Alexion Pharmaceuticals and S2 Global

Unique Challenges

Headquartered in Cheshire, CT, Alexion is one of the fastest growing biopharmaceutical companies in the world, with a market capitalization of approximately $16 billion. The biopharmaceutical industry has its share of unique security challenges, and the company and its Global Security team provide 24-hour service to their worldwide patients, medical professionals and associates. Alexion facilities include those that contain extensive proprietary and confidential information, as well as research laboratories and product manufacturing sites. And like many related companies, Alexion is sensitive to the public scrutiny life science firms often encounter. Adding to their security needs are compliance requirements for the FDA, HIPPA, and SOX (Sarbanes Oxley). For Alexion, implementing an effective security strategy was a priority, and in 2010 they hired seasoned security expert, Bob Weronik, as their Senior Director of Global Security.

The Right Technology

Prior to Bob's arrival, Alexion's security strategy and infrastructure were minimal — access control and centralized video were "a must have," said Bob. Bob turned to Security Management Consulting (SMC) to help manage the selection and deployment. The team evaluated Alexion's security requirements based on needs, growth plan, global reach and best-in-class technology. S2 came out on top, due to a competitive up-front cost and low total-cost-of-ownership. Additionally, S2's 100% browserbased software eliminated the need for client licensing and the management of PC-based servers—an enormous advantage.

Poised for Global Expansion

Deploying a unified security system globally is an undertaking made more complex by time zones, language barriers and local regulations. Viewing Alexion through a global lens, the team deployed S2 solutions comprised of a flexible architecture poised for the 2013 implementation of S2 Global®. They started with S2 Enterprise® for Global Headquarters, encompassing a range of staff and settings from executives and scientists to laboratories and manufacturing facilities. S2 NetVR® was deployed for several domestic facilities in Connecticut, Washington DC and Boston. S2's converged platform, S2 NetBox VR®, was deployed for international facilities in areas as diverse as Bogota, Istanbul, Munich and Toronto.

With prioritization based on Alexion's rigorous security risk assessment, all new sites and facility related changes would deploy S2 solutions. The flexibility of S2's appliance based systems provided cost-effective solutions for a number of unique scenarios, from downsizing leased sites for expansion into more suitable locations, to tailored multi-use complexes.

A Winning Combination

S2's technology and responsive service, paired with a collaborative team, proved a winning combination for Alexion. NetBox VR, offered an ideal solution: a single appliance with video and access control that tightly integrates forensics. With NetBox VR, "we had one product taking care of everything," said SMC's Bill Paynter. "The time, effort and money on the S2 design and implementation was incomparable." A number of problems all but disappeared with the introduction of the distributed, centrally managed video system. For example, Alexion experienced severe bandwidth issues associated with video streaming from distant offices. With the installation of the stand-alone systems, recordings were event focused, stored locally and centrally accessed when needed. And the tight integration of S2's forensic desktop would allow Alexion's security team to quickly locate video of the incidents.

Bob marveled at the number of installations achieved, attributing it to ease of implementation, and to solid communication with both the system integrator and the manufacturer. Manufacturers are often discouraged from communicating directly with end-users. "Collaboration makes a huge difference," Bob said. "From an end-user perspective, we have a high degree of confidence knowing that problems are easily resolved because everyone is at the table. S2's approach to handling global accounts is a breath of fresh air."

Going S2 Global

When it comes to integrated security systems, the broader the global scope, the more susceptible network connectivity is to regional challenges. Sixteen systems are moving to the S2 Global platform in Q1 of 2013. For a multinational organization like Alexion, implementing S2 Global provides local autonomy with centralized management. For Bob Weronik, that means redundancy by appliance in every location where connectivity is at risk. It also means country managers can control their local environment, while relying on centralized support for security tasks, like badge printing. Alexion could now have "a distributed, centralized network, allowing flexibility, scalability and ease of use with fully integrated access and video," said Bob. In a lighter moment he exclaimed, "Seeing the status of Buenos Aires while in Cheshire, CT—just amazing!"

S2 and Alexion are two fast growing, nimble companies. "Alexion has been our account for almost three years— really, we've grown together. They've been an early adopter of S2 technology, and we enjoy the partnership," said Mike Riegelman, S2's Vice President of Business Development. When asked about future challenges, Bob looked mildly pensive, "Regulatory compliance is always changing. Emerging risks are yet to be identified." But Bob is certain that the S2-Alexion partnership will rise to meet them.

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