Electric Company Charges Their Security with WatchGuard
First established in 1949 out of a small metal building on the fringes of downtown Houston, Wholesale Electric has become a leader in the electrical supply industry, serving domestic and international markets. Wholesale Electric also provides customized solutions and quality electrical products serving commercial, manufacturing and construction industries, just to name a few.
In order to improve operational eff¬ectiveness and achieve strategic organizational objectives, Wholesale Electric looked to address technology challenges. Their biggest priorities were providing a secure and reliable network connection with SD-WAN functionality and a high level of security through their Wi-Fi, in addition to improving the reliability of their VPN connections to enhance site-to-site connectivity and enable remote system management. Wholesale Electric was also looking for a solution that is both cost eff¬ective and easy to manage. "As one centrally located IT group, it is critical that we have constant, uninterrupted access to remote site networking and end user machines. We don’t utilize any private network circuits. Everything, including internal networking, is routed across the Internet,” said Bill Fife, director of technology at Wholesale Electric.
Previously, Wholesale Electric had been using McAfee small office units for managing remote office traffic and VPNs, which were out of support and well past end of sale. “Application control, IPS, inline antivirus - these are things that we just did not have on our prior units because the units simply did not have the computational ability. The technology was not there, and it was desperately needed,” said Bill. “As we all know, Internet usage is increasing exponentially and will never decrease. You are always going to need faster throughput, but you also need control over what travels through the box." With that, Bill’s mission was to and a single device that could provide all of these services under a common management platform and one that can be cost e¬ffective in the long run.
Recognizing their need for stronger network security and optimization, Wholesale Electric began researching options. “We considered SonicWall and McAfee, as well as some others, but they were not headed in the desired direction. I had not been happy with McAfee because they abandoned the product line we’d been using and their larger-sized firewall support contracts were very expensive,” said Bill.
After quickly narrowing their options down to WatchGuard and SonicWall, Bill and his team talked to industry peers who had used the products and explored analyst reviews to get a true sense of the products’ performance. From their discussions and research, there was a clear consensus that the firewall (Firebox M series appliances), built-in SD-WAN functionality and VPN throughput speeds, high bandwidth and other key performance indicators coming from WatchGuard were highly credible and accurate. Additionally, the geolocation capabilities on the WatchGuard Firebox appliances allows them to identify and block (if needed) the geographic location of connections through the Firebox, providing them with more visibility and control over their network.
To gain the full benefit of having advanced security, along with enhanced connectivity, Wholesale Electric installed a wide variety of WatchGuard Access Points and Firebox appliances to suit its different locations. Ranging from WatchGuard Firebox T15 to M470 appliances, Wholesale Electric enabled the Total Security Suite to take advantage of advanced security services available with WatchGuard. “We use everything included in the Total Security Suite, from IntelligentAV to Threat Detection and Response. These services help ensure we have the latest and most advanced security protection at our organization and we never need to worry,” explains Bill.
The benefits on the Firebox, particularly combined with the SD-WAN functionality, including the throughput from the Firebox M Series, geolocation capabilities, and VPN tunnels help Wholesale Electric maximize their cost effectiveness as a business. A few of the many benefits they have seen since deploying these solutions are reducing failure points by utilizing new hardware, achieving lower latency and centralizing management for ease of use.
Since implementing WatchGuard’s Firebox capabilities and enabling SD-WAN functionality, Bill and his team are now able to work more efficiently in their day-to-day roles, provide better service to end users, and ultimately make smarter, more informed business decisions.
“We have gained time in our day, eliminated the need to disrupt on-site personnel for almost all WAN issues and can virtually guarantee they remain online,” concluded Bill. “WatchGuard’s appliances just seemingly take care of themselves, giving us more reliable connectivity with SD-WAN. We have a much better security posture with significantly more information.”