HRDC takes anti-virus action

Human Resources Development Canada is responding to higher security risks that come with more Canadians accessing its services online by deploying a McAfee anti-virus suite.

Network Associates Inc. said that together with partner

Sensible Security Solutions it is deploying 40,000 seats of its anti-virus and security solutions throughout HRDC’s network.

The Active Virus Defense Suite will be HRDC’s weapon of choice at the desktop, file server and groupware server levels. The government agency chose the solution late last year.

Vice-president and Canadian general manager of Network Associates Jack Sebbag said the company has been working with HRDC for over four years. In fact, the government department had been using components of the anti-virus software already and simply decided to upgrade to the full-scale solution.

The reason for the upgrade had a lot to do with management and efficiency issues, said HRDC acting director general of ITC operations, Bob Charleau.

“”We make use of many different vendors for tracking viruses, so the more tools that you have, the more support is required for training and understanding those tools,”” he said. “”So we wanted a department-wide, or enterprise-wide solution. “”

Charleau said his organization was also attracted to the McAfee solution because its ePolicy Orchestrator management console gives the IT department complete control over the software. In an organization which has tens of thousands users connected to the network, it’s good to know that an unhappy user can’t disable the software and leave everyone else vulnerable, he said.

If someone doesn’t like the fact that their machine is running slower because of anti-virus software scanning all the files and they try to disable it, the ePolicy Orchestrator will just turn it back on, Sebbag said.

It will also pick up on any new devices installed without the proper anti-virus software. HRDC was impressed with the way the solution handles a new security threat, Charleau said.

Sebbag explains that when a virus outbreak is identified, a DAT file is made available to the organization and can be pushed out automatically to all desktops on the network. In the case of a network the size of HRDC’s, the whole process takes less than two hours. This represents a considerable improvement, Charleau said.

“”We basically had to go from desk to desk when a new virus would come down,”” he said. “”I’m sure you can imagine how time-consuming that is.””

Government organizations are becoming more vulnerable to virus attacks as they increasingly offer services online. Security concerns are the natural product of trying to achieve a balance between making government accessible to the general public and keeping sensitive information out of the hands of those who would misuse that access, Charleau said.

He said that to prevent HRDC employees from unwittingly emailing or bringing viruses from home on diskettes the software will be accessible to them for home use.

The solution rollout should take no longer than four months and should be done without any disruptions to the HRDC workflow, Sebbag said.

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