CEO, Dr. Gurtner AG
It is vital that Dr. Gurtner pharmacies’ patient records do not fall into the wrong hands. With Managed Security from Swisscom, they are securely protected without the company having to lift a finger.
Dr. Gurtner AG runs three pharmacies in the Berne region, with two more to be added in 2021. It also operates a medicine packaging centre, which provides old people’s homes and similar institutions with medicines individually sorted into plastic bags in accordance with doctors’ prescriptions. The company deals with large quantities of sensitive patient data on a daily basis. This information is stored on a central server at the company headquarters – constant data exchange with its branches is the company’s lifeblood.
“It goes without saying that data protection is a big issue for us,” says Stephan Gerber, CEO of Dr. Gurtner AG. So what’s the worst that could happen? “If someone broke into our system and stole our patient data. By seeing what medication a patient is on, you can draw some pretty accurate conclusions about their state of health. Unfortunately, there is a lucrative market for this information. Or we could be blackmailed. The reputational damage that would be caused if this data was stolen would be fatal – we depend on our customers’ trust!”
A reliable firewall is crucial for guarding patient data. It protects the network and servers against malware intrusion. Clearly, nothing can be left to chance. Until around two years ago, operating the firewall was disproportionately timeconsuming. For Stephan Gerber, it brings back bad memories: “The firewall was built into the hardware in each branch. Updates had to be carried out every two months, after opening hours, of course. So I would stay behind after work to carry out the updates myself or to open the door for our ERP supplier. The next morning, we would sometimes find the firewall wasn’t working. The branch could not operate until a technician had corrected the problem.” Including the cost of correcting these faults, the firewalls cost between CHF 5,000 and CHF 10,000 every year, excluding loss of earnings.
« It’s brilliant: you can simply activate the firewall for a new branch with a click. »
When the time came to replace the old hardwarebased firewalls, Elektro Burkhalter AG – Dr. Gurtner’s ICT service provider – introduced Swisscom’s new Managed Security solution. “It won me over immediately,” says Stephan Gerber. “I realised the cloudbased firewall would help us solve a whole host of problems in one go. Our network provider at the time could not offer anything like it, so we switched our entire network to Swisscom.” Once the decision had been made, everything happened very quickly: in less than three weeks, Elektro Burkhalter had ordered and configured the managed firewall. “I just signed the contract and that was all I had to do,” says Stephan Gerber.
Instead of a faultprone hardwarebased firewall at each branch, Dr. Gurtner now uses a managed firewall in the Swisscom Cloud that covers all its branches. All each branch needs is an Internet connection and a web browser – timeconsuming onsite updates are a thing of the past. Elektro Burkhalter does everything via a central webbased user interface and the firewall is always up to date. “Since we started using the cloudbased firewall, the system hasn’t crashed once,” smiles Stephan Gerber. “And it is much less troublesome than before. It’s brilliant that whenever we open a new branch, we simply order an Internet connection. Our ICT partner does everything else, the firewall is activated with a few clicks and we don’t need to invest in any hardware. Licence and update costs are also included in the price, so there are no more nasty surprises.”