Security appliance enables Boroondara’s teleworkers

By
Thursday, 02 April, 2009


The Victorian City of Boroondara has implemented a unified threat management (UTM) solution to reduce teleworking support costs and improve security measures for access to both information and applications.

The Boroondara council administers 60 square kilometres of suburban Melbourne, providing services to a population of approximately 155,000 people and 13,000 businesses. Directly employing approximately 1000 employees, the council runs its IT operations from a data centre in the Camberwell office.

Michael Hughes, team leader of technical services for City of Boroondara, says the council’s IT team supports several small offices and teleworkers. This had caused a drain on the IT team’s time, as members had to make time-consuming house calls to solve problems.

To increase security and improve service reliability, City of Boroondara decided to implement a network security solution for its teleworkers and small offices. A FortiGate-300A was installed at the Camberwell data centre in June 2008, with FortiWifi-50B remote appliances deployed at each small office and at the homes of teleworkers.

Each teleworker was provided with a preconfigured remote appliance, which can connect to either their existing home broadband internet service or directly to a 3G mobile broadband network. Each remote appliance provides local wired and wireless connectivity, and links to the Camberwell data centre via an encrypted IPSec VPN tunnel.

Small offices protected by the solution include 14 Maternal and Child Health Centres, the Meals on Wheels centre, several public gardens and golf courses, and the local traffic school.

Security settings on the remote units automatically recognise specific computers that are allowed to access council applications.

In addition, the remote appliances are configured to automatically limit any non-authorised computer that attaches to the network. When a non-authorised computer is detected, it is only allowed access to safe internet sites. This greatly reduces the risk of unknown computers introducing security risks onto the council network while also preventing unauthorised access to council data.

Hughes says the new system allows the council to deliver website content filtering and anti-spam functionality to remote workers through IPSec VPN tunnels.

“This has allowed us to dramatically simplify the login experience for our remote users, while allowing us to improve security measures,” he says.

The new system has also reduced the time the council’s IT team spends troubleshooting problems for teleworkers, by eliminating problems commonly experienced by teleworkers.

“In the past, our help desk team spent eight hours per week troubleshooting teleworker and remote site problems. The solution has reduced that time to less than one hour per week.”

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