Market research company Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) will standardise its global IT security at more than 250 offices using unified threat management (UTM) appliances rather than more expensive standalone security software.
TNS is deploying more than 16 unified threat management appliances - which combine anti-virus, web filtering and intrusion prevention software - to secure its 15,000 staff in 80 countries by the end of 2008.
Group IT services director at TNS, Kevin Braim, said installing separate packages for intrusion prevention, anti-virus and web filtering for worldwide use would have been difficult to manage and expensive. The UTM system is estimated to have saved TNS £500,000 over an equivalent software deployment.
Braim said standardising its IT security across the globe would give the business a central view of threats and would be easier to manage than separate software from tradtional providers such as Symantec.
"At a local level, the UTM platform protects PCs from web and malware infections. At a global level, we use the intrusion prevention system to lock down the spread of regional threats."
Deployments covering 6,000 users have been completed at smaller offices, which Braim says pose the biggest threat to IT security, in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa is set to follow.
The biggest challenge facing the project is that IT funding for the UTM hardware is appoved at a local level, which means that Briam is subject to local pressures as to when each country can install its part of the system.
TNS's decision to use Fortinet UTM appliancess follows a number of acquisitions, which has left TNS's IT department with an interconnected network of more than 250 branch offices worldwide.
Analyst firm IDC said the TNS deployment of UTM hardware is one of the largest yet seen and predicts increased use of the technology as IT managers are required to protect global branch offices.
"Unified threat management appliances are proving more and more popular in Western Europe and have moved from a typical remote/branch-office solution to the core of the enterprise," said Romain Fouchereau, research analyst at IDC.