The not-for-profi t Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations (RFDSWO) provides a 24-hour health lifeline for people living, working or travelling in rural and remote areas of Western Australia and the Indian Ocean Territories.
Servicing approximately one third of the Australian continent, the RFDSWO flies approximately 5.7 million kilometres every year, providing primary health care and life-saving emergency medical treatment and evacuation by air to patients as far as 2000km away from mainstream medical services. The service transfers more than 7,000 sick and injured patients to hospital each year, provides a medical advice telephone service, issues medical chests stocked with pharmaceuticals to remote locations and conducts a variety of clinics in rural and remote locations around the State.
Fast and reliable Internet access is vital to the 300 staff separated by distances of up to three times the size of the entire United Kingdom to provide a timely response to patients in need. RFDSWO bases range from Jandakot (Perth) in the south west to Derby in the far north, Kalgoorlie to the north-east, Meekatharra north-east of Kalgoorlie, and Port Hedland on the north-west coast between Perth and Derby. The Internet is used by RFDSWO to develop flight plans, locate air strips, task staff and determine medical facilities where patients can get appropriate treatment at any time of the day or night - that’s just before one of the 14 available aircraft leaves the tarmac.
However, monitoring and managing the Internet security for the 250 desktop and laptop computers used by shift workers 24-hours a day every day of the year was a challenge for the tightly resourced organisation.
While the RFDSWO had standard firewall, antivirus and anti-spyware in place, they proved inadequate to protect the network against web-based threats.
This gap in the security led to increasing malware attacks, many hours spent trouble-shooting and down-time of up to eight hours at a time while the problem was resolved and the network secured.
With its service to patients top of mind, the RFDSWO began looking into ways to enhance its web security support internally or via a web security as a service solution. As a not-for-profit, the organisation was conscious that the service must be both reliable and cost-effective.
Matthew Turany, ICT Manager, Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations, said the Webroot® Web Security Service was chosen as it could fulfil all the Internet security requirements and Webroot went the extra mile, providing excellent technical support at an affordable price.
"The Webroot security service has integrated seamlessly with our network and has served as an additional resource, just like having an extra member of our team keeping an eye out for potential threats," Matthew said.
The Web Security as a Service model allows the organisation to simply and easily monitor Internet threats using a web-based management portal and summary dashboard. The system includes real-time user logging and web-traffic reporting to keep track of Internet habits and flag potential problems before they occur.
Charles Heunemann, Asia Pacific Managing Director, Webroot said: "As a not-for-profit, the Royal Flying Doctor Service has limited resources to put towards 24-hour monitoring of the Internet use of its large and vastly dispersed staff-base. Webroot’s Web portal is a simple tool providing a bird’s eye view of the organisation's Internet security and highlighting areas that need attention at a glance."
Importantly, the system also makes Internet use safer for the 300 users by alerting them with colour coding on search engine results to indicate the level of threat and blocking sites that contain malware.
In addition, the Mobile User Protection provides the organisation’s 75 roaming medical staff using laptops while in the skies and on the job caring for patients.
"Webroot's Web Security Service means that Royal Flying Doctor Service can get on with providing their world class medical services unhampered by the threat of web attacks that could slow up access to vital information," Charles said.
Matthew Turany said: "Within 30 days of using the Webroot service we saw a dramatic improvement, with an immediate drop in infected PCs, a drop in malware attacks and a decrease in down-time resulting in an increase in productivity and less time spent fixing problems arising from malware attacks.
"The service provides consistent and reliable Internet use and gives us confidence that our network is well protected for users at our bases as well as those travelling to treat patients, enabling us to get to our patients as quickly as possible," he said.
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