System Imaging Service
We manage the technology, so you can focus on the business.
The laptops and desktops which Blaze sends to customers have been system imaged: re-configured to a standard software image, specific to each business.
Software on Laptops and Desktops Supplied by Blaze
The laptops and desktop computers which Blaze Networks supply to our customers are not the generic systems that retailers or computer stores supply. They may be similar hardware models, but the software on them is quite different, with many settings tailored to the company it is being supplied to.
When Blaze supplies a new computer, we have already done quite a lot of work on it. The laptops and desktops which Blaze sends to customers have been re-configured to a standard system image (“re-imaged”) so that the software is in a known state, specific to each business.
There are three reasons for this:
- End-user Productivity
Cybersecurity and the Standard System Image
As you may know, when a manufacturer sends out a new machine from its factory the laptop or desktop often has a variety of software installed on it (in addition to the operating system). This is commonly known as ‘bloatware’.
The bloatware software installed by the manufacturer can include trial versions of software, ‘free’ software such as antivirus programs, utilities which the manufacturer thinks helps add value and makes their computers slightly different from their competitors, and a range of things which the manufacturer thinks might entertain or be interesting to the end user. Quite what is included varies over time and by model, and of course varies by manufacturer and from brand to brand.
In addition, whether bought direct from a shop or a local distributor, malware can be introduced during the journey from factory gate to the end user. Problems that can occur include keylogging software, preloaded ransomware on a timer delay, and the many other cyberthreats. Before new devices can be trusted on company networks, these different types of cybersecurity threat need to be eliminated. Without a pre-imagining policy your business is susceptible to these types of backdoor attacks that are the last thing you expect when purchasing new equipment.
Both from a Manageability and a Cybersecurity perspective, any prudent IT department would remove bloatware: The bloatware software is often not properly tested from a security perspective (for example, running it may initiate communications with unknown or undesirable third party systems), it is usually not automatically updated if the software is found to have security vulnerabilities or other problems, and there can be unexpected interactions between the different programs and any additional business software which the company needs its users to run on it.
Blaze remove all software from the machine that we get from the manufacturer (including the operating system) and install a complete set of software, including a particular version of the operating system, which has been agreed with the company as the customer’s standard system image: the whole process is known as ‘re-imaging’. As part of this we will install whatever cybersecurity software has been agreed with the customer (normally Blaze Endpoint Protection, based on Bitdefender technology).
This standard system image has been thoroughly tested and verified by Blaze from a security and operability perspective, and it means that each computer is in a known, trusted state, which complies with the cybersecurity framework employed by the company.
The opportunity for cybersecurity vulnerabilities is dramatically reduced, and any problems which emerge can be swiftly resolved by taking action across the fleet of the company’s computers.
System Imaging and Manageability
All the computers we have supplied to each business are in a known state, and so we can perform actions such as software updates in a uniform manner across the company’s fleet of computers. This greatly assists both with problem resolution and with helping end-users generally.
Most Blaze customers ask Blaze to manage the computer on behalf of your company’s own IT department (if you have one). To assist us in doing so we may have installed some utility software (as part of the standard system image) which enables us to communicate with the machine for the purpose of things like software upgrades and updates, diagnostics, and problem management. As part of the system imaging, we may have also configured settings in the operating system and/or standard utilities which enable us to do this more effectively.
End-User Experience and Productivity
As far as possible, the machine’s user has a “plug and play” experience. Everything that is needed for the user to be productive right away is already in place.
The standard system image, specific to each customer, includes the software and configuration settings which the customer wants end-users to have. This can include:
- Operating System: a particular Version or Edition of the operating system (for example Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Education, or Windows 10 Enterprise)
- Microsoft 365: licenced and at the desired version (eg Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Pro)
- Unified Communications software
- Customer LOB applications: such as ERP, CRM, or bespoke software applications
- Preferred internet browser(s), preloaded with links to company-specific cloud resources
- Links to shared resources such as printers
- Endpoint Protection software
- Remote Access software
The laptop or desktop is delivered with all the necessary settings established so that it can be put straight into the company’s network and the end user can quickly become productive on the new machine.
Cybersecurity, Manageability, and End-User Productivity
These re-imaging services are included in the total price which Blaze charges customers for new laptops and desktops. Optionally, where a company wishes to use non-Blaze sourced computers we are able to perform this re-imaging as a chargeable service.
Whatever the source of the equipment, we strongly encourage customers to ensure that computers employ their standard system image. This will help ensure the manageability and security of their end-user devices, corporate systems and network.
We manage the technology, so you can focus on the business.
In doing so, Blaze have access to a vast array of products that allow us to overcome our customers’ business challenges and requirements.
Blaze is a Microsoft Gold Partner and Tier 1 Microsoft CSP Partner. We specialise in Microsoft 365 (including Teams and Teams Phone System), in Microsoft On-Premise and Hosted / Cloud Infrastructure, and enable businesses to continue their digital evolution by fully exploiting the latest capabilities of Microsoft products as they evolve.
Blaze is a Managed Secure Solutions Provider (MSSP) Advanced Partner of Fortinet, a global industry leader in the supply of secure networking infrastructure systems. Fortinet are our technology partner of choice when building customer-specific Private SD-WANs. A Leader in several of Gartner’s Magic Quadrants, Fortinet equipment combines excellent performance with advanced security features, superb manageability, and excellent Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) per Mbps.
Veeam is a highly respected leader in cloud-based backup and recovery software, data protection and advanced monitoring in the data centre. We have combined Veeam technology with our highly secure Blaze Cloud™ infrastructure to produce BlazeVault™, a highly dependable, secure, and resource-efficient solution which will keep downtime to an absolute minimum in the event of data loss in operational systems or ransomware attack.
Bitdefender is a global cybersecurity leader protecting over 500 million systems through OEM technology partnerships, including with many global IT companies. Tests show it is unmatched in Attack Prevention. Based on Bitdefender technology, Blaze Endpoint Protection hardens endpoints to prevent malware and malicious attacks, and it provides the investigation and remediation capabilities needed to dynamically respond to security incidents when they evade protection controls.
Cisco has long been the world’s pre-eminent network systems vendor, particularly for technology used at the core of major corporate networks and the internet. In addition to using Cisco equipment within our customers’ private networks, Blaze incorporates Cisco technology into the heart of our own network operations; the Blaze Private Core Network is built utilising Enterprise-class CISCO core routing equipment.