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Founded in 2004, Energy & Utility Skills is an employer-led membership organisation. They ensure the gas, power, waste management and water industries have the skills they need. Headquartered in Solihull, Energy & Utility Skills partner with employees, Government bodies and educational institutions, and are an authority on professional development and employment in the energy and utilities industries.
Energy & Utility Skills had a gateway firewall which needed replacing. Because of its age, the existing firewall offered limited options to update or enhance its virus and malware scanning capability compared with other technologies within Energy & Utility Skills’ security stack. In order for Energy & Utility Skills to continue to effectively guard against the latest and emerging cyber security threats, and to increase ease of management for the internal IT team, they needed to look for a new solution.
With the emerging threat landscape and high-profile security attacks Energy & Utility Skills wanted a solution which was robust and modern to ensure sufficient protection. In the replacement technology Energy & Utility Skills were looking for a solution which was fit for purpose and effective, as well as having a competitive price point and the ability to integrate with the existing products in the security infrastructure.
Having worked with Softcat for two years on several different IT projects, Energy & Utility Skills came to Softcat to discuss their firewall requirement. Jacob Londesbrough, dedicated Account Manager for Energy & Utility Skills, explains “Energy & Utility Skills had been working with Softcat for a while. Originally, we just did smaller projects for them but over time they began to trust us with bigger requirements. Due to this existing relationship, we were in a good position to help Energy & Utility Skills.”
Knowing that Energy & Utility Skills already used Sophos for their endpoint protection, Softcat proposed a Sophos firewall. Prior to this Energy & Utility Skills had not been aware that Sophos offered firewall products. Using Sophos meant Energy & Utility Skills could take advantage of the integration of technologies to provide better reporting and a more intelligent security environment. David Minchin, IT Manager at Energy & Utility Skills, made the decision to go with the Softcat proposed Sophos solution, seizing the opportunity to have a more integrated security system which would provide a single pain of glass management view.
Sophos XG was implemented utilising the recourse and expertise of one of Softcat’s trusted partners, Globelink. James Phipps, Consultant at Globelink, provided a large amount of additional support to Energy & Utility Skills across the entire project as well as performing the consultancy services involved in getting the new firewall live.
Jacob utilised Sophos’ great relationship with Softcat, and worked closely with the Sophos Account Managers to secure very competitive pricing.
The biggest benefit for Energy & Utility Skills is that they now have enhanced email and web traffic security. This new level of protection has led to a significant reduction in the amount of email spam the business sees. The enhanced visibility the solution provides allows the IT team to proactively address issues and increase their awareness of potential cyber threats. There has been a decrease in the number of ‘false-positives’ reported and all of Energy & Utility Skill’s staff now use the solution, managed internally by the IT team.
Since Sophos XG was implemented there is increased stability of the site-to-site connectivity resulting in less time troubleshooting and resolving issues such as this.
Highlighting one of the key benefits David comments, “the enhanced security will support our efforts in gaining the Cyber Essentials Security Plus certification which will demonstrate to Energy & Utility Skills customers our implementation of a robust defence against common cyber threats.”
A benefit to this project was that Energy & Utility Skills got access to additional support, on top of that provided by Softcat and Sophos, from Globelink. David highlights that “James and Globelink have provided excellent knowledge and support during the planning and implementation phases of this project. They went over and above expectations in order to overcome a number of challenges and complete a successful implementation.” Energy & Utility Skills now have a 12-month support contract with Globelink to ensure the continued success of the solution.
As Jacob explains, “Softcat pride ourselves on working with the best partners and this project highlights Softcat’s dedication to working with partners who can provide the best service”.
David comments “Softcat are very proactive. Often, we can’t turn things around as quickly as we would like to and Softcat give us the information we need to make decisions and to help speed up our internal processes. I would certainly use Softcat again.”