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Parker Auto Stops Personal Web Surfing with Barracuda Web Filter

Parker Automotive Group – comprising Parker Lexus, Parker Cadillac, Parker Audi, Saturn of Greater Little Rock and Saturn of Northwest Arkansas – has been providing central Arkansas with luxury automobiles for more than 40 years.

This high end car dealership knows what it means to provide excellent customer service and has accolades to prove it. As Arkansas' only Cadillac dealership, Parker Cadillac has been named the number one Cadillac dealer in the nation for customer satisfaction racking up nine annual awards for top CSI for an entire calendar year. No other Cadillac dealer has won this coveted award twice since GM started keeping records in the mid ‘80s. Parker Lexus is the number one Lexus dealer in the nation for customer satisfaction with seven annual awards. And Parker Audi is the number one Audi dealer in the nation for customer satisfaction with four annual awards since the franchise opened in 2001.

Parker's strategy is to provide the best possible automobile experience in the nation, bar none, regardless of market segment. To do this, the company outfits its employees with the best technology including quick and reliable Internet access. More than 100 employees have desktops or laptops with Internet connections, and most of them are spending more and more time online to complete work-related tasks such as communicating with the factory, configuring and ordering vehicles, and scheduling maintenance.

But high-speed Internet has presented additional challenges for Parker Automotive Group. Operations Manager Randy Parsley noticed an overuse of bandwidth at several locations, and in casually strolling through workstations, he could see his employees engaging in non-work related online activities – visiting commercial Web sites, downloading and listening to music, and instant messaging their friends – that were slowing his network to a crawl and wasting valuable work time. Additionally, the company was spending a large amount of time and money combating the spyware and adware accidentally downloaded on computers throughout the company.

As these security and productivity issues continued to escalate, it became evident to Parker Automotive Group that a Web content filtering and spyware solution was necessary.

The Solution

Parsley knew Parker Automotive Group needed an easy-to-use and affordable spyware and Web content filtering solution. With this in mind, he consulted with Hardwyre engineers. After discussing the Internet misuse and thoroughly researching the company's existing network infrastructure, Hardwyre presented Parsley with recommendations for several viable Web filter solutions. Parsley chose the Barracuda Web Filter because of its powerful anti-spyware and content filtering technology, its price for the value, and lack of per-user licensing fees.

The Barracuda Web Filter is an integrated content filtering, application blocking, and spyware protection solution that blocks access to Web sites and Internet applications, and eliminates spyware and other forms of malware. With no client software to install and no network modifications required, the Barracuda Web Filter was easy for Parker Automotive Group to deploy. It has an intuitive user interface for maintenance and monitoring, making it a virtually maintenance-free solution. System updates are performed hourly and made automatically by Barracuda Central, an advanced 24/7 security operations center where engineers work continuously to catalog sites used in personal Web browsing and to provide the most effective methods to combat changing spyware variants.

Furthermore, the Barracuda Web Filter allows Parker Automotive Group to actively enforce its Internet Use Policy, taking user acceptance from a conscious choice to a forced rule. Parsley's approach to Web site filtering is guilty-until-proven-innocent. He blocks all Web sites – only allowing access to a select handful of Web sites he knows his employees must use to execute their job duties. If employees need to use a site, Parsley requires them to complete a Web site access request form and explain the why they need to use the site to do their jobs.

The Results

At first Parsley's staff was not pleased with the change. The cold-turkey switch from unlimited Internet access to tight regulation was predictably unwelcome.

“There was a lot of moaning and groaning,” Parsley says, as his employees were denied access to their personal e-mail accounts, banking portals and other Web sites they had grown accustomed to visiting during work hours.

Despite the employees' initial response to the Web filter, Parsley says his staff is more productive without the Internet tempting them to surf away their workday. And because his employees are spending less time online, the company has reaped two benefits: workers are more productive, and the network is safer and much faster.

Parsley says hard-cost savings as a result of the Barracuda Web filter are nearly impossible to track, but he has seen a measurable improvement in the network speed since the solution was implemented about eight months ago. Before the Web filter, anywhere from 45 and 50 employee desktops would be online at any given time. Now that number has dropped to about 25 machines on the network at once. And that improved network performance has allowed Parker Automotive Group to completely recover its investment cost within three months of deploying the solution.

Overall, Parsley says Parker Automotive Group has been very pleased with the performance of the Barracuda Web Filter and the reliable service from Hardwyre. And coming from a world-recognized leader in customer satisfaction, that statement carries serious weight.

“I would recommend the Barracuda Web Filter to anyone,” Parsley says, adding that working with Hardwyre to get the solution up and running has made his experience even better. “I've been with Hardwyre since its beginnings, and it has always been a pleasure to work with Steve Wade and his engineers. They are very professional and timely, and I look forward to working with them in the years to come.”

Hardwyre, Inc. a 804 Edgewood a Maumelle, AR 72113 a 501.851.2880 a info@hardwyre.com
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