Country: UAE

Partner: Emirates Computers

Cisco Solutions:

Emirates Computers helps Universal Group save costs and increase its bandwidth with a new Virtual Private Network built on Cisco solutions

Introduction
Universal Group, established in 1973, is one of the most diversified and fast growing business enterprises in the UAE. Today, the Universal Group of Companies stands as a well reputed entity, which has carved a niche for itself by bringing a number of world leading products into the UAE market. Apart from trading and agency activities, the group has also established a name for itself in various other fields such as project contracting, engineering and sponsorship to name a few. Some of the group’s companies are Universal Electrical Equipment Est., Universal Est. For Trading Agencies, Universal General Transport Est, Universal Real Estate, Universal Rent A Car (Europcar), Universal Service Centre, Universal Technical L.L.C, Universal Trading Company and Universal Voltas L.L.C. 

Challenges Faced

Universal Group was using ISDN lines at all its offices in UAE and had to incur huge expenses just to connect all its sites over the WAN using ISDN lines for all branch offices. To reduce costs and enhance productivity, the company was looking to set up a robust VPN network which would also offer them scalability, security and flexibility in the long run.

“Universal Group is growing at a very rapid rate. The company has now grown to the size of a large business conglomerate with diverse businesses and a number of offices. It was becoming very expensive to connect all our office sites over the WAN using ISDN lines at each office. We were looking for alternatives which would help us reduce connectivity costs without comprising on security and bandwidth,” says Mr. Yasser AL Ammar, IT Administrator of Universal Group.

The Right Partner
“We chose Emirates Computers because they were one of the few companies in the region who have the capabilities to build a good VPN. Emirates Computers studied our business and requirements and came up with a good design with a diagram detailing how the VPN would work for us. They also had some great customer references in the region for similar projects. We were happy to partner with them on this project as they not only completed it fairly quickly but they also offered us great onsite support,” Mr. Yasser added.

The Solution
The project involved installing Cisco’s products and solutions, Cisco’s ASA (Adaptive Security Appliance) Firewall, which is the main firewall and where the VPN is hosted with SSL encryption and Cisco 877 ADSL security routers for the remote sites (branches) and these routers are dedicated for the DSL connection from Etisalat.

“We are happy Universal Group selected us for this project. Our team spent time understanding their business and requirements and designed a solution based on Cisco products to address their needs. We used the latest products from Cisco and created a VPN where the company is only paying for the cost of one leased line at their headquarters in Abu Dhabi and the other offices of the group are paying for the Business One DSL Connection only,” said Mr. Dani Diab, Vice - President and General Manager - Abu Dhabi - Emirates Computers.

The Results
Universal Group was paying a huge amount of money annually for the ISDN connections between all the sites. Their connection of 64Kbps and 128Kbps give limited bandwidth to have all the operations functioning with a centralized environment. The Cisco VPN solution, installed by Emirates Computers, provides Universal Group with many benefits, the most notable being significant monthly cost savings. With the deployment of a Cisco VPN solution, Universal Group now saving the annual costs for ISDN connections between all the sites.

Universal Group has already begun experiencing a return on their investment from the newly installed VPN Network. They are not only managing to save the annual costs of connecting through ISDN but they also have an increased bandwidth for better net connectivity. Overall, the new VPN has helped Universal Group save costs, enhance security and increase bandwidth at all its sites.

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