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Simple and effective internet filtering for shipping agency

Bloxx : 25 April, 2008  (Application Story)
Easy to apply filtering policy and effective content based blocking enables Graypen to control employee online activity with ease.
Graypen is a UK-based shipping and tanker agency and has 24 offices throughout the UK. A leader in its field, the company prides itself in providing a responsive and flexible service to its customers. Its highly dedicated team of 135, work around the clock to ensure that the agency's customers can guarantee first class port service.

Staff at Graypen had full access to the Internet, but with the increasing popularity of social networking sites, chat rooms, online shopping and the growing risks related to inappropriate or dangerous web content, the company wanted to have better information about its staff's online activity.

"Not only did we need to regulate and protect our employees from visiting sites they shouldn't be during working hours, but the amount of web traffic being produced as a result of visits to these sites was considerably slowing down the WAN connection between our head office and remote sites," explains Graypen IT Manager, David Scott.

The company had been using an ISA server to provide basic web filtering, but this was not able to provide the level of control or information about Internet usage the company required. In addition, managing the web filtering on the ISA server was consuming a considerable amount of IT management time.

After seeing the Bloxx web filtering appliance in action at another company, David felt that this would provide him with much more comprehensive and detailed information about Internet activity, and after a short evaluation the company bought the Bloxx appliance.

Within a few hours of installing the Bloxx appliance in their network, the powerful reporting capability highlighted to Graypen management that there was a significant level of non-work related Internet activity taking place.

"Even though the company had an Acceptable Use Policy for Internet usage in place, until we deployed the Bloxx appliance we had no easy way of actually analysing Internet usage or any effective way to ensure compliance," explains David.

"Armed with the information from the Bloxx appliance, we were able to quickly and effectively change that and the difference this made to non-work related web surfing and network traffic was simply staggering."

David has configured the Bloxx appliance with a single company-wide filtering policy, meaning that each and every employee has access to the same categories of web sites. The spyware, anti-phising and anti-virus software installed as standard in the Bloxx appliance also helps to protect users and the network.

The appliance provides a comprehensive series of default reports that can be easily customised. This allows David to look at usage for the company as a whole or he can easily drill down to specific areas of interest when required, freeing his time to devote to other IT issues at hand.

"Initially I was checking our reports everyday, but the sheer presence of having the appliance on our network and employee awareness of just how powerful the filtering is, means I now only have to check the reports once a week," comments David.

Since implementing the solution, Graypen has not only seen an increase in productivity levels from its staff but its normal office desktop applications have significantly speeded up.

"With the Bloxx solution in place, staff are now concentrating on the job at hand, rather than being distracted by popular sites such as MySpace or Facebook," explains David. "The ability to block or allow sites by category rather than one by one, has not only been easier for me as an IT manager to police, it's also freed up a substantial amount of network bandwidth."

"The Bloxx appliance was simple to install into our network and is so easy to use and manage, that it now basically runs itself, which frees my time to dedicate to other pressing IT issues," comments David. "As with any company, there are users who think they are smarter than the Bloxx solution and they try to access obscure international sites or use anonymous proxies to bypass it. However, most users eventually give up - Bloxx is just too smart for them."

"Organisations such as Graypen require fast and reliable networks so they can provide top level service to their customers," comments Bloxx Sales and Marketing Director, Paul Irvine. "Companies can't afford network performance to be affected by workers misusing the Internet facility on their desktop. By managing online activity more efficiently and effectively, Graypen can ensure that it remains in touch with its customers, improve worker productivity and thus remain a leader in the maritime industry."

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