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University of York Reduces IT Spending with £300,000 Annually

University of York

Established in 1963, the University of York is a collegiate research university in York, England, with over 30 departments and centers spread across 500 acres. The school is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive UK universities.

Results

  • Keeping track of the growing number of devices connecting to the network following the COVID-19 pandemic and centralizing their management.
  • Leverage Lansweeper for various IT scenarios, including asset management, day-to-day technical support, and IT procurement.
  • Lansweeper saves the university around £300,000 per year in IT spending.

The IT department at the University of York is responsible for about 13,000 IT devices – mostly Microsoft Windows hardware and HP laptops. In 2021, IT Operations Team Leader Thomas Borgia searched for a solution to help him keep track of the growing number of devices connecting to the network following the COVID-19 pandemic and centralizing their management.

“One of the big problems for us is bringing the devices owned by the university into a centrally managed area,” Borgia said, who explained that during the COVID pandemic, the University’s employees who worked remotely shifted from mainly using desktop PCs to mobile devices, many of which were not issued by the University. If employees hadn’t been provided a laptop by their department, they began using them at home.

“With no visibility, we were unable to manage and protect those devices,” he said. “We needed to bring them under centralized management to control spending and improve security.”

University-of-york

No More Outdated Spreadsheets

Before implementing Lanswseeper, Borgia’s team relied on various network management systems, which were more like simple databases. “People had their lists of PCs in their area in Excel spreadsheets, but that was it,” Borgia said.

Borgia evaluated several options before selecting Lansweeper. “Lansweeper has a good pricing model,” he said. “By paying per node, we could start without making a huge capital investment, then scale out after demonstrating the solution’s benefits.”

Borgia’s team uses the agent-based version of Lansweeper, installed automatically on every new device he issues to a user via Windows SCCM. This made an incremental roll-out of Lansweeper fast and easy. “We rolled it out to a limited group of hardware first, and once we found it was useful, we passed it to the Windows team for a wider deployment,” Borgia said.

“Lansweeper’s functionality and rich data are absolutely useful for our organization. We’re using it for everything.”

Thomas Borgia
IT Operations Manager

One Solution, Many Use Cases

Borgia’s team uses Lansweeper for various IT scenarios, including asset management, day-to-day technical support, and IT procurement. “We use Lansweeper data to triage a request for new equipment,” he said. “It answers questions key IT procurement questions such as:

  • What does this person have?
  • Did they already have some hardware?
  • Are they using devices that are still in good working condition?
  • Are they eligible for replacement?

And while security isn’t a core focus of Borgia’s team, Lansweeper data is used with other security tools such as Splunk to ensure accuracy. “My colleagues in the University’s Security team use Lansweeper data for tracking down devices or doing a broad sweep to check for critical patches or updates, such as what machines are running an old version of Windows,” Borgia said. “They can use Lansweeper to generate reports and go back and check to ensure that everything has been updated.”

As Borgia pointed out, outdated devices can introduce vulnerabilities to the network that increase the risk of a security incident. If a data breach or cyber attack were to occur, damage to the University’s reputation could be severe. “The higher education sector is a target for cybercrime,” he said. “Cyber attacks have hit similar institutions in the UK, and they’ve had problems with desktops being locked out by ransomware, so it’s a very high priority for us.”

“Lansweeper tells us the warranty date on any particular laptop which is helpful when we’re looking to replace machines once a warranty expires.”

Thomas Borgia
IT Operations Manager

Among the many unique features Lansweeper Borgia appreciates are the reporting capabilities. “Lansweeper provides rich data on users – not just a username, but the full name, their email address, and information about the groups they’re in,” he said. “Lansweeper tells us the warranty date on any particular laptop, as well, which is helpful when we’re looking to replace machines once a warranty expires.” 

According to Borgia, Lansweeper also helps with insurance estimates. “If we are asked to estimate insurance requirements for particular buildings, Lansweeper helps us get a reasonable count of fixed assets per building,” he said.

£300,000 in Annual Savings

Importantly, Lansweeper is instrumental in Borgia’s team control costs. “At the most basic level, we can identify people requesting laptops when they already have one,” he said. “At a higher level, Lansweeper allows us to provide enhanced support. When we respond to a support request, we have much richer data about a user’s device, which speeds ticket resolution.” 

And as the old saying goes, time is money. Borgia estimates Lansweeper saves the university around £300,000 annually in IT spending, a critical advantage, given that central funding for government-run businesses in the UK is currently very tight.

Shortly, Borgia plans to pull Lansweeper data into the organization’s service management platform, Tableau, to assist with IT support and financial forecasting. They plan to leverage the Lansweeper integration with CyberStockroom, enabling them to quickly locate, assign, and track laptops and other physical assets.

And, with budgets currently in a “tight squeeze,” leveraging Lansweeper data will continue to help the University of York’s IT team function optimally under pressure. “Lansweeper’s functionality and rich data benefit our organization,” Borgia said. “We’re using it for everything.”

“Lansweeper saves the university around £300,000 annually in IT spending, a critical advantage, given that central funding for government-run businesses in the UK is currently very tight.”

Thomas Borgia
IT Operations Manager