Founded in 1985, Network Aviation Group is one of the UK’s leading providers of sales, marketing, and other key services to international air cargo companies. Its activities span five continents and include delivering cargo sales and logistics services to more than 20 of the world’s leading airlines, as well as managing a global fleet of freight aircraft.
Network Aviation Group’s commitment to WatchGuard security solutions has lasted more than 10 years, beginning when a seismic shift in the company’s growth put extra pressure on its network infrastructure.
When Network Aviation Group first began opening new sites and taking on more staff, the extra email and data flow between its offices was managed with virtual private networks (VPNs) connected via a single modem/router. However, the growing weight of Internet traffic meant these VPNs increasingly began to ‘drop out’ and fail.
“As time wore on we realized that the single modem/router was not coping,” David Dongray, IT manager for Network Aviation Group reflected, “except where WatchGuard firewall appliances were in place. We had two sites with WatchGuard X550e firewalls, which we had inherited. We noticed that these sites had far fewer VPN issues and, crucially, the VPN between these two sites just didn’t drop.”
Having seen the clear advantages produced by their WatchGuard firewalls, David decided to expand their deployment to additional sites. “We added a third WatchGuard firewall to our Amsterdam office, as that was causing the most problems. We soon realized that moving the VPNs to the WatchGuard appliance improved its stability immeasurably.”
Since then, the Network Aviation Group has standardized on WatchGuard, installing M300, T30, and T30-W models across 15 sites, and deploying AP100 access points for reliable, secure wireless connectivity. As David explained: “The only WatchGuard equipment I have ever replaced due to a hardware failure was about eight years ago. The power supply had been left on top of it and it cooked the poor thing to death. So you can’t really say it’s at fault!”
In recent years, the company has moved most of its sites to a DIA Ethernet Fibre system or, where it’s not available, to FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet.) There has also been a progressive move from in-house to cloud-based applications. Combined with the company’s growing data requirements, all this has meant that, in David’s words: “We’re reliant on a fast, secure, and reliable Internet connection more than ever. WatchGuard has provided this for us, offering not just dependability, but also strong security, high levels of performance, and ease of use.”
Network Aviation Group noticed WatchGuard’s superior security right from the start. “As the company and network grew, security increased in importance. DNS drive-by’s, which would inject DNS redirectors or other root kits into Windows PCs, were becoming more prolific. Again, a pattern emerged that computers behind a WatchGuard firewall were just not infected.”
Over time, the company has added more WatchGuard security services, including Application Control, Gateway AntiVirus and APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) Blocker solutions. “Our latest WatchGuard devices all have APT Blocker,” David noted. “As cyber criminals come up with new ways to poke holes in your security, we need ways to keep them out!”
As the company has increased its Internet bandwidth levels, it’s found that WatchGuard firewalls are signifigantly better at handling an upsurge than their old Netgear and Vigor systems. “The Vigors were a pain to configure,” David said. “The Netgears would overheat and couldn’t cope with the load they were put under. The thing of note was performance. The Netgear’s throughput was nothing like the bandwidth available with WatchGuard.” But, David concluded: “The real selling point for me is WatchGuard’s reliability.”