WatchGuard Technologies

Tulalip Tribes Case Study

The following case study was written for WatchGuard Technologies in September, 2007. WatchGuard is a Seattle-based company specializing in network security appliances.

Tulalip Tribes Uses WatchGuard Firebox X5000 Appliances to Integrate Security for Multiple LANs with a Central WAN



Tulalip Tribes is a federally-recognized Native American tribal organization governing several tribes on the Tulalip Reservation in the north Puget Sound area of Washington. The Tulalip Tribal Government contracted with Tek Net Solutions, a private consulting firm, to provide security for the organization's networks. Using WatchGuard's Firebox X5000 appliances, Tek Net Solutions created a security solution that seamlessly integrated Tulalip Tribes' central WAN and a dozen separate LANs owned by various departments and facilities on the Tulalip Reservation.


Company Overview

Tulalip Tribes is a federally-recognized Native American Tribe located on the Tulalip Reservation near Marysville, WA. The Tulalip Tribes Reservation was established by Executive Order in 1873, and provides a permanent home for Samish, Skagit, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Stillaguamish, and Suiattle Tribes, and allied bands living in the Puget Sound region of northwest Washington State.

The Tulalip Tribal Government is responsible for administration of all departments and facilities on the Tulalip Reservation. These include:

  • Tribal government departments such as the Administration, Education, Finance, Human Resources, Natural Resources, and Utilities departments.

  • Public service departments such as the Office of Emergency Management, Fire Department, Police Department, and Tribal Court.

  • Community service organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Elders/Senior Services, Family & Youth Services, Health Clinic and Pharmacy, and Youth Hope House.

  • Tribal businesses such as the Amphitheater, Tulalip Casino, and Quil Ceda Village and Casino.


The Challenge

Many of the departments and facilities on the Tulalip Reservation have their own separate Local Area Network. Tulalip Tribes required a solution that would provide security for a dozen separate LANs, while allowing those networks to integrate seamlessly with the tribal organization's central WAN. The organization required a solution that would provide secure Internet access for voice, video, and data for all government services, and would also provide security for hosted web servers for all the separate tribes, plus the Quil Ceda Village and the casinos.

Tulalip's executives and upper management needed the capability to access to their networks, servers, and desktops while traveling. The VPN connection had to be secure and reliable. Additional security was needed for the Tribal Medical Center and Pharmacy, to comply with HIPAA requirements.

Finding a solution that would provide security for multiple disparate LANs proved to be an exceptional challenge. Tulalip Tribes had previously contracted with Verizon to provide network security services, but the vendor had been unable to successfully deploy their product, Cisco Pixbox, due to the number of separate LANs involved.


The Solution

Tulalip Tribes contacted Tek Net Solutions, a privately-held firm that provides network and security consulting services. After several meetings with Tulalip Tribes to determine how extensive the security should be, Tek Net Solutions recommended a solution employing WatchGuard Firebox X5000 security appliances.

WatchGuard's Firebox X5000 appliances offer zero day attack protection combined with integrated security applications to guard against spyware, viruses, spam, and web-based attacks. Additionally, the WatchGuard Firebox X5000 offered the advanced networking features and low latency throughput that Tulalip Tribes needed to unite its disparate LANs and central WAN under one comprehensive Unified Threat Management solution.


Key Benefits

Enhanced Security for Network Connectivity

Tek Net Solutions recommended WatchGuard's Firebox X5000 for their advanced networking features, including 2.0 Gbps firewall throughput to support high-speed LAN infrastructures and gigabit WAN connections. The Firebox X5000 appliance's ability to perform stateful packet inspections in addition to application layer inspections made it ideal for providing security to Tulalip Tribes' multiple networks.

"[The Tulalip Tribes solution] was a challenge, because of the number of different networks the organization had," says Jeffrey Gray, president of Tek Net Solutions. "We had to build in quite a route table. We created around seventy custom packet filters to allow all the different types of data through to the different areas of networks. The fact that WatchGuard was flexible enough to be able to route traffic efficiently between all the different networks was a huge advantage."



Tulalip Tribes specified that redundancy was a mandatory requirement for their security solution. Tek Net Solutions installed two WatchGuard Firebox X5000 appliances in High Availability mode. The second appliance serves as an automatic backup in case the first appliance fails.



As part of the Tulalip Tribes security setup, the WatchGuard Firebox X5000 was deployed in tandem with an RSA Technologies secure authentication server and an Avontail ST-1500 SSL-VPN appliance. The WatchGuard Firebox X5000's compatibility with these technologies was an important feature in creating a successful integrated security solution.

"The fact that WatchGuard meshes with the RSA secure authentication server was very critical," says Jeffrey Gray. "Tulalip wanted dual authentication methodologies to allow their people to come in remotely, and to keep unwanted traffic out of the network. We used the RSA authentication server in conjunction with their token key fonts, so we actually had three types of authentication being applied to remote access users before they ever got to the LAN. Actually there were four, because Avontail SSL-VPN appliance played a part in that as well."

Easy Security Management

Since the deployment, Tulalip Tribes has found it easy to manage their security network. WatchGuard System Manager provides streamlined management and implementation of new security policies.

"It seems like any particular application, I've been able to implement with the WatchGuard firewall," says Glenn Dalgliesh, TDS Network Engineer for Tulalip Tribes. "We have certain "access allows" that I've been able to implement with no trouble. Also, we use the SYSLOG to assist us in isolating threats within the network, whether they are inside or outside. We can isolate viruses and examine denial-of-service attacks to help us identify and eliminate problems within our network."

"The LiveSecurity service has been helpful also, in providing maintenance and threat updates. Overall, the WatchGuard Firebox X5000 appliance solution has provided us with a very stable, robust, low latency firewall."


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