Case Study - City of Mechelen

City Hall Votes for WatchGuard on Security


The city of Mechelen, most notably known as a historic hub for artistic production, is located in Belgium, attracting a multitude of painters, printmakers and composers. Today, Mechelen delivers community resources for its citizens, corporate businesses and tourists with its wide selection of attractions, shopping venues, family activities and restaurants. With more than 86,000 people living in the city, its current civil services span 35 locations with anywhere between 5 to 250 employees per site.

In 2017, Mechelen’s city hall started implementing several new technologies so employees have the ability work from remote locations. In total, they support more than 1,800 employees, with 550 of them being remote users. With this in mind, Mechelen needed to deliver standard services to all their employees, both on LAN connectivity and Wi-Fi, in the most secure way possible. The City sent out a request for proposal (RFP) to find a security solution that best suited their needs at an affordable cost. “When we were designing this remote infrastructure, security was key. We required a platform that could support more than 500 remote users, provide secure access, and deliver a good user experience and automated reporting. We also needed a partner that is consistently available to us,” explains Koen Verspecht, information and communication technologies advisor, City of Mechelen.


Mechelen selected WatchGuard because of its wide range of security and wireless functionalities. For this reason, Mechelen installed a wide variety of tabletop and mid-range WatchGuard Firebox appliances to fit all their various locations, including the Firebox M5600. To further protect the Wi-Fi airspace, they also installed several WatchGuard access points to ensure wireless security.

WatchGuard’s Access Portal was one of the major deployments in each location. The Access Portal allows a user to access internal applications through a reverse proxy without having to install additional software. It is also clientless and operating system independent, with the supported single sign-on (SSO) functionality. That way, once they are authenticated to the Access Portal, they are also authenticated to access various applications. This makes it easy for the employees to conveniently access their applications in one interface.

“WatchGuard’s Access Portal was initially meant for municipal council members and secretaries. But due to the ease of use, we increased the number of users and eventually we began rolling it out to all locations,” Koen adds. “Thanks to the fact that the Access Portal functions well, employees are enabled to do their job from anywhere they are, even during their time off and the holidays.” This combined with WatchGuard’s multi-factor authentication solution, AuthPoint, allows Mechelen to increase employee productivity and also secure each employees’ credentials whether they’re remote or on site.


With the Fireboxes, access points, and AuthPoint solution all deployed, Mechelen feels confident that the solutions deployed in each location help increase their security while providing LAN and wireless access to critical work applications. Koen concludes, “We chose WatchGuard because they make our jobs easy. Most importantly, we want to minimize the impact to our employees as much as possible. It is very convenient for us to deliver applications through portal and Cloud technology using Access Portal. Combine all this with automated reporting, and it really makes it easy for us to centrally manage our solutions and deploy it to other locations if needed.”

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