The National Housing Federation has implemented FutureSoft’s PointGuard software to control staff access to applications, devices and data.
The Federation, which has 150 staff in offices across England and represents 1200 housing organisations, needed to update its data security and handling capabilities to deal with the threat posed by staff downloading non-business files or unwittingly introducing viruses and malware into the Federation’s system via devices plugged into the USB ports of their PCs and laptops.
The Federation had also recently moved to backing up its data in the ‘cloud’, where data is stored on the web and charged pro-rata depending on the volume of data.
Rob Green, head of ICT, National Housing Federation, said, “First, we needed to control what was being connected to systems. Second, we had to control our backups and archives more effectively, so that we weren’t backing up unwanted files and thus incurring unnecessary expense.”
FutureSoft’s Dynacomm PointGuard was selected by the Federation as it had a central console to manage, monitor and secure access to applications, devices and data, within and without the organisation’s networks. Application and access control rules are based on user, system, location, time, day and even media type. PointGuard allows network managers to control who can access certain files and applications, use removable media devices, as well as logging actions – even when a remote device is not connected to the network.
Green explained, “We evaluated other products but PointGuard proved to be the most proactive through the use of policies to manage the many uses of the USB ports, as well as the individual requirements of our user community.”
Best practice for both cost and data security led the Federation to evolve its data security and handling capabilities. Green said, “Although our anti-virus software will pick up problems, this only happens once a file has been opened. By using PointGuard, we can prevent the introduction of unknown files as well as any proliferation of non-business content such as MP3 files. We have now set up a number of policies to monitor USB ports on all our PC systems to prevent non-business files being downloaded.”