare virtual machines, which were downsized to five with the new solution in place. In comparison to Citrix, the savings are substantial regarding both infrastructure and support effort.
The vast difference between Parallels Secure Workspace and Citrix license costs only made the transformation case easier. VMWare was also not required.
Kingdom Housing Association identified Google’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) as the best fit for their purpose, and Parallels Secure Workspace tied in nicely. Parallels Secure Workspace was easily deployed on Google Computer Platform (GCP).
- Simplification: With the move from Citrix to Parallels Secure Workspace, KHA could drastically simplify its operations. The number of components to manage was reduced, and there were no agents to be installed and maintained on the end-user devices.
- Cost reduction: KHA was able to downsize the required infrastructure from 18 Citrix virtual machines to just five with Parallels Secure Workspace. Furthermore, Parallels Secure Workspace requires less engineering and support effort to roll-out. Finally, Parallels Secure Workspace offers a significant license cost benefit compared to Citrix.
- Google Identity: KHA decided to adopt Google Identity as secure authentication mechanism. Parallels Secure Workspace can leverage Google Identity as external IdP (Identity Provider) and as such enable a Single Sign-On experience. End-users just have one single set of credentials to authenticate.
- Chromebook compatible: Parallels Secure Workspace runs KHA’s legacy systems in HTML5 in a browser. That makes working on Chromebooks smooth and hassle-free.
- Performance increase: With the migration from an on-premises installation with Citrix to Google Compute Platform and Parallels Secure Workspace, KHA increased the performance of its systems. Login procedures have drastically been shortened, increasing productivity and reducing frustration.
"The performance of this combination is outstanding, and our employees couldn’t believe the speed and responsiveness. Employees can use the Google Identity credentials to access their G-Suite as well as Parallels Secure Workspace in a secure way. Both in the office and remotely. It’s just very straightforward."