North Somerset Council has moved forward its plan to increase remote working through the Microsoft Azure platform in response to the spread of coronavirus.
It has made the platform available to up to 800 staff in just five days, compared to the original plan for a two-month deployment which was scheduled to begin in July.
The council worked with its technology and digital transformation partner Agilisys to roll out the external desktop version of Microsoft Azure, which includes all of its key line of business applications.
Stuart Anstead, head of partnership support services at North Somerset, said the move has allowed a large number of staff to access its desktop environment from their own computers at home.
Agilisys said the solution can be scaled and additional applications added as required, and that the virtual desktop is secure, using Microsoft’s two-factor authentication and preventing the transfer of any data to a personal computer.
Paul Stickley, IT services director at Agilisys, said: “As a result of the coronavirus outbreak pressures, and the need for people to work from home, the council asked us to turn our attentions to providing a home working solution, which was planned in phase two of our roll out.
“With the want of the council to move quickly, and the support of the North Somerset arm of the Agilisys IT team, we brought forward the deployment and managed to provide them with up to 800 plus desktops through this solution, which is scalable to meet demand, in the space of just five days.”
North Somerset had already begun work on the internal deployment of Azure but put this on hold in making remote working a priority. It is due to be in place in June.