Confidence in Endpoint Security at Grant Thornton
With its national office located in Chicago, Illinois, Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Limited, one of the six global audit, tax, and advisory organizations.
For many strategic reasons, Grant Thornton has a preference for leasing its devices from a single hardware provider. However, a key determinant of Grant Thornton’s ability to harness the cost efficiencies of leasing devices is the ability to manage leased devices effectively and plan to return them on schedule to avoid lease non-return penalties. Simply put, the IT team at Grant Thornton must be able to understand when devices are due back and successfully recall them from employees on time.
With a corporate history that has seen the firm build market share through the acquisition of other accounting offices, Grant Thornton’s IT team was challenged to design and continually refine a single, standardized IT model that sought efficiency in a high degree of standardization. To add to the challenge, the mobile nature of Grant Thornton’s employees and preference for leasing its devices meant that the IT team needed to track and provide data security for more than 8,000 devices regardless of their physical location – whether in the office or with a traveling employee.
As part of its approach, Grant Thornton selected Absolute. Today, the firm exercises state-of-the-art IT management capabilities, including the ability to remotely manage its inventory of devices to 99.99% accuracy. According to Dave Johnson, Grant Thornton’s Director of Strategic Services, “This is where Absolute comes in. Asset management without real-time capabilities is worth very little. So, I would rank the ability to reach out and manage computers regardless of their physical location with Absolute as a ‘must have’. The role of Absolute is critical in two specific ways: it provides validation to our internal asset management platform and extends access to our computer population when we find them outside of our control.”
When Johnson’s team reports a device stolen to local police and to Absolute, a managed theft recovery investigation is triggered.
“Absolute’s Investigations team offers a lot more than simply the reliable recovery of stolen computers. As part of the forensic investigation, they give us tremendous insight into how the theft happened in the first place.”
“And when faced with the worst-case scenario of a missing device containing sensitive data, we can say that not only is the data encrypted, but that we also remotely deleted it, have a report certifying that it was not accessed by thieves and that there is a crack team of investigators tracking it down to physically recover it and apprehend the alleged thief. That, is confidence in our lifecycle management capabilities.”
Johnson concludes, “Absolute offers some very innovative and useful technology, but by far the coolest thing is the people behind it. The technology is great, don’t get me wrong, but without the people who support it, refine it, who interact with police agencies and help us when our staff encounter the unexpected, we just wouldn’t have the same experience. The software isn’t the only value here.”