Little Island is a beautiful public park in New York City that also houses performance venues, educational programming, a food and beverage program, and more. Little Island is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was created to be an urban oasis — “a place for experiences that ignite imagination, foster spontaneity and play, and support camaraderie and connection.”
Little Island and its managed service provider (MSP) Macktez work closely together to maintain and improve processes and functions across the organization. The primary issue Little Island faced was scaling securely while improving processes along the way, meaning they needed an efficient way to onboard and offboard, control access to a variety of resources, and improve employee productivity as well as the overall digital user experience.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve increased our need to add users to [various] tools and to add cross-departmental collaboration to those tools. We’ve drastically increased the number of tools that we’re using,” said Kathryn Lewis, Park and Facility Operations Manager at Little Island.
In general, Little Island wanted to improve unity across the organization in any way possible. Lewis stated, “Part of why we moved both office and park operations into my department was to create some cohesion for all of the different employees that we knew that we would be hiring. We have a lot of different types of people that work here who need to collaborate and use computers.” This drive to promote cohesion led them to JumpCloud, where they could connect many facets of their business in a way that made work easier and more secure for everyone.
- Organization: Little Island
- Location: New York City
- Problem: Scaling securely while improving processes along the way
- Goal: Efficient user lifecycle management and overall improved security
Before JumpCloud, Little Island did not have a directory solution in place, but they were actively using Azure AD. They were also using Microsoft 365 as their primary collaboration suite in conjunction with other tools such as Google, Slack, and Asana.
When asked about the history of Little Island’s overall environment, Lewis said, “We used to have a small office and an art gallery — we would just walk to the Apple store to buy our computers. We were setting them up in a very haphazard sort of way.”
Their current fleet of systems primarily contains Mac devices with a sprinkling of Windows devices, and access keycards play a large role in their day-to-day activities.
To proactively deal with issues that would arise from scaling and modernization within Little Island, Reilly Scull, CTO of Macktez suggested implementing JumpCloud. Macktez uses JumpCloud as its primary directory to help clients operate securely no matter where employees are located.
Challenge: Scaling a Nonprofit Efficiently and Securely
A few challenges Little Island faced:
- Onboarding and offboarding many seasonal and temporary employees
- The need for increased security via comprehensive MFA and getting buy-in
- Implementing wide-range single sign-on (SSO) capabilities that tether to many apps
- Managing remote user access
An important process Little Island needed more control over was onboarding and, especially, offboarding. “We have a ton of people coming and going, whether it’s because we contracted a specific person to work for a short period of time — a lot of our employees are seasonal,” said Lewis.
These short-term employees need to be quickly onboarded with specific software access provisioned quickly, and more importantly, they need to be completely offboarded as automatically and efficiently as possible to ensure organizational security. This includes provisioning and deprovisioning access to networks, resources, and keycards.
With both remote employees and on-site employees with keycards in the mix, Little Island needed a comprehensive solution for safely authenticating appropriate access. Whether that access was to a resource like a VPN or into the park itself via a keycard, security and efficiency in this realm needed improvement. This is where they found that JumpCloud could streamline access provisioning and deprovisioning to ensure only the right people have access to the resource in question, be it the VPN, the park, or any other critical resource.
Little Island also needed a more comprehensive MFA solution that extended past Microsoft 365 — they needed a federation solution to make this extension happen. “The point of federation being that we wanted to move MFA from Microsoft over to JumpCloud because we didn’t want MFA to stop at Microsoft, and we also didn’t want people to have to manage 15-20 different MFA keys,” said Scull. To achieve the cohesion that they were striving for, implementing a holistic MFA solution through JumpCloud was a great step in the right direction.
On top of all of this, Little Island’s employees were using many different tools and apps such as GitHub, Adobe, Asana, Slack, Airtable, 1Password, Zoom, and many more. At the time, this meant that users had to remember credentials for each tool, leaving them extremely vulnerable to breaches. However, after being introduced to JumpCloud, Little Island recognized that putting in place JumpCloud’s single sign-on solution would be instrumental in improving security and the user experience for employees.
Solution: A Cloud-Based Directory Platform to Create Unity
To gain more control over their systems and promote cohesion across the organization, Little Island implemented JumpCloud under the direction of Reilly Scull from Macktez. They currently have JumpCloud Platform and are interested in potentially moving to PlatformPlus in the future to take advantage of conditional access which allows users to bypass MFA requirements if they’re on a known IP or on-site where identities are verified.
Adding JumpCloud into their organization allowed Little Island to set up MFA on everything, rather than just Microsoft 365 tools. On top of that, JumpCloud’s single sign-on capabilities came in handy for reducing the number of passwords users have to remember to access all of their work-related resources. Lewis even stated that “People are excited to have one password to get into everything!” So not only did the JumpCloud SSO solution eliminate large security threats due to password overload, but it also made a huge positive impact on employees.
Little Island also needed a solution for their remote access control and onboarding and offboarding situation, which both include constant provisioning and deprovisioning of access as temporary employees come and go. JumpCloud provided them with a way to quickly and easily see who has access to what resources and make changes whenever necessary.
“We connected [Little Island’s] access control system to Azure AD, so that now when you suspend a JumpCloud user, their account gets suspended in the access control system as well.”Reilly Scull, CTO, Macktez
One reason that Little Island chose and implemented JumpCloud is due to pricing — “JumpCloud has really good nonprofit pricing. I think it’s really great that they’re making an effort to get these tools out to nonprofits,” said Scull.
For startups, and nonprofit startups especially, pricing is just as important as how you’ll use the tool in question. Little Island likes that JumpCloud’s scope is constantly growing, as it fits in with their goals to “continue to integrate more and more services, [with] fewer and fewer exceptions,” as Scull mentioned.
Improving Processes Across the Board
By signing up for JumpCloud Platform, Little Island was able to utilize many features that help them with security, compliance, user experience, and productivity. JumpCloud made MFA easy to set up and use which helped with buy-in and “tighten[ed] security across the board,” according to Scull.
Little Island also made use of JumpCloud’s SSO, RADIUS, custom commands, and access provisioning/deprovisioning capabilities to improve the overall user and admin experience while facilitating productivity. All of these used in conjunction ensures that only the right users have access to the right resources no matter where they are, and they don’t have to remember credentials for every single app and piece of software they use. All of this coalesces into a single, solid solution that helps modernize critical processes across the organization without the need for a variety of point solutions.
In terms of compliance, cybersecurity, and cybersecurity insurance, Little Island uses Directory Insights™ for event logging, manages Windows hardware and software via JumpCloud, and has MFA implemented organization-wide to ensure compliance.
After utilizing JumpCloud, Little Island found that “It simplifies things for the end-user and makes it more secure, and I think it’s rare to find something that makes people’s lives easier,” according to Lewis. Little Island now has a powerful cloud directory solution in place that centralizes important information and processes and allows IT to get a clear view of what’s going on across the organization from one pane of glass.
JumpCloud allows Little Island to use the tools that they want in a much more streamlined way. For example, using federation, Google identities and accounts are created for employees automatically as new users are onboarded, allowing them to collaborate using the Google suite of tools. This integration and the federation involved between JumpCloud and Azure AD gives users the same seamless JumpCloud experience across software like Slack, Asana, and Artifacts.
When it comes to overall user lifecycle management, Lewis mentioned, “[With JumpCloud], it’s a lot easier for my department to be able to manage onboarding and offboarding because so many things are tied together and it makes it less cumbersome to keep track of all of the different pieces.” A huge benefit to having JumpCloud installed is that when a user gets suspended in JumpCloud, their keycard access control is also suspended, keeping Little Island more secure than ever. On top of that, Little Island uses 1Password to store shared account credentials, and with JumpCloud, when a user leaves, their access is quickly deprovisioned, meaning they can’t access 1Password or any other critical apps anymore.
The JumpCloud single sign-on capabilities have made life much easier for the employees at Little Island. Lewis stated, “Everything from our keycards are linked to JumpCloud, emails, everything like that.” At first, it was a bit difficult to get buy-in on single sign-on, but “now if we ask, do you want to link this tool to JumpCloud? They’re like ‘Yes! 100%, that sounds great!’” With single sign-on, “[credentials are] one less thing for [users] to keep track of and it makes things very easy for people to know, this is the way that I log into things.”
Overall, JumpCloud made it possible to scale from 7 people to pushing 240 inside of two years. The platform made it much easier to deal with all of the personnel changes along the way in a secure manner. “The amount of things that are falling through the cracks is orders of magnitude smaller than had we not had a single pane of glass to manage access control,” said Scull.
“Having to manage deactivating one thing instead of 12 things is life-changing. I think we’re talking thousands of man-hours at this point.”Reilly Scull, CTO, Macktez
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