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Customer Success Story
School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristolhttp://www.bio.bris.ac.uk/
As a dynamic, research-based organization, The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol is committed to fundamental biology and cutting edge advances in new technologies.
Seamless communication and data sharing are critical to the activities of over 190 academics, researchers, postgraduates, and skilled support staff who work at the school. The school also supports over 500 undergraduates who require access to the school's data resources.
The staff's teaching and research activities involve close collaboration with other departments of the university and with outside organizations. This requires the school to provide remote network access to a variety of outside entities with varying levels of access privileges. The network needs to be protected from outside attacks and the university has a regulatory requirement to secure its data non-compliance is not an option.
The School of Biological Sciences needs to ensure network security while providing file access for offsite and guest users across multiple servers and platforms. One of the major issues for the Information Systems (IS) Manager is the time required to manage user accounts and privileges. Multiple expiration dates and limited-access profiles have to be updated on a daily basis.
The files accessed by users are located on multiple servers organized in a Windows NT Domain/Windows 2000 Active Directory network structure. The administrator also needs to remotely manage one of the school's database servers running MySQL. The ideal solution would provide both secure file transfer services and tight integration with Active Directory.
Dominic Hiles, the IS Manager for the School of Biological Sciences, deployed the VanDyke Software VShell server and SecureFX secure file transfer client to develop a custom solution for managing NT domain accounts. According to Hiles, VShell was selected because of its tight integration with Windows 2000 Active Directory structure and the availability of multiple SFTP roots.
VShell's multiple SFTP root configuration provided the IS Manager with a way to manage a large variety of access requirements. Multiple SFTP root access points can be customized to provide access to appropriate files and folders for different users or groups based on their domain group or SFTP domain membership. The IS Manager has the flexibility to set up folders or volumes containing files to be accessed by external users. Staff can be given access to a virtual directory structure that can include multiple drive volumes. The user sees a virtual directory structure, which displays only those files and folders to which they have been granted access. The IS Manager can also enable or disable file transfer privileges on an individual user or group basis for role-based control of secure file transfers.
Users and groups can be based on membership in a Windows Access Control List (ACL), providing tight integration with the Windows server. VShell also provides the ability to enable or disable user shell access and port forwarding services in similar fashion. VShell's SFTP root access points, in conjunction with Windows 2000 directory file structure, provided an intuitive way to manage users and groups and the flexibility to eventually customize access profiles for every user.
SecureFX was selected as the SFTP client based on its support for VShell's multiple SFTP root implementation. With VShell, offsite users with any SSH2 client are now able to use SFTP or SCP2 commands to transfer files as well as list and delete files and directories. Transfers are fully encrypted with ciphers of up to 256 bits.
With VShell's SFTP features and SecureFX file transfer client, the IS Manager at the School of Biological Sciences deployed a server-client solution that provided a way to efficiently manage secure network access to multiple users, both on and off site.
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