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Organizations Deploy Windows Vista for Optimal Performance, Security and Usability


During Microsoft’s first fiscal quarter of 2008, thousands of organizations renewed or signed new volume licensing agreements for Windows. The strong uptake of these long-term agreements indicates that there are a growing number of businesses that are seeing the value of deploying Windows Vista. From hospitals like Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, to sportswear companies like Columbia Sportswear, to engineering firms like India’s Larsen & Toubro Limited Engineering, Construction & Contracts Division (L&T ECC), customers have chosen to upgrade to Windows Vista because they recognize that it will make their PCs more secure and manageable, and will help their users be more mobile and productive.

Technology Can Play a Key Role in Matters of Life and Death
Steve Garske, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles

For Steve Garske, technology plays a key role in matters of life and death – literally. Garske is vice president and chief information officer with Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Founded in 1901, the hospital has been treating Los Angeles area children for the most serious injuries and illnesses; with approximately 63,000 visits per year, it is designated as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center by the Los Angeles County EMS Agency.

Given the critical nature of its mission, CHLA has chosen to upgrade to Windows Vista in order to take advantage of the operating system’s increased security and manageability and, in the process, put the best tools available in the hands of those caring for the children of Los Angeles.

Garske describes the hospital’s current IT environment as ‘unusual.’ “Our current environment is a bit disjointed,” he says. “We’re still running a lot of legacy applications that are very old and have made it difficult to consolidate. That disparity was a huge factor in our selection of Windows Vista.”

Another major consideration in the selection of Windows Vista, Garske says, was security. In a clinical setting, security takes on a new level of urgency. “The biggest, most important factor is data encryption, especially when you’re running a mobile environment,” he says. “With the regulations we need to adhere to, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – or HIPAA – we need to make absolutely sure that patient data is protected by being encrypted.”

That capability, says Garske, is one of the areas where Windows Vista really excels. “With Windows Vista, we’re going to use the built-on data protection toolkit (Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption), which will give us all peace of mind,” he says. “Other options we considered were more expensive, so it’s nice that Windows Vista has data encryption built into the operating system.”

In Garske’s world, the consequences of data that isn’t encrypted can be costly and catastrophic. “If we were to have one of our laptops stolen or lost and the data on it wasn’t encrypted, we’d have to send out notices to everyone with personal health information on it,” he says. “And if we didn’t know whose data was on the laptop, we’d have to inform every one of our patients, which could cost millions.”

Another security feature that impressed Garske during the upgrade selection process was User Account Controls (UAC). “UAC is also important to the way we do business,” he says. “It enhances what we have with Active Directory by giving us an even greater level of control.”

In addition to these security benefits, Garske says the general usability factor of Windows Vista should save time and money by streamlining the employee training process.

Garske plans to take a staggered approach to introducing Windows Vista. In tandem with replacing devices and the wireless environment, Windows Vista will be deployed to CHLA’s 4,000 employees over a three-year period.

“All of this leads to the crescendo of us moving into a new hospital tower in early 2010,” says Garske. He describes the new tower as a state-of-the-art facility that will offer the latest and greatest from single patient rooms to the most leading edge voice-over IP (VOIP) and next-generation wireless capabilities.

“Eventually everyone will be using Windows Vista,” he says. “The speed and stability of the OS will help our users serve our patients more quickly, effectively and confidently.”

From Engineering to Skiwear, Windows Vista Hits the Mark

CHLA is but one of many noteworthy organizations that have selected Windows Vista to better manage the IT side of their operation.

In addition to being the largest engineering and construction conglomerate in India, L&T ECC has additional interests in electrical equipment, electronics and IT. Its strong customer-focus approach and relentless quest for top quality have made it possible for L&T ECC to achieve and maintain a leadership position in its markets for more than six decades. The company, which enjoys a premier brand image in India and has a growing international presence, currently has 2,025 PCs deployed with Windows Vista, with plans for that number to surpass 5,000 deployments by June 2008. The versatility of Windows Vista has proven itself an advantage for L&T ECC. It’s used by many knowledge workers across the company’s Engineering Design and Research Center, Global Engineering Services, civil contracts, research and development and IT divisions.

Windows Vista is also proving itself a wise investment for companies that are decidedly more consumer-focused. For example, Columbia Sportswear, which was founded in 1938, chose Windows Vista because the company believes the product aligns with one of its core values: innovation.

“We believe in the value of innovation in all aspects of our business, including technology,” says Mike Leeper, Windows systems manager at Columbia Sportswear. “By adopting Windows Vista, we are investing in improved desktop manageability with a focus on reliability and security in our IT infrastructure, with the help of features such as User Account Control and Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption.” As a seasoned IT professional, Leeper says that one of the key benefits of Windows Vista is that it makes it possible for him to exercise greater control over users’ environment.

Leeper reports that Columbia Sportswear is already conducting pilot work with Windows Vista and plans to upgrade the majority of its more than 3,000 employees to Windows Vista by the end of 2008.


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