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The nearly 300-year-old drinks group Rémy Cointreau has switched to cloud-based services in an effort to boost business agility, but key to move was finding the right access management system.
Chief technology officer (CTO) Sébastien Huet was tasked with finding a way to enable mobile workers to use up to 20 different web and cloud-based applications and services easily and securely.
“Essentially, it was about aligning IT to the way the business was transforming itself to be more agile to take on our much larger competitors, which are up to 10 times bigger,” he told Computer weekly.
Rémy Cointreau has more than $1bn in annual sales, but has only 1,800 employees across its operations in Europe, the US and Asia.
As part of the business transformation, Huet wanted to ensure his team was able to focus on improving and finding services to support the business, rather than spending too much time on managing technology.
“We wanted to make it easier for employees to access applications wherever and on whatever device they needed to and to make the experience the same across all devices. But pushing all the services into the cloud meant we had to ensure that access was secure through proper management and control,” he said.
This meant moving security from the network and the device, said Huet, to the application layer, which has the added benefit of being able to buy consumer grade devices at cheaper prices, and to bring new offices online quickly because all the security is handled in the cloud.
Improving IT productivity with Centrify
Although the company had a single sign-on system in place, it was available only in French and suffered from a number of support barriers.
Adding apps to the system was expensive because many needed additional integration work to enable them to run on the old system.
With an IT team of 50 supporting the worldwide organisation, Rémy Cointreau realised the company needed a system that was easy to use, deploy and maintain.
Forgotten passwords, password resets, account lockouts and reactivations were an ongoing problem for Rémy Cointreau’s IT department, accounting for 30% of all help desk tickets.
With the industry average cost of a help desk call running anywhere from $25 to $30, these calls not only slowed productivity and consumed valuable IT time, they cost the company money.
Prior to Huet’s arrival at Rémy Cointreau a year ago, the company had already identified an identity and access management service from Centrify as a potentially good fit for the company.
After conducting several pilot studies, Huet confirmed the decision to work with Centrify because not only did the product meet Rémy Cointreau’s needs, but as an early adopter of the system, Centrify was able to respond quickly to any new or specific requirements as part of product development.
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The Centrify Identity Service (CIS) is designed to protect against credentials being compromised, which is one of the main techniques used by attackers to access networks and steal data.
The system is aimed at securing internal and external users, as well as its privileged accounts. It provides single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, mobile and Mac management, privileged access security and session monitoring.
“We have many cloud apps from many different suppliers and Centrify provides a portal through which users can get access to all those applications with a click or tap, from any device,” said Huet.
“In effect, Centrify ties all the apps together and gives them the feel of one large, unified system, which has resulted in good user experience and positive feedback,” he said. “It has changed the perception of an IT service inside the company.”
Sébastien Huet, Rémy Cointreau
Since implementing Centrify’s identify service, Rémy Cointreau has simplified the onboarding of employees and driven increases in productivity.
“New employees are productive more quickly after joining the company than in the past and existing employees are more efficient as well,” said Huet.
“In the past, it was fairly difficult and time consuming to add new users, but now employees can simply select the services they need from a central online portal,” he said.
The company is also using Centrify’s enterprise mobility management system, which is part of CIS. By consolidating identity management in one place, Huet said Rémy is able to alleviate pressure on IT with one less product to manage, saving the company the cost of a separate security system.
Rémy Cointreau also plans to implement multi-factor authentication for all employees by then end of 2016, not just administators, to derive even greater security benefit from CIS.