Aspreva Pharma sticks it out with network vendor

Victoria-based Aspreva Pharmaceuticals was able to shop locally when on the hunt recently for a network monitoring solution—it ended up very close to home.

Aspreva settled on its current network monitoring vendor, Victoria-based network efficiency vendor PresiNet Systems, for a new non-hosted solution, Total View One.

PresiNet previously managed a VPN tunnel between Aspreva’s offices that issued quality reports as part of the company’s managed firewall package, said Aspreva Pharmaceuticals’ IT manager, Curtis LeBoutillier. When Aspreva switched over to MPLS service lines, the data was no longer going over the firewall, making it difficult to check the data.

Spurred by the need to know the amount and types of data flowing through the system (and for the greater privacy and security necessary for a pharmaceutical company), LeBoutillier was in the market for a network monitoring solution that could overcome these issues. He looked to the company’s current vendor, but decided to go with an appliance, rather than the hosted solution it had been utilizing for a while.

“It’s really plug-and-play,” said LeBoutillier. “The hardware appliance attaches to the spanning port on the switch, and then (the network monitoring solution is accessed through) a Web-based monitoring portal.” Since it just hunkers down in the infrastructure, it will be a pain-free implementation, said LeBoutillier; after participating in a six-week beta testing period this summer, he anticipates a full roll-out by early 2008.

The key aspect of the solution is the ability to gain visibility into the different types of network traffic, said LeBoutillier. “You usually have to rely on your network provider to tell you how much data (is traveling on your network), but not file transfers, ICA data (like from Citrix), or directory services.”

In addition to its monitoring capabilities, the system can also send out alerts (for which the system admin can set parameters) and has visual reporting ability with both wide-angle, executive-level views and more detailed reporting.

While Aspreva was drawn to old partner PresiNet, the vendor does offer an ease-of-use that LeBoutillier said can be hard to find in other network monitoring vendors.

“They often require intensive training and lots of resource support for implementing, but this system is very intuitive and easy to use, and very low-cost, too,” LeBoutillier said.

Since it isn’t a hosted solution, Total View One provides for optimal accountability, especially when it comes to audit time and especially in such a compliance-heavy field as pharmaceuticals. This is a major selling point for the government and many companies who refuse to utilize managed services, PresiNet vice-president of products John Hawkins said, as sensitive data is “back-hauled to our server, where we do the reporting and storing for them.”

This hankering for network monitoring appliances inspired PresiNet’s new solution and, said Hawkins, is in line with current trends: “They can keep the data on their own network, which simplifies perimeter security issues and allows them to be accountable for the data.”

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