Qatargas secures corporate network access

Qatargas pioneered the liquefied natural gas industry in Qatar. Currently the company is undergoing a rapid period of expansion with an estimated 42 million tons of export capacity to be online by the end of decade to markets in Europe, Asia and North America.


Executive Summary

Business Objective
  • Ensure data integrity for all business departments and operations services.
The Problem
  • This natural gas supplier needed to enable secure remote network access for employees without affecting the integrity of the computer systems and data.
The Solution
  • Digipass GO 6
  • OneSpan Authentication Server Framework
  • OneSpan Mobile Authenticator Studio
  • Single access point into the corporate network and Citrix MetaFrame environment
  • Secure anywhere/anytime access enhances productivity
  • A reliable solution that’s easy to use, easy to manage

With remote offices and on- and offshore plants in different locations, Qatargas was looking for a secure remote access solution allowing its employees and contractors worldwide to access its corporate network and business applications. By implementing OneSpan Authentication Server software together with Digipass® hardware authenticators and OneSpan Mobile Authenticator Studio into the Citrix MetaFrame, the company is assured that its business critical applications and information cannot be accessed by unauthorized users.

Citrix as a Secure Internet Gateway

Since Qatargas operates at various locations around the globe and some of its employees travel frequently, a secured network infrastructure became a necessity.

Addressing its growing concerns about data security and data integrity, Qatargas implemented Citrix Secure Gateway to provide secure Internet based access to its network and vital applications. The Citrix solution is a secure Internet gateway between MetaFrame servers and ICA client workstations allowing Qatargas to deliver its applications across the Internet in a secured way; providing its employees and contractors secured access to the servers from outside the corporate network through a Citrix portal site. The Citrix Portal offers a single application – the desktop. Clicking on it will open a remote window that is actually a second Windows desktop running on a remote server and offering many of the same applications that run on the desktop of the user’s own PC.

The fact that OneSpan solutions are reliable and simple to manage, was a decisive factor in the decision-making process.

Mr. WhiteHead of Data Networks

OneSpan Eliminates The Weakest Link In The Security Chain

In order to access the Citrix web portal, employees still need to logon. Exactly that logon procedure proves to be the weakest link. Hackers use many different tactics to compromise username and password combinations and therefore the company’s network. Even complex passwords made up of a combination of capitals, letters and numbers can be easily retrieved with orchestrated attacks. Time after time, companies are victims of fraudsters’ attacks because they lack the necessary security protocols to secure their internal network.

To enable remote network access without affecting the integrity of the computer systems and data, Qatargas realized that they needed to apply an extra security layer. The company contacted IT supplier and Value Added Distributor FVC to come up with a solution to secure remote access to its Citrix MetaFrame. FVC, together with reseller Qatar Datamation Systems quickly provided a structured and result oriented proof of concept enabling Qatargas to see a clear value and return on the solution.

OneSpan was recommended as they provide strong authentication solutions that allowed Qatargas to secure access to its business critical applications in combination with Citrix without dismantling the entire IT infrastructure. OneSpan’s solution received the ‘Citrix ready’ designation; its solutions have been tested and approved by Citrix.

Digipass as a Single Access Point to Corporate Network

Qatargas chose to implement Digipass GO 6 in combination with the OneSpan Authentication Server to secure remote access to its corporate network. The Digipass devices generate one-time passwords based on a time principle. Passwords can only be used once and expire automatically after 32 seconds. Fraudsters are hence no longer able to store retrieved password-username combinations for later use.

Remote users logon to the network with their one-time password generated by the Digipass device.

Once the server has validated this password, the user is authenticated into the Citrix MetaFrame environment. Users at remote offices or LNG plants get to see the same desktop and applications as they would at the main office. The hardware device acts as a single access point into the corporate network and provides employees and contractors with a secure connection to the corporate network.

Mobile Authentication for Overseas Offices

Besides Digipass hardware authenticators, Qatargas also deployed mobile authentication. OneSpan Mobile Authenticator is a software solution offering strong authentication using a mobile device. The technology leverages existing mobile platforms and eliminates the need to distribute additional hardware or software to end-users, simplifying the deployment process and reducing costs. The authentication application is chip independent and installed directly on the mobile phone, circumventing extra charges and cell phone coverage limitations.

Furthermore, OneSpan’s technology also offers synchronization between server and platform time taking daylight saving time changes into account. This means that OneSpan Mobile Authenticator Studio will continue to be fully operational when traveling through different time zones; turning it into a true mobile solution that can be used anywhere, anytime. “We prefer to use software authentication devices whenever applicable to avoid the logistic challenges of delivering hardware devices to our overseas offices and plants,” says Mohammed AbuNejim, Head of Data Networks at Qatargas. “We deploy the OneSpan Mobile Authenticator Studio to remote users who have Windows and Symbian phones or cell phones that are Java enabled.”

High Security, Simple to Manage

Implementation and roll-out of the server software and Digipass authenticators through OneSpan’s Value Added Distributor FVC, went very smooth without any measured downtime. The company can still rely on FVC for after sales support and maintenance. The combination of Digipass and the OneSpan Authentication Server proves to be a success thanks to the remarkable user friendliness; cost-effectiveness and scalability. It allows employees to access the company’s network anywhere at any time; resulting in a higher productivity. “The solution has an excellent high available design structure, an auto enrollment feature and is fully integrated with Windows Active Directory and Radius services,” says Mohammed Abu-Nejim. “Together with the OneSpan Authentication Server’s web based administrator interface, these features ensure that system administrators are able to work in a transparent and straightforward manner,”

Mohammed continues. “The fact that OneSpan’s solutions are reliable and simple to manage, was a decisive factor in the decision making process.”

Digipass has leveraged the security level of Qatargas’ remote network and business applications through the use of dynamic one-time passwords. Digipass in combination with the OneSpan Authentication Serveris fully compliant with Citrix’ solutions hence providing secure remote access to the Citrix MetaFrame.

Client Overview

Qatargas was founded in 1984 and has since then progressively established itself as a leading player in the LNG industry. Today, the company is realizing its vision to deliver LNG to customers around the globe from its world-class facilities in Qatar. Qatargas presently export capacity for 25 million tonnes per annum of LNG from the five LNG trains to customers in Japan, Asia, Europe and UK as well as other customers across the globe. Currently the company is undergoing a period of rapid expansion, which, when completed in 2010 will see Qatargas exporting 42 million tonnes to markets in Europe, Asia and North America.

Partner Overview

FVC-logo FVC is one of the leading Value Added Distributors across the Middle East and North Africa, with a growing network of more than 100 channel partners in over 17 countries across the region. With new technologies and solutions driving the pace of change of businesses in the region, the competitive edge increasingly comes from exploiting new opportunities in technology before competitors. In this competitive environment, FVC has been able to build a successful business by drawing on the best of global solutions. This combination of full support for channel partners and market leading products provides both partners and their customers with the full confidence to invest in integrated next generation IT and networking solutions.