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Southern Illinois Healthcare Streamlines Secure Access to Mission-Critical Applications with F5

Health care system uses FirePass SSL VPN to reduce TCO and increase productivity while maintaining regulatory compliance
F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the global leader in Application Delivery Networking, today announced that Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) is using F5 products to deliver an easy-to-use secure remote access system that reduces total cost of ownership while meeting strict compliance requirements. Using F5's FirePass ® SSL VPN, SIH has decreased remote access setup time by 90% and maintained rigid HIPAA standards through FirePass-enabled granular access permission policies, stringent end-point security enforcement, and detailed reports.

SIH had been using a Cisco client-based VPN for remote access, which required application installation on all remote PCs and detailed configurations by technicians before a connection was possible. While this was well suited for a small number of user-to-site connections, it quickly became too unwieldy and expensive to administer on the scale needed by SIH.

"Our users enjoy the fact that they can access the VPN from any computer that has Internet access and a standard web browser, whether it's their home PC, a hotel lobby PC or even another workstation on SIH's internal network," said Frank Sears, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at SIH. "FirePass' granular approach to granting access helps us meet our own internal reporting as well as overall HIPAA compliance requirements. And the administrative interface is so straightforward that it makes routine tasks extremely fast and easy to perform."

SIH desired to replace the bulk of their IPsec VPN deployment and decided to purchase F5's FirePass SSL VPN product. With no need for client-side installation, F5's FirePass delivers immediate secure remote access on a much more manageable scale. Hospital technicians' time and resources spent on remote desktop installation, configuration, and overall VPN support has decreased significantly. With multiple individuals involved, previous remote access requests could take as long as one week from initial request to final fulfillment. Now, remote access can be implemented in less then one day, making end users happier as well as technical staff who are now able to utilize precious resources for other business-critical needs.

"Before FirePass it was taking an average of 45 minutes to half a day just to configure a client. Looking at the setup time for the old Cisco client-based VPN and taking into consideration the entire setup process life-cycle, it is conceivable to say that we are saving an average of 30 hours a week with FirePass," said Fabricio Gamboa, Supervisor of Technical Support at SIH.

Moreover, FirePass' comprehensive security features have helped SIH in its HIPAA compliance efforts. SIH staff is now able to limit access to specific resources based on a number of user-defined access policies. FirePass' virtual keyboard feature-which protects users from keystroke loggers-is required for designated out-of-country and public kiosk users, adding an additional level of security.

"Southern Illinois Healthcare provides quality health care to various communities through its three core hospitals," said Ameet Dhillon, Director of Product Management at F5. "FirePass' simplified management and administration capabilities enable organizations like SIH to streamline operations and save money. Most importantly, FirePass is helping SIH medical providers and partners work more quickly, efficiently, and securely so they can focus on improving people's lives."

For this case study and others go to: http://www.f5.com/solution-center/case-studies/

About Southern Illinois Healthcare

SIH is a nonprofit health care system with more than 2,000 employees. SIH meets the health care needs of the communities it serves by providing services for patients in its own facilities, in rural clinics and by collaborating with some of America's best hospitals. SIH also improves quality of life for its patients through its charitable community benefit programs.

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks is the global leader in Application Delivery Networking. F5 provides solutions that make applications secure, fast and available for everyone, helping organizations get the most out of their investment. By adding intelligence and manageability into the network to offload applications, F5 optimizes applications and allows them to work faster and consume fewer resources. F5's extensible architecture intelligently integrates application optimization, protects the application and the network, and delivers application reliability-all on one universal platform. Over 10,000 organizations and service providers worldwide trust F5 to keep their applications running. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington with offices worldwide. For more information, go to www.f5.com.

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