Map Merchant Uses ZyXEL VPN Solution to Establish an Efficient Communication Network, Czech Republic
"We tried solutions from various providers but only ZyXEL demonstrated the equipment, its configuration, and made an offer that was the most advantageous for us. The company management decided that the ZyXEL-based solution would be implemented."
Regional Datacenter Architect, Map Merchant
The company Map Merchant Czech Ltd. residing in Zdiby is a wholesale organization in the sale of paper products and is the subsidiary company of the Map Merchant Group Ltd. international concern residing at London. Map Merchant Group ranks among the largest European wholesaler; it sells 1.3 million tons of paper per year to its 50 000 customers in 22 European countries. Map Merchant Czech also ranks among the largest Czech wholesalers in paper. Aided by its parent concern, it has built a very good position in the Czech market. Thanks to its assortment offer and servicing level, it is one of the progressive trading companies in the Czech Republic.
The Map Merchant Group CEE expanding particularly in the region of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe at present searched for the way to establish an efficient communication network for the management and coordination of the activities of its new national subsidiaries in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland being not too demanding from the point of view of operation and costs. In spite of the fact that the subsidiaries work independently to a considerable degree, some spheres of management are central, and also a part of the administration is common. Therefore, the establishment of a common datacenter for the Central Europe region residing at the Czech Republic seemed to be reasonable.
The connection of national subsidiaries to internet was solved in various ways by that time, particularly through individual local operators or founders. The possibility of direct interconnection of subsidiaries through hired data lines proved to be too expensive, and so the interconnection of subsidiaries by means of virtual private network (VPN) on internet seemed to be the best alternative.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network serving to create encrypted connections between various points in public network. Thanks to these connections it is possible to transfer sensitive business data over unsecured area of internet and protect it from stealing or abuse.
Solutions and Benefits
"We tried the offers and solutions of various providers; ZyXEL was not in play at that time yet. I learnt about its product - firewall of the ZyWall series - in Slovenia," says Bedrich Beck, Regional Datacenter Architect of Map Merchant Czech. "ZyXEL demonstrated the ZyWALL equipment, its configuration, and made such a quotation that was the most advantageous for us. Therefore, the company management decided that the ZyXEL-based solution would be implemented", adds Bedrich Beck.
The installation of seven pieces of equipment (1 x ZyWALL 70; 6 x ZyWALL 35) and the interconnection of subsidiaries through two datacenters in the Czech Republic with one of them working as disaster recovery was considered at the beginning. Both the datacenters are mutually substitutable and they may be configured and changed over to the other center in several minutes without being noticed by the user.
The situation changed a little when a new firewall, namely ZyWALL 1050, appeared in the market in last fall. "I decided to modify the network structure design and to utilize the new, more efficient product for the main datacenter", stated Bedrich Beck.
AEC Ltd. worked as the consultant for the project. On the basis of the client's inquiry, i.e. Map Merchant, AEC Ltd. suggested the optimal solution and was also the major supplier of the hardware. "The customer required hardware solution characterized by high availability and also very good scalability - i.e. containing antivirus module, antispam filter, web-site content filter, IDP signatures, Vantage Reporter reporting instrument and, last but not least, also the instrument for the central administration of all firewalls. The solution of ZyXEL was in full compliance with the requirements," explains the details of the project Zdenek Kotlik, IT Security Consultant of AEC. "In addition to it, the customer had the possibility to borrow the equipment and to test it in real operation and, thanks to that, appreciated very much the reliability of the equipment. The customer's impression was augmented by the fact that the equipment has the ICSA Labs certification, both for the firewall and IPSec VPN. As a matter of fact, the equipment thus meets the severest criteria laid on the equipment in safety," added Zdenek Kotlik.
Map Merchant Czech Ltd. operates first of all ERP Scala system in the common network at present but further applications may be taken into consideration in the future. "The volumes of data transmitted by the network are not definite up to now; it is only approximately 1 GB daily at present but it may be even ten times as much soon," explains Bedrich Beck and adds that it is the reason why the corporate network has such a large reserve just from the point of view of the transmitted data volume.
The building of the common corporate network was launched approximately a year ago; it has been already finished for the most part today. "We shall connect Poland in summer; the system should get settled until the end of the year and, starting from the beginning of the next year, we shall launch the data migration," says Mr. Beck.