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  • Polish travel company uses the latest technology & innovative research methods
  • Automatic site-to-site VPN connects distributed locations & call center
  • Redundant Security Appliances provide a highly available network & low TCO

Whether booking leisure travel or coordinating large corporate events, the team at eTravel, based in Warsaw, Poland, works diligently to bring their customers the best possible services. The travel company is the fastest growing of its kind in Poland due to its use of advanced technology and innovative research methods to aggregate information when putting together packages for customers. 

With 5 locations and 200 employees distributed throughout Poland, each of which requires access to central information to assist customers, eTravel’s Vice President Janusz Zapęcki knew he needed a system that would both unify the sites, as well as provide bullet-proof security. The previous solution was pieced together using equipment from different manufacturers and made exchanging information between locations difficult. There was little visibility into what was happening on the network and minimal protection if the network was compromised.

Janusz Zapęcki was drawn to the Cisco Meraki cloud-managed solution for numerous reasons, including the ease with which sites could communicate with each other and gain secure access to internal resources, as well as the built-in fault tolerance. “We chose Meraki because of its attractive licensing system,” explained Janusz Zapęcki, “the easy construction of a highly available network infrastructure, and the low cost of the configuration, management, and maintenance.” As the entire infrastructure, wireless and wired, is viewed and managed via the same dashboard interface, the solution also reduced the complexity of adding other Meraki devices.

Complete configuration and installation of Meraki 802.11ac APs and security appliances took less than two days of work. Warm spare redundancy using Virtual Routing Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) provides an added layer of protection if an MX device should go offline; no intervention is needed for the warm spare to take effect. In the event of a failure, a secondary MX will automatically take over its duties without disruption to services.

We chose Meraki because of its attractive licensing system, the easy construction of a highly available network infrastructure, and the low cost of the configuration, management, and maintenance.Janusz Zapęcki, Vice President

eTravel, working with a partner who provides managed services for each of their locations, took advantage of the plug-and-play functionality of Meraki devices to deploy quickly. All configurations can be completed in the web-based dashboard before the devices arrive on-site, so the devices simply needed to be delivered and powered on to connect to the cloud and retrieve their settings. In just a few minutes, all of eTravel’s devices were online and fully functional, equipped with content filtering, intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS) with Sourcefire’s SNORT, malware detection, uplink bandwidth limits, and most importantly site-to-site VPN.

“The network is deployed in a star topology with the headquarters at the center using an MX and WiFi devices,” said Janusz Zapęcki. “MX devices are installed at each branch office and connected back to the headquarters with centralized access to applications and systems supporting the Call Center using Meraki Auto-VPN.” The automatically provisioning site-to-site VPN built into the MX Security Appliances uses the power of the cloud to eliminate the difficulty of configuring and maintaining VPN connections. VPN connections are self-healing, meaning that in dynamic IP environments, the cloud continuously makes adjustments to ensure ongoing connectivity. Janusz Zapęcki’s managed service provider is able to monitor each of the tunnels with a real-time view of connectivity and overall health in the Meraki dashboard.

eTravel passes a variety of information across the network, from generic documents to traveler information, and it is imperative that every aspect of the network remains secure at all times. When Janusz Zapęcki chose the Meraki solution, the ease with which security policy controls and content restrictions could be implemented at each branch was a huge factor. A wide range of devices used by employees and guests connect to the network daily, from computers and mobile devices to IP phones and other peripherals. “Securing the network infrastructure and servers within the company is crucial,” said Janusz Zapęcki. Regardless of the device type, Janusz Zapęcki and the managed service provider can monitor specific actions and general trends using the network overview tools in the dashboard. 

The numerous features integrated into the dashboard allow Janusz Zapęcki and the managed service provider to be proactive with network management instead of reactive. They can take a quick look at the security report provided in the dashboard and quickly identify any security threats or simply have visibility into the ongoing effectiveness of their policies. They are also taking advantage of the automatic email alerts which allow them to choose which network activities require immediate notification. For instance, if an MX device fails over to its warm spare, an automatic alert with be sent to the managed service provider so they can immediately investigate and take action.

For eTravel, the Meraki solution provides reliable connections between sites, reduces risks posed by malware and viruses, limits bandwidth for recreational applications, restricts access to unwanted content, provides mission-critical security, and more. “Meraki offers us a complete solution to build a network with a management and monitoring system that lowers the cost of ownership,” said Janusz Zapęcki. “In the field of networking and simple and functional management, it meets the needs of the majority of companies.”