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gateProtect provides central security in the virtual network of the North Rhine-Westphalia association

The Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V. is part of the Protestant Order of St. John. It is involved in various social and charitable activities ranging from outpatient care for the elderly to working with children and young people to aid projects on an international scale. In Germany alone, the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V. has around 8,500 permanent employees, more than twice as many volunteers and over a million members providing financial support.

The North Rhine-Westphalia regional association based in Cologne is one of the largest in the national Johanniter association. The organisation manages 15 of the total of 60 retirement homes throughout Germany and four of the fifteen Johanniter hospitals. There are also dozens of day nurseries for children, emergency services and domestic services such as Meals on Wheels.

Security requirements
Decentralising the use of central IT resources helps to cut costs and improve productivity. This applies particularly to sectors such as social services, which are growing quickly, but must withstand the huge pressure of rising costs. The North Rhine-Westphalia regional Johanniter association decided therefore to allow as many users from the branch offices as possible to access data and applications at headquarters in Cologne. As this is sensitive personal data, data protection was given the highest priority when the retirement homes and seven other sites were linked in via VPN. And, as the users also need Internet and e-mail communication, the firewall had to offer more functionality such as virus protection, spam protection and content/web filtering like a UTM solution.

The GPX 800 solution from gateProtect has been in operation successfully since 2003. Since then, the retirement homes and other sites have been connected by VPN to the central network and employees can use data and applications from headquarters. When senior regional association managers are on the road, they can also access the IT resources in Cologne, which is where most of the IT infrastructure is located. Approximately 50 users have access to core applications such as management software for outpatient care and homes, bookkeeping software, programmes for planning menus and excursions etc. The hardware – servers, desktop PCs, Notebooks etc. – is all supplied by Hewlett Packard. Only the head office has its own IT department; the other sites are supported by external IT administrators as required.

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