Charles River

View Charles River Case Study

“It’s rare that I get an opportunity to be as enthusiastic about a product as I am about ForeScout CounterACT. At a time when IT tool chests are filled with one-time, limited use products, it’s refreshing to have a product like CounterACT, which supports our security, desktop management, help desk, active directory and enterprise applications groups.”

– Keith Alan Rodwell, Principal Infrastructure and Security Architect, Charles River

Challenge:
  • Charles River is a multi-national corporation that provides products and services to help accelerate research and drug development efforts. Approximately 7,000 employees are located across more than 60 locations with operations on three continents and more than a dozen countries. Their network supports over 8,000 managed devices and provides guest-networking capacity.
  • Move off an infrastructure-vendor’s 802.1x NAC approach. Deploy a new NAC system that works within the existing infrastructure, eliminates 802.1x management issues, and requires little administrative attention.
  • Lower the total cost of ownership for managing NAC.
  • Implement a unified set of network access policies across the Charles River enterprise.
  • Obtain real-time visibility of all devices, applications and processes—without requiring agents.
Solution:
  • Charles River looked at all of the NAC vendors in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and eliminated the majority as they either lacked an agentless solution or required network upgrades or additional equipment to be installed at too many of the company’s locations.
  • After completing a proof-of-concept, Charles River chose ForeScout CounterACT because it met all of the needs and required surprisingly little effort to install and operate.

“We had the evaluation unit up in less than two hours. Although we allocated 45 days for the evaluation given our past experience with other vendors, we realized by day three that ForeScout CounterACT was the right choice. CounterACT has unique features that provide additional value beyond just network access control. The people in our Enterprise Desktop and Active Directory groups were particularly interested in CounterACT’s extensive policy and reporting capabilities. In addition, every ForeScout reference that we spoke with reported very positive experiences with ForeScout’s product and support. We’ve since attended a regional “best practices” event with other ForeScout customers, which firmly cementing our belief that we made the right choice.”

Results:
  • Time and Cost Savings

ForeScout CounterACT allows Charles River to save time and money, and reduce administrative overhead by moving away from the problematic 802.1x infrastructure. “Our prior NAC product was management intensive. The patching and operating system update process was slow and cumbersome. Plus, we found the system (prior NAC) to be very sensitive and intolerant of operator mistakes. We had to do additional testing to make sure we weren’t going to cause a self-inflicted NAC-related outage. ForeScout CounterACT is a flexible, resilient, responsive system. Developing and testing policies, as well as updating the systems are straight-forward processes.”

  • Enterprise-wide Network Access Policies

ForeScout CounterACT provides unified network access control throughout the entire enterprise. “Our previous implementations were each designed for a single site. As we moved to centralized IT services, we tried to integrate our NAC implementations to create a single unified enterprise policy. This proved beyond our ability with the infrastructure vendor’s product. In some cases, we would need to replace or upgrade network equipment to enable NAC to work. ForeScout CounterACT easily supports unified NAC policy management all from one console. Now we have and can maintain access control policies across all of our sites.”

  • Complete Endpoint Visibility

“ForeScout CounterACT gives us full visibility to the devices, applications and processes running on our network. Within two days of installation, CounterACT was identifying issues of which we were unaware and which our desktop maintenance, antivirus consoles and network monitoring tools missed. The ability to easily identify non-compliant devices, detect virtual machines where we didn’t expect them, and see how equipment is behaving is an invaluable capability. The biggest surprise was how much security and management information ForeScout can give us about the endpoint without an agent. We’re now in a more proactive position to manage our network and identify areas of concern than we have ever been before.”

  • Excellent User Experience

ForeScout CounterACT allows Charles River to phase in controls, issue minor violation warnings and offer self-service remediation. “From a user perspective, our previous NAC solution was challenging and affected the user experience. Our prior vendor did not provide flexibility in terms of minor security problems, which would then result in a helpdesk call. We wanted to be able to permit minor configuration issues and still allow users to get onto the network. Providing a better user experience is a huge priority for us. With ForeScout CounterACT, we’re in a position to do that.”