Adena Health System was founded in 1895 as a small hospital that served Chillicothe, Ohio. Today, it is a 238-bed facility that serves more than 250,000 residents throughout 10 counties. Adena’s mission is to become the best healthcare system in the United States, in part by focusing on quality and safety, and by applying the latest technologies to benefit patient and staff alike. Brian Young, Senior Network Security and System Administrator, is a member of a team that is in charge of information technologies. “Our responsibility is to provide 99.99 percent uptime on all pieces of equipment for the health system,” he says. There is a lot of equipment for his team to oversee, including about 100 servers, 1,700 workstations, public and private wireless access points and machines that run highly specialized medical applications for surgical and other procedures. All told, these systems are spread across a regional hospital, a critical-access hospital, three healthcare centers, and nearly 30 physician practices throughout the region.
Improving access to information while keeping it secure
One of the Information Technology Department’s primary goals is to convert Adena’s health records and other information to electronic format. “In a healthcare system, access to information has to happen quickly,” Young adds. “Adena Health System’s goal is to be completely electronic and 100 percent digital.” But the Technical Team faces security challenges along the way. Some vendors develop medical applications that don’t interact with security solutions due to performance hits. “There’s an application called WIT,” Young offers as an example. “It’s an application that shows your heart in 30-frame-persecond video in three dimensions during surgery—all recorded in real time. The vendor’s fear is that security software is going to slow it down, so they don’t allow it.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge, however, was Adena’s anti-virus solution — it simply wasn’t up to par. “Between when I came onboard in December 2005 and March 2007, we had two major virus outbreaks where we actually had to go around to workstations and load a competitor’s anti-virus package in order to clean up machines,” he says. “Our solution was unable to eliminate or even detect the virus, and some of these viruses were two years old. We couldn’t work out a fix with their customer support, so we decided to find a new solution.”
McAfee comes out on top
The Technical Team set up a test environment and invited three vendors to participate — one of which was the previous solution provider, who did not show up. Another was McAfee, which brought its McAfee Total Protection (ToPS) Advanced solution. After the three-week trial was over, ToPS Advanced was the clear winner.
"We deployed McAfee Total Protection in about a week and we haven’t had to deal with viruses or spyware since."Brian Young
Senior Network Security and System Administrator, Adena Health System
Immediate impact on threat protection and security management
McAfee ToPS Advanced made an immediate impact, with a simple deployment that did not impact the user experience. “We deployed Total Protection in about a week and we haven’t had to deal with viruses or spyware since,” Young says. “And since it’s automated, we haven’t had to do any kind of manual cleanups like we used to with our previous solution. Deployment was easy. It probably helped that two of the team members had previous experience with the McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) platform, but I think even without that experience it would have been easy. It was pretty much a quick removal of the old and the new was on. The users really didn’t know the difference at all.”
In addition to stopping viruses and spyware, ToPS Advanced enables users to realize performance gains in everyday computing tasks. “When our previous solution would do a scan, sometimes it would take the PC’s utilization to almost 100 percent,” Young says. “With ToPS Advanced, we are able to throttle the scan down to 10 percent of the CPU. We’ve also been able to prevent users from installing peer-to-peer and gaming software on their workstations. Our Internet bandwidth has therefore been far more available, which is nice for our users that access the network from home. Plus, other hospital applications that rely on the Internet now perform better.”
McAfee ToPS Advanced outperforms the previous solution in one other critical area — technical support. “Often with our previous vendor, it would take a day or longer to get a response on a technical question. And it wasn’t always the right answer. The few times I’ve had to call McAfee for support, we’ve usually been able to get the correct answer from the first person we spoke with. That makes our jobs easier.”