Philadelphia FIGHT (FIGHT) is a non-profit organization designed to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. FIGHT provides primary care, consumer education, advocacy, and research. An important component of FIGHT is the Critical Path Project, which enables low income people of all ages to gain digital literacy and learn how to access essential health information on the Internet. Ensuring all communities have access to the Internet is a key step in FIGHT’s mission to end the AIDS epidemic.
As of 2010, FIGHT’s Critical Path Project has embarked on a mission to create 27 Public Computer Centers with the purpose of providing digital literacy to more than 2900 people in the most vulnerable neighborhoods of North, South, and West Philadelphia. The Critical Path Team is setting up 27 centers to fulfill its overarching objective of providing free and convenient Internet access for everyone. Within each center there are six to twenty machines available for public use. In conjunction with the Freedom Rings Partnership Project, there will be 77 Public Computer Centers built in total resulting in more than 850 workstations available across the city
Managing groups of workstations located across 27 Public Computer Centers distributed throughout the community would be challenging even for a large team of technicians. In this case, Critical Path has only a very small Information Technology staff to manage all of the machines across all these centers, and that includes handling updates, maintenance, software, and fixing machines infected with malware. The volume of support tickets would simply be unmanageable for a team of this size, especially when accounting for travel time to and from each center.
For the Critical Path Team, the answer was Faronics Deep Freeze Enterprise. To date, FIGHT has installed Deep Freeze on 241 workstations and is currently in the midst of installing on the remaining 51 workstations. In addition, they have also selected Faronics WINSelect Server Edition to offer them advanced control and security features over their public computing environment. Deep Freeze helps to maintain machines in their intended state and virus free, without worrying about users downloading undesired software that would slow processing down and could ultimately reduce the lifespan of their machines. Keeping hard and soft expenses low is a major advantage given that FIGHT is funded primarily through grants and donations.