Addressing Critical Security Needs
Hobart FEG is one of the world's leading suppliers of equipment, systems and service to the world's food industry. A division of Illinois Tool Works, Hobart FEG has branches in 49 states around the US and sells equipment to many of the world's largest restaurant chains, grocery chains, institutions and other food outlets around the globe.
Hobart FEG offers the latest technology in food equipment, but the main campus’ security system was long out of date. After investigating the options, Hobart FEG implemented the S2 NetBox to provide IP-based access control, integrated badge making capabilities and the ability for the safety manager to administer the system remotely from any location.
Making a Change
Hobart FEG’s legacy security system could no longer meet the company’s security requirements. In addition, the system was actually two stand-alone systems, each requiring individual maintenance. The vendor for one of the systems had gone out of business, leaving Hobart FEG without support for a rapidly aging system.
A key requirement for Hobart FEG safety manager Steve Adams was that the new system allow for remote management. Adams is required to visit each of the company’s 100 branches, located in 49 states, every year at least once, while still overseeing security at the main campus and its eight buildings.
In addition to remote management capabilities, Adams wanted a tighter level of security, easier administration, low-cost and simple transfer from the old system to the new, and the option to reuse existing field equipment. While ready for a major change, Adams was wary of systems that were complex and difficult to operate and maintain. Adams works with a small staff and limited resources, and needed a system that would offer all of the features and benefits he wanted, would be easy to use, and that would still be a good value.
Implementing the S2 NetBox
It was clear that Hobart FEG needed to raise the overall level of security while reducing maintenance requirements. Adams worked with system integrator NWOSS which recommended S2 Security Corporation’s S2 NetBox. The S2 NetBox leverages existing network infrastructure and offers increased scalability and flexibility. The system's Web-based architecture provides remote monitoring capabilities from any computer connected to a network and remote access for maintenance. And the S2 NetBox eliminates the need for a dedicated server and workstation. Combined, these factors reduce the cost to install, operate and maintain the system.
Adams knew that the move to an IP-based system would involve not only the security team, but the IT groups that manage the facilities’ networks. The S2 NetBox quickly got their approval.
“When you are putting something on the network, you need to have IT buy-in,” reported Adams. “They had some concerns about protecting the network and maintaining its efficiency. But the IT group was really impressed with how the S2 NetBox works and that it doesn’t tie up bandwidth.”
The S2 NetBox also allowed Hobart FEG to reuse existing field equipment, leaving in place the more than 175 card readers that Hobart FEG had previously installed along with an updated badge printer. The open architecture of the S2 NetBox meant that Adams would be able to select best-of-breed products from a range of manufacturers to expand the system in the future.
What I didn’t want was to again be tied to one manufacturer,” said Adams. “The S2 NetBox gives us the option of adding to the system in ways that we want to with a number of vendors, rather than needing to invest again in a replacement system.
Though the Hobart FEG main campus’ eight buildings are spread out over land the size of several city blocks, the expansive location was not a problem for installing the S2 NetBox. Installation took less than the estimated time and the data transfer was managed with almost no down time to the system.
Security on the Road
The S2 NetBox provides greater security and tighter control of the system by enabling Adams to quickly make changes and additions when needed. “The process of adding a user to the system, providing someone with a badge, or ensuring that they had the access they needed and only the access they needed, used to be a huge undertaking,” Adams said. “I am really pleased with how simple these processes have become, even with the increased level of security.”
The S2 NetBox system has also proven extremely easy for Adams’ staff to use. The system requires little user training, and does not require software installation on any user computer. “User training needs to be efficient,” Adams said. “The browser interface of the S2 NetBox makes using the system intuitive.”
Adams is especially pleased that he can now administer and monitor the system remotely while visiting those various out-of-state locations, or after hours from his home. “Before the S2 NetBox, if something needed to happen with the system while I was offsite, it meant contacting me for access to the system and then relying on someone else to make it happen, creating yet another security concern,” Adams recalled. “Now I can actually administer the system from my laptop and monitor the facility from wherever I am that I can access the Internet. The Hobart FEG campus is definitely more secure as a result, and I am a much more effective safety manager.”