decoded.Legal is a telecoms, Internet and technology law practice based in Newbury.
The FireBrick started being used within the firm as a basic Internet router with firewall. But gradually, over time, it has started to be used in a variety of other roles; firstly with a 4G dongle in the unit's USB port offering failover protection against line outages, then as a VPN server, and finally now even a Voice Over IP (VoIP) PBX, with handsets registering to it, and it registering with external SIP services.
Conscious of communications privacy, their lawyers automatically route all traffic from their mobile devices through the VPN functionality of the FireBrick when out and about, to ensure that traffic is always encrypted when passing over other networks, before breaking out over their Andrews & Arnold Internet connection.
The inbuilt PBX functionality of the FireBrick has enabled localised call recording as well, meaning that no call recordings are ever stored 'in the cloud'. Again, this facility ought to be important to any privacy-conscious business, but it is especially important to a law firm in the technology sector.
The DNS facilities of the FireBrick make it easy to do network-level ad blocking, and decoded:Legal also reported that they placed huge value on how straightforward firmware updates are to perform, and how easy it is to download configuration backups for archival purposes (and for recovery in the case of a problem).
Installing a 4G dongle in the USB port of the FireBrick enables failover functionality. Should your main connectivity break down, the dongle seamlessly takes over. This is also very straightforward, often needing no configuration at all.
The FireBrick supports a number of different types of VPN tunnel, but encrypted IPsec VPNs are generally regarded as a safe way to operate data over not-necessarily-trusted networks; for example open wifi. All traffic is tunnelled encrypted back to the 'home' Internet connection. This also means that traffic to internal servers never travels across the open Internet in the clear.
With a move over to cloud VoIP, it might be wondered why operating a local VoIP PBX is necessary. Some features often do not work well in cloud VoIP; for example, busy lamp fields, and support for unusual devices such as entry phones can be patchy. Also internal calls do not have to traverse the Internet, and call recordings can be made and stored entirely locally, improving privacy.
(All the network diagrams on these case study pages are very rough representations and are not an accurate representation of live networks)