Availability, Security & Efficiency as the Central Challenge

tilak protects patient’s data with Barracuda NextGen Firewall F

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With the foundation of tilak (Tiroler Landeskrankenanstalten GmbH -Tirolean Regional Health Authority) in 1990, the relevant sections of all regional hospitals were pooled and taken out of public administration and hived off in 1991, their personnel being reassigned to tilak. For training and further education of patient care, medical and other staff, tilak possesses its own educational center, AZW (Ausbildungszentrum West) for the healthcare professions, which has developed into the largest training establishment of its type in Austria. In addition, tilak participates in other services companies who operate in the healthcare, building management, medical equipment and medical information systems sectors.

The health system faces the permanent challenge of having to cope with a growing number of tasks and ever tighter budgets and, at the same time, optimizing the quality of patient care. This can only be achieved with standardization, during the course of which individual solutions are largely disposed of. The IT infrastructure in particular is an area in which innovative processes need to be found in order to both simplify and optimize health care practice.

The highest possible security and the best availability of both the network and patients’ data are of central significance for the Tiroler Krankenanstalten (tilak, Tyrol hospitals organization). Highly sensitive data is stored and processed in many areas. In addition, the tilak is part of a wide network of institutions and partner companies (hospitals, training centres, private and social health insurance companies, university institutes, etc).

The tilak operates several networked locations and requires security technologies in order to distinguish these complex structures clearly and to prevent unauthorized access to the sensitive data. And all this was to be implemented on one unified infrastructure. A further challenge facing the IT infrastructure at the tilak was to mirror a complex organizational structure in the network architecture while at the same time keeping administrative overheads as low as possible. The Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series have proven its value here.

Open Structure vs. of Island Solutions

In the tilak network the Internet is not just a mere communications medium, but a strategic system. With an internal gigabit connection and a 100 Mbit connection to the Internet the tilak infrastructure is designed to cope with intensive use. At present, the system connects 6,500 staff work stations and also provides connectivity for diverse university institutes and external branches such as district hospitals.

With the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series all IP transfer oriented services such as proxy, mail gateway, firewall and DNS have been standardized and designed to be redundant in order to guarantee the highest availability possible. Additionally, the divisions with increased security requirements were segmented and provided with special protection. The various units in the network were then segmented by IP address and grouped in terms of costs.

This took account of both the complex organizational structure and also created cost transparency for the billing of the more than 700 cost centres.

Autonomy with Centralized Administration

The special feature of this solution is that the same IT infrastructure can be used both for the tilak establishments as well as for the university institutes, although these are independent organizational and financial units. Administration on a global level with a centralised security policy is conducted by a core team of two administrators, while the individual institutes are currently managed autonomously with 50 administrators themselves. Alongside the largely self-managed 300 subnetworks, the introduction of the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series and the Barracuda NextGen Control Center resulted in an enormous flexibility for the entire infrastructure with low resource usage at the same time.

With just a few clicks work stations can now be activated, temporary ac cess via VPN set up or other institutions such as health insurance companies linked into the network within minimum time. Despite the enormous number of mandates, work stations and users, the central administration team has a complete overview of all network processes as well as the status of the firewalls at all times thanks to the real-time and long-term statistics. Even the central security policy, software rollouts up to kernel updates no longer restrict the highly available operation of the network since this is all managed by the Barracuda NextGen Control Center and thus without any local intervention.

"We completely implemented the new concept in roughly the space of one year and now have an efficient IT infrastructure which is equipped for future usage. As such, we are now able to operate like an IT service provider, beyond the boundaries of our own institution."
- Dr. Georg Lechleitner, IT Manager at tilak

IT Services for Improved Patient Benefits

The high requirements of the tilak for an IT security and connectivity solution were fulfilled with the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series and the Control Center and the reorganization of the entire IT security system was deployed consistently within a very short period.

"We completely implemented the new concept in roughly the space of one year and now have an efficient IT infrastructure which is equipped for future usage. As such, we are now able to operate like an IT service provider, beyond the boundaries of our own institution," comments Dr. Georg Lechleitner, IT Manager at tilak. The synergy effects combined with the low total cost of ownership have resulted in savings which relieve the public budgets and not least improve the benefit to patients.

About Barracuda

Barracuda provides cloud-connected security and storage solutions that simplify IT. These powerful, easy-to-use, and affordable solutions are trusted by more than 150,000 organizations worldwide and are delivered in appliance, virtual appliance, cloud, and hybrid deployments. Barracuda’s customer-centric business model focuses on delivering high-value, subscription-based IT solutions that provide end-to-end network and data security. For additional information, please visit barracuda.com.

About 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 Fast Facts

  • Powerful next-generation firewall
  • Intelligent data traffic regulation and profiling
  • Central administration of all the functions
  • Integrated IDS/IPS
  • Integrated IQoS- and Link-Balancing
  • Predefined and Role Based configuration