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Belgium’s Federal Justice Service advances digitally with fast networks

Security and networking firms team to claim 20 times faster connectivity for Belgium’s justice system so it can hold court hearings and prison visitations remotely and exchange information between services and applications securely

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Aiming to address the new normal of its legal service in the post-Covid world, Belgium’s Federal Public Service (FPS) Justice has implemented a network that offers high-speed connectivity across 240 buildings. Said to be 20 times faster than the previous network, it enables digitisation of the justice system’s services, including court hearings and prison visitations, so they can now be held remotely.

The network infrastructure refresh – implemented by cloud-driven networking company Extreme Networks in partnership with security services provider Orange Cyberdefense Belgium – is also designed to enable more than 23,000 employees and thousands of users, such as citizens and the police, to exchange information securely, access critical applications and improve operational efficiency.

“Digitising the justice system securely and at speed has been a long-standing objective of the Belgian government to both modernise and improve services,” said Jimmy De Laet, ICT infrastructure director for the Federal Public Service Justice. “Thanks to Extreme Networks and Orange Cyberdefense Belgium arming us with a new network and 24/7 technical support, we have been able to meet this objective to improve information sharing and offer new digital services. Our new network is truly a game-changer for the way our justice system operates.”

The network’s improved speed and reliability are derived from enhanced switching and routing capabilities, which are said to have given FPS Justice a robust and dependable network with increased bandwidth that absorbs speed mismatches and handles microbursts while offering high performance. Additionally, Extreme Fabric Connect technology creates a self-healing autonomic networking architecture that allows FPS Justice to perform upgrades and sub-second recovery of real-time traffic without any degradation of service or performance.

Simplified network management capability is attributed to delivering FPS Justice with a more agile and resilient infrastructure that makes network configuration and the deployment of new network devices and services much faster and easier for its IT team. Furthermore, it is said to reduce both the risk of human error and the time for maintenance windows thanks to its ability to set and forget the network core during updates.

Overall, the new infrastructure is said to be capable of delivering a number of significant operational efficiency and security benefits, such as boosting operating efficiencies, reducing the number of engineers required to manage FPS Justice’s distributed network from three to one, and allowing the wider IT team to focus on other tasks that are regarded as having higher value. It also allows for the logical separation of consumer internet of things (IoT) devices from the justice system’s corporate technologies and assets to help reduce risk and keep the network secure.

Noting the contribution that the company made to the project, Emmanuel David, technical director at Orange Cyberdefense Belgium, said: “We strive to build a safer digital society when supporting businesses across the world. In any digitisation project, it is crucial to make sure the network itself not only offers reliable connectivity but resilience against any potential security threat. We are therefore proud to have collaborated with Extreme Networks to deploy a network which achieves just that by avoiding human errors and separating traffic flows where required.”

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