Users embrace the appliance easy way

Three users get value from their appliance investment

Kiwi clothing supplier Icebreaker uses Fortinet appliances for “everything around security management”, says CIO Alin Ungereano.

This includes two Fortinet firewalls and devices such as the F40 Fortinet Manager and analyser.

Ungereano says when he joined the company last year, it had few devices but global expansion forced an upgrade. He wanted a supplier that could be trusted and one security vendor capable of handling all aspects of security.

Appliances are self-sufficient, they do only one job and don’t need maintenance. The Fortinet F40 management device also made it easy for him to control all his appliances.

“The only issue is finding the power button. It’s a straightforward design, you just plug in and configure,” he says.

Ungereano says Icebreaker has just installed some more Fortinet appliances at its new office in Portland, Oregon.

He advises IT bosses looking at appliances to look for a solution that offers one device for security, including full management, alerting and logging.

Australian energy supplier Pacific Hydro needed to upgrade its outdated security appliances.

Global IT manager Daniel Hayward says the appliances of the former supplier needed consultants even for simple upgrades, which was time consuming and expensive.

The new supplier had to offer a simple GUI for upgrades to be done in house, as well as offering firewall, intrusion detection, firewall, spam filtering and so forth. Pacific Hydro called in its long-term IT partner, Global Data, to advise while it evaluated possible solutions.

WatchGuard’s unified threat management appliances met Pacific Hydro’s immediate requirements, including the ability to buy extra functionality over time. A trial was begun in its Melbourne office, with further testing at other Pacific Hydro sites overseas.

Hayward told Computerworld appliances make the job easy. As security was delivered from the one entry point, the approach was simple and uncomplicated.

WatchGuard was chosen as it was recommended by Global Data, but Hayward also spoke to other end users and trawled Google for comments and other information to get “a good feel” of the products.

Global Data rolled out the Firebox Edge appliances and unified threat management appliance and found them easy to use and install. The firewall can be upgraded or tweaked by the company’s own staff, saving thousands of dollars a month in fees.

A Livesecurity product also warns Pacific Hydro of new security threats and delivers the latest security enhancements.

Now, Pacific Hydro is planning to investigate WatchGuard SSL VPN networks.

Hayward advises IT bosses not to trust company product sheets and to do their own research by talking directly to end-users.

“Even seeing a demo is not what you need. You need to speak to someone who has deployed it and supported it. Their opinion makes more difference than any case study that has a positive spin,” he adds.

Appliances can also be used for WAN optimisation. This is the application the Department of Conservation sought in rolling out Riverbed Technology Steelhead wide area data services (WDS) appliances at 60 sites across New Zealand.

Ken Walker, manager, technology and outsourced services at DoC, says the geography of New Zealand, and the remote locations of most department offices produced severe bandwith limitations, such as 2MB/s at some offices as opposed to 10MB or 100MB in city offices.

DOC looked at bandwith issues at the same time as it was rolling out new document management and back-up systems, choosing Riverbed, based on reports in Gartner research’s Magic Quadrant of WAN optimisation appliances.

Walker says he has received no complaints from staff about the Riverbed devices, which have sped up the response time for a number of DOC’s web-based applications by 500%.

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