Cassling is a full-line sales and service dealer for Siemens Medical Solutions, serving healthcare organizations throughout the North American Midwest. The company operates from a single location in Omaha, Nebraska with a three-person IT group that manages all network and telecommunications activity. This includes cell phones, PDAs, desktops, and laptops for more than 60 field service engineers.
But Cassling IT Manager Barclay Stebbins remembers when the company only had five PCs. “That was in 1997. My first two servers were on order and we had dumb terminals connected through the network to an RS6000,” Stebbins explains. “My first experience with a virus was when someone gave me a network card driver disk with a virus on it.”
Stebbins tried two other security software vendors before settling on McAfee VirusScan Enterprise. “It was easy to use,” Stebbins continues. “I could run it, scan the computers, and be done. Back then, I think VirusScan Enterprise came on two floppy disks.”
For many small and medium enterprises, managing security is a constantly evolving challenge. Stebbins found that the McAfee ‘smart, simple, secure’ approach gave him intelligent, easy-to-deploy products that delivered reliable threat protection 24/7 without taxing scarce IT resources.
Steady growth adds complexity
When Stebbins began, he was an IT department of one. “It was about seven years before I got an assistant to help with the network,” recalls Stebbins. “Our number of desktops and laptops expanded. And we had to deal with firewalls and email. It got to be a little overwhelming.”
As the company grew, McAfee helped Cassling scale its security infrastructure to meet that growth. When the company migrated to an Exchange server environment, Cassling started running McAfee Security for Email Servers. Like many companies, Cassling relies heavily on email to conduct routine business.
“In one 23-day period, we processed more than 460,000 emails,” Stebbins notes. “It was swamping the Exchange server and spam was becoming a constant problem, especially for the people who use BlackBerries. We wanted an appliance strictly to deal with that, something that would integrate with what we already had in place. The McAfee Email and Web Security Appliance fit the bill very well.”
The McAfee Email and Web Security Appliance made an immediate and dramatic difference. “We got the box up, running, and configured within a day,” recalls Stebbins. “People were getting 10, 15, 20 spam messages a day and that went down to one or two and in a lot of cases zero. And we still run and maintain McAfee Security for Microsoft Exchange on the Exchange Server as well. We believe the best security is layered security.”
Stebbins also deployed the anti-virus and anti-spyware solutions from McAfee Total Protection (ToPS) for Endpoint on all the company’s desktops, laptops, and servers — approximately 140 nodes.
“I’m pleased to report,” Stebbins remarks with fingers crossed, “that we haven’t had an outbreak in at least four years of any significance.”
The whole issue of spam filtering and virus blocking is more complex for Cassling than it might be for a larger company. The company serves many small hospitals, often fewer than 50 beds, and this presents an interesting challenge that McAfee’s product intelligence helps address.
Stebbins explains, “Some of these hospitals don’t even have registered company names or email addresses so their staff uses Microsoft and Yahoo! email. So if we over-filter, we can end up missing very important communications. McAfee helps us be flexible enough to allow those messages to get through our system or to the point where we can retrieve them and forward them if they do get snagged.”
"You have great people in tech support. And that was another driving force behind staying with the McAfee product line. The tech support is absolutely superb."Barclay Stebbins
IT Manager, Cassling
ePO — a definite 10
All of the Cassling laptops, desktops, and servers receive their configuration updates via the McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) management console.
“As soon as my field service engineer connects to the network, ePO sees that connection and updates the machine,” says Stebbins. “I’ve had very, very few instances where someone’s virus protection has gotten out of date. It’s just a great tool to work with. I definitely score ePO a 10.”
In fact, Stebbins is such a big fan of McAfee ePO, he’s testing it to distribute applications other than McAfee.
“We’ve experimented with ePO a little bit as far as pushing out other applications,” Stebbins says. “You can configure ePO to push out desktop applications like Outlook and Microsoft Office. So we’re looking to use it to push out a PDA application.”
Gold tech support a big plus
“McAfee has great people in tech support,” enthuses Stebbins. “And that was another driving force behind staying with the McAfee product line. The tech support is absolutely superb.” Stebbins expects to migrate soon from McAfee ePO 3.6 to version 4.0 and knows he can count on tech support if he needs help. “When I upgraded from ePO 3.5 to 3.6, the tech support people were very helpful,” says Stebbins. “Version 3.6 is working well, but we’ve got to get to the next level pretty soon. I’m shooting for the fall to get that done.”
For Cassling, as with many small and medium enterprises, time and resources are limited but security threats are not. Stebbins knows that with McAfee help is available any time, day or night. He has quick access to technicians who understand the Cassling IT environment and can solve issues and answer questions. In other words, Stebbins has access to the same products and services that global companies rely on.
“McAfee just make things a lot easier,” concludes Stebbins. “It’s pretty much install and go. And it works really, really well.”