Case Study - Totem Ocean Trailer Express


Totem Ocean Trailer Express Stays Secure and On Course with WatchGuard


Headquartered in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area, Totem Ocean Trailer Express owns and operates a fleet of cargo ships that run the 1,450 nautical miles between the Port of Tacoma, WA and the Port of Anchorage, AK. Each ship makes a roundtrip in a week, with cargo loaded and unloaded in an expeditious 12 hours or less. The company also provides overland highway and intermodal connections throughout greater Alaska, Canada and the lower 48 states.

Established in 1975, Totem Ocean's mission is to deliver superior transportation solutions to enhance its customers' access to markets. Totem Ocean's roll-on/roll-off (Ro/Ro) service differs from container ships in that cargo is not lifted, but quickly driven onto and off the vessel via tractor-trailer, van, or flatbed. This Ro/Ro process saves customers time and money.

Totem Ocean's typical cargo loads fit into 53-foot trailers, which are then driven aboard the ship (and include, for example, new tanker trucks for the airport, mobile MRI trailers, recycling loads and more). The shipping company's quick turn-around time means it can also transport fresh foods, including seafood – and even bread.

Downtime Not Tolerated

Totem Ocean's customers depend on reliable, efficient, on-time service. "Uptime is critically important to our business," assesses Jim Brossard, Systems Administrator of Totem Ocean Trailer Express.

The gated systems used at the terminal by the Longshoremen to check in and track cargo loads is outsourced. The outsourced system runs over Java, with a T1 connection going through the Seattle firewall appliance. Totem Ocean applies rules in the WatchGuard XTM firewall appliances to restrict inbound traffic from the outsourced system, while allowing fairly wide open outbound traffic from Totem. With the company's gate at the terminal running from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and, with offices and workers on the east coast starting early in the day, Totem Ocean's maintenance window at night is fleeting.

As Brossard explains, "All our systems have to work, we have to keep the cargo loads coming in, ships have to sail on time, and when customers call, we need to be able to use our Internet to provide them information. With WatchGuard in place, we don't miss a beat."

Choosing WatchGuard

For more than a decade, WatchGuard has provided reliable, multilayered security for Totem Ocean Trailer Express. "I joined Totem in 2003 and we already had WatchGuard," relates Brossard. "I was familiar with WatchGuard from my previous job. You walk into a data center and the bright red box catches your attention!"

In 2012, when looking to replace older appliances, Totem Ocean wanted to at least explore other solutions the market had to offer. "We evaluated other providers, but ultimately, we chose WatchGuard. WatchGuard has always done a really good job for us, and I've always felt comfortable about our WatchGuard Gold support," explains Brossard. WatchGuard Gold level service provides 24 x 7 support with a targeted one-hour response time. "Responses have always been knowledgeable and within the timeframe I would expect," adds Brossard. "It just gives us that extra layer of assurance."

Smooth Sailing through Solution Refresh

"When it came time to upgrade from the older devices to the WatchGuard XTM 530 and XTM 520s, it was pretty painless," recounts Brossard.

Totem deployed XTM 530s in its Federal Way, WA headquarters as well as at its Anchorage terminal, while an XTM 520 deployed in its Tacoma terminal isolates the Longshore labor network from the corporate network. Other offices, including a branch office in Fairbanks and home offices, deployed WatchGuard XTM 2 series appliances.

With WatchGuard, the simplicity of establishing secure VPN connections and managing multiple appliances and feature sets saves administrators time and headaches. "Centralized management is fabulous with WatchGuard," declares Brossard. "Drag and drop VPN creation between boxes is an awesome functionality that really makes the task so much easier, and literally takes just a few clicks--and then you're done!"

Best-of-Breed UTM Security from WatchGuard

Whereas WatchGuard's competitors are primarily security generalists that struggle to develop each disparate security technology in-house, WatchGuard has engineered a powerful, elegant firmware that seamlessly integrates a best-of-breed solution from the technology leaders for each discrete security layer. This unique approach ensures that layer after layer, WatchGuard delivers superior security over what competitors offer.

Today, Totem Ocean leverages most of WatchGuard's UTM (Unified Threat Management) capabilities, including AV, IPS, URL filtering, Application Control, and cloud-based Reputation Enabled Defense, powered by best-of-breed technologies from Websense, AVG, BroadWeb, Kaspersky, and others. "These security technologies and WatchGuard's proxies are all critical elements of a layered defense for us, which is a necessary approach for today's complex security environment," explains Brossard.

Flexible UTM Solution Means Ability to Adapt

With the security landscape ever-evolving, it pays to invest in a solution with the flexibility to adapt to changing demands "We're dealing with BYOD more and more today, and we're also looking at leveraging more of WatchGuard's Application Control capabilities, for example to allow posts to Facebook, but prohibit employees from running other apps."

With WatchGuard security, Totem Ocean stays protected from the advanced, multi-vectored threats of today, while being poised to take on the security challenges of the future.



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Centralized management is fabulous with WatchGuard. Drag and drop VPN creation between boxes is an awesome functionality that really makes the task so much easier, and literally takes just a few clicks--and then you're done!

Jim Brossard, Systems Administrator,
Totem Ocean Trailer Express



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