Pandemic Leads to State WFH Mandate
Founded in 1990, AAA Western and Central New York (WCNY) is upstate New York’s largest member services association, providing more than 880,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. The organization also continues to be a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
In March 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the U.S., the State of New York implemented a work-from-home (WFH) mandate that forced AAA WCNY to find a way to migrate its entire workforce to WFH within days. Insurance agents, dispatchers, travel agents, administration and other staff, who were geographically dispersed across 11 different locations throughout the region, all needed remote access to company networks, so they could do their jobs the same way they did while in the office.
To expedite the process and ensure a smooth transition, AAA WCNY opted to have employees take their desktop computers home to use for remote work. But the organization still needed to find a way to provide them with secure remote access to corporate resources.
Deploying Virtual Desktops
Working against a tight timeline, AAA WCNY turned to Navisite, its long-time partner for managed hosting, data center services and support, to help create a virtual desktop environment and proven remote work model that could meet current and future demand.
“We had to quickly scale to support remote workers and challenged Navisite to meet an aggressive timeline. Within a week, their team was deploying virtual desktops to our employees across 11 Travel and Insurance Centers and other facilities with minimal impact, which was crucial to our success,” said Peter Balisteri, vice president of information technology at AAA WCNY.
As part of its solution, Navisite manages the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) for AAA WCNY in its hosted data center, which includes building out desktop images and supporting end users. Because the operating system and applications are in a private cloud, rather than on physical computers, AAA WCNY is able to ensure stronger security management and greater control over its data and access to corporate resources.
Remote Ready for Tomorrow
Today, AAA WCNY supports more than 200 of its remote employees with Navisite’s Managed VDI Service. These are employees whose roles were traditionally conducted on-premises and were not previously equipped to operate remotely. The rest of the organization’s approximately 750 employees are supported through remote routers and virtual private networks (VPN).
“We now have the ability to scale up or down as needed, which will be invaluable to us in the months ahead,” said Frank D’Arrigo, director of information technology at AAA WCNY. “As we think about what the ‘new normal’ will look like, we now have a model in place that shows how many of our essential roles can successfully operate remotely.”
A Trusted Partner
For D’Arrigo, the support provided by Navisite’s team throughout the entire process was invaluable.
“Navisite did an amazing job of pulling together the resources and expertise to get the solution up and running in days,” commented D’Arrigo. “They were committed to our timeline and it showed. We were on calls late into the evening and I’d get emails from them in the middle of the night—I don’t know when they slept.”
The result? AAA WCNY was able to quickly respond with a WFH solution during the pandemic while ensuring continued, uninterrupted service to its members. Better yet, as the situation continues to evolve, AAA WCNY has the flexibility to adjust its remote work capabilities as employees return to the office, remain at home or as new employees join the company.