Financial lender adopts Desktop as a Service

Financial lender adopts Desktop as a Service

JMAC Lending is freeing its mobile sales force and securing its customer data.

The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) revolution is coming to your business, if it hasn’t already arrived. A BYOD management strategy is particularly critical to a company that has a mobile sales force, and a requirement to keep a tight rein on proprietary data.

That’s precisely the situation in which JMAC Lending found itself. The Irvine, California-based wholesale mortgage lender originated about 30,000 mortgage loans—worth roughly $10 billion—on razor-thin, competitive margins. Its staff of 65 includes a very mobile sales force working on a variety of endpoint devices.

According to controller Anthony Pham, ensuring that sensitive customer information didn’t get lost with one of those devices was the most important consideration when JMAC began thinking about a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) environment for its sales staff.

“We can’t lose customer data,” Pham says. “If we do, we would lose trust and it would have a dramatic impact on our business.”

  • JMAC’s DaaS implementation, provided by Cisco Powered™ service provider Quest Technology Management, allows the lender to keep applications and data secure in a hosted environment.
  • DaaS also enables JMAC’s road-warrior sales team to access data and applications from anywhere, on any device.

“Our sales team experiences some turnover and they’re mostly offsite, so we wanted to provide company-owned desktops on demand,” says Pham. “We also wanted to provide a secure environment, so whether they access it from their laptop or from their desktop, our customer information would not be stored on a personal computer or device.”

Sensitive data
Borrower information is so sensitive, JMAC even isolates it from the service provider. Quest president and CEO Tim Burke calls it a “no-trust” requirement; the service provider stands up the infrastructure and maintains the virtual machines on which the desktops run, but has no access to the desktops themselves or the data. Other solutions JMAC evaluated didn’t restrict that access.

And because Quest provides an administration console to manage the virtual machines, a host of new advantages come into play. The company isn’t dependent on Quest to create new desktop images, reconfigure the system, or install new applications or services. Ryan Allcorn, IT specialist with JMAC, says it’s easy for him to roll out a new desktop.

“Assuming we already have the ‘gold pattern’ image, we build a desktop right off of that, which takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes or so,” he says. “Then it’s a matter of applying group policies to control what a user can and can’t do, and providing file-sharing services.”

That’s important given JMAC’s growth trajectory.

  • The company is now a wholesale mortgage lender, meaning completed applications come from brokers who deal with the borrowers, and JMAC sells most of those mortgages into the secondary market.
  • The company has also moved into the retail lending market, which is much more labor- and capital-intensive. As the company added 50 seats and refined its business model, Pham wanted to maintain his lean IT team of two.

Turnkey solution
Burke says many customers turn to Quest because their in-house efforts to virtualize their desktops haven’t panned out. Desktop virtualization touches many disciplines within the enterprise, including data center, networking, and security, and they all have to be aligned on the virtualization effort.

“One of the advantages of Desktop-as-a-Service is it’s there and it’s ready to go,” Burke says. The infrastructure is largely pre-configured, which is a huge benefit for customers, especially those trying to keep their IT teams lean. “Whether it’s a public, hybrid, or on-premise cloud doesn’t matter.

“We bring that cloud to wherever their data and computing resources are so they can access it readily.”

A change as transformative as DaaS has a bottom-line impact. Pham hasn’t run a formal ROI analysis on the DaaS implementation yet, but he counts savings in centralized management, provisioning of hardware, and administrative labor as wins. And there has been an upside from the user’s perspective, too.

“Many of the salespeople have found it performs better than their existing laptop,” Pham says.

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