Security on an international level: Ameropa protects its global business with gateProtect
The Swiss company Ameropa AG was founded in 1948 and trades on an international basis. It currently manages the business of 22 Sectors located throughout the world from its headquarters in Binningen near Basel and is steadily expanding on all continents. Ameropa AG, which is not stockmarket listed, sees organic growth as instrumental in achieving this. Its core business is global trade in cereals and artificial fertilisers and also in petrochemicals and metals. Around 2,300 people work for the company, many of them in the field.
At the Ameropa headquarters in Binningen in Switzerland, administration of IT security is outsourced to the German service provider Computer Löwe. „In 2003, we put out 2 calls for tenders: for the replacement of the SonicWALL solution and an upgrade of the security infrastructure at Ameropa‘s international locations. In a direct comparison between SonicWALL and gateProtect, the Hamburg supplier clearly came out on top,“ says Markus Keller, Managing Director of Computer Löwe„This was mainly because the gateProtect firewall is so easy to operate, but also because SonicWALL were unable to offer German-speaking support.“ The intuitive and process-oriented front-end to the gateProtect administration client, the ergonomic Graphic User Interface (eGUI®), is the reason why it is so easy to operate.
The project has grown steadily over the last five years. Two gateProtect GPA 400 solutions have been implemented at Ameropa headquarters and guarantee high availability and failure safety. The foreign branches have acquired four GPA 250 and four GPO 125 solutions, which can be maintained remotely; however, the administrator can also make changes to the configuration locally, as required.
As operation has been trouble-free, the gateProtect implementation is being steadily extended. For example, there are plans to deploy more gateProtect solutions at the locations in the UK, Brazil and the Czech Republic. The existing Cisco VPN solution is also set to be replaced by the equivalent gateProtect product.
The Research and Development Centre (Forschungs- & Entwicklungszentrum) Witten GmbH is a service provider for innovative start-ups with five to fifteen employees. FEZ undertakes its main functions (management consulting, provision of infrastructure and technology transfer) in close collaboration with the University of Witten/Herdecke, with sponsors of business in the region and with partners from other regions. Currently, 57 companies with around 150 employees work in the FEZ.
One of the most important of the services provided by FEZ is making a modern infrastructure available. The basic equipment includes a powerful data network with a 100 Mbit/sec direct connection to the backbone. The data network is managed by an external IT service provider. In order to protect the intellectual property of the tenants, FEZ offers a security service in the form of a firewall to safeguard their corporate networks.
Since the beginning of 2007, FEZ has implemented version 8.0 of the GPX 800 UTM solution from gateProtect, currently licensed for 100 users. The firewall divides the network into 40 subnetworks, using the VLAN functionality that became available with version 8.
The gateProtect firewall has been running reliably and with practically no interruptions since it was launched. The neutrality of the gateProtect solution regarding the hardware and software platforms used behind the firewall should also be highlighted.
With the implementation presenting no problems so far, e-Systems is campaigning at FEZ for the gateProtect appliance to be used as a UTM solution. For example, virus protection on the gateway would be offered to the tenants as an additional service.
On top of that, it is planned to protect a second start-up centre with the implemented gateProtect solution. This is the Zahnbiologische Zentrum (ZBZ), the most modern dental biology institute in Europe, which is under construction opposite FEZ and is almost complete. To allow this, it is merely necessary to increase the number of licensed users on the existing gateProtect appliance because, according to Christoph Weimann, the potential of the GPX 800 is by no means exhausted.
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.
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.