"I would strongly recommend Parallels RAS because of its fast, flexible, and low maintenance deployment options, along with its granular security controls and overall ease of use for our end users. The HTML 5 client really eliminates all the headaches that came with the client support required of legacy VPN or VDI solutions."
Farmers & Merchants Bank was founded in 1945 in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and ever since then the bank has remained committed to their mission of providing loans and secure deposits with fair interest rates to support local farmers, businesses, and families. Their expansion into neighboring communities, along with strategic mergers, has strengthened their presence in the Arkansas banking landscape.
The challenge Tackling latency challenges, managing hybrid environments, and providing secure access
Farmers & Merchants Bank was looking for:
- A solution to latency and performance Issues.
- Ability to manage a hybrid environment with ease.
- Providing secure access for internal and external users.
The bank operates from multiple data centers. Their traditional approach involved employees using Windows desktops at the office and then connecting remotely from home.
Unfortunately, this setup led to inconsistency and latency issues, frustrating their users. They considered using VPN, but they were acutely aware of the security challenges associated with that type of solution.
The bank realized the limitations of their ecosystem and wanted a solution that could seamlessly handle their hybrid environment, which includes a mix of Chromebooks, Windows BYOD, and Macs. It needed to also seamlessly integrate with their Single Sign On (SSO) set up.
Additionally, the bank faced the challenge of managing secure access for third-party consultants and auditors. The traditional approach involved granting them full desktop access, which raised security concerns and was administratively complex.
They needed the ability to precisely control access at the user and task level, limiting it to only the specific applications needed.
The test Unlocking potential: elevating remote access and capabilities
Their discovery of Parallels RAS was a pleasant surprise. They were initially searching for a solution to enable remote access on Chromebooks and found Parallels Desktop for ChromeOS, but soon realized that Parallels RAS could address all of their challenges and more.
Parallels RAS seamlessly integrated with their existing ecosystem—including SSO, enhancing their capabilities effortlessly.
Unlike most testing scenarios where the bank’s IT department merely demo’d products, with Parallels RAS they wanted a robust proof of concept. During the testing phase, approximately 20 users, including executives, thoroughly examined the solution.
They evaluated Parallels RAS on Chromebooks and Windows endpoints, allowing them to experience the transition firsthand.
The setup and deployment process was straightforward, with application deployment proceeding in a matter of a few hours without any hiccups. The bank’s IT team reported that the support from Parallels RAS engineers was excellent.
Citrix and VMware were also considered but they didn’t prove to be as modern or offer the capabilities that the bank was looking for. Parallels RAS provided a better user experience; both from the end user point of view and the IT department.
"Citrix and VMware fell short in modernity and capabilities. Parallels RAS seamlessly integrated with our ecosystem, exceeding our expectations and bolstering our capabilities."
The solution Parallels RAS chosen to elevate data management and load balancing
After a couple of months of intense testing, the decision was made to invest in Parallels RAS.
Since deploying Parallels RAS across their organization, they’ve experienced substantial growth in the number of users, applications, and desktops. The test group of 20 users expanded to over 200 users, utilizing numerous applications across various desktops and RDS servers. It has become a pivotal part of the bank’s IT infrastructure.
They utilize a range of Parallels RAS capabilities, including load balancing and data management.
"We are most impressed with the number of ways RAS allows us to tackle the question of re-routing/load balancing. There is incredible flexibility."
The result Efficient onboarding, delivering cost and time savings for both internal staff and external auditors and consultants.
Parallels RAS plays a pivotal role in the bank’s current use cases, particularly in consulting and auditing, simplifying endpoint isolation and app publishing.
These improvements have made the onboarding process for auditors and consultants much smoother, eliminating the need for VPN installations and human intervention.
Moreover, Farmers & Merchants Bank has seen significant gains in the following areas:
- Cost savings: The need for extensive security agents on Chromebooks along with overhead associated with Windows licensing, management, and hardware has been eliminated.
- Time savings: Transitioning to RDS for backend services has automated provisioning and reduced the workload. Users no longer need to download SSL VPN agents, resulting in a simpler and faster experience.
- Hardware footprint: Pairing with MS RDS, the Bank plans to reduce windows workstation numbers significantly as it transitions most workloads to MS RDS.
Parallels RAS introduces an impressive transformation in their consulting and auditing use cases, particularly in their interactions with third-party entities, allowing them to isolate endpoints for specific applications.
This has streamlined the onboarding process for auditors and consultants, eliminating the requirement for VPN installations and reducing the need for human intervention.
The bank is enthusiastic about its ongoing growth alongside Parallels RAS, with future expansion positioned to extend beyond their internal operations.
"We wholeheartedly recommend Parallels RAS. It strikes a perfect balance between legacy VPNs and VDI, simplifying operations for end-users, external users, and IT staff. Parallels RAS enhances our RDS services, providing an efficient alternative to traditional Windows-based approaches."