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21 Mar 2007

Science center keeps public PCs safe with Sophos

At-Bristol deploys comprehensive gateway and endpoint security solution, including new Sophos web appliance

At-Bristol, at the heart of Bristol's Harborside area, has chosen to protect itself with Sophos solutions.

Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control, today announced that cutting edge science center At-Bristol has deployed the full suite of Sophos solutions to protect visitors and staff against malware, spam and unauthorized web content.

At-Bristol is the core of a £450 million urban rejuvenation scheme, covering eleven acres at the heart of Bristol's Harborside area in the UK. Its educational facilities include classrooms, school workshops, dedicated areas for science exhibitions and even a Planetarium. The center has received more than three million visitors since it opened in 2000.

At-Bristol faced a number of challenges that contributed to its need for robust IT defenses. Firstly it is required by law to restrict access to unlawful and inappropriate online material on public work stations - this is particularly important given the number of children using the center's interactive facilities. Furthermore, the majority of visitors do not have in-depth knowledge of safe computing, greatly increasing the risk of malware infection at the organization. At-Bristol also received approximately 16,000 unsolicited emails per week, causing network performance issues as well as distracting staff from their core duties. Finally, the center will shortly upgrade its email servers, so needed a solution able to protect its new systems.

To meet these challenges, At-Bristol has purchased Sophos Anti-Virus to secure all of its visitor workstations and staff computers. It has also deployed Sophos's WS1000 Web Security Appliance to block access to unauthorized websites, while at the gateway, Sophos's ES4000 Email Security Appliance which runs the Sophos PureMessage engine stops spam and malicious emails from even entering its network.

Visitors at At-Bristol
At-Bristol has received more than three million visitors.

"Like many organizations, At-Bristol was affected by the Lovebug virus several years ago, and since then we've always taken a proactive approach to IT security, to safeguard against emerging threats and ensure that visitors can't compromise our defenses," said Ed Williams, Senior Technical Engineer of At-Bristol. "Sophos's combined hardware and software approach has enabled us to meet our objective to secure all endpoints, eliminate spam from users' inboxes and block unwanted online content."

At-Bristol independently evaluated a number of IT security products and recognised that a fully-integrated solution would be more effective in terms of simplifying management, reducing security costs, and ensuring that there were no holes in the overall security strategy.

"The key factor in choosing Sophos was simplicity of management - its products offer maximum protection with minimal impact on users," continued Ed Williams. "We were impressed by the low-level administrative interaction and remote monitoring functionality of both appliances, as well as the close integration between all aspects of IT security protection. What's more, with Sophos's web appliance we can for the first time log user traffic, giving us better insight into what the public workstations are being used for, as well as the ability to identify instances of misuse."

At-Bristol also has future plans to make use of Sophos's application control functionality within Sophos Anti-Virus, once the server migration is complete. This technology will allow the center to restrict the usage of unauthorized or unwanted applications such as games, instant messaging, peer-to-peer file sharing or VoIP programs.

"All public-facing organizations have a responsibility to ensure their systems remain uncompromised and free from unwanted online or email-based material," said Annie Gay, vice president EMEA at Sophos. "For smaller organizations like At-Bristol, it's vital that these goals can be achieved without impacting on employee productivity or overwhelming IT administrators. By opting for an integrated single vendor solution, At-Bristol has cut out the management headache and can now concentrate on its remit for local rejuvenation and education."

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at