Georgia Department of Human Resources Relies on McAfee to Protect Against Incoming Spam and Malware

The Georgia Department of Human Resources is the state’s largest agency with 19,000 employees in 159 counties. It provides health and social services to the state’s citizens. A broad scope of responsibilities include overseeing more than 100 programs, such as: enabling the elderly to live at home longer; preventing children from developing lifelong disabilities; training destitute single parents so they can find and hold jobs; assisting mentally and physically disabled people so they can live and work in their communities; and controlling the spread of disease.

The Georgia Department of Human Resources’ IT team manages nearly 30,000 email inboxes for workers spread throughout 366 locations. At the time, the department used GroupWise as its mail client, and was relying on Novell’s GWAVA security solutions for spam and virus protection. By the end of 2004, department employees began experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of unwanted email messages. “We were being hit hard and fast with spam and malware,” recalls Shlomo Katz, LAN Engineer for the Georgia Department of Human Resources. “Our software-only solution wasn’t able to keep up.”

Comprehensive capabilities and knowledgeable technical support
When the department realized it needed a new messaging security solution, IT personnel considered products from Cloudmark as well as from McAfee’s Network Security Business Unit (formerly Secure Computing). They were impressed by how easy McAfee Email Gateway (formerly IronMail) was to use, and were equally impressed by the team of dedicated engineers who support the product. They appreciated the depth and breadth of capabilities behind the solution, especially its ability to manage risk based on inbound threats (spam, spyware, viruses, zombies, phishing, Trojans), and outbound data leak prevention and compliance (leaks of regulated and other information, intellectual property or trade secrets).

“In the end, the decision came down to three factors,” recalls Katz. “For one, McAfee Email Gateway works well. Two, it offers a comprehensive set of capabilities. And three, McAfee’s technical support team is very knowledgeable.” Katz appreciates the fact that McAfee’s next-generation reputation technology, TrustedSource™ gives the department advanced protection against emerging threats. And because TrustedSource blocks most unwanted email before it even enters the McAfee Email Gateway appliance, it significantly reduces the load on the department’s internal mail servers. That, in turn, reduces work-load for the IT staff.

The department also likes the fact that McAfee Email Gateway scans both inbound and outbound traffic. Because it helps to prevent disclosure of sensitive information, the outbound scanning capability allows organizations to meet compliance requirements or mandates without having to invest in additional technology. This is critical for a government organization on a limited budget.

Now that McAfee Email Gateway has been deployed at the department for several years, business productivity has increased appreciably. The department is also satisfied with the dedication of McAfee’s engineers.

"The IT staff no longer has to worry about malware. Now we only hear about virus or malware outbreaks in the news—and that’s where we want it to stay. When I read about a security threat in the news, I go back and check the logs and, sure enough, McAfee Email Gateway has proactively blocked it every time."

Shlomo Katz
LAN Engineer, State of Georgia Department of Human Resources

Malware is something to read about, not experience
The biggest difference the Georgia Department of Human Resources noticed after installing McAfee Email Gateway is that the IT staff no longer has to worry about malware. According to Katz, “Now we only hear about virus or malware outbreaks in the news—and that’s where we want it to stay. When I read about a security threat in the news, I go back and check the logs and, sure enough, McAfee Email Gateway has proactively blocked it every time.”

the amount of time spent dealing with security issues. Today, the department’s IT employees spend only about an hour a week managing the McAfee Email Gateway appliances. “This is a huge decrease in time spent answering user complaints about spam and cleaning up systems infected with malware,” says Katz.

“McAfee Email Gateway has increased efficiencies all around, in both our IT and business operations,” Katz says. Outbound defenses also protect the organization against regulatory and legal liability, and enable the organization to automate and enforce security policies.

As for ROI, Katz estimates that the McAfee Email Gateway solution “paid for itself within a few short months.” While it’s difficult to quantify the total number of man-hours saved, “we know we would be spending a lot more time and dollars if we didn’t have McAfee Email Gateway,” he says. Furthermore, the solution helps mitigate the costs associated with potential breaches and legal issues. As a result, the staff is free to work on other, more important projects.

State of Georgia Department of Human Resources

Customer profile

Largest state agency in Georgia

Industry

Government

IT environment

19,000 employees in 159 counties

Challenges

Manage overwhelming volume of spam and malware, while freeing up IT resources and personnel

McAfee solution

McAfee Email Gateway (IronMail) and McAfee Email Gateway Quarantine Server

Results

  • Spam is blocked at the gateway, resulting in higher performance and throughput
  • IT department saves time and resources
  • Business and IT productivity increases dramatically
  • Eases compliance with regulatory and IT policies used to review trends in mail flow