Protection at work: 2 internet security case studies

Unilodge Australia

With 94 PCs spread over 13 sites, UniLodge had a significant problem: how do you centrally manage that many PCs at that many sites with any consistency? A provider of student accommodation in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Auckland, UniLodge required spam and virus management across all of its systems, but had a major issue managing small clusters of PCs in disparate locations.

Originally it relied on traditional per-desktop solutions, similar to the consumer suites many people are familiar with. But according to Keith Hoult, Senior Project Manager at UniLodge, they needed a solution that would ease their management burden. They found it in McAfee Total Protection for Small Business.

?We were trying to limit the hours lost managing individual PCs and servers across the group by ensuring all PCs from many of our small networks across Australia and NZ are protected and updated with a uniform standard,? said Hoult.

The managed services model of McAfee Total Protection for Small Business allows UniLodge to do just that, he said. Total Protection for Small Business installs a complete and comprehensive security agent on each PC, but all the PCs are centrally managed through a web-based console that can monitor and control the security systems on the PCs individually, as well as create global and group-based security rules. Because the security policies and software can be centrally managed and monitored, UniLodge?s outsourced IT staff are not required to physically visit each PC to make changes to security policies.
UniLodge, said Hoult, has a single contractor that monitors all the work stations in Australia and New Zealand.

?A staff member at Leading Edge Information monitors the PCs on our network and provides monthly reports to our external IT support. The report details any PCs that may have outdated virus definitions, and ensures that all workstations are fully protected. This means our external IT support staff only become involved if we have an incident, which we haven?t since the installation of the managed solution.?

Association and Communications Events

Like so many small businesses, Association and Communications Events (ACE) doesn?t have an inhouse IT manager. Ranked 27th on BRW?s Fast 100 list of fast-growing companies, ACE has grown in the last five years to a company with 18 staff and 20 PCs ? enough to be a significant management problem, but not enough to justify a permanent onsite staff member.

Instead it relies on a contracted offsite manager, which can be a problem when they need to physically visit PCs to update their security systems.

Until recently, the company?s security regime comprised of consumer-style suites installed on each PC. ?We were initially running the Norton suite individually on every PC. To manage each system we had to manually go to each PC,? said Anthony Sprange, Managing Director. ?We also had to deal with a lot of error messages and firewall popups. All the staff want to do is switch the machine on and work, without dealing with popups.?

Spam also became a major problem for the company. ?Everything we do involves working with telephone and email. We?re a company that uses email marketing to push out our message. It?s everywhere,? said Sprange.

A consequence of that, said Sprange, is that the email addresses tend to be very public and get added to spam mailing lists. ?In a single week we received four or five thousand emails,? he noted.

Looking for a comprehensive suite solution that was manageable and discreet, ACE moved to McAfee Total Protection for Small Business Advanced. The managed services model of Total Protection for Small Business would allow the IT manager to monitor and control the security systems remotely, without the need for time-consuming and expensive office visits. Sprange also noted that the advanced version, with its server-side spam filtering, also allowed the company to ?clean out the rubbish at the server, before it hit the in-trays?.

In addition to sparing the company the need for visits from its remote IT manager, Sprange said the suite has had productivity benefits for staff. ?McAfee is kind of a set-and-forget system. You don?t get all the popups we saw before; if something goes wrong and some setting needs to be changed, we can do that without going to the desktop.?

On top of saving time and money for calling in outside support, he also noted that the multi-user license model for McAfee actually shaved roughly 50 percent off the licensing fee. ?For the cost of licensing one PC in the old system, we can now license two. It just made sense for us.?