Channel Nine boosts Mac fleet

Macworld Australia Staff
10 March, 2016
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iMac, Retina 5K display, macworld australiaNine Network expanded its production fleet of Macs from 19 to 150. With that growth, there’s been a need to take on a more robust management solution for the systems. It is using Centrify to manage security and simplify password management with password reset support calls halved. While the The Nine Network employs 2000 people nationally, the company’s 150 Macs are easily managed by just two IT people.

Nine Network chose Centrify Identity Service to securely manage user identities on its Mac computers, providing users with the ability to access both broadcast and corporate IT networks with a single login through Active Directory.

Since its Mac expansion, the Nine Network has become much more efficient in production and post-production. Centrify has simplified password management for both employees and tech support, dramatically reduced the problem of forgotten login credentials and cut support calls by 50 percent.

Nine Network media solutions manager Derrick Meyer says Centrify played a central role in the Mac expansion. “When we planned our production and editing system upgrade, one of the key factors as to whether to use Windows or Mac was that we had to follow proper IT security policies,” he says.

“We’d chosen Active Directory as the means for identity access to both our production and corporate IT networks, so users would need only a single login and password for both. Without Centrify, we could not have fulfilled these IT security requirements for identity management, which means we’d have ended up with Windows machines. Macs would not have been an option.”

Like many broadcasters, Channel Nine operates two separate computer networks, one for Broadcast and one for Corporate. Centrify now allows users to log on to both systems using their Active Directory password, avoiding the need for two separate sets of credentials.

Meyer says Centrify has simplified password management for both Channel Nine employees and tech support. “Even with just 19 Macs, password management was very labour-intensive,” he says.

“Passwords got out of sync when they changed every three months, then for weeks on end we’d get phone calls and have to go up and delete each user’s keychain. Centrify has eliminated that problem by providing all users with a single login. It has also reduced the problem of people forgetting passwords or not remembering which username to use.

“In the past, it wasn’t unusual for user credentials to be shared because of the difficulty in managing the user accounts. As a result, it wasn’t possible to tell who was on a machine. Now users log in through Centrify, we know who to go and ask if we find something in the logs. That’s very important for auditing and troubleshooting.

“Centrify and our IT security policy make sure these products are now secure, so only authorised people get access. Centrify gives us peace of mind when it comes to shows. If there’s a story that only we have, or it’s a development that we don’t want getting out, we know it’s secure.”

Centrify’s single sign-on access to both Broadcast and Corporate IT systems also better protects personal user data because backups occur automatically whenever employees log on.

According to Meyer, “implementation was quick, easy and seamless”, for both on premise and remote access. “All we need to do with the Mac laptops is join them to Centrify and assign the appropriate Zones, then users can go home, reboot and log in with their cached password for remote or off-network access,” he explains.

“Deployment was easier than we’d anticipated, and the support we receive from Centrify is fantastic.”

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