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William Fry Case Study

Top firm delivers security and performance for lawyers

One of Ireland’s leading law firms upgrades to Citrix Workspace for consistent, high performance desktop experience, from anywhere.

Widely recognised as a top tier corporate law firm, William Fry prides itself on its continued investment in people, technology and research. The firm is a longstanding Enterprise Solutions customer and Citrix user, so when it came time to refresh its desktop, William Fry selected Citrix Workspace along with Citrix ShareFile and Unified Endpoint Management.

As IT manager Oisin Concannon explains, the goals were to improve productivity and experience for the firm’s 500 employees while also improving system management for the IT department.

“With Citrix Workspace on Citrix Cloud, we’re looking to reduce the maintenance overhead for patching and updating servers,” he says. “If we reduce the time we spend on managing the system, we can spend more time on projects that add real value to the firm.”As a leading law firm, security is always a top priority for William Fry.

As Concannon says, “Our data is our client’s data. We have to treat it with the utmost care.”

William Fry worked with Enterprise Solutions to deploy Citrix Workspace along with Citrix ShareFile and Unified Endpoint Management. “Lawyers are very sensitive to any kind of delay” A consistent, high-performance desktop experience is central to William Fry’s vision for technology.

“Lawyers are very sensitive to any kind of delay”

A consistent, high-performance desktop experience is central to William Fry’s vision for technology.
“Lawyers are very sensitive to any kind of delay or slow performance,” Concannon says. “They’ll count the number of clicks, the number of seconds for anything to happen.”

With offices around the world, William Fry’s lawyers travel regularly, working alongside clients from Dublin and Cork to Mountain View, California and Mission Street, San Francisco.

Citrix Workspace enables the firm to provide a familiar desktop for lawyers and other staff, wherever they’re working.

“With Citrix Workspace, everyone gets a virtual desktop,” Concannon explains. “A lawyer might have a nice Dell XPS laptop on her desk with docking station and dual screens, but we don’t install any applications on the PC. Using multi-factor authentication, they go straight into Citrix, whether they’re in the office, at home, or working anywhere else. That gives people continuity and flexibility. They can work remotely without having to do something radically different, as they might if we used VPN tunnels or other approaches.”

With Citrix, users can work on documents without needing to download, edit and upload individual files.

“You wouldn’t have the same experience if you had to download, say, a 50-100MB file over a two- or three-megabit connection, then edit it with local apps and save it back to the document management system. At home or hotel, your upload speed is probably only a tenth of your download speed. That wouldn’t be a great working experience. With Citrix, it’s fast and secure.”

A secure desktop for travelling or working from home

Citrix Workspace also secures William Fry’s business continuity plans. If staff are unable to work in the office due to adverse weather or unscheduled events, they can work equally well from home.

“Citrix is central to our business continuity strategy. For example, when we had a big ‘Snowmageddon’ a few years ago, everyone simply stayed at home; secretaries, lawyers, everyone. We had no concern about securing individual home PCs because, again, everything happened within the secure Citrix bubble and staff accessed the same, familiar desktop in the same way as if they were in the office.”

Securing sensitive client data

William Fry is ISO 27001-certified for information security management and Citrix provides tools that underpin the firm’s approach to protecting client information.

“Whether people are working in the office or remotely, they’re always on the Citrix virtual desktop which runs from our datacenter,” Concannon explains. “It’s like a secure bubble where everything happens, so when people are accessing documents from our document management system or receiving emails, it all happens within our datacenter. There’s no data going down to the laptop. If someone’s in a coffee shop and their laptop gets stolen, there’s nothing actually on it. We don’t store anything on the laptop. Everything happens within the secure Citrix bubble.”

Concannon and his team use a single desktop image for all users, which is refreshed every weekend, for added security, as he explains:

“We like the fact we can have a single master, or golden, image for our desktops. We recycle them every weekend. That’s a big security benefit because, even if someone breaks something on the server, come the weekend, they all reboot and the image gets pushed down again. That ensures security and stability.”

When sharing information with clients or other third parties, William Fry uses ShareFile.

“We have a ShareFile First policy. If you want to share something with a client, use ShareFile because, by its nature, it’s much more secure. You’re sending a link to the other party and you can expire that link at any time. We automatically expire all links after 30 days. There’s a lot of security built-in by sharing over the cloud with Citrix ShareFile.”

And, to complete the firm’s security coverage, “We’re using Citrix Endpoint on our iPhones and iPads. It gives us secure email and access to internal sites from those devices.”

Streamlined IT management, too

With Citrix Cloud, as Concannon says, “We just consume. Citrix looks after all the patching and updates.”

For its on-premises infrastructure, William Fry has moved to Nutanix hyperconverged servers.

“The Citrix / Nutanix integration is just fabulous,” says Concannon. “It’s made our lives so much easier. You don’t have to go into the Nutanix console to do the Citrix part. I can deploy new images from the Citrix Studio console and the magic happens on the Nutanix cluster. That’s a marriage made in heaven – they work so well together. The performance from Nutanix is brilliant, so is the management through Citrix Studio. There are just fewer buttons to press and levers to pull to make things happen. That frees up our time to work on more value-add projects for the firm.”

Looking ahead, Concannon foresees the firm continuing to drive improved desktop performance. New servers are GPU-ready to leverage the graphics acceleration capabilities of Windows 10 over Citrix. The firm will also, of course, be digging deeper into Citrix Workspace’s capabilities to help its demanding lawyers be even more effective.

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