Hopkins Homes Ltd. operates in the residential development industry in the East Anglia region in the United Kingdom. The company required a monitoring solution that would prevent employees from downloading illegal or malicious files that could compromise the organization’s network. The company has already implemented other solutions from GFI’s security portfolio to protect their network from spam, viruses and to pinpoint vulnerabilities on the network – GFI MailSecurity™, GFI MailEssentials™, GFI WebMonitor™ and GFI LANguardLanGuard™ respectively and therefore chose to add GFI WebMonitor™ to their range.
Hopkins Homes Ltd. has been developing residential units since 1992 and as the company has registered considerable growth resulting in a higher staff complement. This growth has also impacted on the size of its IT network. With email and Internet essential tools for the company, management wanted to introduce security measures to counter any threats originating from the use of the Internet, in particular the downloading of material or files that could compromise the network's security and integrity.
Mr. John Painter, IT Manager for Hopkins Homes explained that the main reason that they chose to implement security measures was the "increasing and evolving online threats and continuing user education. We found that despite the IT policy and desktop security policies users continued to download 'banned' file types, and abused the internet facility for personal purposes."
Hopkins Homes looked at a number of products but found them lacking to varying degrees. "GFI was selected after it was found that existing products such as Watchguard, Web blocker, Websense, BVRP Mailwarden were not effectively protecting the business. We have been using GFI since July 2003 in other areas and the GFI product offering seemed relevant to our problem."
"The old methods of controlling internet usage were too strict and cumbersome. Users felt that the products did not provide adequate feedback - 'Was my file virus scanned?', 'Is the file unavailable or blocked?', for example. Some content offensive websites were just not blocked," Mr. Painter said.
The implementation of GFI WebMonitor proved to be a cost-effective decision and resulted in a number of benefits, not least immediately resolving the security issues at hand but doing so in a manner that did not stifle the employees’ activity. Mr. Painter explained that “implementation was straightforward providing the instructions are read properly. The GFI ‘Download Security’ was used in conjunction with ISA scripts and web monitoring programs. The product has subsequently evolved to allow us to migrate to a single product suite, facilitating easier management, monitoring and policy setting.”
Once installed “results were immediate. Internet Bandwidth/traffic decreased immediately,” he added.
By implementing GFI WebMonitor Mr. Painter said Hopkins Homes was able to maintain an internet policy without imposing itself and creating a hostile work environment. “Hopkins Homes operate a user-friendly internet policy, which is not to be abused. Management wants information, but allows users to ‘police’ themselves. We try not to operate a ‘big brother’ system, but rather inform users at the time of the problem that an error has been logged.”
The technological benefits were another plus point he pointed out, as “any system should be able to work on its own without continual administrative input. GFI WebMonitor ‘evolves’ to meet new problems.
Hopkins Homes found GFI WebMonitor to be ideally suited for a company of its size, meetings its technical and financial requirements while giving the IT administrator and management peace of mind that measures were in place to prevent illegal or malicious downloads from the Internet to ensure that staff were not abusing the company’s internet usage policy. “Less time is spent filtering and reading non required topics,” Mr. Painter added.
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