Bank Puts Money and Time into IT Savings Account

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When Jim Hochstatter started working at Ulster Savings Bank in October, 2004, the bank ran two separate networks. One was tied into the Internet -- the other handled most of the bank's workings.

''The strategy was if it didn't touch us, the Internet couldn't hurt us,'' says Hochstatter, vice president of technology at the Kingston, N.Y.-based bank.

But with customers and employees spending a lot of time waiting in long lines at Internet kiosks, Hochstatter says the dual network system was not effective or economical. He says something needed to change quickly, but he didn't want to pay for the security expertise to harden Ulster's link to the Internet.

Instead, Hochstatter turned to Perimeter Internetworking, Inc., a Milford, Conn.-based managed security outsourcer. Hochstatter says he abandoned the bank's Cisco Pix Firewall, and its Symantic Anti-Virus software, and tapped into Perimeter's new security service -- Gateway 4.0.

Referred to as Perimeter's ''Security-in-the-Cloud'' solution, the services replace traditional firewall and IDS monitoring systems with a network-based service that combines technologies from leading vendors into one platform.

''For the price of one high-level network engineer, we can have all of Perimeter's services,'' says Hochstatter. ''If we tried to duplicate what Perimeter does, we would need three to four engineers and we still wouldn't be at the level of security that Perimeter brings to the table.''

Hochstatter estimates it would cost the bank five to 10 times more annually to do inhouse what Gateway 4.0 provides.

Brad Miller, CEO of Perimeter Internetworking, says Security in the Cloud customers buy Internet access from Perimeter and then also receive security services.

''This is network-based security,'' says Miller. ''Rather than having the security technology at the customer's premisis, it all happens in the network before it gets to your door.''

With about 30 percent of network traffic being undesirable, the job of securing networks has changed, says Greg Young, vice president of research at Gartner, Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based industry analyst firm.

''As bad traffic increases, the job changes to finding good traffic and letting it get through -- not just stopping the bad traffic,'' says Young.

At a base level, Gateway 4.0 is designed to provide traffic policy control, intrusion prevention, malware defense, secure email services, secure access, automated compliance and network services.

''Customers are not losing bandwidth to bad traffic,'' says Young. ''Instead of malware coming to their door, it's dealt with upstream, at the 'cloud'.''

Hochstatter says Ulster Savings Bank uses Gateway 4.0 for firewall protection, general Internet protection and its WebSense product, which uses employees' ID numbers to restrict where they are able to go on the Internet. The service also provides Ulster's email service, saving the bank from internal email administration costs. In addition, he says the bank utilizes Perimeter's Mail Safe product, which sends secure emails and the Secure VPN service, which allows field employees to securely gain access to the network from home.

Clark Easterling, director of product management at NuVox Communications, Inc., an ISP based in Greenville, S.C., says his company switched to Perimeter in 2002. Easterling says NuVox formerly ran McAfee anti-virus software on its PCs, which mainly run Windows 2000. He says about 95 percent of NuVox customers run Windows, and the others are Mac and Linux users.

NuVox Communications services 16 states and provides Internet services, local long distance, networking and security services to 42,000 business customers. When customers purchase Internet services through Nuvox, Easterling says his company turns to Perimeter for the firewall, as well as Internet security, enhanced security services, data storage and back ups, email archiving, desk top anti-virus, secure email and spyware protection.

''It would cost way too much to manage this alone,'' says Easterling. ''Perimeter's cost outweighs doing it internally.''

Easterling says NuVox's three-plus years of working with Perimeter has proven successful.

''They constantly evolve as the nature of the industry has changed,'' he says.

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