The Internet and email play a fundamental role in the day-to-day running of Hillarys Blinds, the largest manufacturer of made-to-measure window blinds in the UK. A significant amount of the company’s business is generated through its Internet-based operation, web-blinds.com, and approximately 800 part-time sales advisors use mobile point-of-sales terminals to process orders in customers’ homes. “Simply put, without a secure communications infrastructure, the company wouldn’t be able to operate properly,” says Phil Squire, senior system administrator at Hillarys Blinds.
Hillarys Blinds was using a dedicated hardware firewall, email filter and web proxy server, but soon found that managing multiple technologies can be a burden. “Using three solutions meant that we incurred not just considerable financial costs; we were also paying a high price from an administration perspective. So while the separate solutions were largely effective at solving our original security problems, the amount of resources required to maintain them became a big overhead in itself.”
Although Hillarys Blinds’ email gateway system was effective at trapping malware-laden message attachments, its performance at filtering spam was unsatisfactory. “At first, the spam was more of an inconvenience but gradually more and more junk emails were evading the spam filter and finding their way into employees’ in-boxes, which meant staff had to delete the spam manually,” says Squire.