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State of Nebraska Standardizes on Fortinet for Virtualizing Security for all State Agencies
Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 09:53:47 AM
State Was Able to Save Approximately $800,000 Over the Past Eight Years by Consolidating Network Security Functionalities

September 27, 2010 - Fortinet® - a leading network security provider and a worldwide leader of unified threat management (UTM) solutions – today announced that the State of Nebraska is helping to secure the networks of more than 93 state agencies with Fortinet’s FortiGate® appliances. By serving as an Internet service provider (ISP) for the state agencies, the Office of the CIO helps state agencies such as the Department of Revenue, the Department of Health and Human Services and all counties and outside contractors manage and securely protect the individual networks.

Previously using a Check Point firewall solution, followed by a customized in-house solution, the Office of the CIO was not able to effectively and easily view and make changes to the network. If a small change needed to be made to a single agency, it could mistakenly be made to all agencies. With Fortinet’s virtual domain (VDOM) capabilities, all networks are securely segregated and can have their own business rules. Another pain point of the Check Point solution was the per user licensing fee for Web filtering and antivirus. This resulted in a more costly solution for a network that has thousands of users.

The Office of the CIO creates a VDOM for each of individual agency with a basic set of network policies. Any individual agency that has its own IT staff is given full control of their VDOM to manage the day to day network and the rules set up for that particular location. In addition, the Office of the CIO has another layer of global network policies that allows it to have full control of the state’s entire network. This hierarchical approach provides the maximum security and flexibility that is essential to protect individual agencies. When the individual agency needs help on setting up its network, security functionality or troubleshooting issues, the Office of the CIO can effectively assist them because of the clear demarcation between policies. With a consistent graphical user interface (GUI) across the FortiGate product line, less training on the appliances is required for the Central IT organization and Agency IT teams which results in reduced costs and increased efficiencies.

Brad Weakly, State Information Security Officer for the State of Nebraska, Office of the Chief Information Officer, stated, “By consolidating our network security infrastructure to one vendor, we have been able to increase functionality for the agencies and gain visibility into the network while avoiding costs and creating potential savings for the State.”

At the core of the CIO’s office is a pair of FortiGate-3810A appliances deployed in high availability (HA) mode. The Fortinet appliances are serving as the firewall, in addition to providing VPN, Web content filtering and VDOMs for the Lincoln, NE based office as well as a second layer of protection for all state agencies. Also at the headquarters is a FortiAnalyzer appliance which is allowing the IT staff to view traffic logs, Web filtering logs and event logs for the entire network. The list of features in the FortiGate appliance also allows the Office of the CIO to provide additional functions to an individual agency when it is needed. For example, if the local agency’s Web proxy service is down, the Office of the CIO can quickly provide the backup service through the FortiGate without installing any new equipment.

“Fortinet has strong traction with government agencies because it is an extremely cost-effective, easy-to-use, reliable and secure solution,” said Pete Brant, vice president of enterprise sales at Fortinet. “No matter if you are securing a single office or thousands of offices, the Fortinet solution can meet the needs of any network.”

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