Barracuda NextGen Firewalls Protect the Ever-Expanding Operation of the Country of Georgia’s Leading Telecom Provider, Geocell

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Summary

Geocell is the leading telecommunications provider in Georgia. Set up in 1996, it is part of the TeliaSonera Group, one of the world’s major telecom operators. Despite tough competition, the company has acquired a reputation as an innovator by introducing a wide range of value-added services. Headquartered in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Geocell now employs a staff of over 500 scattered across a territory of nearly 27,000 square miles, and has a subscription base of two million private and business customers.

Profile

  • Leading telecom provider in Georgia
  • 500 employees
  • 50+ locations

Challenges

  • Lack of centralized administration console to control traffic
  • Traffic shaping for better usage of Internet channels
  • Lack of virtualization support
  • Protection of business against cyberattacks

Solution

  • Cluster of two Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series

Results

  • Improved protection against cyberattacks
  • Centralized network management control
  • Improved visibility of traffic and Internet usage
  • Ability to prioritize and shape traffic to support business-critical applications

Barracuda’s Technology used by Geocell

  • 2x Barracuda NextGen Firewall Vx1000
  • 2x Barracuda Load Balancer Vx400
  • 2x Barracuda Spam Firewall Vx400
  • 2x Barracuda Message Archiver 850
  • 2x Barracuda Web Application Firewall Zx660

The Challenge

Mr. Alexander Kuzmidi is the Enterprise IT Unit Head, in charge of controlling and managing all Geocell IT operations, infrastructure, and one datacenter with smaller system rooms. The Unit employs around 350 employees based at the Tbilisi headquarters, in addition to 150 people working in distribution centers and shops.

Mr. Kuzmidi explains: “We previously used Linux firewalls. But as our business expanded and we were spending increasingly more time administering our firewalls, it became apparent that we needed a centralized administration console function to save time. The existing solution also didn’t support our plans for virtualization of our network.”

“We soon realized that we’d outgrown our existing infrastructure, and we needed to find a solution to address our three key business requirements. First, the solution had to be easily integrated into our existing infrastructure and allow us to shape traffic for our customers. Secondly, it needed to support virtualization. And finally, we needed to protect our network and infrastructure against any cyberattacks,” Mr. Kuzmidi remarks.

Testing a Solution

After attending a five-day Barracuda NextGen Firewall Certification course organized by Barracuda University in Innsbruck, Austria, Mr. Kuzmidi decided to test a cluster of two Barracuda NextGen Firewall Vx1000 against firewalls from competitors. Once all tests were completed, he found Barracuda’s solution best fulfilled all key business requirements.

Mr. Kuzmidi adds: “One of the main reasons we chose Barracuda’s firewall solution was the excellent customer support from their vendor here in Georgia, Orient Logic. We use several Barracuda products, including the Barracuda Spam Firewall, Barracuda Message Archiver, and Barracuda Load Balancer. They are easy and intuitive to use, provide great performance, and offer an attractive license model. In the eight years of using Barracuda solutions, issues were rare and were always resolved quickly, minimizing any negative impact to our operations and business. Another crucial point was that we didn’t need to invest in any additional hardware or software - the Barracuda solution really was a perfect fit for our business.”

"One of the main reasons we chose Barracuda’s firewall solution was the excellent customer support. In the eight years of using Barracuda solutions, issues were rare and were always resolved quickly, minimizing any negative impact to our operations and business. Another crucial point was that we didn’t need to invest in any additional hardware or software - the Barracuda solution really was a perfect fit for our business."
- Alexander Kuzmidi, ICT/Enterprise IT Unit Head, Geocell

Smooth and Speedy Deployment

From the initial evaluation until the firewall was up and running took only two months. As Mr. Kuzmidi points out: "The deployment went really smoothly, without any major impact on our resources or timing. During installation, we came across a couple of minor issues, most of which we managed to resolve ourselves. We had to log only two support tickets, which were resolved very swiftly. The whole process from installation to production took about a week. All in all, it was a straightforward transformation."

24/7 Protection and Support

Thanks to Barracuda’s real-time Energize Updates, Geocell can rest assured that their business is always protected against the latest Internet threats. The easy-to-download updates cover firmware, IPS signature, application control definition, and online web filter updates. Energize Updates also includes 24/7 email support and phone support during standard working hours.

Tangible Results

“Our primary function is to ensure that business-critical applications run as smoothly as possible and that we are providing our employees with stable and secure Internet access,” says Mr. Kuzmidi.

“Since deploying Barracuda’s NextGen Firewall F-Series, we’ve been able to prioritize bandwidth for business-critical applications. Thanks to constant monitoring and comprehensive reporting, we have a good understanding of what’s happening in our network. We can now identify any attacks, intrusions into our IPS systems, spam, or potential threats early on and address them much quicker - something we were not always able to do before,” concludes Mr. Kuzmidi.

Peek into the Future

As Geocell grows its operations in Georgia, the company plans to invest further into network virtualization and setting up an additional datacenter. They have also recently bought the Barracuda Web Application Firewall, which will be installed in the coming months.

About Barracuda

Protecting users, applications, and data for more than 150,000 organisations worldwide, Barracuda Networks has developed a global reputation as the go-to leader for powerful, easy-to-use, affordable IT solutions. The company’s proven customer-centric business model focuses on delivering highvalue, subscription-based IT solutions for security and storage. For additional information, please visit barracuda.com or follow us on Twitter@barracudaEMEA.

About the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F

The Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series is the enterprise-grade network firewall that combines comprehensive, next-generation firewall capabilities - based on application visibility and useridentity awareness - with optimal efficiency and throughput. Coordinated WAN optimization, centralized management, and cloud-hosted content filtering and reporting are just a few of the key features supporting enterprise requirements.

Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series Fast Facts

  • Integrated next-generation security
  • Granular control of user activity
  • Effective WAN management
  • Connection-friendly and robust VPN
  • QoS and link balancing
  • Central management