The Korean Standards Association (KSA) has built its vast expertise over the past 45 years in the fields of standards, ISO certification, and international cooperation through surveys, research, and training related to industrial standardization and quality management. Operating under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, KSA currently maintains 350 employees at its Seoul head office, 16 domestic branch offices, and 1 office in China. KSA was established to promote scientific technologies by conducting surveys and carrying out R&D activities related to industrial standardization and quality management. It also strives to contribute to the development of the national economy by enhancing productivity.
KSA began using WatchGuard® products in 2002 when the network was converted to an Internet environment. The introduction of an ERP system, in particular, required a network security product that could protect internal data assets and secure business communications between the head office and branch offices effectively.
Prior to purchasing WatchGuard products, KSA researched various benchmark testing data and compared prices. Their results showed that WatchGuard products had the best performance coupled with reasonable pricing, compared to domestic network security systems and those created outside of Korea.
KSA's first purchase was the Firebox® III 1000, and as the organization grew larger and the corporate network evolved, the main equipment was upgraded to the Firebox III 2500. Recently, a Firebox X Peak™ was introduced as part of an upgrade to a complete UTM solution at the association's headquarters. Beyond firewall and VPN functionality, the solution now included powerful gateway antivirus and intrusion prevention capabilities to keep the network safe.
Still reliable, the original Firebox III 1000 was assigned as the main security system to the KSA Human Resource Development Institute in Anseong, Gyeonggi-do. Meanwhile, the Firebox III 2500, once the main firewall of the center, is being stored as standby equipment in case of emergency. Wireless Firebox models are being used in 16 branch offices nationwide, forming the interface system between the head office and branches in Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gyeonggi, Daejeon, Gwangju, and Ulsan.
The decision to upgrade to the Firebox X Peak was in response to government guidelines that encouraged security products that had passed the Korea IT Security Evaluation and Certification Scheme (KECS) test, issued by the National Intelligence Service. Among the UTM products currently being introduced in the Korean market, Firebox is the only product that has acquired Grade A security certification from the National Intelligence Service; thus complying with the Ministry of Knowledge Economy's guidelines for high security.
The biggest attraction of the WatchGuard products evaluated by Soo-kyo Lee, principal researcher of Management Planning Team with more than 18 years of IT technology experience at the Korean Standards Association, are security performance and system stability.
As another plus point in the evaluation, KSA comprehensively checked the condition of the network and strengthened the state of security while the system was being upgraded to a Firebox X Peak with its fully integrated UTM capabilities. "That performance has not deteriorated simply because functions were added - even with IPS functions mounted - is truly noteworthy," principal researcher Soo-Kyo Lee explained.
He was also impressed with the reporting tool that displayed all vital statistics graphically, which allows quick checks of overall network conditions.
AKSA operates some 700 group training and distance learning courses including a CEO course, quality management, production management, 6 SIGMA, and overseas training. Since distance learning is provided through the Internet, the network uptime needs to be maintained 24/7. To be able to operate its educational business stably, KSA needs to obtain a Grade A rating consistently in the educational quality evaluation conducted annually by the Ministry of Labor. Therefore, network stability is an important evaluation item, a standard for assessing the quality of education.
The price vs. performance and enterprise ROI effects considered by KSA in the purchase and use of WatchGuard products can truly be evaluated as the 'Standard' for purchasing UTM systems.
"The IT department can be readily perceived as a division that only eats up an enterprise's budget. Actually, however, the IT department plays an extremely important role in maintaining and managing sales for the enterprise," explained Soo-Kyo Lee. Stressing the roles of the IT manager, he believes that the intangible profits gained by the enterprise can be huge compared with the investment expenses if good network security equipment is purchased and managed. "In an educational program offered by a public institution, secure and stable service offering is a major issue connected directly to corporate reputation. Since it can save on personnel for security and network management, we should not overlook the actual effects of saving on management expenses," he explained.
KSA plans to purchase additional WatchGuard products as the organization grows, including a new branch office opening in China.
"I definitely recommend WatchGuard products to other enterprises that are thinking of purchasing firewalls or UTM products. KSA has used the products for more than five years, and not one problem has been discovered during that time," the principal researcher at KSA said, expressing his confidence in the quality of WatchGuard UTM appliances and software.
I definitely recommend WatchGuard products to other enterprises that are thinking of purchasing firewalls or UTM products. KSA has used the products for more than five years, and not one problem has been discovered during that time.
Soo-kyo Lee, Principal Researcher of Management Planning Team
Korean Standards Association (KSA)