Tackling Information Sprawl at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Public health authority increases faculty and staff productivity, worldwide mobility in fight against diseases

Public health authority increases faculty and staff productivity, worldwide mobility in fight against diseases

Fort Lauderdale, FL — August 17, 2004 — Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said today it has implemented Citrix Systems' access infrastructure to provide 3,500 faculty, administrative staff and students with secure access over the Web to desktop personal computers (PCs) and other information sources from any location.

An international authority on public health, the school has benefited from increased faculty and staff productivity, worldwide mobility in the fight against diseases and easier compliance with government regulations.

With faculty and students conducting research in more than 50 countries, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said it needed a solution that would enable its educational community to easily access information housed in many different electronic systems and locations.

In addition, the school needed a solution for providing access to desktop PCs for faculty and staff who work remotely. Security was also a critical issue for both solutions, since sensitive research data and private student information needed to comply with strict access rules when made accessible online.

Supported by Citrix Solution Advisor Accelera Solutions, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health implemented Citrix MetaFrame Secure Access Manager to organize information from many different sources into a central location that can be easily accessed from anywhere. Users are now about to get secure, role-based access to the data they need from a single online "access center."

Mobility is another important benefit, according to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, since users can retrieve their access center from a variety of devices, including laptops, PCs and Wyse Winterm terminals located in campus kiosks and other public locations.

"With MetaFrame Secure Access Manager, our users now have secure, centralized access to a wide range of information resources using a familiar Web interface," said Ross McKenzie, chief information officer of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Everything is simplified so faculty, staff and students save time and increase productivity. For example, our students can now borrow a laptop, work in a coffee bar or use any open computer anywhere and still have access to all of the content relevant to them."

The school said it uses its access center for both traditional administrative and educational functions, as well as more innovative initiatives. For example, during registration five times per year, students can check class schedules and descriptions, register, add or drop classes, pay bills, and review accounts online.

During the year, the access center is also an important vehicle for communications among the school community, who use it to receive daily news, activity information and broadcast announcements.

MetaFrame Secure Access Manager also supports collaboration and a stronger sense of community among researchers who are participating in worldwide research programs that help prevent and control disease. With a secure access center, these researchers can exchange information and access shared data from any location — even in third-world countries.

To further increase productivity, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also implemented Citrix GoToMyPC Corporate to enable faculty and staff to use the Web to access important data from their desktops while working from home or on the road. Initially, the information technology (IT) team had considered a virtual private network (VPN), but selected GoToMyPC Corporate since it was easier to implement and use, considerably less expensive and could be rolled out throughout the organization in a matter of hours.

"Our administrative overhead is practically nonexistent with GoToMyPC Corporate," said McKenzie. "A VPN would have required the involvement of our network staff and additional costs such as purchasing hardware. Using GoToMyPC Corporate saves us money and time because my network staff can now focus on other projects. It was a no-brainer in terms of the return on investment."

Most importantly, since MetaFrame Secure Access Manager and GoToMyPC Corporate provide 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption, identity management and authentication features, sensitive information can be managed and protected, meeting privacy requirements specified in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Using MetaFrame Secure Access Manager, the school's IT staff centrally administers access for different levels, groups and roles of users so that faculty, staff and students each have appropriate access to resources in compliance with government regulations.

In addition, the administrative and reporting features of GoToMyPC Corporate help the school comply with provisions set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) since IT administrative staff control account creation, manage licenses and log connection information.