Protec Fire deploys Opengear to secure IT infrastructure

Nelson, Lancashire

Opengear, a leading provider of solutions that deliver secure, resilient network access and automation to critical IT infrastructure, has confirmed a successful project with Protec Fire Detection plc, a UK leading independent fire detection and security manufacturer that is using Opengear solutions to deliver a robust IT continuity strategy and streamline remote access multiple sites.

Since founding in 1968, Protec has grown both organically and through acquisition to become the largest independent fire detection manufacturer in the UK with a reputation built upon solid and reliable systems meeting the needs of a variety of applications.

With 6 sites across the UK and over a thousand staff, the company has established a significant IT infrastructure with around 50 servers delivering critical service management, CRM, ERP and CAD applications in support of its product and services portfolio that includes planning and design, optional installation and project management, through to the commissioning and maintenance

Protec has long-established ISO9000:2015 certification plus 7 complementary accreditations and third-party product approvals, which form part of a strategy to ensure all its products and services meet industry and best practice guidelines. To further strengthen its ability to protect against loss of critical IT systems, in mid-2017, the company approached trusted IT solution partner Flow Communications Ltd for advice on strengthening its remote access and remediation capabilities.

Flow, an emerging networking and security integrator provides security and infrastructure solutions to mid-market enterprises like Protec. Flow helps to create operational efficiency for its customers through innovative technologies, such as Opengear, acting as a business enabler.

As Vinod Varkey, IT Manager for Protec Fire Detection plc explains, “We already use a combination of leased lines and VPN to connect all our sites but we wanted to improve our business continuity position through the implementation of an out-of-band remote access solution that would automatically failover if we had any issues with WAN connections.”

Based on advice, experience, testing and recommendations from Flow Communications, Protec selected Opengear ACM 7004-2 appliances with 4 serial Cisco Straight pinout, external power, 2 GbE Ethernet and 4G LTE cellular capability. The Opengear Smart-OOB appliances are connected to Firewalls at each site to allow for remote monitoring and configuration using the Opengear Lighthouse 5 Centralized Management platform.

“The installation process was relatively straightforward and we have conducted a number of failover tests to our out-of-band 4G connection and everything has worked as expected,” explains Vinod, “We still use our VPN as the primary method of monitoring and updating our Firewalls, but Opengear provides us with an additional layer of security that we know we can rely on if there is any issues at a remote site.”

Vinod is now examining the possibility of extending the Opengear Smart-OOB coverage to include a number of critical servers at a few key sites.


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