Monday, 24 August 2009

FutureSoft provides safe home for National Housing Federation data

FutureSoft, Inc., developer of information security and connectivity solutions, today announced that the National Housing Federation has selected its Dynacomm PointGuard product to evolve its data security and handling capabilities, as well as protect its data from malicious web content inadvertently downloaded by employees.

“FutureSoft's PointGuard was chosen because it was not just a monitoring tool, but one that was flexible enough to be adapted to meet specific requirements, and was also secure,” explained Rob Green, Head of ICT, National Housing Federation. “The main security concerns were the introduction of viruses and malware into the infrastructure via USB ports. We had to control accessibility via the USB ports in PCs and laptops, as well as to prevent non-business related files being downloaded onto the networks.”

The National Housing Federation is the voice of affordable housing, representing 1,200 independent, not-for-profit housing associations in England. Its IT systems support a range of member service and research functions, enabling its core project and advocacy work. The Federation has around 150 employees spread between a head office in London and offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester. As a ‘third sector’, member funded organisation, it has to take an exemplary approach to its handling of potentially sensitive data and controlling costs.

The problems foreseen by the Federation were threefold, and will be recognisable to many of its members. The organisation, Green concluded, had to control what entered the system and what was backed up, what information was accessible and to whom, and to protect assets and staff from malicious content more effectively. Green was particularly glad to address both security and resource limitations with one, centralised application.

“Although our anti-virus software will pick up problems, this will only happen once a file has been opened. By using PointGuard we can prevent unknown files being introduced as well as any proliferation of non-business related files such as mp3 files,” said Green. “Also, as user needs change and new software is introduced, the PointGuard software needs to be flexible to meet these new requirements - and so far this is proving to be the case.”

FutureSoft’s Dynacomm PointGuard provides a central console to manage, monitor and secure access to applications, devices and data, within and without an organisation’s networks. Application and access control rules can be based on user, system, location, time, day and even media type. PointGuard allows network managers to control who is able to access certain files and applications, use removable media devices, as well as logging actions – even when a remote device is not connected to the network.

Prior to the implementation of PointGuard, the Federation would have had to regularly check for mp3, video and other file extensions that were not business related, and remove them from the external repository. Using PointGuard has meant these regular checks have reduced, although there are still occasions when files need to be saved. Furthermore, the Federation had recently migrated to a model of backing up its data in the cloud.

“Another issue we had to address was controlling our backups and archives more effectively - so that we weren’t backing up unwanted files and thus incurring unnecessary expense,” concluded Green. “Backups in the Federation are all off-site and paid according to the amount of data stored. If the files being backed up are not business related then costs could spiral.”
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