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Ascend One Deploys SonicWALL Aventail to Virtualize its Call Center

August 27, 2008

SonicWALL, a secure network infrastructure company, announced that Maryland-based financial services provider Ascend One Corporation has virtualized its call center and maintained security by deploying a SonicWALL Aventail E-Class EX-1600 SSL VPN solution.

SonicWALL's clientless remote access frees Ascend One's solutions and customer care coaches to provide financial services securely from anywhere, and minimize costly deployment and administration burdens from IT.
Ascend One assists consumers in eliminating debt by providing them financial solutions and education in this regard. The SonicWALL Aventail SSL VPN effectively replaces Ascend One's initial approach at virtualizing its call center, which required the hands-on installation and configuration of a "fat" IPSec VPN client on each service agent's remote computer.
"We initially used an IPSec VPN, but soon found that solution to be difficult to deploy," said Hyun Soo Park, senior director of information technology for Ascend One. Park supports 350 call center agents and a total of 450 employees with a staff of two PC technicians. "Every deployment was a one-off installation," said Park. "It was very time consuming to troubleshoot."
Park has selected the most intuitive SonicWall after evaluation of multiple vendors. Park delivers secure remote access using the SonicWALL Aventail SSL VPN to Web-enabled applications on virtual desktops that are load-balanced among multiple terminal servers. With SonicWALL, Park has the granular access control to restrict authorized access to the virtual desktop applications on the terminal servers, and not the entire corporate network.
"SonicWALL Aventail E-Class SSL VPNs detect the identity and security state of the end device, protect against unauthorized access based on granular policy, and connect users easily to mission-critical network resources," said Chris Witeck, SonicWALL director, product marketing.
The SonicWALL solution provides significant competitive advantage to Ascend One. "We can hire from anywhere and not have to incur the costs of trying to buy a computer, to ship it to the agent, to have them set it up and install the computer, or to send a technician out there to install the computer," said Park. "Today, we have call center agents working across the nation. We can cover shifts more flexibly. Employee productivity and satisfaction is up. Job retention is higher."
"And since the agents can use their own computers, we've reduced the equipment IT needs to purchase, send out or support," said Park, "and we don't need to burden the agents with hardware and software specs. Now, whether their PC was purchased back in 2002, or a brand new box, as long as they have a Web browser connection that is Java or RDP enabled, we don't have any problems." Park was able to seamlessly integrate the two-factor authentication engine used with the previous solution, without investing in additional hardware or software.
Ascend One uses a significant inventory of third-party technology that is supported by many of its supporters.  "The SonicWALL Aventail SSL VPN let us allow our vendors into our network, but only to the specific servers they need to access," said Park. "That has really helped us work with vendors to isolate and troubleshoot problems quicker."
"Our direction is to move everyone corporate-wide to SonicWALL Aventail SSL VPN-IT, HR, marketing, and management. Once we saw that we get all the security of granular access control, plus the benefits of being easy to deploy and use, it's a no-brainer. I can't see any downside."
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Arun Satapathy is a contributing editor for ContactCenterSolutions. To read more of Arun's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray