Harvey Nics goes shopping for security

Case study: Retailer opts for an outfit from San Diego

Case study: Retailer opts for an outfit from San Diego

Retail chain Harvey Nichols has started using internet content security products from Websense in an attempt to protect its staff from malware and its business from information leaks.

With the system installed, the company has greater confidence in allowing more people to access the internet.

Lee Smith, network manager at Harvey Nichols, said: "In our business it's important that people are able to go online and check on the latest trends and fashions quickly and this meant we had the confidence to let them do that knowing all the nasties on the web were taken care of."

Websense replaced a previous product that had been in use for around a year and a half and Smith said it was important to be able to make a quick switch from one technology to another.

"We undertook a very quick evaluation and could instantly see the controls were more granular and the reports were much better. We now use Websense for everything http-based."

Smith said a high level of 'plug and play' functionality was important as he didn't have the resources to dedicate time to installing, configuring and implementing more complex measures.

"From the moment we got the product it was about a week before it was up and running. For a company like us, small, streamlined and agile, we wanted a quick turnaround."

While there are professional benefits to such free and easy web access, Smith said it is also seen as "a perk" and as part of an overall drive to e-enable staff.

"Business benefits weren't the driver. We were looking to enable people and get more people into IT," he said.

However, there are strict limits on what staff are able to do. Smith said webmail accounts for example are strictly off limits - the major reason being a need to limit information leaks from within the company. Websense will block access to all sites such as Hotmail or Yahoo!.

Gambling sites and other sites with controversial or inappropriate content are also blocked.

Smith would not share the value of the deal - but did say securing budget for IT is never easy when directors are more interested in selling clothes than securing computers.