About Joseph Brant Hospital
Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) is a full-service community teaching hospital serving more than 185,000 residents in the communities of Halton and Hamilton, including Burlington, Waterdown, Flamborough, Milton and Stoney Creek. It holds skilled staff of 194 physicians, 1,911 full- and part-time employees and more than 700 volunteers. In conjunction with McMaster University, JBH is a Clinical Education site designated as an Academic Community Teaching Hospital with an expanded campus. JBH is also a Partner member of the Burlington Ontario Health Team.
Strategic Approach – Building An Innovation Roadmap
During the process of developing a strategic Office 365 framework for the hospital, and the Burlington Ontario Health Team, healthcare institutions found themselves at the most challenging turning point when the global pandemic hit in 2020. Since then, most organizations have been challenged to rapidly engage and deploy IT resources to continue operations while modernizing to meet current demands.
Joseph Brant Hospital, being one of those organizations, recognized the opportunity to develop a detailed framework to onboard not only the hospital but also the core Burlington Ontario Health Team into Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security environments to modernize and enhance the collaboration experience for its users.
This initiative required an overall strategy and roadmap for enablement of Microsoft 365 workloads including a readiness assessment for on-premises resources. To enable the Office 365 and EM+S framework, a detailed review and assessment of the existing Active Directory, messaging environment including third-party endpoint management, and security solutions – were essential. The enlisted requirements were following two objectives – consolidate licenses and reduce IT expenditures.
Based on the initial review and discussions held during workshops by VNEXT, JBH and VNEXT jointly documented business and technical requirements for Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft Teams and EM+S features. Further on, a formal plan with defined timelines for the enablement of Office 365 services including Azure Active Directory, Exchange Online, Microsoft Teams and Enterprise Mobily + Security was developed.
As part of this initiative, our specialists developed a short and long-term strategy to leverage all Microsoft 365 workloads including Exchange Online, Intune, Azure AD Premium and Microsoft Teams. We jointly developed a “journey” for JBH enabling Microsoft 365 collaboration workloads to respond quickly to the demands of hybrid work while maintaining JBH’s strict security policies to protect access to resources both on-premises and in the cloud.
Reshaping The Digital Landscape Through Microsoft Technologies
Over the next few months after developing the roadmap, VNEXT assisted JBH team with achieving the following milestones and projects to reshape the digital landscape at the Hospital:
- Migration of mailboxes and their PST files to Exchange Online.
- Enablement of group-based licensing.
- Granular Conditional Access Policies to protect access to resources.
- Enablement of Multi Factor Authentication.
- Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) self-service password reset (SSPR) to give users the ability to change or reset their password, with no administrator or help desk involvement.
- Conditional Access policy for combined registration which requires users to register for Azure AD Multi-Factor Authentication and SSPR from a central location, such as a trusted network location during HR (Human Relations) onboarding.
- Ensuring smooth sign up for MFA (Multi Factor Authentication), SSPR, combined registration by developing end user communication and training strategy.
- Microsoft Teams Governance for Teams creation, enablement for Guest Access, secure document sharing, and setting up application policies.
In addition to the above, the JBH team was committed to keep the digital environment secure and protected. It also required an Office 365 Governance audit to ensure any change introduced to the environment to be compliant with existing policies. This audit included activities such as assessment of Azure Active Directory, Office 365 sharing and guest access, O365 Data Security, Microsoft Defender services, Exchange Online, as well as a set of recommendations and best practices to follow.
Device Endpoint Management Migration
Another milestone was endpoint/device management migration to Intune. The nature of hybrid work is complex and dynamic. Therefore, JBH wanted to gain a centralized view to keep devices compliant and secure. VNEXT executed a discovery and planning exercise that led to implementation of Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager to deploy the new OneDrive sync app, managing device identities in Azure AD using Azure AD Hybrid Join, adding compliance state data to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for the devices managed with a third-party device compliance partner using Intune Compliance Integration.
Endpoint management using SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager), Intune and configuration of essential compliance policies for both on-premises and off-premises devices is an on-going reiterative process and part of the modernization journey to enable a hybrid IT environment.
Key highlights and results: Microsoft 365 licenses and apps leveraged at their best
The cloud adoption journey that JBH team started hasn’t finished yet, but it has allowed them to maximize their investment in Microsoft 365 licenses and also to ensure they are currently taking full advantage of the cloud and as the catalyst for modernization. This approach has helped remote teams to continue to work and be productive by accessing corporate resources from anywhere securely while ensuring compliance, protection of sensitive data, and saving costs.
Throughout this journey, Adoption and Change Management has been a priority for both JBH and VNEXT to ensure a positive experience for end user as they adopt the new tools. End user communication strategies, training, plans and guides were shared with JBH IT team to create awareness and help the end users transition through this journey effectively.
Also, the Microsoft 365 framework developed for JBH allowed the Burlington Ontario Health Team to enable its members for collaboration as they accelerate their long-term digital initiatives.