• Wine Australia needed to provide its staff with access to complex applications that demanded substantial compute requirement and a more effective way to safeguard its corporate data.
  • Professional Advantage implemented Azure Security Center to secure its IT environment and Windows Virtual Desktop to virtualise ten of its end-user desktops.
  • Wine Australia enabled secure remote working and simplified remote desktop with Windows Virtual Desktop.

  • Wine Australia improved its security posture and threat protection with Azure Security Center

"I would rate Professional Advantage 10 out of 10 for their responsiveness, the trusted relationship, and the maturity of their responses."

Karen Fairbrass, Acting IT Manager, Wine Australia

In addition to Wine Australia’s migration to Azure of its virtual machines, file servers, and their legacy Kentico CMS application, one of the business priorities uncovered in Professional Advantage’s Azure workshops was to fortify their IT security and decommission DirectAccess.

Watch below to see how we helped Wine Australia implement secured and impactful Microsoft Azure solutions.


Empowering a secure and scalable remote desktop experience

Wine Australia used DirectAccess to allow select employees working remotely to connect back to the company’s internal resources without the need for traditional Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections. This setup was required by Wine Australia’s IT, marketing, and insights team while they worked with external vendors, something that often involved using complex applications that required substantial compute power.

“We’ve used virtual desktops, for example, to support our data warehouse development and for some of our GIS mapping toolsets. These require a lot more storage and a lot more CPU, meaning that if you to put them on someone’s laptop, it can be quite painful”, explains Karen Fairbrass, IT Manager, Wine Australia.

With the successful move to Azure, it made more sense to decommission DirectAccess. Wine Australia’s stakeholders had previously selected the Azure project, so they then reached out to Professional Advantage to discuss the scope. After a few rounds of discussions, Professional Advantage recommended a solution that replaced Wine Australia’s terminal servers with Windows Virtual Desktop, Microsoft’s secure desktop and application virtualisation service that runs on Azure.

The solution enabled Wine Australia to instantly virtualise desktops and apps without running additional servers or sending devices with all the user IDs and apps on them. It also enabled multi-factor authentication for end-user identification, providing an extra layer of security in a remote work setting. Being managed in the Azure portal, Windows Virtual Desktop allowed Wine Australia’s IT team to deploy desktops virtually in a matter of minutes. The pivot to Windows Virtual Desktop provided a more simplified, secure, and cost-effective remote desktop for Wine Australia.

“Windows Virtual Desktop is a lot easier to use. We can add it as an app to our user’s Office 365 suite, and they can log on and don’t need to worry where it is; it’s just there. We have the flexibility to add to it or take things away from it. We can also easily and quickly create a new virtual desktop. It gives us flexibility and agility that we didn’t have before.” says Fairbrass.

From a user point of view, Fairbrass commented, “Our users can navigate around the virtual desktop without asking too many questions because it looks so much like a normal desktop”.


Safeguarding export data

One of Wine Australia’s audit committee meetings was focused on Security; that led to a quick review of their security standards in comparison to the Australian Signal Directorate’s Essential Eight. The plan was to have it as a baseline cybersecurity mitigation strategy and understand their roadmap to reach it. “Essential Eight was a good place to start to know where we sit currently, and where do we want to be in the next financial year,” says Fairbrass.

Fairbrass further explained the importance of security for Wine Australia, “We collect a lot of export information that some people could use to their advantage if they got hold of it. That’s why that information must remain secured and only seen by those authorised”.

To strengthen Wine Australia’s security posture, Professional Advantage implemented Microsoft’s unified infrastructure security management system, Azure Security Center. The solution enables Wine Australia to understand the status of their resources and whether they were secure or not. It also raises threat prevention recommendations and security alerts so they can proactively guard against threats. 

“Azure Security Center gives us immediate visibility. It’s almost like a second layer of knowledge. Our managed services provider gives us the headline security issues but having that in-house means that we can keep an eye on things and double-check that we’re not missing anything. If we get asked a question, we have means of answering it”, says Fairbrass.


Familiar IT operational tools in the cloud

“Microsoft Azure touches on so many points; as a very small IT team, we couldn’t ever possibly hope to do it ourselves, but Azure brings it together”, says Fairbrass. “We struggle with costs, but with Microsoft Azure, we can go up or down depending on our usage”.

“It’s quite easy to use and understand as well, so people can pick it up quickly,” says Fairbrass. “As an IT manager, I can access the Azure portal and just find things on my own rather than having to rely on asking someone else constantly. To me, that’s quite useful.”


Looking toward the future

Budgeting in the next financial year sees Wine Australia gearing up for the next phase of their project. The plan is to mirror what they have done in their Australian sites to their Shanghai and London offices.