ICDDR,B is among the world’s most respected non-profit healthcare research institutes. Originally founded as the Cholera Research Laboratory in 1960, it is dedicated to addressing the most critical health issues affecting low- and middle-income countries. Headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, ICDDR,B has played a significant and ongoing role in reducing global death rates from cholera and associated diseases. It has been repeatedly recognized for its humanitarian work, including fundamental research on disease in the developing world, and the development and propagation of effective, low-cost, life-saving interventions and treatments that are appropriate for the populations and locations it serves.
- Headquarters in Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Conducts research into healthcare interventions for resource-poor nations
- Approximately 2,500 employees in 70+ global locations
- Founded in 1960
- Lost productivity due to timewasting web usage
- Increasing bandwidth needs due to nonproductive web usage
- Limited IT resources and budget
- Barracuda Web Security Gateway
- Eliminated approximately 85% of nonproductive web traffic
- Increased overall productivity across all locations
- Minimized IT overhead thanks to ease of use and management
Familiar Challenges: Growing Needs, Stagnant Budget
In 2015, when Wealie P. Antar joined ICDDR,B as IT Systems Manager, he faced a set of challenges that many of his peers would surely recognize. His budget and staffing were limited, but at the same time he was charged with managing and securing an expanding, globally dispersed network with increasing volumes of data traffic.
In particular, internet traffic was growing dramatically, which threatened to require a major investment in increasing bandwidth, both for direct internet uplinks and for backhauling to the central data servers. In addition, it was clear that a lot of the growth in web traffic was due to employees using social media, streaming video, and other non-productive, bandwidth-heavy services. Employee productivity was becoming a serious concern.
“It was very frustrating,” says Antar. “Web users get smarter every day. We would block one site, and they would quickly find an alternative, or use a proxy site. We just couldn’t get it under control.”
There was one potential concern that Antar did not have to worry about: email-borne security threats. Before joining ICDDR,B, Antar had not had any direct experience with Barracuda products. But the organization had been using the Barracuda Email Security Gateway for about a decade prior to his arrival, and once he got the chance to work with it, he was impressed. “The Email Security Gateway is very effective at keeping advanced threats like ransomware from using email to get into the network,” he says. “It is also very easy to use, even without any specialized training."
Choosing a Web Gateway Solution
Because the Barracuda email solution was so impressive, Antar made sure to include the Barracuda Web Security Gateway as a possible solution for the organization’s web usage challenges. “We definitely wanted to look at Barracuda,” he says, “but we had to do our due diligence. So we also looked at competing solutions from Cisco and WebSense.” WebSense in particular seemed to offer a solid product, and the attentiveness of the WebSense sales engineer who visited from India made a strong impression on Antar and his team.
“The problem with WebSense came when we looked at the financials,” says Antar. “When we compared WebSense to Barracuda, they both offered the features we needed, but the Barracuda Web Security Gateway was a much better value. Higher ROI and lower TCO are critical for a nonprofit research organization. And since we already knew first-hand about Barracuda’s reliability and ease of use, we had no trouble deciding on the Barracuda offering.
Benefits and Next Steps
“Getting started with the Web Security Gateway was very simple,” says Antar. “We didn’t need any webinars or service calls—we just read the documentation and set it up, no problem.” The benefits were immediate. “Over the past thirty days, the Barracuda product blocked more than seven thousand malicious web views. I would say we’ve reduced unproductive web usage by 85 percent, which is a good number. The security is very solid. Productivity has improved, and our efficiency has increased. Managing the Web Security Gateway takes a trivial amount of our time.”
- Wealie P. Antar, IT Systems Manager, ICDDR,B
In his quest to improve the efficiency with which ICDDR,B uses its existing infrastructure, Antar and his team have now also purchased a Barracuda Load Balancer, after going several years without a load-balancing solution. “We have multiple servers being accessed by thousands of users around the world,” says Antar. “We expect the Barracuda Load Balancer to help us get the most from our existing infrastructure, and allow us to postpone capital investments until much later.”
Barracuda simplifies IT with cloudenabled solutions that empower customers to protect their networks, applications and data regardless of where they reside. These powerful, easy-to-use and affordable solutions are trusted by more than 150,000 organizations worldwide and are delivered in appliance, virtual appliance, cloud and hybrid deployments. Barracuda’s customer-centric business model focuses on delivering highvalue, subscription-based IT solutions that provide end-to-end network and data security. For additional information, please visit barracuda.com.
About the Barracuda Web Security Gateway
The Barracuda Web Security Gateway is a web content filtering solution that enables the connected business to benefit from new technologies and online tools, without being exposed to lost productivity, wasted bandwidth, and data loss. It enables highly granular, real-time visibility into online activity, letting administrators create and enforce effective content and access policies. Included free are unlimited agents and software licenses to enforce content and access policies on mobile devices being used outside the corporate network.