Secure File Sharing in Architecture, Engineering and Construction: Cimarex

May 9, 2012 1 Comment »
Secure File Sharing in Architecture, Engineering and Construction: Cimarex

Background

Based in Denver, Colorado, Cimarex Energy, Co., is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with primary operations in the Mid-Continent, Permian Basin and Gulf Coast oil areas of the U.S.  With an extensive roster of geoscientists and exploration teams, Cimarex is focused on assessing and generating drilling prospects and programs—determining which reserves will deliver optimized production rates and a strong return on investment. In 2010, the company’s proved reserves totaled 1.88 trillion cubic feet.

Cimarex employees are in constant contact with external stakeholders such as land and well owners, regularly sharing large documents that contain sensitive data: financial, tax and other personal information. In addition, the company works closely with graduate students at local universities who conduct ongoing research for exploration projects, collaborating on sensitive findings related to simulation flows, seismic data and mapping documentation. The company actively recruits from these universities, so ensuring a professional, positive experience for students is key.

Challenges

To handle daily communication exchanges with the company’s key external audiences, Cimarex originally deployed two different vendor offerings: Accellion Secure File Transfer and Microsoft SharePoint. Accellion was originally implemented as a more secure and user-friendly alternative to FTP services, giving employees the freedom to share documents larger than 20MB, while offloading large files from the company’s email system.

SharePoint was used for collaboration and document sharing with students, but it was not a viable, long-term solution for the company. The product’s licensing structure did not support Cimarex’s business operations, as the company could not predict the number of student users year to year, resulting in significant product price jumps in order to scale as needed.

Ultimately, Cimarex wanted to make it as easy as possible for employees to collaborate internally and externally, while ensuring that the medium of choice could support unlimited end users and was cost effective, and while also making IT’s life easier with minimal administration.

“We needed simplicity without compromising function,” said Rey Mirabal, Network Systems Engineer with Cimarex. “Our users were already familiar with Accellion as a file transfer solution, so it was a natural progression to move to Accellion Secure Collaboration for all of our file-sharing needs.”

Secure Solution

Cimarex conducted a two-month trial of Accellion Secure Collaboration, initially using the solution for its work with the University of Oklahoma. With Accellion, Cimarex employees created secure workspaces for research to be reviewed, shared and revised—giving graduate students and staff a central place to collaborate on current exploration projects. Owing to the positive feedback from Cimarex employees, the company decided to deploy Accellion Secure Collaboration for use across all four office locations.

Today, each university program has its own workspace, with an individual Cimarex employee acting as the administrator—relying on the product’s intuitive end user application to determine who has posting privileges, viewing rights and so on. Ensuring that workspaces were not visible to everyone was an important security feature for the universities, as much of the research contains proprietary information.

“Accellion provides our partners with the peace of mind that their confidential files remain confidential,” said Mirabal. “We can now send, receive, and share information in a highly secure and safe environment, and it’s a part of how we do business every day.”

Cimarex deployed Accellion in its existing VMware virtual environment, providing the flexibility to scale as the company’s needs evolve, enabling collaboration with any number of users. The product’s scalability has translated to significant cost savings, reducing the company’s annual IT expenses by more than 20 percent following its transition from SharePoint.

“As an IT person, if I can save time—and money—it’s the ideal combination,” said Mirabal. “Accellion has improved how we communicate and reduced our costs, proving its worth and then some.”

The company continues to rely on Accellion’s secure managed file transfer capabilities, with its legal department and other staff members sharing sensitive, data-intensive 100GB+ files. With Accellion’s LDAP integration, Cimarex employees are automatically validated with existing network accounts and passwords, adding to the solution’s user-friendly experience.

Benefits

  • Reduced storage needs and costs
  • Ease of IT Administration
  • Secure global collaboration
  • Full reporting and tracking

Specifications

Cimarex
Deployed Since 2005
# of Internal and External Users 775 internal, unlimited external
LDAP/AD Directory Integration? Yes
Web Interface Custom
Email Integration? Yes

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