Bloxx Provides Real-Time Web Filtering to NHS Borders to Optimise Staff Productivity and Ensure Compliance
“Installation and the ongoing support we have received from Bloxx both with the current appliance and our previous one has been outstanding. It is this level of support that figured highly in our decision to stay with Bloxx for our Web filtering and upgrade to a more powerful solution a year ago.”
Ian Merritt, Information Security Lead, NHS Borders
NHS Borders is responsible for all NHS services provided in the Scottish Borders. This includes both acute and primary care services from the Borders General Hospital, four community hospitals and a network of mental health and learning disability inpatient, community and day facilities. The Scottish Borders has a population of 112,870 and NHS Borders employs 3,523 staff.
The Borders General Hospital provides a full range of services across the specialties, including inpatient and daycase surgery, outpatient services, Accident & Emergency, maternity and paediatrics as well as therapy, laboratory and pharmacy facilities. The community hospitals provide inpatient GP beds, and outpatient, rehabilitation and therapy clinics. Primary & Community Services co-ordinates primary health care services provided by 25 GP practices and a network of dentists, pharmacists and ophthalmic opticians across the region.
NHS Borders also has responsibility for health protection and health promotion for the population of the Borders.
The Internet is critical for delivering effective and efficient health services and within NHS Borders the Internet is used by staff across all departments.
However, with 3,523 staff split over 30+ sites in the Scottish Borders, NHS Borders needs to provide a safe and secure Internet browsing environment for its staff that not only delivers the real-time protection from unsuitable and productivity-draining Web content, but do it in an easy-to-manage fashion and comprehensively report on actual usage.
In 2005, NHS Borders turned to Bloxx for help.
In October 2005, NHS Borders installed a Bloxx CF2000 Web filtering appliance to manage and report on the Web browsing activity of its staff. To further increase staff Internet protection and safeguard the reputation of the organisation, an upgrade to a Bloxx Impresa-3W appliance was carried out in November 2009.
The Bloxx Web filtering appliance, powered by its patent-pending Tru-View Technology real-time categorisation engine, is now monitoring and reporting on the Web browsing activity of all NHS Borders staff.
“We have been using Bloxx Web filtering appliances for nearly six years now and are delighted with the results,” explains Merritt. “Since we upgraded to the Bloxx Web filtering appliances with Tru-View Technology, we have the perfect solution that suits our current network environment and delivers all the functionality and capabilities we need to more easily manage Internet access and block productivity-draining Web sites.”
“Although we don’t use the policy management function extensively, we have different access policies for generic users, standard users and IT support, allowing different access rights to the Internet based on the needs of these specific users,” remarks Merritt.
The Web reporting application that is included as standard in the Bloxx Web Filter is a major benefit for NHS Borders.
Merritt adds, “The biggest benefit for me has been the Web reporting application. I run two reports automatically on a monthly basis that email reports to me showing the top users based on time and download volume parameters. Additionally, I can use the reporting application on an ad hoc basis to identify why users have been blocked from specific sites.”
“I can apply filters to the same set of reporting data to provide quick meaningful reports on individual usage reports as requested by line managers. This provides a clear picture on individual browsing activity to determine whether any abuse of Internet access has taken place. This has regularly exonerated the employee by revealing only work-related browsing or acceptable levels of personal browsing.”
NHS Borders has also saved valuable IT management time and resources with Bloxx Web filtering.
“The integration of the Bloxx Web Filter in our network was made easier by its out of the box support of both Active Directory and NT environments,” explains Merritt. “This functionality ensures that authentication and administration of accounts and groups is relatively easy, requiring significantly less ongoing management from me.”
“After the initial set up and subsequent configuration tweaking, it is more the exception than the rule for me to have to log on to the appliance to perform any form of maintenance. If I do, it is usually just to quickly recategorise a URL or run off a report. I now spend much less time manually maintaining and administering Web filtering at the board which has increased the time I can now spend on more important IT-related tasks.”
“Installation and the ongoing support we have received from Bloxx both with the current appliance and our previous one has been outstanding. It is this level of support that figured highly in our decision to stay with Bloxx for our Web filtering and upgrade to a more powerful solution a year ago. And since it was installed, we haven’t had any downtime with our Bloxx Web Filter at all.”
In summary, Bloxx Web filtering is delivering extremely accurate and effective filtering at NHS Borders to protect Internet users and ensure they are blocked from inappropriate and productivity draining Web content and deliver more powerful reporting that ensures compliance with Acceptable Use Policies, all in an easy-to-manage, appliance-based solution at an economical price.
Merritt concludes, “With the real-time Web filtering capabilities from Bloxx, we now have all the flexibility, functionality and capabilities we require to deliver superior protection to our users. I have saved valuable IT resources too and am safe in the knowledge that if I have a problem, Bloxx’s exceptional after-sales support engineers will quickly resolve it.”