First Community Federal Credit Union

Untangle NG Firewall Case Study

Industry: Financial Services
Average Network Size: 250 people, 200 desktops

”Untangle is a polished product, cost effective, and offers so much in the package. It also complements other products we have in place.”


Robert Hitchcock is the Network Administrator with First Community Federal Credit Union (FCFCU), serving the Kalamazoo area of Southwest Michigan, the Downriver area of Detroit, Michigan, and, as First American Credit Union, four counties in the Beloit, Wisconsin area. FCFCU is a nationally accredited, non-profit organization serving the financial services needs of community residents.

In his nearly two years with FCFCU, Robert has inventoried and improved the network infrastructure as well as maintained the workstations of employees. His days involve everything from setting up new branch offices to helping the CEO with her laptop. In addition to juggling diverse responsibilities, Robert is responsible for selecting new technologies for FCFCU.

Audits and Overhead

FCFCU was unhappy with its Websense solution. It was expensive and cumbersome. Furthermore, as a financial institution, FCFCU needs to comply with stringent information security audits throughout the year. Robert knew he needed a gateway solution that supplemented client antivirus as well as provided granular web filtering in order to be in compliance during the audit cycle. Robert, a longtime open source advocate, turned to Untangle as a way to reduce costs and complexity, as well as meet the gateway requirements recommended by third party security auditors.

Compliant and Cost-Effective

Robert decided to put Untangle Lite onto his own hardware, then supplement with paid apps: Directory Connector, Policy Manager and Web Filter. He then put Untangle inline in transparent bridge mode behind his firewall. “The cost of one year of Websense is more than what I will spend on all three regions and subscriptions with Untangle,” said Robert. “It’s a huge cost savings and a very comparable product. I really like that Untangle offers extra modules that enhance the free products. I can buy only what I need, when I need it. Untangle provides top notch services at a reduced cost compared to others in the market.”

Ease of use has also improved. “Untangle has allowed me to investigate incidents more quickly. I’m able to log activities on my network and review them easily, which saves me time and energy researching issues. It’s often more readable than firewall syslogs,” said Robert.

Robert also saved time by avoiding a steep learning curve. “The interface is great, and it’s easy use when diagnosing a problem,” said Robert. “Teaching colleagues to use Untangle has also been very easy.” As an open source supporter, Robert likes that Untangle is developed by the engineers and community that use it. He finds the self-serve wiki and forums to be very helpful – so much so that he didn’t need to call Untangle support when he needed help to fix an issue.

”Untangle is a polished product, cost effective, and offers so much in the package. It also complements other products we have in place,” said Robert. “Untangle is like getting a cake with extra frosting on top. The cake itself is great, but all the extras you get with Untangle make it even better.”