McAfee Simplifies Security Risk Management at Ellis Hospital

Ellis Hospital, based in Schenectady, New York, includes a 360-bed, full-service health care facility, a School of Nursing, a mental health clinic, the 40-bed Bellevue Women’s Center, and three small patient centers for administering inoculations and drawing blood. To support these entities, Ellis Hospital has approximately 1,200 desktops, 140 servers, and 1,100 Microsoft Exchange mailboxes supporting 2,500 end users. The Hospital has also recently acquired a new 200-bed campus known as McClellan (formerly the Saint Clares Hospital), also in Schenectady, further increasing the number of users supported by Ellis Hospital IT staff.

Put the patient first while optimizing resources
“In health care, the patient always comes first,” says Derek Dzimiera, manager of network services at Ellis Hospital. “We have to protect the administrative side of the business but, first and foremost, we have to keep patients safe. That means protecting both the systems that help treat them and their data, which is why compliance with HIPAA and internal security policies is crucial.”

However, like any business, to remain competitive, Ellis Hospital must also optimize resources. “Among our 30 IT staff, five have IT security administration in their job description, but security is only a fraction of what they do,” says Dzimiera.

Limited IT resources prompted Ellis Hospital to look for ways to simplify security management, starting with reducing the number of security vendors the organization had to deal with. “Managing security products from multiple vendors added to the complexity and time involved in security administration,” explains Dzimiera. “We wanted a total security system that would provide strong protection for our PCs, servers, email, SharePoint, and so on, yet enable us to minimize time spent on security administration and maintenance.”

Comprehensive, easy-to-manage security protection
Ellis Hospital chose the advanced version of McAfee Total Protection (ToPS) for Endpoint, a comprehensive, end-to-end security risk management solution that provides anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, desktop firewall, intrusion prevention, network access control (NAC), and policy auditing. “The main reason we went with McAfee was because it was the only vendor that offered what we consider a total security system—that is, all the security risk management functionality we need, in an integrated package that makes administration easier,” says Dzimiera.

McAfee ToPS for Endpoint currently safeguards all the desktops and servers on Ellis Hospital’s network—including three standalone and one cluster of Microsoft Exchange email servers—against bots, viruses, Denial of Service attacks, worms, rootkits, Trojans, spyware, adware, and other malware. The Hospital is in the process of piloting the host intrusion prevention and network access control functionality in ToPS to provide additional protection. The Hospital also deployed McAfee Security for Microsoft SharePoint to protect its many SharePoint portals.

"The main reason we went with McAfee was because it was the only vendor that offered what we consider a total security system—that is, all the security risk management functionality we need, in an integrated package that makes administration easier."

Derek Dzimiera
Manager of Network Services, Ellis Hospital

Single console dramatically simplifies security management and saves time
Network Engineer Rodney Kowalczyk and a handful of other IT staff at Ellis Hospital manage the functionality in McAfee ToPS for Endpoint with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator® (ePO™), an easy-to-use console that comes with ToPS and many other McAfee products. ePO has customizable dashboards and reporting, and other built-in functionality that ease administration of McAfee solutions.

“Being able to manage anti-virus as well as other types of protection from a single ePO console is a huge time saver,” says Kowalczyk. “Because ePO makes the security administration part of my job so much easier, I have more time to devote to other aspects of network management.”

For instance, with McAfee ePO Kowalczyk can install or update McAfee software agents on all the Hospital’s managed desktops and servers right from his PC. McAfee Avert Labs, the world’s leading security research organization, sends Kowalczyk timely email alerts with pertinent information, such as product updates, hot fixes, or optional .DATs. “I just click on the link in the McAfee email, grab the recommended file, tell ePO to push it out to our machines, and, boom, we’re covered,” he says.

As soon as the update process is complete, ePO notifies Kowalczyk. If for any reason, any endpoints did not update successfully, he knows right away. ePO also automatically emails him daily the reports he has set up: Daily Compliance, DAT Deployment, and Top 10 (computers with the most detections).

Like most ePO 4.0 users, Kowalczyk also created customized dashboards on his main ePO screen to enable him to see at a glance the information he uses most often, such as whether any desktops have out-of-date .DAT files. If the dashboard shows out-of-date systems, he clicks on it to see which ones need updating and uses ePO to distribute the current .DAT.

ePO eases extending security to new systems on the network
“The integration of ePO with Microsoft Active Directory is especially useful for bringing on new sites,” adds Kowalczyk. “ePO dramatically eases the burden of extending security to our new McClellan campus.”

Protecting Internet gateway and blocking spam
In addition to McAfee ToPS for Endpoint, Ellis Hospital deployed two McAfee Email and Web Security Appliances (model 3200), which are pre-loaded with McAfee software to detect spam, viruses, and spyware, and manage policies to deter inappropriate web-surfing.

“Of the approximately 10,000 emails we get each day, the McAfee Email and Web Security Appliance filters out 5,000—half the traffic— as spam and catches 800 phishing attempts,” says Kowalczyk. “Not having to deal with all that extra email saves a lot of time.”

Fast support and open communication
With McAfee Gold Support, Ellis Hospital is assured of being able to speak with a McAfee technician in less than five minutes. “We haven’t had to contact McAfee very often but when we have, we’ve always been pleased with the results,” says Dzimiera. “For instance, once we had a problem with mail attachments being rejected by the McAfee appliances so we called McAfee and, within less than 30 minutes, the problem was resolved.”

“We place a lot of value on open communication with our vendors,” says Dzimiera. “We feel we have great communication with McAfee.”

“With McAfee, we don’t need to have IT staff strictly dedicated to security,” says Dzimiera. “With one integrated security platform, IT administrators spend less time managing security yet have greater visibility, which makes it much easier for us to stay in compliance and protect both our business and our patients.”

Ellis Hospital

Customer profile

Schenectady, New York-based health care provider with multiple facilities



IT environment

Across 8 sites, the Hospital has approximately 1,200 desktops, 140 servers, and 1,100 Microsoft Exchange mailboxes


Ellis Hospital needs to keep patient data and systems secure using minimal IT resources

McAfee solution

  • McAfee Total Protection (ToPS) for Endpoint
  • McAfee Security for Microsoft SharePoint protects internal portals
  • McAfee Email and Web Security Appliance protects the Internet gateway


  • Saves time managing security and complying with HIPAA and internal security policies
  • Simplifies security administration with single, easy-to-use management console for multiple security functions
  • Minimizes complexity by reducing number of security vendors
  • Increases productivity by blocking 5,000 incoming spam and phishing emails daily