How ClassPass Adapted to the Pandemic & Remote Work with a Cloud Directory

Written by Brenna Lee on July 12, 2021

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The following article is associated with a JumpCloud webinar which takes a deep dive into how ClassPass adjusted to remote work when the pandemic hit using a cloud directory. In the webinar we discussed keeping customers and employees connected via remote work with ClassPass IT Manager, Randy Tanenhaus. Watch the full webinar recording here.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, ClassPass is a popular app that connects people with fitness and wellness experiences in more than 30,000 gyms, studios, and spas. As with many other companies, ClassPass had to pivot to a remote work environment efficiently and securely while also figuring out how to move to digital wellness experiences rather than in-person ones. A huge part of this pivot involved learning what the IT best practices are in a post-pandemic world which largely involved ClassPass’ use of JumpCloud as their primary identity manager. Because ClassPass was already using JumpCloud before the pandemic, the transition to remote work was much easier than it would have otherwise been. One of the biggest challenges ClassPass faced was trying to keep their partner studios up and running and helping them transition to virtual classes.

In the webinar, we discussed how ClassPass reacted to the pandemic with their JumpCloud solution already in place. Their primary concerns were: 

  • Figuring out how to securely and centrally manage all remote employees and their devices
  • Integrating more of their tech stack together
  • Automating and simplifying processes like user provisioning to SSO applications and offboarding
  • Gaining more visibility into the onboarding and offboarding processes

Randy also provided some great advice in the webinar for organizations looking to implement similar best practices for managing remote employees and devices.

Centrally Managing and Securing Remote Employees

Before the pandemic hit, ClassPass took initiative and added JumpCloud’s Cloud Directory Platform to their IT infrastructure as a best practice for keeping users, devices, and networks centrally managed in a way that’s secure and efficient.

This took a huge load of work off of their plates when they suddenly had to transition to fully remote work and classes. No matter where users are, it’s critical for ClassPass to be able to easily manage user permissions, quickly react to tickets, and effortlessly tie in automation tools with their main IT infrastructure. ClassPass saved massive amounts of time by having JumpCloud’s solution already in place, because it allowed them to quickly utilize more of JumpCloud’s built-in functionality to implement better security practices, quickly provision app access to user groups, and improve the onboarding/offboarding process — all remotely.

Many organizations that did not have a centralized cloud directory solution in place before the pandemic had to overcome far more challenges with managing remote work securely and efficiently. Onboarding and offboarding are two processes that can be very difficult in organizations of any size — especially when done remotely. So being able to centralize and automate this as much as possible using JumpCloud has been a significant long-term benefit for the ClassPass management team.

Automating IT Workflows (Onboarding and Offboarding)

Having efficient onboarding and offboarding workflows has become more important than ever with a primarily remote workforce, which is where ClassPass’ use of groups within the JumpCloud platform has been invaluable. When Randy first started using JumpCloud, he immediately began setting up groups in a way that had SSO applications attached to them. This way, when a new user comes on board, they can quickly be added to a group that already has provisioned access to all of the applications that are relevant to their job and nothing more. 

When it comes to user experience, every time ClassPass needs to provision an SSO application to a group of users, each user sees the app pop up in their dashboard immediately, which makes it easy for them to get into the new app and get set up as quickly as possible.

Not only are these simple workflows essential for onboarding new employees quickly and safely, but they also make offboarding much easier. Even before remote work was the norm, offboarding an employee was tedious. Offboarding typically meant getting the user’s devices back, manually removing the user from each application and piece of software on each device, and hoping that you kept track of the resources they had access to well enough to make sure they no longer had access to anything after employment was terminated. 

Then, when the transition to hybrid and remote work happened suddenly, many organizations found themselves not knowing how to handle remote employee offboarding. Countless organizations found out the hard way that angry terminated employees still had access to their resources — putting user and device management at the top of their priority list.

To avoid problems like this, JumpCloud can be utilized for offboarding employees seamlessly. By simply deleting a user’s account, the following can happen: access to apps is deprovisioned via the SCIM connectors, login access to devices is terminated, their email is deactivated, and their RADIUS/network access permissions are revoked. Admins can also suspend user accounts to accomplish the same end on a temporary basis.

Scoping User Access with Groups

To keep onboarding and offboarding efficient, utilizing JumpCloud groups is a simple and useful best practice that provides the right groups of users with proper access to different applications and networks. Group creation should be done in a logical way — Randy prefers to create groups based on employee type and the access-level needed for each. Groups allow for a lot of automation and less time spent manually adding or removing users to and from apps and networks. This automation can help organizations keep IT teams lean if that’s the goal, while allowing for the maximum amount of work to be done by fewer team members without burnout. Want more information on group creation? Learn how to properly leverage user and device groups here.

Transitioning to Secure Remote Work

The COVID pandemic hit the fitness and wellness industry hard — over 95% of ClassPass’ partner studios had to at least temporarily cease in-person classes and activities. ClassPass began offering livestream workouts which meant that members of the engineering team as well as some members of other departments suddenly needed new permissions and access to tools that they had never needed before. IT didn’t want to be a roadblock in that, and luckily ClassPass already had JumpCloud set up, which means that all they had to do was provision new apps to the proper user groups within the JumpCloud platform. Depending on the specific case, this involved checking a single checkbox, bulk updating, or using automated workflows to adjust settings — all of which was done within minutes.

After this was all said and done, ClassPass was able to create a huge library of virtual classes for customers to sign up for, and they could update safety information within the apps to educate customers on best practices and requirements. This quick pivot using JumpCloud, which integrated nicely with their other IT infrastructure, allowed ClassPass to help 5,000 top studios from around the world to add online workout options for customers and stay afloat. They also passed all revenue over to the studios in an effort to help keep them open and successful during the pandemic, and a lot of this was made possible by their quick pivot using the JumpCloud Directory Platform!

Securing and Enabling a Remote Workforce

ClassPass had to act quickly to help their studios transition to virtual classes, and they also had to make sure that all of their employees had secure access to the right IT resources and were set up for success in a remote work environment. When securing and enabling a remote workforce, a few things to consider are setting up a VPN, enforcing password complexity requirements, implementing MFA, and utilizing quick access suspension.

With the way that ClassPass was set up pre-pandemic, they didn’t need to worry about a VPN, and they had already enforced password complexity requirements through JumpCloud. They did have to adjust MFA requirements for users that hadn’t been using it prior, which was easily done within JumpCloud. MFA proved to be huge for ClassPass for a few different reasons. They have employees all over the globe who need access to offline MFA due to network issues, and it allowed ClassPass management and the IT team to rest easier knowing that they had the proper security practices in place to keep their resources safe wherever employees were.

On top of that, quick access suspension was set up through a JumpCloud integration so that when users are offboarded, resource and network access are revoked immediately across their entire IT infrastructure. This is incredibly useful for permanent termination as well as for  furloughing employees where your organization needs to suspend access and accounts temporarily rather than permanently.

Advice for Organizations Looking to Replicate ClassPass’ Setup

Automate everything that you possibly can — it’s not about having a huge IT team, it’s about having the space and ability to free up time by automating workflows and making bulk changes. Ensure that a small IT team is prepared for fast hiring further down the road by setting up logical groups in JumpCloud and having useful workflows in place prior to hiring. It all comes down to having efficient processes in place to save employees time and headaches. Having a solution like the JumpCloud Directory Platform in place prepares you for the unexpected and makes secure work possible whether your employees are remote, partially remote, or fully in-office.

Watch the Webinar

Recently, Randy Tanenhaus, IT Manager at ClassPass joined us for a webinar where we discussed how ClassPass pivoted during the pandemic. In the webinar, Tanenhaus goes over how ClassPass changed the way they provided classes, set up remote workers for success, and kept the company above water during a tough time globally. Watch the webinar recording to learn more about what ClassPass did to pivot and how JumpCloud helped them get to where they are now.

Brenna Lee

Brenna is a Content Writer at JumpCloud that loves learning about and immersing herself in new technologies. Outside of the [remote] office, she loves traveling and exploring the outdoors!

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