Case Study - International Bearings


Affordable UTM and VPN for a Global Manufacturer


The International Bearings Group of Companies was established in 1971 as a distributor of bearings and related products. Over the past three decades, what started as a family business has evolved into a global industry player, ensuring its customers receive highly engineered bearings of every imaginable type, for endless applications. From simple ball and roller to precision-developed sheave, spherical roller thrust, and rod-end bearings, International Bearings Pte Ltd understands the complex needs of industrial customers and is committed to delivering zero-defect products to reduce friction management in meticulous manufacturing for improved overall operations.

Partnering with world-renowned bearing leaders from around the world, International Bearings distributes a plethora of bearing brands including FYH (Japan), IJK (Japan), INA/FAG (Germany), JNS (Japan), KRS (Romania), NACHI (Japan), NMB (USA), RBR (Romania), SAMICK (South Korea) and Timken-Torrington-Fafnir (USA). The company's customers include manufacturers in the automotive, pump and compressor, gear and transmission, railway, textile, paper, mining, metallurgic, steel, and general construction industries.

To remain competitive, International Bearings made the commitment to adopt the latest technology to ensure efficient communications across its scattered teams, as well as state-of-the-art warehouses with automatic storage-and-retrieval systems for effective product management and distribution.

The Challenge

Headquartered in Singapore, the company boasts 11 branch offices spanning five countries, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. With more than 500 employees across the region and over 200 computers, network security is a top priority. In addition, the company sought robust, seamless connectivity to vendor manufacturing plants, dealers, and customers, as well as International Bearings' offices across the region - to minimize communications costs and maximize information sharing, especially about inventory status and product prices.

International Bearings began an extensive search to evaluate options for a stable and secure network that would be easy to use and scalable. After short-listing three network-security vendors, International Bearings decided to deploy a WatchGuard® solution, recognizing the company's global brand reputation, supported by a well-respected local distributor, Transition Systems.

The WatchGuard® Solution

There was an increasing need for a secure VPN connection, allowing easy management of the company's web portal and intra-company network, as well as an impenetrable extranet connecting headquarter employees to International Bearings' branch offices, dealers, customers, and vendors around the world.

The company had relied on intuitive network security solutions from WatchGuard since 2000 when it installed a WatchGuard virtual private network security system with a user-friendly interface. However, by 2006, International Bearings required a more comprehensive solution to keep pace with its growth and escalating Internet threats. The Firebox® X1250e - installed by Transition Systems and its reseller, Red Sentry, at International Bearings' headquarters - offered complete protection through multiple layers of unified threat management (UTM) defense including URL filtering, intrusion prevention, spam blocking, anti-spyware, and anti-virus capabilities.

"By 2006, our dispersed network was vulnerable in a world of rapidly escalating new threats, calling for immediate measures to address heightened network security so our employees, dealers, customers and vendors could access data in a secure fashion," said Thomas Lim, IT Manager, International Bearings. "We had been using WatchGuard's VPN since 2000. We trusted the company and its products implicitly, knowing they are purpose-built for SMEs like us. Now, our network is safe and easy to manage, and the price was very affordable," he continued.

By July 2007, most International Bearings' offices were outfitted with a WatchGuard Firebox X Edge e-Series firewall, completing the multi-branch office VPN mesh architecture network-security upgrade.


Universally satisfied with the WatchGuard Firebox X1250e, International Bearings reports saving time and costs due to its easy-to-use, streamlined, centralized management system. The built-in WatchGuard System Manager has an intuitive VPN management system, allowing Lim's team to monitor and manage the branch office firewalls with a few simple drag-and-drop mouse clicks - reducing costly travel and IT management resource time.

In addition to the in-country support provided by the WatchGuard local service providers, International Bearings subscribes to WatchGuard LiveSecurity®, a global technical support service that was vital in implementing this region-wide solution. Since the installation, Lim is proud that the company network has never succumbed to an attack. The advanced networking has delivered first-rate operations performance and trouble-free network administration for a competitive advantage.

"We appreciate that Transition Systems, our long-term distribution partner, and its dealer, Red Sentry, brought our UTM solution to International Bearings, offering them intelligent, layered security at outstanding value and performance," said Clara Lim, Regional Director, Southeast Asia for WatchGuard.



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We had been using WatchGuard's VPN since 2000. We trusted the company and its products implicitly, knowing they are purpose-built for SMEs like us. Now, our network is safe and easy to manage, and the price was very affordable.

Thomas Lim, IT Manager
International Bearings



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