Star Cargo was formed in 1983 as the parent company of several subsidiaries involved in international transport and shipping. In the early nineties the company expanded rapidly through strong organic growth and strategic acquisitions. With a combination of industry experience and commercial expertise, the directors of Star Cargo have continued their commitment to achieving steady, maintainable growth. Star Cargo’s subsequent expansion has resulted in seven profitable companies that all trade autonomously, benefiting from the resources within the Star Cargo Group.
From a technology standpoint, the distributed nature of Star Cargo’s enterprise created a significant geographical challenge, with the companies in the group needing to securely share business critical information without incurring a potential security threat. The company required a reliable platform that would allow them to exchange large amounts of data on a daily basis without exposure to risk.
Having used NetPilot firewalls in the past, Star Cargo required a solution that offered greater flexibility. “I inherited the NetPilots ten years previously, when I came on board with Star Cargo,” reflected John Reidy – IT Manager at Star Cargo. “They were primarily in house email service firewalls, with very basic functionality – email forwarding, for example.” The NetPilot devices were lacking in much needed UTM capabilities and were simply not meeting the demands of the Star Cargo’s evolving needs, not least of which were rooted in the company’s ongoing expansion efforts.
John had worked with WatchGuard appliances in the past and knew they would provide the reliability, ease of management, and secure VPN that the company so needed. “We needed something that I could deploy and standardize across all the locations – I’m a great believer in keeping things simple.”
With the desired move toward a standard platform across all of their disparate offices in mind, John deployed Star Cargo’s first WatchGuard appliance in 2014, and continued to replace all of their NetPilots over the course of the last few years, currently utilizing WatchGuard’s Firebox M300, Firebox T30, XTM 330, and XTM 21 models throughout their eight locations. John chose several security services to further strengthen their XTM and Firebox appliances, including Intrusion Prevention Service, Application Control, Data Loss Prevention, Gateway Antivirus, spamBlocker, and WebBlocker.
WatchGuard’s drag-and-drop branch office VPN setup has made securing the connections between all of Star Cargo’s offices a snap. “The WatchGuard boxes have provided a stable & secure WAN infrastructure for the group using SSL VPN technology. We’ve used both branch office VPN as well as individual VPN’s for some users.”
The layers of added protection afforded by the UTM subscriptions are frequently utilized by John and his staff. “I use WebBlocker actively. We’re fairly open with Internet usage, but I can tailor policies as needed. For example, we don’t block social media sites entirely, but rather make them available to certain departments during certain periods of the day. We’ll even adjust it so that certain sites are available at certain times on particular days.” Reflecting on the malleability of the WebBlocker service, Joh noted “We don’t have hard and fast rules in place – we need to be fairly flexible, and the WatchGuard boxes allow us to do that.”