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F4 IT started as an internal IT department for a healthcare provider in 2013. Currently, it supports over 2,500 users from organizations that provide services to the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS). Rebranded in 2018, F4 IT has continued to expand within the healthcare sector and now supports 15 organizations in North East Lincolnshire and beyond.

Business Challenge

As an organization with over 100 remote offices and more than 2,000 workstations, F4 IT had to manage a number of IT issues challenging the NHS.

Traditionally, IT assets were spread over many different locations and teams, which made it difficult to get a clear picture of the overall IT environment without visiting each location and performing a manual audit. IT security was another major concern, with many vulnerable and unpatched devices at risk of malware and exploits, but no clear way of knowing the overall scale of the problem or how to respond to new threats. Additionally, provisioning and configuring mobile devices was a time-consuming manual process, and remote support was nearly impossible due to the lack of a mobile device management system.

During the 2017 global WannaCry ransomware attacks, many NHS and healthcare organizations in the UK were badly affected. In some cases, this resulted in the total closure of clinical systems, and even turning away non-critical patients.

The Solution: Desktop Central

Looking for a single, cost-effective solution that would integrate all of the functions that a service desk would require, including remote support, patch management, asset management, and software deployment, F4 IT found ManageEngine Desktop Central.

Discussing the journey F4 IT took to find Desktop Central, Dean Blakeman, IT Operations Manager, said, "Desktop Central was the automatic choice due to its price, features, and integration capabilities with ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus."

  • Zero-day patch deployment

    By installing the Desktop Central agent on all of its workstations to centrally manage all Windows and third-party software updates, F4 IT has reduced the vulnerability of its IT environment. What they love the most about this feature is the ability to identify any problem devices quickly, and address them individually outside of the standard schedule. When a zero-day exploit is identified, Desktop Central ensures the patch is deployed to the majority of F4 IT devices within an hour.
  • Complete IT asset management

    Thanks to Desktop Central, F4 IT can now manage both hardware and software assets in its network seamlessly. Desktop Central provides extensive details of all the assets F4 IT manages, when they are used, and by whom. Instead of performing a manual audit by visiting every remote location, they can now quickly run a report or view a dashboard that provides all the information needed for planning and proactive IT management.
  • 360-degree endpoint management with service desk integration

    Since F4 IT was already taking advantage of ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus, opting for Desktop Central was a natural choice for them. By using Desktop Central, it was able to manage all service desk functions within a single suite of products. F4 IT records all of their service desk incidents, requests, projects, and changes using ServiceDesk Plus, and then integrates this information with Desktop Central to provide the endpoint management functions required to complete these requests. This eliminates the incapability of communication between different products.
  • Ease of mobile device management

    With Desktop Central's unified endpoint management (UEM) approach, now F4 IT is able to perform all mobile configuration, deployment, and security management tasks with relative ease, providing a much faster and more responsive service for its customers. "Desktop Central MDM makes it very easy to quickly deploy organizational policies to new and existing mobile devices. Being able to remotely connect to managed mobile devices and provide support directly onto the device provides great efficiencies," said Blakeman.

Before the ManageEngine solution was in place, users at F4 IT had to visit the IT service with their device to receive this support, or be talked through solutions step by step.

The Desktop Central Experience

With Desktop Central, F4 IT found a single, cost-effective solution that would integrate all of the functions that a service desk would require, including remote support, patch management, asset management, and software deployment. Over the past few years, F4 IT has taken on numerous large contracts providing IT support for NHS healthcare providers. Using Desktop Central has enabled these transitions to take place smoothly, and actively improved the service received the new customers. In addition, Blakeman added, since the entire IT environment was already fully patched with the security updates required to protect against WannaCry in 2017, F4 IT didn’t experience a single affected workstation.

About Desktop Central

ManageEngine Desktop Central is a holistic unified endpoint management solution that helps in managing thousands of servers, desktops, and mobile devices from a central location. It automates the complete endpoint management life cycle, ranging from a simple system configuration to complex software deployment. With over 15 years of expertise in the IT management industry, ManageEngine Desktop Central has understood the needs in the market, and developed the product to defend cyber-threats. Trusted by more than 15,000 customers around the globe, Desktop Central helps businesses cut costs on IT infrastructure, achieve operational efficiency, improve productivity, and combat network vulnerabilities. For more information about Desktop Central, visit