VAR Closes Door On Network Attacks

Yet it was the network that was ailing last year at Caritas Christi Health Care, the second-largest health-care organization in New England. As hospitals in the system were victimized by computer viruses such as NetSky and MyDoom, systems administrators sought a perimeter security solution to stop threats cold.

Caritas found its answer in products from gateway appliance vendor Fortinet and turned to solution provider Micros Northeast for help.

"We fixed them up good," said Frank Cieri, president of Micros, Woburn, Mass. "Now, theirs is one of the most secure networks anywhere in the state."

The implementation began in January 2004, after Caritas contacted Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Fortinet for help fighting viruses.

Sponsored post

Tavares Marsh, a security engineer at the health-care organization, said Caritas had been crippled by several of the NetSky and MyDoom variants and wanted to ensure that further attacks did not wreak the same type of havoc.

Fortinet brought in Micros. Within days, Cieri and systems engineer Derrick Lima met face-to-face with Marsh, ironing out a remediation plan.

The group agreed to use a battalion of Fortinet's FortiGate products to stop malicious traffic at the organization's data center in Dorchester, Mass. The idea was to use the content filtering capabilities of the FortiGate-800 Anti-Virus Firewall to stop worms and viruses

at the network perimeter, preventing them from ever getting inside the LAN, Marsh said.

"As soon as we saw [the FortiGate-800] work, we knew we were dealing with a product that would protect us the way we needed," said Marsh, who noted that Caritas also looked into NetScreen products from Juniper Networks, as well as tools from Trend Micro and WebWasher.

"We fell in love with the [Fortinet] box because it did everything we needed it to do and it got around the old method of charging us per seat," Marsh said. Micros installed a FortiGate-800 at the data center, then installed two more at the biggest hospitals in the Caritas system: Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton, Mass., and Caritas Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Mass.

Next, the solution provider set its sights on securing Caritas' remote sites throughout New England, as well as a number of doctor's offices throughout the Boston area. To do this, Micros installed a mix of FortiGate-60 and FortiGate-50A Anti-Virus Firewall devices—tools designed to provide content filtering, VPN, network-based intrusion detection and prevention, and traffic shaping in smaller, lower-bandwidth environments.

"From the very beginning, the source of most of these viruses was these remote locations," Lima said. To date, Caritas has spent approximately $50,000 on more than 20 Fortinet devices overall. Beyond that, Micros has billed an additional $15,000 in services over the past 12 months. Most importantly, attacks on the Caritas network have been virtually nonexistent; the content filtering capabilities of the FortiGate devices even have snuffed out many forms of spyware.

Micros has parlayed this success into new business. According to Cieri, the solution provider is talking to other area hospitals and recently inked an eight-unit FortiGate deal with the Merrimack Health Group in Haverhill, Mass.