"I can confidently say that utilizing Parallels RAS for secure access to our client's legacy applications has been a game-changer. It's not just about preserving the past; it's about ensuring that our clients' vital data remains protected and accessible, no matter how technology evolves. Parallels RAS has become our trusted ally in this mission, providing both peace of mind and a competitive edge in the ever-changing IT landscape."
Netropolix, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) based in Geel, Belgium, is committed to providing tailored customization, expert advice, and proactive IT support tailored to their clients' unique business needs.
Their software and infrastructure divisions work collaboratively, seamlessly addressing various aspects such as software development, integration, cloud services, and IT infrastructure, all to enhance their clients' IT operations.
The Challenge Enabling secure and seamless access to legacy applications while minimizing the need for frequent user authentication
Netropolix was looking for:
- The ability to provide secure access for their clients to their legacy applications.
- SSO (Single Sign On) / MFA (multi-factor authentication) capability.
- Reliable product support.
- Enhancement of RDS and AVD Services.
Netropolix provides support to clients in a range of industries who house their data either in the cloud or on-premises.
In response to the rising demand for cloud services, Netropolix shifted its strategy to prioritize the cloud in 2020.
Netropolix still encounters a lot of legacy applications (for example accounting software) and they saw the opportunity to offer their clients secure access to these applications while also enhancing the user experience by reducing the frequency of daily identity authentication prompts, which often exceeded 20 times per day.
When Microsoft made a significant announcement that they would be discontinuing their Microsoft MFA Server service for new deployments (so new customers requiring MFA would need to use Azure Multi-Factor authentication), Netropolix realized they would need to find an alternative.
This posed a challenge for Netropolix since they needed a secure solution for their RDS environments.
This spurred them on to research alternative solutions that could provide the security they required.
The Test Uncovering the ideal security solution
In 2019, Emanuel contacted a friend within the industry to inquire about other products that could provide a security solution.
His friend suggested two options; Parallels® RAS and Parallels Secure Workspace. Emanuel was surprised at the mention of Parallels RAS as he had not been aware of its security capabilities.
Netropolix set aside three months for testing legacy applications internally.
There was frequent and direct communication with the Parallels account manager and presales teams to understand the technology and answer any questions.
Both products were benchmarked and although both provided virtually the same result, the key differentiator was that Parallels RAS offered Single Sign-On (SSO) which addressed their security concern.
Citrix was also a consideration, but it proved to be too expensive, very difficult to manage, and it didn’t offer Single Sign-On—a crucial criterion for Netropolix.
"Ease of use and security combined is the sweet spot. Parallels RAS offers that."
The Solution Boosting legacy application security and efficiency with Parallels RAS and Azure Virtual Desktop
Netropolix opted for Parallels RAS primarily because of its SSO security feature. The end-users' experience has greatly improved because they no longer need to log in and verify their identity multiple times a day.
Moreover, Netropolix's clients have complete confidence that their data center is secure, whether it’s a colocation arrangement or hosted by Netropolix.
What’s more, Netropolix discovered that Parallels RAS enhances their Microsoft RDS and Azure Virtual Desktop services since some of their clients’ remote desktop services reside in their AVD environment and not in a private datacenter.
Although the legacy applications were not modernized to have a more SaaS flavor, hosting these applications in Azure creates the perception that they’ve been refreshed, which is pleasing to the Netropolix customer base.
Also, their customers do not need to be bothered with hosting these legacy applications in their own data center.
The use of Parallels RAS for secure gateway access for both on-premises and hosted data centers introduces a transformative level of convenience.
Parallels Partner Program Empowering Netropolix through MSP partnership: elevating security and zero-trust expertise with Parallels RAS training
Becoming a Parallels Partner comes with an additional advantage, as it provides the Netropolix team with the opportunity to stay up-to-date with Parallels RAS advancements through regular, comprehensive, and complimentary technical training and certifications.
They are currently discussing a dedicated joint training venture specifically around security and how they can better build a zero-trust resiliency in the Parallels RAS setup combined with the Microsoft front door.
“The training and certifications provided by Parallels RAS are absolutely vital in ensuring that we offer our clients the most advanced solutions. We've initiated talks about joint security training and ways to enhance our zero-trust framework. Parallels' dedicated support for partners like us, in our business growth, is the driving force behind our license renewals.”
The Result Elevated legacy application security and accessibility with Parallels RAS
By including Parallels RAS in their MSP toolkit, Netropolix has effectively offered their customers seamless and secure gateway access to legacy applications for users across on-premises and hosted cloud environments. Azure Virtual Desktop comes in to play only when their client’s RDS environment resides there.
Netropolix enjoys the following advantages:
- Strengthened security: Parallels RAS offers additional layers of security, including Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and encryption tools.
- Concurrent licensing structure: cost-savings without the burden of management overhead.
- Simplified Approach: Parallels RAS provided a straightforward and unified environment, streamlining Netropolix’ client management.
- Exceptional Support: Reliable, quick to respond, and dedicated support was a huge plus for Netropolix.
"Our partnership with Parallels RAS has been instrumental in offering secure access to legacy applications. It's the backbone of our commitment to security and accessibility for our clients."