Black Mountain Mine is an underground base-metal operation located between Pofadder and Springbok in the Northern Cape, South Africa. The mine is owned and operated by Vedanta Resources of India, which acquired the company along with two other zinc businesses
from Anglo American in 2010.
Vedanta Resources is a globally diversified natural resources group committed to sustainable development, supporting local communities and contributing to the economies of the areas where it operates. The company’s assets and operations are located in the
high growth markets of India, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Liberia, Ireland and Australia.
It is primarily engaged in copper, zinc, silver, aluminum, iron ore and power businesses. Group revenue for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2011 was US$ 11.4 billion.
Software and services:
Microsoft Threat Management Gateway 2010
Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2
Microsoft Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange
Active Directory Certificate Services (Public Key Infrastructure)
Microsoft Network Access Protection
Black Mountain Mine slashes costs, tightens security by standardising on Microsoft solution
Microsoft Gold Partner Gijima has rolled out a Microsoft Business Ready Security solution for Black Mountain Mine as part of a major IT infrastructure modernisation project. The new solution has enabled the mine to dramatically reduce operating costs and
administration overheads, while providing a dynamic, scalable and easy to manage security platform for the future.
Black Mountain urgently needed to invest in a new information security infrastructure following a change in ownership from Anglo American to Vedanta Resources. It also recognised that there was an opportunity to reduce operating costs by modernising its
systems. Located in a remote location and running only a small IT team of its own, Black Mountain needed a ‘light-touch’ security solution that would function reliably with minimal human intervention.
Following its acquisition by Vedanta Resources, Black Mountain Mine decided to completely revamp its information security environment as part of a larger IT overhaul project. The mine depended heavily on its previous owner, Anglo American, for many of its
IT services and infrastructure requirements. As such, it needed to urgently deploy a new technology infrastructure of its own to meet its business needs.
Black Mountain Mine was running a mixture of new and legacy technologies from multiple vendors to cater for its information security needs. These technologies were complex and expensive to support, maintain and manage, demanding more attention than Black
Mountain’s small IT team could comfortably provide.
The information security solutions had grown to sprawl inefficiently over the mine’s physical infrastructure. Black Mountain realised that the split from Anglo American’s IT department was an ideal opportunity to establish a more flexible, modern and cost-effective
When evaluating v potential new security solutions, Black Mountain had a few non-negotiable requirements. Due to the mission-critical nature of the mine’s operations, Black Mountain required a solution that would provide high levels of uptime across its
technology infrastructure. Black Mountain also wanted a solution that would enable it to automate as many processes as possible since it has only a small IT contingent of its own and is located hours away from a major city.
The move away from Anglo’s infrastructure meant that the rollout would need to take place in just one month. Gijima was appointed to oversee the project – from consulting and implementation through to ongoing technical support.
Gijima is one of the largest Microsoft Gold Partners in South Africa with end-to-end competencies across the entire stack of Microsoft enterprise products. It began its engagement at Black Mountain with an in-depth evaluation of the mine’s infrastructure
and then architected a tailored solution based on its requirements.
Gijima proposed a Microsoft Business Ready Security solution for the mining operation’s information security needs. With Black Mountain Mine adopting an end-to-end Microsoft solution across its server and client environments, it made sense for the company
to additionally leverage Microsoft’s technology for information security, says Jayesh Mowjee, Business Manager for Security at Gijima.
Microsoft is today able to provide a complete suite of information security products that stretches from perimeter security and messaging security, through to robust endpoint protection, he adds. “Black Mountain evaluated competitive products from WebSense
and Symantec, but decided that it would it would be better to use a fully integrated stack of Microsoft products,” Mowjee says.
For perimeter security, Gijima helped Black Mountain to implement Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010. The platform provides secure web access while enabling comprehensive protection against multiple web-based threats in a single solution.
Not only does it provide anti-malware inspection and intrusion prevention, it also allows Black Mountain to filter URLs for undesirable web content such as gambling and advertising services.
Gijima configured and deployed Microsoft Windows 7 across the Black Mountain environment to leverage built-in security features within the operating system as well as malware and exploits protection from the Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 implementation.
An additional benefit of this deployment is the tight integration with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, which Black Mountain utilises for client management.
Black Mountain is now able to use its client management infrastructure to deploy, manage and patch endpoint protection, reducing costs through consolidation of infrastructure. Forefront Endpoint Protection uses accurate signatures along with behavioural
detection techniques to protect against both known and unknown threats.
For an extra layer of security, Gijima rolled out Microsoft Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server (FPE) to guard the Black Mountain infrastructure against malware and spam with scanning engines from a number of industry-leading security partners
in a single solution.
Recognising that Black Mountain supports a sizeable population of remote users, Gijima configured Network Access Protection (NAP), a feature built into Windows Server, to provide secure network access.
The IPSec-based solution analyses the security status of every device that attempts to connect to the network. This allows Black Mountain to ensure that notebooks, home computers and other devices used to log into its network remotely comply with its security
As the final piece of the puzzle, Gijima assisted Black Mountain with the creation of a public key infrastructure (PKI) solution based on Microsoft Active Directory Certificate Services. It provides the supporting infrastructure to enable secure internal
network access, secure web access and secure remote application access to corporate data. Active Directory Certificate Services provides customisable services for issuing and managing public key certificates used in software security systems that employ public
With Gijima’s support, Black Mountain Mine has transformed its legacy information security environment into a modern infrastructure that is aligned with the latest technology standards and best practices and that will dynamically grow and scale to meet its
future business needs. Black Mountain now has security systems and practices in place that will safeguard its data and systems from threats ranging from hacking attempts to malware.
Black Mountain Mine has realised significant cost-savings through consolidation, simplification and automation of its information security infrastructure. It has saved money by decommissioning antivirus servers since it is able to run Forefront Endpoint
Protection on the same infrastructure as Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.
Rather than purchasing PKI certificates from a third-party issuer, Black Mountain is able to issue its own, also reducing costs for the mining company. Other cost-savings have flowed from the automation of processes that once needed to be handled manually.
With its Microsoft security infrastructure in place, Black Mountain can manage its IT infrastructure, centrally and in a proactive manner. It is able to monitor it from a central console and receives detailed reports about the status of its environment.
Gijima’s solution has enabled Black Mountain to achieve its goal of a ‘light-touch’ environment since most of the day-to-day security processes such as patches and deployments of desktop antimalware clients simply happen in the background without any need
for human intervention. That enables Black Mountain’s IT manager to focus his energy on business value rather than patching software and ensuring antivirus databases are up to date.
“Microsoft was the only vendor that could provide us with a seamless, end-to-end security solution that integrated so well with the rest of our IT infrastructure. Thanks to its centralised management tools and high level of automation, the Microsoft security
solution needs very little attention from our IT department. It just works, perfectly.”
- Hannes Van Der Berg, Head of Information Technology, Black Mountain Mine