Roger Williams University Gives Ericom's PowerTerm®

Roger Williams University Gives Ericom’s PowerTerm® WebConnect Straight A’s for Providing Secure Telnet Access to their Student Information System




Roger Williams University


   PowerTerm® WebConnect

WebConnect Server

   Windows 2003

Application Server

   AIX-IBM, Linux


   Wyse60, VT100, VT420

Number of Users


The Challenge

   To provide employees with secure, browser-based access to the Datatel ERP system.

The Result

   PowerTerm WebConnect now provides secure, centrally managed, local and remote access (via VPN) to terminal-based applications.


  • Improved IT department productivity with centralized management and single-point administration
  • Quick applications deployments and updates to users or groups of users saves staff time costs
  • Remote desktop support for help-desk troubleshooting
  • Enhanced user productivity

"Since we started using Ericom’s product, we haven’t had the need to look at others. Within the Datatel community we refer them continually. Just go to Ericom."
Kevin Duarte, Associate Director of Special Projects and Integration, Roger Williams University

Roger Williams University is a private liberal arts university located on the water in beautiful Bristol, Rhode Island. With 1,100-plus employees and more than 3,700 undergraduate students, the University is one of the fastest-growing liberal arts institutions in the United States.

For over a decade, the IT department has been providing the University with access to the Datatel student information system, via a Telnet terminal emulation package. Growing security concerns prompted them to find an application host access solution that would ensure secure connections for the more than 400 administration and staff users that access Datatel daily. "It’s the University’s lifeline - student records, accounts receivable, finance, human resources, development and institutional advancement - everything is on that system and it needs to be secure,” Kevin explained.

From Client-Based to Browser-Based Emulation

The University had purchased several licenses of PowerTerm Pro, Ericom’s secure Telnet solution, but soon decided to take it campus-wide. "We would have stayed with PowerTerm Pro, but ultimately we wanted a secure product that would be easy to deploy and manage. We wanted a browser-based SSH terminal emulation package. We downloaded and tested PowerTerm WebConnect. This product exceeded our expectations and met all our goals for secure access to our systems. We purchased one PowerTerm WebConnect site license that today serves as our primary secure application access solution to our ERP and other Unix and Linux-based systems,"e; Kevin added.

"Another benefit of this solution is that we no longer have to visit every desktop to install or update the application. With PowerTerm WebConnect, we perform all updates once on the server, and those changes are propagated every time an end-user opens up a new terminal session.”

The remote desktop support tool also has proven to be invaluable. When a user requests help from an IT technician, selecting the ’Help Request’ link authorizes the technician to take control of the user’s desktop. "Recently, a user phoned IT to say he couldn't find a certain link on the Datatel Menu webpage. We told him to use the 'Request Help' tool sitting on his screen to allow us to look at the webpage he was on. Taking control of his workstation, we immediately identified the problem - he was on the wrong webpage. We quickly changed the URL remotely and up came the proper page on his screen. Everyone was happy! For us, it's a priceless time-saver.”

Other ways in which PowerTerm WebConnect product has enhanced end-user productivity is by allowing end-users to cascade multiple windows on their desktops. "Since WebConnect is browser-based, users can cascade or tile the sessions vertically and have several separate Datatel sessions open simultaneously. The bursar's office constantly uses this feature. They can run a large process on one side of the screen and do account work-ups on the other. It's all in one nice convenient screen without one having to alt-tab between screens.”

A Pain-Free Installation

The IT department has had minimum contact with Ericom's Support team, because there hasn't really been a need. "We had one issue in mapping a delete key that is specific to the Datatel application. We sent an email to Ericom and a support person got back to us the same day with an answer. Now the application works flawlessly.”

"Also, switching to PowerTerm WebConnect has been a totally transparent process for the end user. Productivity is high. The screens look the same, all function keys are still the same and we've had no problems or complaints,” added Kevin.

Summing up the Benefits: Security and Business

Kevin stated that PowerTerm WebConnect has provided two major benefits to the University: "First, secure communications - even on campus. As an educational institution, we are required to comply with government regulations regarding student privacy. So having a totally secure connection to student information is a big plus for us. It both eliminates the risks of anyone intercepting and decoding information over the network from the Datatel system transactions and it puts us ahead of Federal regulatory compliance. Secondly, from a business standpoint, the product is incredibly easy to implement and maintain; being web-based, it saves us a great deal of time and money since we do not have to visit to 800+ workstations in order to install the application”.

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