Humanitas DMH Deploys Barracuda CloudGen Firewall on Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to Enhance Security and Client Care Practices

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Humanitas DMH is a healthcare organization supporting and treating clients with intellectual disabilities and/or psychiactric problems. To enable its clients to best participate in society within their means, Humanitas DMH offers customized care from a common humanistic value standpoint.


  • Healthcare organization in the Netherlands
  • Focuses on treating clients with intellectual and/or psychiactric problems
  • Employs 1,200 healthcare providers who provide services to 3,000 clients daily


  • Outdated IT infrastructure
  • No precedent of ExpressRoute in the Netherlands
  • Highly sensitive data


  • Barracuda CloudGen Firewall deployed on Microsoft Azure cloud platform


  • Reduced server environment by 50%
  • Deepened provider-toclient relationships
  • Optimal scalability and significant cost reductions
  • Enhanced security and adherence to strict healthcare compliance requirements


Up until 2013, Humanitas DMH had not aggressively prioritized innovation of its IT department and kept it largely outsourced, which deterred them from keeping up with the security and communication demands of the healthcare industry. The company’s on-premises environment lacked the infrastructure to support new, cutting-edge technology necessary for healthcare providers to effectively communicate with their clients and ensure optimal security of sensitive client data.

"At Humanitas DMH, we make an effort to solve our employees’ IT problems as soon as possible so that we can focus on improving client health outcomes. Since 2012, Barracuda and Microsoft solutions have enabled us to completely transform our IT environment and facilitate provider/client relationships."
- Kevin Feenstra, IT Manager, Humanitas DMH

Humanitas DMH made a strategic decision in 2013 to revamp its IT infrastructure. They looked for a solution that would allow them to better meet future IT demands. Employing approximately 1,200 healthcare providers who provide healthcare services to 3,000 clients a day, Humanitas DMH needed a scalable, reliable system with robust security and compliance capabilities. From a financial perspective, it was imperative that the technology be future-proof and could rapidly evolve in response to its changing IT demands. The cloud seemed to be a promising solution.

To implement this ideal solution, Humanitas DMH had to answer some key logistical questions: Could they securely migrate certain workloads to the public cloud, and keep the rest on-premises? If so, how would they maintain visibility and security across all environments? Humanitas DMH realized it would be an early adopter of such technology in the Netherlands, so the company came up with a strategy to seamlessly deploy and maintain this new infrastructure across both on-premises and in cloud implementations.

Synergetic Solutions

Humanitas DMH decided to move most of its on-premises services to the cloud, leveraging both Microsoft Azure and Vancis (a local Dutch cloud).

To increase security and visibility between both cloud deployments, Humanitas DMH began exploring different options to securely connect the two clouds. The company deployed Azure ExpressRoute, which creates private connections between its Azure data center deployment, on-premises environment, and Dutch cloud platform.

"Barracuda has enabled IT innovation at Humanitas DMH. If it wasn’t for the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall, we wouldn’t have made the move to Azure. We wanted to have a contingency plan in place for connections and security, and Barracuda has changed the way we’re looking at architecture."
- Kevin Feenstra, IT Manager, Humanitas DMH

Planning for the Future

Humanitas DMH is currently in the process of rebuilding its IT infrastructure and migrating the rest of the workloads. By the end of summer 2016, Feenstra expects that 75% of their workloads will run on Azure, while 25% of the legacy systems and client data will remain on-premises. The company is also making the transition from Azure Service Management (ASM) to Azure Resource Manager (ARM) to group all aspects of their solution and consequently streamline management and monitoring.

Results and Impact

Humanitas DMH was the first company to deploy the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall in the Netherlands. This meant that the company had no access to local preferred suppliers to help install the firewall. Recognizing this gap, Barracuda reached out to offer them training and engineering resources to complete the setup. Currently, Humanitas DMH is utilizing the knowledge gained from Barracuda’s training to implement the firewall to meet the requirements. The company will then work with a Barracuda engineer to ensure that everything runs correctly.

In addition to the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall pay-as-you-go (PAYG) structure, low setup cost, and bring-your-own-license (BYOL) capabilities, Azure also offered features that were especially attractive to Humanitas DMH. The customizable, remote applications set the stage for a more futureready way of connecting healthcare professionals with clients.

Now, healthcare professionals have more freedom than when they were limited to the on-premises environment. They now have the ability to choose their own operating system, connect with their clients via Skype for Business, and use their own devices.

From a financial perspective, one of the big wins for Humanitas DMH has been Azure’s scalability. During non-work hours, the company does not use as many resources. Consequently, they can shut down front-end devices without having to pay for those hours. Further reducing expenses, Humanitas DMH was able to decrease its server environment by 50%, enabling the company to reallocate its budget to Barracuda security solutions. This was all made possible by Microsoft and Barracuda’s proactive communication with Humanitas DMH, which ensured that everything ran smoothly and prevented any downtime from occurring. According to Feenstra, the excellent service is what validated his choice of vendors for this business-critical project.

"Our employees are very satisfied with the way our IT is set up with Barracuda and Microsoft. When they are happy, it’s much more likely that our clients are happy too."
- Kevin Feenstra, IT Manager, Humanitas DMH

Through the collaborative innovation of the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall and Microsoft Azure cloud, Humanitas DMH has pioneered this joint technology in the Netherlands’ healthcare industry. It has deepened healthcare provider-to-client relationships, optimized infrastructure scalability, and ensured that Humanitas DMH is well positioned to tackle future IT challenges and take advantage of new business opportunities. Ongoing cost savings have been realized through the innovative and secure deployment of the cloud by leveraging Barracuda security.

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About the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall

Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls feature advanced security capabilities, including integrated Intrusion Prevention (IPS), URL filtering and antivirus to identify and block evasion attempts that would trick traditional systems. Barracuda’s security extends beyond a network to Barracuda’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) cloud for both statistical and sandboxing analysis of zero-day and targeted threats that routinely bypass signature-based IPS and antivirus engines.