Gas South Pivots to Support working From Home with Check Point

By Amit Sharon, Head of Customer Community, Check Point Software Technologies

Read how the leading provider of natural gas throughout the southeastern U.S. kept remote employees secure and productive during the novel Coronavirus crisis.

Gas South is migrating its key data center operations to Microsoft Azure public cloud to improve its agility and scalability. I met with Rajiv Thomas, Senior Systems Engineer at Gas South, to learn more about how the company ensures secure cloud access to maintain business continuity.

Gas South is a leading natural gas marketer. It serves more than 300,000 residential, business, and governmental customers in Georgia, Florida, and North and South Carolina. Its on-premises data center is an essential link between users and Azure-hosted applications that power its key operations. To ensure uninterrupted service to customers, Gas South needed a solution to give employees secure access to its business-critical applications in the cloud, regardless of their location.

Amit Sharon:  The Coronavirus outbreak has created immediate challenges for many organizations. How did Gas South take action to help ensure employee health, without impacting business continuity?

Rajiv Thomas: We had deployed Check Point CloudGuard IaaS to enable secure connectivity between our enterprise network and our Azure deployment. It includes built-in remote access capabilities, enabling our users to connect to Azure via an SSL-encrypted connection, two-factor authentication, and device pairing. When we learned about the threat from the virus, we sent out an email giving our employees the option of coming into work or working from home. All but five of our employees chose to work from home, and Check Point enabled us to smoothly accommodate them.

Amit Sharon: Did you face any specific challenges in enabling your workforce to stay productive from home?

Rajiv Thomas: The only requirement was that an employee needed an Internet connection at home. About 160 users connected to our infrastructure via CloudGuard IaaS—but it’s important to note that half of them were call center agents.  The software they use to take calls is highly sensitive to network latency, and it will drop the call and disconnect a caller if a connection has even a slight bit of latency. In fact, the software vendor states they will not support using it over a VPN due to this reason. In our case, the solution worked perfectly. It really demonstrated the stability of the VPN to CloudGuard IaaS connection. CloudGuard was brilliant yesterday.

Amit Sharon: Does CloudGuard offer other benefits to Gas South in addition to seamless remote access?

Rajiv Thomas: Yes, it also helps us secure our assets in the cloud with elastic scalability and high availability, through its native integration with Azure. CloudGuard also simplifies security management and policy enforcement across the enterprise and public cloud network. When you have a basic understanding of security, the CloudGuard solution is so easy to deploy and use.

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