How EGA RAK Built a Culture of Resilience

Speaking to contributing editor Janees Reghelini, Alia Alkindy, Head of Department, IT Infrastructure and Technical Operation Department, Electronic Government Authority of Ras Al Khaimah (EGA RAK), explains how the organisation achieved a secure remote working environment with technology leader ManageEngine’s unified endpoint management solution Desktop Central.

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The Electronic Government Authority of Ras Al Khaimah (EGA RAK) was established in 2004 as a result of Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi’s aspiration to transform the emirate into an online community. The company has spent the better part of the past two decades gradually digitizing all aspects of RAK society through the application of latest technologies, integrated solutions and comprehensive systems. EGA’s goal is to continue automating processes and systems at government IT and telecommunication departments, creating necessary technical infrastructure and be recognized as a leader in e-government, including areas such as IT, telecommunication, services and geography.

As a technology-driven organisation, EGA RAK was well-prepared when the global pandemic compelled businesses to move work models online earlier this year.

Alia Alkindy, HOD, IT Infrastructure and Technical Operation Department at Electronic Government Authority of Ras Al Khaimah (EGA RAK), says, “During the pandemic lockdown, we were able to make the required changes quickly, thanks to the inherent management philosophy we follow at EGA. As a company we have always pushed for developing new services and adopting agile IT models. With every new service we offer, we also consider how the support can be effective and flexible. It is challenging to continuously test new approaches but eventually these new ways of functioning enhance our overall performance and also helps us not to rest on our laurels.”

As a company that made it a priority to stay ahead of the curve, EGA RAK recently deployed enterprise IT management software leader ManageEngine’s unified endpoint management solution – Desktop Central – further enabling the firm to cope with any unexpected circumstance that the pandemic brought on.

Alkindy explains, “Few months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, EGA’s technical teams were researching and testing solutions to expand its reachability to support users outside RAKGOV network such as users on travel, users at home, and even users working on restricted and limited access networks. We approached ManageEngine and after seeing the many benefits of the offering in a detailed PoC, we were convinced that their Desktop Central was the perfect solution suiting to our requirements.”

The ManageEngine team was given the green light to immediately start working on EGA’s system architecture and project implementation. The solution addressed all the core requirements that EGA RAK had, enabling the firm to deploy a secure remote working environment for all types of users.

The solution supported secure communication over HTTPS and SSL, role-based access and multi-level authentication, encryption and checksum. EGA engineers were also able to enforce a high level of security for network and servers, without compromising on the product features.

EGA RAK’s primary objective was to reach and serve users outside of its managed network securely. The Desktop Central’s Remote and Desktop sharing feature over internal and external networks, addressed this requirement. Another major challenge the customer faced was the overhead of conducting the inventory for thousands of computers manually.

“This not only cost time but also the efforts of a large number of personnel,” explains Alkindy.

Automating this task through ManageEngine’s solution made EGA RAK’s operations much more efficient.

“We were also excited with the solution’s Dashboard and Reporting feature, which offered a comprehensive view to our management. We were now able to see our vulnerability areas and accordingly address it.”

Post the deployment, EGA RAK was able to significantly reduce the overhead on IT teams, automate inventory reporting and monitoring and achieve remote software installation among other benefits.

“All these security layers helped to ensure safe and secure working environment for us,” adds Alkindy. “While the solution improved all functions, we were especially impressed with how seamless and quick these three tasks became – Remote and Desktop sharing over internal and external networks, Software Inventory and Software Deployment and Dashboards and Reports.”

According to Alkindy, the ManageEngine team went the extra mile to ensure they delivered support services beyond the managed environment. “We had a great experience with ManageEngine. Right from understanding our needs to post-deployment support, the team was efficient and highly skilled. The solution also featured an easy and friendly user interface and minimised the out-of-reach device situations and the need for relying on multiple third-party tools.”

Speaking about future plans, Alkindy concludes, “At EGA RAK, we are in constant pursuit of new technologies that can enhance our services. Our IT budgets and investments have been on a steady increase. In fact, we have begun to explore emerging IT innovations and industry trends to future proof our operations, ensure business continuity and most of all to be able to offer excellent digital customer services.”

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