by Chloe Herrick

The Smith Family turns to the Cloud

Dec 30, 2010
Business ContinuityCloud ComputingE-commerce Services

Like many not-for-profit organisations, the Smith Family has faced its fair share of challenges during the process of modernising its business to meet the needs of its stakeholders.

The use of Internet-based applications to support its operations and communications has increased significantly — and so too have the security risks associated with conducting business and transactions on the Web.

The Smith Family’s operations rely heavily on the Internet for a broad range of activities where security is paramount, including the delivery of community programs, online fundraising campaigns, supporter communications, e-mail communications and the organisation’s national computing network. The organisation’s close association with children and families, makes data protection essential.

“We are storing very important information pertaining to children — managing data and information in our systems — so security is extremely important,” head of business information services, Andi Luiskandl, said. But the organisation also needs to engage stakeholders to ensure their ongoing support, primarily through social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“As we use social media more, the Web security architecture also increases in importance for us,” Luiskandl said. “We have a Facebook community, we are on Twitter and we are using YouTube.”

The Smith Family previously used a complex Internet filtering system that forced all Internet traffic through a central point, causing double handling and burdening the system, causing it to “creak” under the pressure of about 700 connected users.

In response, organisation’s business information services team of 20 deployed Webroot’s security-as-a-service solution to strengthen the organisation’s information security safeguards and enable more productive use of the Internet.

The technology reportedly uses the Cloud to deliver security updates, working with the organisation’s existing Microsoft infrastructure to scan, protect and improve the efficiency of the organisation’s internet traffic.

Going Cloud was a no brainer for the organisation, which Luiskandl said was set on choosing a fully-serviced application. Deploying the security-as-a-service offering as opposed to an on-premise solution came down to the need for flexibility.

Webroot does not make up the organisation’s entire security architecture, however. An on-premise solution from Microsoft provides an additional security stack.

“We are now moving into Microsoft Forefront technology,” Luiskandl said. “It’s an integrated security stack which essentially covers viruses, freight management and anti-spyware software.”.