This case study explains how Compete366 worked with Gifford Bioscience, a pre-clinical contract research organisation to provide expert advice on Microsoft Intune – its cloud-based Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) solution.


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Business Background

Gifford Bioscience was founded in 2017 by Andrew and Macer Gifford.  Based at the Research Park of the University of Birmingham, Gifford Bioscience provides pre-clinical contract research on potential medical drugs. The company works with both innovative biotech companies and major pharmaceutical organisations, worldwide.

The Business Challenge

Gifford Bioscience was already working with Compete366 to provide their Office365 licencing, along with SkyKick Cloud back- up and Microsoft Teams Phone.   As part of this service, the Compete366 consultants were available to provide ad-hoc support and setup new users as required.

Due to the nature of Gifford Bioscience’s business, security is highly important.  The nature of pre-clinical contract research is that team members are handling highly commercially sensitive information that needs to be fully protected.   Gifford Bioscience had already become Cyber Essentials certified, and had decided to invest in both Microsoft Intune and Azure AD.

As Macer Gifford, Managing Director, explains

Data security is paramount for us as we are carrying out early-stage research on potential medical drugs.  Client confidentiality is absolutely critical, so we need to make sure that we stay ahead of the current threats in cyber security.”

The threat landscape for cyber security is constantly changing and Gifford Bioscience decided that a thorough review of the current infrastructure was required. As the company had grown, it was essential to ensure that all laptops, computer assets and systems conformed to a standard build, and that, as new systems were implemented, they were protected with the most up to date endpoint management solution.

Employees needed to be able to collaborate, work from anywhere, and securely access and connect to the resources they need to complete their work. At the same time, the company needed to protect its data, manage end user access, and support users from wherever they are working.

The Solution – Microsoft Intune Advice

Gifford Bioscience commissioned Compete366 to run a thorough review of the existing architecture and ensure that a standard build was created for all the company laptops using Microsoft Intune to manage all endpoints.

Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based endpoint management solution that manages user access and simplifies app and device management across all of the company devices, including mobile devices, desktop computers, and virtual endpoints.

It ensures that access and data on organization-owned and users personal devices is protected. And, Intune has compliance and reporting features that support a Zero Trust security mode.

As Macer Gifford explains, “We looked to Compete366 as the provider of our M365 backbone and all of the associated bells and whistles.  They take great care of all the builds of our IT assets and the deployment of our standard architecture.  It made sense to use Microsoft Intune to manage and secure our devices and we worked with one of the Compete366 expert consultants to configure additional Intune functionality.  This has made it easier for us to operate effectively, to further secure our IT environment,  and ensure we are well  protected against current cyber threats.”

The architecture has also been set up to prevent people sending a document labelled “confidential” via an email attachment or by shared link.  These can only be sent via secure Cloud Storage system, which provides a high level of protection for the highly commercially sensitive information that Gifford Bioscience work on.

The Benefits of Microsoft Intune

The three main benefits achieved by using Microsoft Intune are:

  • Multi-factor authentication – the project ensured that MFA applies to everyone and also that legacy authentication was blocked.
  • All devices are enrolled in Intune with a standardised approach – making the architecture much easier to manage and maintain.
  • The Conditional Access Policy ensures that users can only sign in to M365 (SharePoint, OneDrive, Outlook) if they are accessing via an Intune compliant Windows 10 device, which provides an additional level of security.

Why Compete366?

“We found the team at Compete366 highly responsive.  Their consultants always followed through and made sure that the project was completed, even when we were busy and had other priorities.  They are sensitive to the commercial realities of our business and work alongside us to ensure everything is completed. Cyber Security is essential to our business and now we are sure that only company compliant laptops can access our M365 environment, and that our key assets are locked down at the appropriate level for our business.”

Macer Gifford, Managing Director, Gifford Bioscience

Next Steps

In the coming year, Gifford Bioscience will be relocating their core research premises to the new Birmingham Health Innovation Campus.  This move will be made easier as all of the core IT infrastructure is cloud-based.

If you’d like to find out more about our Expert Microsoft Intune consulting services then do get in touch. We’ll be pleased to help.

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