Lafarge cements use of Linux firewall

By   |  July 25, 2007

Cape Town based IT consultancy Jeshurun Consulting has been awarded the contract to maintain and support the Linux-based firewall SmoothWall on behalf of all of Lafarge Africa‘s international sites.

Over the past two years both companies have forged a strong relationship that has seen ten Smoothwall Advanced Firewall units deployed. Previous deployments have included sites in South Africa, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Tanzania.

Having now formalised this relationship, Smoothwall will also deployed at Lafarge sites in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

A strong advocate of the [1]open source[/1] technology drive in Africa, Jeshrun Consulting will aim to provide each site with a security solution that will enable them to keep a cost competitive advantage.

Jeshrun said "The decision to go forward with this contractual relationship was the result of high standards and consistent support required by Lafarge Africa in order to operate the complex platform."

Jan Botha, network & groupware manager at Lafarge, said: "Jeshurun understands what customer service is all about and it comes through strongly in all their dealings with Lafarge. This is reinforced by professional consulting services, an efficient helpdesk and a strong management team that represents the values of the company in every sense."

Asked about the adoption of open source solution among clients, Jeshurun’s technical director, Dion Britz, said that they were seeing the OSS market growing. He acknowledged that there was a tendency among many clients to stick with the familiar, but the cost savings offered by open source solutions made clients more eager to adopt them. The solutions they provide are customised for the clients to best suite their needs, which saw that use of open source and proprietary software was relatively balanced.

Britz added that one particular area where open source solutions were being taken taken up was that of voice over IP, where the significant cost savings made open source especially attractive.

Smoothwall has two sites. For the open source project, go to www.smoothwall.org. For the the commercial site, go to www.smoothwall.net

Lafarge, due to their needs and the vast size of their networks, opted for the commercial modular offering, which is well suited to scalability.

The non-commercial offering, SmoothWall Express, was not suitable for the company as it becomes limited when being rolled out on networks of more than 10 users.

Based on the GNU/Linux operating system, Smoothwall Express includes a hardened subset of the GNU/Linux operating system, so there is no separate operating system to install. It is configured via a web-based graphic user interface, and requires no knowledge of Linux to install or use.

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