Replacing legacy electronic data interchange systems with secure online access to medical information is now in full swing at HealthLink, a health information network.
According to Tom Bowden, HealthLink's chief executive, SonicWall firewall and VPN appliances were chosen as the hardware component of its managed network security service due to their suitability.
"We were interested in implementing a perimeter VPN but didn't like the dedicated methods used by major telcos," Bowden said. "After looking at SonicWall's large install base and consulting its users, we found the appliances ideal for what we need."
HealthLink is a network of more than 4000 health and medical related sites across Australia and New Zealand and is used to transfer information such as medical records and medical insurance claims.
"Although we are a distributed enterprise, most of our clients are small to medium businesses," Bowden said. "Not many [clients] have such systems in place; however, our customers want to join a secure VPN to access health services and any medical practice with broadband can use it."
Before adopting SonicWall appliances, HealthLink's software was secured with standard username and password authentication. In the process of migrating from the "inadequate" arrangement, the company now has its own security outsourcing division.
"We now purchase SonicWall appliances for our clients and offer them as part of our security outsourcing service called Securit, which they rent," Bowden said. "Securit covers everything from security administration to updating of the SonicWall appliances."
At this stage of the rollout, some 60 sites have committed to Securit and HealthLink is looking to have it established across its entire client base within two years.
HealthLink also chose SonicWall for its global management system (GMS), Bowden said.
"Other parties have management tools but none are as easy to use," Bowden said. "GMS gives significant control over network usage, trend monitoring and report generation."
In order to use GMS, HealthLink installed the specialised client software on its management systems; however, a Web browser interface can also be used.
Although Bowden is satisfied with the SonicWall product he said the company always welcomes feedback from its users.
SonicWall expands security capabilities
SonicWall has launched PRO 230 and PRO 330 Internet security appliances, which incorporate extended firewall capabilities and new VPN features.
The PRO 230 and PRO 330 include ASIC-based IPSec VPN acceleration and come with VPN client software. The vendor's Single-Arm Mode VPN feature can place a PRO 230 or PRO 330 into existing network configurations as a VPN device, in parallel with an existing firewall. The PRO 230 and PRO 330 also feature support for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), for increased network security, officials said.
The PRO 330 also features dual power supplies for continuous uptime and availability.
Both the PRO 230 and PRO 330 can be managed through a Web interface or from a central location with the company's global management system. Recommended retail prices are $4700 for the PRO 230 and $6500 for the 330.
"While enhanced security features such as firewalls are now a common need, increasing numbers of remote workers are placing new demands on both network availability and security," Randy Prado, Australia and New Zealand regional manager at SonicWall, said. "Designed for mission-critical networks, our integrated security solutions are cost-effective and provide complete protection and remote access for networks of all sizes."