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Products Used: Web Security
Karlstad Municipality Embraces Web 2.0 Securely with Websense®
We are not worried about Web 2.0 and the issues associated with social networking sites as Websense protects us against the dynamic security risks posed by these.
Inge Hansson, Chief Information Officer, Karlstad Municipality
Karlstad is situated between Stockholm and Oslo and is both the seat of Karlstad Municipality (Karlstads Kommun) one of 16 municipalities in Värmland County, and the capital of Värmland County. Boasting plentiful sunshine and a close proximity to fresh water, there is also a positive working climate, where the emphasis is on cooperation and informality.
Karlstad Municipality is a democratic organisation led by the City Council, the City Boardand a number of committees in various fields of activity. Spread over 200 sites, more than 6,800 persons work within the municipality of Karlstad and, taking the lead from their happy sun logo and reputation to be one of the sunniest towns in Sweden, they are engaged in making Karlstad a good city in which to work and live.
A co-operative approach to selecting Internet security solutions
Web-based threats facing organisations today are growing in number, complexity, and cost. Traditional security products such as antivirus and firewalls have played a significant role in combating these security threats; however, without real-time protection in place they offer limited protection that leave organisations such as Karlstad Municipality vulnerable to emerging security attacks. Inge Hansson is Chief information Officer at Karlstad Municipality:
“Before we used Websense,sup>® we had just a firewall and some antispyware software, so we weren’t protected against the very latest Internet threats. My department spent a lot of time on desktop re-installations; computers would get so full of viruses and spyware that this was the quickest way to clean up,” explained Hansson. “One person would spend maybe half their day cleaning up spyware and dealing with these problems. We needed a better solution, one that took a more proactive approach to security.”
Inge Hansson was not alone. In keeping with their spirit of cooperation, Karlstad Municipality got together with the other 16 Municipalities of Värmland County to create a project group. Tasked with finding a Web security solution that they could all use, the project group turned to Websense.
“The group was looking for granular Internet management and reporting that would help improve bandwidth use, as well as a more robust and proactive Web security,” said Hansson. “We knew the company, it had a good reputation. Websense was the best choice.”
With approximately 84,000 inhabitants, Karlstad is the largest Municipality in Värmland County. “All 16 communities work together well, they collaborate whenever it makes sense. The project group selected Websense Web Security and 12 of the Municipalities chose to buy it together.”
Open to Web 2.0 closed to Web security threats
The Internet is evolving rapidly. As new capabilities made possible by Web 2.0 enter mainstream business, simply denying access and blocking the use of these technologies is no longer a viable option. With Websense, IT professionals can provide access to the latest Web-based tools and applications while still keeping their company safe from attack.
Websense Web Security includes the industry’s leading Web filtering technology. This technology, the most comprehensive and accurate on the market, allows organizations to manage productivity, reduce their risk of legal liability, and improve bandwidth use. At Karlstad Municipality they decided to implement Websense Web Security, first, to the administration departments. The first deployment was to over 2000 desktops.
“We use Websense to log traffic to the Internet and prevent access to sites with malware and malicious code that might damage our systems,” explains Hansson. “It’s very easy for my team to manage on a day to day basis. Previously we saw many threats and now with Websense we have none.” Unlike some other solutions, Websense also blocks keyloggers and spyware reaching their host servers as well as stopping their backchannel traffic.
The dynamic, user-generated content common to Web 2.0 cannot be monitored with legacy security models, such as reputation databases or URL filtering. However Websense proactively discovers Web security threats, real-time security updates are available within minutes of the discovery of a new high-risk threat, and no administrative intervention required. This gives Karlstad Municipality the peace of mind to operate an open Internet usage policy.
“We automatically prevent access to the sites that are a security threat. For other sites we inform our staff about our policy,” reveals Hansson. “It has made it easier for our employees to understand the company Internet use policy. Before Websense, we had a policy, but there was no way to check it and our employees did not know it.”
“We are realistic, using the Websense reporting tool we know the top ten most frequently visited sites are not work related, but sometimes there are good reasons to go there and we want our employees to use the latest Web 2.0 tools for productive use. We are not worried about Web 2.0 and the issues associated with social networking sites as Websense protects us against the dynamic security risks posed by these.”
The way forward
During the summer Karlstad Municipality rolled out the Websense Web Security solution to all the schools in the region in preparation for some 1800 students returning to school for a new term in the autumn.
As children head back to the classroom they also head to the computer for online research, homework and lessons. For children, the Internet is a priceless knowledge resource for academic research, and collaborative websites are enormously popular with this age group. The early adopters of Web 2.0 were teens and college students, many of whom are now in the workforce and are finding business applications for the new technologies.
The flexibility and accuracy of website categorisation within Websense Web Security allows schools and their pupils to embrace the power of the Internet while eliminating access to adult, pornographic, and potentially hazardous websites infected with viruses and malicious code. Furthermore, there is no complex installation associated with Websense Web security, the software automatically configures itself and within seconds Web filtering is active, providing protection where it’s needed.
“We have had Websense for a year and a half and this summer the IT department found it easy to extend the solution to include schools. Before now we spent maybe 10 hours a week dealing with Web security threats in schools. Taking this solution across the entire company will obviously free up a lot of IT time going forward.”
Websense Web Security provides immediate, in-depth analysis, exception tracking, and trending capabilities with real-time monitoring and powerful drill-down features. Distribute reporting permissions throughout an organisation provides departments with increased visibility into their own activities and to reduce the overall burden on IT. In addition to this there is the ability to run pre-defined and custom reports at pre-set intervals or on an adhoc basis. Inge Hansson’s team regularly look at the reporting to identify how the Internet is being used across the business and see what threats have been caught.
“With Websense we have a full picture into what threats have been stopped. The answer is everything, now we have no problems. With Websense we have saved time and some money and we now have peace of mind that we are fully protected.”
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