VPNs boost Alstom's integration lifeline

VPNs boost Alstom's integration lifeline

When Alstom IT took over Mitsui's services staff over a year ago, its move into value-added distribution was well and truly broadcast. This push was further manifested in June when it bought networking and NT integration company Exanet, inheriting a good virtual private network solution (VPN) team in the process.

Walter Rosada, former MD of Exanet and current NSW sales manager for Alstom IT, said the VPN bandwagon is an easy one to jump on for those with experience in network or systems integration.

Selling a Xylan and Check Point Software package, which Rosada describes as being "almost a solution in a box", Alstom is charging ahead with its VPN strategy which is a technology in high demand.

"You don't necessarily need to be an expert in VPNs," Rosada said of the opportunities. "You just need to have some experience in network integration."

He added that it is important to select your partner carefully as "some vendor tuning" is usually necessary. "Aside from that, I think any competent integrator wouldn't have a problem with delivering it [a VPN solution]."

Exanet was recently credited with being the reseller partner in a VPN solution that was delivered to an Australian financial services provider, Count Wealth Accountants (CWA), which services 470 accounting and investment companies across the country.

Acting as an intermediary for fund managers and financial planning companies, CWA writes over $100 million worth of business per month.

Fiona Halar, business systems man-ager at CWA, said the integration of the Check Point firewall and the Xylan switch assisted the smooth operation of the appropriate levels of network security.

"It gives us a solution that's both scalable and flexible, and it also means one less box to manage on the network.

"By switching to the Internet, we just loaded data on the database once, and it is now available to our members at any time," Halar said.

Easy access and security are the keys to the success of the CWA VPN solution, according to Rosada, a solution that promised big savings and better service to the growing customer base. These are the hot buttons that integrators should be pressing on prospects, he said, and that once you get into the sites they can be fostered into ongoing revenue sources.

"A number of our customers are telling us that they are looking in this direction," Rosada said of the future prospects in building experience in VPN solution delivery.

The solution Exanet (Alstom IT) delivered is based on a Check Point Firewall-1, a Xylan switch encryption technology which allows clients to connect to CWA's VPN through their own ISP before accessing via encrypted ID and password.

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