How UGI used Shadow-Soft’s Technical Expertise to Upgrade JBoss and Fix Security Vulnerabilities

UGI Utilities, Inc. had been using outdated software that was complicating it’s environment and contributing to security vulnerabilities. Shadow-Soft’s technical team helped UGI modernize and secure its infrastructure.

UGI Utilities JBoss Upgrade

Challenge

UGI is a natural gas and electric company committed to delivering reliable, safe, and affordable energy to 700,000 customers in 45 counties in Pennsylvania and one county in Maryland.

The company was in the process of trying to decommission outdated software with a goal of simplifying their environment. Tom Walck, Lead Systems Administrator, needed to replace a Blue Coat reverse proxy server that was contributing to security vulnerabilities.

UGI was using Blue Coat to do a job that it wasn’t designed to do. In addition to the hardware cost, there was also the matter of soft costs – especially since the UGI team wasn’t familiar with the system.

“Blue Coat was not the ideal solution, and it was time to get that out of the mix.”

Tom planned to use a reverse proxy through Apache, but ran into problems because his rule set was too broad. It was allowing the outside world to access internal applications through the Internet.

“We wanted to restrict that range down to only applications that have been identified by a particular URL or URI in that string.”

Tom had been using an old, outdated JBoss application server for some other applications. His goal was to upgrade the company’s JBoss to 7.0, which provided a great opportunity to modernize UGI’s infrastructure.

Related: Learn more about Shadow-Soft’s JBoss Consulting Services

Solution

Tom knew what he wanted, but didn’t have the technical resources or skills to actually implement his plan. He called on Shadow-Soft for these resources and technical competence. He found himself impressed with Shadow-Soft’s care, attention, and expertise from the beginning.

“Shadow-Soft was really good to work with. They communicated well and kept me up to date on what was going on.”

The Shadow-Soft services team first helped Tom with the skillsets around the Apache configuration, assisting him in narrowing the rule set and understanding the system.

“Shadow-Soft added the most value by providing the technical expertise and on-hand resources with specific skillsets to execute what we were looking to do.”

Shadow-Soft also helped UGI install a base JBoss EAP 7 standalone using best practices. A full knowledge and skills transfer was completed, enabling Tom and his team to handle similar problems in the future.

“I just pulled up the documentation the other day and was able to do some other configurations and setups in my QA environment and production environment.”

Outcome

“Competent, patient, well-managed – it’s a good engagement overall.”

UGI’s experience with Shadow-Soft resulted in several benefits, finding success in a number of areas. The results speak for themselves:

  • Configured Apache HTTP server to whitelist only certain URLs of internal applications. This added a level of security to the organization, as it prohibited access to internal applications from the Internet without network architecture reconfiguration.
  • Developed and deployed a simple J2EE application onto the JBoss EAP 7 server, demonstrating to the client how applications can be deployed onto the server.
  • Knowledge transfer provided material and documentation, which helped enable UGI and made the staff more self-sufficient.

“Shadow-Soft did what I needed to do in a timeframe that was good. They weren’t overbearing or anything about it. They communicated well, executed well, and were patient with me.”

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