New firewalls serving the seven acute care hospitals and 120 physician practices of Barnabas Health in New Jersey have reduced the costs of network security and eased configuration work for engineers, according to Hussein Syed, the system’s chief information security officer.

The organization had been using several types of firewalls across the delivery system but performance and functionality challenges, along with clumsy configuration procedures, caused engineers to lose confidence in the products, Hussein says. So the search started for a more streamlined set of firewalls from a single vendor.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

That vendor turned out to be Fortinet, which sells the Fortinet Next Generation Firewall for core network infrastructure protection, and the Fortinet Internal Segmentation Firewall to offer secure Internet access to patients and guests such as family or friends, clinicians and multiple units of the hospital where patients are treated, such as same day surgery, oncology, radiation and dialysis, among others.

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Better serving the guests accompanying patients was a big consideration in enhancing Internet access and protection, Syed says, noting that they spend a lot of time waiting and often come with computing devices to get work done while at the hospital. The system’s physician practices get Internet connectivity via a virtual private network.

What Barnabas Health needed and got, Syed says, is one product line from a single vendor with standard configurations, and one set of code for deployment, saving time, money and aggravation. “This way, there is less risk of security incidents,” he adds. And the cost was less than other companies who were considered. The time from vendor selection to implementation was about 45 days.

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