If you are providing secure remote access to your IT systems for staff, then you may want to review whether there are more efficient ways of enabling it. Especially now that there are sophisticated built-in capabilities in the Windows systems that you’ve got running on your servers and laptops. (eg DirectAccess built into Windows 7, which some education institutions are starting to use as an effective replacement for other VPN technologies).

I’ve just finished reading a case study, of the London Borough of Brent, who are going to be saving themselves £459,000 a year, and reducing their carbon footprint by 4.46 tonnes a year. They are using the Microsoft Intelligent Application Gateway 2007 to protect their data centres, and provide a VPN, web firewall and endpoint security management – and through this reducing their total IT cost and reducing the travel related costs of remote employees. Tony Ellis, the Head of IT at the council, was quoted in the case study:

Our estimate for savings of £459,000 is highly conservative and in addition there are many non-cashable benefits. On Microsoft Office 2007 alone, we forecast that we’ll have a return on investment by year three of more than £42,000, while with a competitor solution we would still be in deficit by £70,000 in year three.

Although it is local government, rather than a university, I think that the challenges they face are very similar – a large number of workers, increased need for remote access, and a more mobile workforce. And a pressing need to maximise the benefit of their IT investment.

You can read the whole of the Brent case study on our worldwide site