Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare

Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare loves Netmail

Challenge

Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare found itself facing a challenge familiar to many healthcare organizations around the world—how to securely send highly-sensitive data like protected health information (PHI) through its email system.

Solution

The hospital switched to Netmail due in part to the solution’s granularity and the built-in HIPAA encryption component that ensures all encrypted email messages are sent through the organization’s email system where they can be regularly archived, available and ready for discovery.

Results

With the addition of the security component of Netmail, the hospital spends a lot less time releasing false positives from the end-user Quarantine than ever before. Previously, the administrator received 3-4 requests a day. But now, using the same black lists and filters as before, he might get one request a week, if that.

Overview

Since 2010, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare has relied on Netmail and Netmail Archive to take care of all its email archiving and discovery needs. Faxton St. Luke’s recently upgraded to the latest version of the Netmail Email Management Platform and added Netmail Secure and its encryption add-on, Encrypt, to ensure the secure delivery of the hospital’s highly-sensitive data.

Background

Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare is a not-for-profit healthcare system committed to providing accessible, quality healthcare services to the residents of the Mohawk Valley which is located in central New York. Faxton St. Luke‘s Healthcare began as two hospitals—Faxton Hospital and St. Luke’s-Memorial Hospital Center. In July of 1992, the Boards of Trustees of the two hospitals approved an affiliation agreement to form the Mohawk Valley Network. On January 1, 2000 the hospitals were consolidated as a single entity, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare.

Business Challenge

Like most healthcare institutions, the email system at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare is a critical application that, like the healthcare institute itself, needs to be available 24/7. Since January 2010, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare has been relying on Netmail Archive from Netmail to archive and centralize over 12 TB of data for its 2600-strong user community. Recently however, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare found itself facing a challenge familiar to many healthcare organizations around the world—how to securely send highly-sensitive data through its Novell GroupWise email system.

So in the spring of 2013, the hospital began looking for an email encryption solution to augment its existing security system. “Our existing security system was outdated anyway,” recalls Don Parlagreco, the Senior Network Analyst at Faxton St. Luke’s, “so when we looked at the encryption add-on for Netmail Secure—Encrypt—we decided to upgrade to Netmail Secure at the same time so we could implement the email encryption component of the platform.”

Critical Requirements

  • Provide an easy encryption solution that can be rolled out effortlessly to the hospital’s user community
  • Replace the existing security system with a more granular policy-based solution
  • Upgrade existing Netmail Archive system to the latest version of the Netmail Platform
  • Perform an in-place upgrade from Novell GroupWise 8 to GroupWise 2012

Part of the Netmail Platform, Encrypt is an easy-to-use email encryption solution that ensures the secure delivery of incoming and outgoing email allowing all users in the system to securely send and receive email while the encryption and decryption process is transparently handled by Netmail Encrypt.

According to Parlagreco, one of the deciding factors for choosing Netmail Encrypt was the fact that all encrypted email messages are sent through the organization’s GroupWise system where they can be regularly archived along with the rest of the organization’s email. “A lot of other encryption solutions aren’t integrated with an organization’s email system. And if encrypted email isn’t archived, it isn’t searchable,” says Parlagreco. “With Netmail Encrypt, I know the encrypted messages flow through our GroupWise messaging system, so they are all archived, available and ready for discovery.”

Upgrading to the Netmail Platform

Once the decision was made, with the help of the Netmail Support Team, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare upgraded to the latest version of Netmail Archive and implemented Netmail Secure and Encrypt at the same time. “The upgrade was very smooth,” recalls Don Parlagreco. “On the surface, the Administration Console seems very similar to previous versions of the software, but the Search application—renamed Netmail Search— has really been improved.”

Ensuring that the archives are accessible to the hospital’s end users is an important part of the IT department’s mandate at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare. So after the recent upgrade, the IT department was tasked with teaching end users how to use the new search functionality of Netmail Search so that they can perform their own searches on archived email. “The learning curve for end users using Netmail Search was fairly easy. The most challenging part was teaching them to how to use filtering parameters to search their archives and not simply browse their archives,” says Parlagreco.

Of the switch from Barracuda to Netmail Secure, Parlagreco says, “It runs extremely well and does a good job of blocking spam. Netmail Secure is far more granular than any other system I’ve used. Yes, it’s slightly more complex to administer, but it’s a trade-off. If you want a simple spam system, you won’t be able to do much more with it than block spam.”

In terms of productivity, Parlagreco says he spends a lot less time releasing false positives from the end-user Quarantine with Netmail Secure than before. Previously, the Senior Network Analyst admits he was getting 3-4 requests a day. Nowadays, using the same black lists and filters as before, he might get one request a week, if that.

Upgrading to Novell GroupWise 2012

After upgrading to the latest version of the Netmail Platform, Faxton St. Luke’s also took advantage of Netmail's recent Upgrade to GroupWise 2012 offer to ensure that its messaging system was running the latest version of its software. “With the help of the Netmail, we upgraded from GroupWise 8 to GroupWise 2012. It was an in-place upgrade and it was very straightforward,” notes Parlagreco. Among the features he likes about GroupWise 2012 include calendaring enhancements and the improved GroupWise WebAccess user interface.

Looking Ahead to the Next Version of Netmail

Given the recent experience upgrading to the current version of the Netmail Platform, Don Parlagreco and his IT team at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare are eagerly looking forward to the next platform upgrade, scheduled for release in the next few months which includes a feature that was requested by a number of clients including Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare—a simplified form of access control that provides proxy-like access to archives.

Developed to facilitate access to the archives of users who are no longer working for an organization and free up mailbox licenses that are no longer being used, the feature also allows assistants to access and search the archives of their supervisors, or vice-versa, should the need arise. “We’re really looking forward to upgrading to the 5.3 version of Netmail which includes a feature that we are really excited about. The ability to proxy into other accounts and perform searches,” says Parlagreco.

The Bottom Line

Don Parlagreco Senior Network Analyst, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare