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News

AppGate secure VPN for international architects.

Global Secure Systems (GSS) : 28 March, 2008  (Application Story)
Global Secure Systems meets the needs of architects in an international practice by providing high availability, secure and scalable virtual private network.
Scott Brownrigg, an international architectural practice with a heritage spanning almost 100 years, has replaced its limited VPN with a flexible and secure remote access solution to improve its productivity and improve communications across the company and with clients. Consistently rated in the top 20 of the UK's top 100 practices, IT is at the forefront of this design-led company's core business model as it is a key component in attaining competitive advantage in the industry.

As a growing business operating in a fast moving industry, Scott Brownrigg needs technology that can evolve with the business without significant IT support and overheads - scalable to support business growth, and flexible to support the frequent changes in project teams as different people work on client projects.

Originally to enable staff to work from home, and provide online access for external partners it elected for an IPSec VPN. Unfortunately it soon discovered a number of limitations. It needed to address the security and flexibility issues of the previous system, and provide an easy administration path so as not to increase the support burden on its in-house team. It compared a number of alternatives and a solution from AppGate Network Security could clearly meet the needs of the business with room for growth.

Global Secure Systems, a certified AppGate partner and expert in IT security, installed the AppGate solution with one AppGate A2 Security Server installed behind the firewall, AppGate Distributed Device Firewalls installed on all corporate laptops, and two Policy Manager servers.

"With AppGate it was clear we could pretty much do everything, said Alastair Newman, ICT Manager for Scott Brownrigg. "The AppGate system has removed the constraints of the office walls. The company has empowered individuals so that staff can work where they want, how they want and when they want; and clients can come into the office and use webmail without affecting the security of our network. We did question if we needed such a technically extensive system, but now I believe that AppGate is one of the most important components of technology we've bought for the business. I'm very impressed with the team - they pay attention and are always keen to help resolve any issues."

With 3G cards for the laptops, flexible working has been transformed with staff now able to work securely from any location - at client sites or while travelling on trains - with access to the data and applications they need, including the CAD system if required. AppGate's powerful access control functionality ensures the system administrators can control the level of access each user is permitted, preventing unauthorised access to resources on the network. Internet access is channelled through the AppGate server via IP Tunnelling, and Policy Manager ensuring acceptable usage policies are enforced even when people are working away from the office, thus protecting the network from malware and Trojans.

It has recently trialled mobile phone access which has also proved extremely popular. Using Nokia smartphones, the company directors can keep on top of their emails, access their calendar and contacts information wherever they are, making communications in the organisation easier and more effective. "I was surprised at how easy it was to set up and it has significantly and positively impacted all those who are now using this technology," confirmed Newman. "We didn't have to invest in any extra infrastructure to do it, just a few extra AppGate licences and the system was fully operational. The beauty of using the AppGate for smartphone connectivity is that when you have finished work for the day you can switch off email on your phone without actually turning the phone itself off. You can't do that with a Blackberry!"

The IT team has found the AppGate system easy to use and flexible, allowing new services to be phased in in-line with the needs of the business, budgetary constraints, and the demands on the IT department. The team is well positioned to manage the evolution of the system as the organisation grows. Mobile usage will be extended in due course and it is looking to leverage AppGate's SSL module to simplify network access from home pc's.
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