A leading capital markets and investment banking firm based in New York
14 offices across the U.S.
An efficient and secure way to manage remote endpoints in a high-tech, fast-paced industry
A small team with a big job
In the past decade, the banking industry has seen the increasing adoption of digital technology to deliver and distribute its services — driven by competition, customer needs, plus the scale and availability of broadband internet.
With the growing reliance on technology, financial institutions must invest in developing the necessary infrastructure and secure endpoint environments to ensure seamless operations. At Brean Capital, an independent investment bank and SmartDeploy customer for years, this task falls on its four-person IT team. Small but highly effective, the team supports more than 700 workstations, 70 servers, and 14 offices across the U.S.
Managing a growing, hardware-diverse environment
Brean Capital has a very strict hardware lifecycle, frequently replacing employee devices with new premium models. “In our business, we handle large amounts of data using specialized software that’s complex and needs significant processing power. We choose top-of-the-line hardware with frequent hardware refreshes to make sure that our technology is optimized for performance and the highest levels of security,” explained Fulvio Mazza, Brean Capital’s director of IT.
The team also manages a diverse hardware environment and a growing number of devices distributed among more than 200 employees spread across the firm and its various entities. As an added complication, some users have more than one home office with multiple PCs and laptops. As the business continues to grow, the number of devices that the team manages has tripled.
Despite the number and diversity of endpoints, and frequency of hardware refreshes, Mazza remains unfazed. SmartDeploy’s flexible, file-based imaging software allows him to streamline the deployment process, keeping endpoints secure and users productive even in a fully remote environment. He only needs to create and maintain one hardware-independent golden Windows image that can be deployed to any device, of any make or model. Pre-built driver packages can be downloaded from SmartDeploy’s extensive Platform Packs library. Using WMI queries, the drivers specific to each endpoint are included at deployment time.
SmartDeploy provides a multifaceted, multipurpose imaging solution
Working from his home office in Minneapolis, Mazza manages the company’s network of remote endpoints with ease. SmartDeploy’s versatile imaging solution allows IT to provision and support devices from anywhere, whether users are onsite or remote. IT can deploy images via USB or offline media, over the local network, or over the cloud. For him, deployment is usually done wirelessly over the cloud or via PXE boot.
“SmartDeploy is like a Swiss army knife — one efficient tool with many uses, that saves us a lot of time. It’s also so much faster and more efficient than Symantec Ghost, which we were using previously. We no longer have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ each time we need to image a machine.” Manually, it would take six to eight hours to reimage an endpoint, due to strict security requirements. Mazza uses SmartDeploy to do imaging almost daily, performing multiple tasks such as onboarding new hardware and resolving break-fix issues.
“SmartDeploy is like a Swiss army knife — one efficient tool with many uses, that saves us a lot of time. It’s also so much faster and more efficient than Symantec Ghost, which we were using previously. We no longer have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ each time we need to image a machine.”
— Fulvio Mazza, Director of IT
Secure cloud deployment to remote endpoints
Like many companies, restrictions and shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transformation of Brean Capital from an in-person to a fully remote workforce distributed in various locations across the country. For Mazza and his team, the company’s transition to a decentralized, remote workforce was relatively smooth, thanks to SmartDeploy’s modern imaging software and cloud deployment feature.
Seamlessly integrated with third-party cloud storage providers, SmartDeploy enables him to provision and manage remote endpoints in a secure, convenient, and cost-effective way. Devices are drop-shipped from the manufacturer directly to end users, saving on shipping costs and reducing the risk of COVID exposure.
With the SmartDeploy agent installed, user devices don’t have to be on the corporate network or connected through a VPN. Mazza can leverage the company’s OneDrive account to store and deploy Windows images, software, and patches to remote end-user devices over the internet. Besides imaging machines, he also uses SmartDeploy’s Application Packs to deploy AnyDesk from cloud packages to endpoints to enable connectivity after deployment.
Scoring gold on endpoint security
Audited by external agencies and put through a penetration test every year, Brean Capital takes security across its entire ecosystem very seriously. For example, when an employee leaves the company, Mazza uses SmartDeploy to make sure that the user device or devices are completely wiped clean. This is also done at the end of the firm’s summer internship program every year. After core data is extracted and securely stored, the machine is swiftly reimaged as part of a data sanitization process. Reliable and effective, SmartDeploy saves the team valuable time and effort while helping to create a secure endpoint environment.
To date, Brean Capital has been awarded the security audit gold standard more than once. They’ve been asked about their secret to maintaining a secure endpoint environment even with a fully remote workforce. To which Mazza replied, “I’d say having the right tools makes a big difference. Before investing in new technology, we always do extensive research to identify best-in-class products that can help us meet our productivity and security goals. When we came across SmartDeploy, we knew it was exactly what we needed.” With 500 licenses at 95% usage and counting, it’s clear that this is an approach that works for them.
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