Qld law firm upgrades Internet and intranet

Brisbane law firm Carter Newell is reaping the benefits of new Internet and remote access capabilities following a recent move and IT upgrade.

Carter Newell implemented a Bay-Nortel extranet switch -- in what is believed to be the first Australian installation -- to provide Internet connectivity and intranet functionality to users.

According to Rob Avenell, Carter Newell's general manager, the installation was part of a complete IT overhaul which took place when Carter Newell relocated its Brisbane offices last September.

Avenell said the firm moved from a Novell 3.1 Word Perfect environment with limited e-mail functionality to a Windows NT environment with Internet and basic intranet features.

Previously running a GroupWise e-mail system for internal e-mail and some external mail, Avenell said Carter Newell required reliable and secure Internet access for communication with its clients.

According to Avenell, the old environment was "very unstable" and ineffective. "It didn't enable [Carter Newell] to provide client services [effectively]," Avenell said.

The Internet capabilities now available should extend the delivery of client services at the firm, Avenell said.

"[The firm] wanted to have Internet access to be able to deal with government departments [and other clients] and directly ship files to and fro," Avenell said.

Avenell said the extranet switch has allowed Carter Newell to set up an intranet, which is currently being used to distribute internal forms. It is anticipated the intranet will also be used to deploy a document management system, which is due to be installed in January.

Security issues with sending external mail via GroupWise made this an unreliable system that needed to be upgraded regardless of other IT projects under way at the firm, Avenell said.

"Security was a big issue. We went for NT and the extranet switch because they provided the level of security we needed."

According to Avenell, with employees and clients able to browse and pick up or download files from the system or online library from anywhere, security was an important feature.

Avenell said Carter Newell wanted clients to be able to browse documents freely, but at the same time needed adequate security measures in place to protect internal information.

According to Avenell, the Bay-Nortel extranet switch provides the necessary security required at the moment by routing communications through an Internet service provider. Avenell said a more complex security solution is not required at Carter Newell yet.

According to Avenell, the Internet and intranet also provides opportunities for connections to offices on the Gold Coast and in Papua New Guinea, as well as remote connection for people working at home or on the road.

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