Insurer saves £60k on e-mail

Insurance group Alea has saved more than £60,000 a year after installing technology to give its employees secure access to their...

Insurance group Alea has saved more than £60,000 a year after installing technology to give its employees secure access to their e-mail from any PC with a web browser.

The group, which employs 350 staff in 15 locations around the world, has replaced direct dial-up e-mail access for staff with a lower-cost browser-based SSL virtual private network.

The new infrastructure has allowed the company to give all of its staff secure remote access to e-mail, without the expense of providing every employee with a laptop equipped for dial-up access.

"It gives us another channel of communication. It gives our business travellers the option to take their laptop, or if they are on a short trip, they can access their e-mail from a client's office," said Tim Riley, Alea's chief information officer.

The system, supplied by Whale, costs Alea £4,000 a year to run, compared with £60,000 a year operating costs for the previous AT&T frame relay service.

The Whale system, which took one day to install, at a cost of about £25,000, is physically isolated from Alea's internal company network. This ensures that the network is protected from infection should staff access e-mail from a computer that has been compromised by a virus. It also presents a barrier to hackers.

"The worst that could happen is that someone could hack into the external Whale server but not into the company network," said Riley.

Alea initially considered designing its own remote-access system, but decided an off-the-shelf package would present fewer security risks.

The company is now considering extending the technology to give its customers and brokers access to corporate systems so they can monitor their insurance deals.

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