A Decade of System Protection with McAfee for German Manufacturer GROB-WERKE GmbH

GROB-WERKE GmbH & Co. KG provides state-of-the-art machining centers and complex flexible systems for automating manufacturing operations. Nearly all manufacturers of high-quality automobiles, as well as their suppliers, use precision GROB products in producing their vehicles’ powertrain components. GROB’s 80-year record for quality and reliability has earned it dozens of awards for excellence and a reputation unmatched in its industry.

GROB is headquartered in Mindelheim, Germany, and has major operations in the U.S., Brazil, and China, with a smaller presence in many other countries. GROB employs 3,000 people and generates €500 million in annual revenues.

Cost-effectiveness and total dedication to security distinguish McAfee
Near the turn of the millennium, with the prevalence of viruses and spyware growing exponentially, GROB recognized the need to provide better protection for its endpoints. The firm developed a set of selection criteria for its new infrastructure security suite. Number one was dependable, thorough endpoint protection, but the ever-frugal company also wanted to contain its costs—both for initial outlay and for ongoing administration and support. Finally, GROB wanted its new vendor to be much more than a quick solution to a short-term problem; it wanted a life-long partner capable of continually developing technology to address security concerns not even imaginable at the time.

GROB researched and evaluated the leading information security vendors and soon found that one of them stood above the rest in all those respects: McAfee. “Considering everything involved in total cost of ownership, McAfee provided the best value on the market at the time, just as they do today,” explains Wolfgang Rothermel, manager of IT for the company. “McAfee products do a superior job at protecting our endpoints from threats, and they save us an enormous amount of time with their centralized management. No other major vendor has McAfee’s total dedication to information security, and no one pours more resources into keeping its customers safe from emerging threats.”

McAfee protects endpoints from increasingly sophisticated viruses and spyware while reducing time needed to manage
GROB began building its McAfee arsenal in late 1999 by arming its then nearly 800 endpoints with McAfee VirusScan Enterprise and McAfee Anti-spyware Enterprise, along with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator® (ePO™) for management. The effect was immediate: the new armaments thwarted all the threats that had been plaguing the firm’s desktops and laptops, and continued to do so even as malware became more sophisticated.

Furthermore, as GROB’s experience with the McAfee solutions grew, its appreciation for the central administration powers of ePO grew in tandem. “We understood from the beginning that a single point of administration was valuable from an ease of administration perspective, but we quickly began to appreciate the full extent of ePO’s contributions once implemented and the time savings became evident,” says Rothermel. “McAfee ePO provides instant notification about all security events and excellent, accurate compliance reports. It gives us the ability to design tasks and have them run automatically, which is a huge time saver. Without ePO, we would have to put in at least twice as much time to get the same amount of work done,” added Thomas Queisser, helpdesk team manager.

"Our McAfee software has protected us 100 percent of the time against security risks, and we are confident that it will continue to do so. This peace of mind is priceless. We are very happy with our decision to make McAfee our long-term partner for information security."

Wolfgang Rothermel
Manager of IT, GROB-WERKE GmbH

GROB adds extra layers of protection for laptops
As the next step in building its investment with McAfee, in 2004, GROB secured McAfee Desktop Firewall to gain an additional layer of protection for its laptops, which were especially vulnerable when employees took them off-site. Initially the firm added this fortification only for laptops that left the network, but it has proved so valuable that soon the company will extend the firewall to embrace all its laptops.

While the anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall protections from McAfee did an excellent job of shielding the laptops from electronic incursions, the threat of laptop loss or theft remained. Many of these laptops contain vital information which the company could ill-afford to fall into the wrong hands.

Therefore in 2008, with its presence in China growing rapidly, GROB took the next step by deciding to encrypt the data on all its laptops. “We knew McAfee Endpoint Encryption was the solution for us,” says Queisser. “Besides, buying any other solution would have doubled our management effort. Adding another McAfee solution, on the other hand, is virtually no extra burden because all McAfee software is centrally administered from one ePO console.”

GROB upgrades to McAfee Total Protection for Endpoint Essential, adding Host Intrusion Prevention, decreasing patch cycles
In 2009 GROB took its most recent step by upgrading its endpoint protection, now protecting approximately 2,000 desktops and laptops, to the McAfee Total Protection for Endpoint Essential suite. This solution includes the anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall capabilities that were already in place and adds McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention to guard against threats that enter endpoints via operating system flaws.

McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention will save considerable off-hours work for the firm’s IT staff. “To protect ourselves from incursions, it has previously been mandatory that we install operating system patches as soon as we received them, and we have done so at night when we could afford downtime. At times it felt like our IT people were in here every night applying patches,” Rothermel explains. “By closing security leaks as they arise, McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention will take the pressure off. We will be able to install patches on a much more reasonable schedule, perhaps once a month, thus allowing us more time to perform other security-related tasks.”

Central administration saves time, eases management and deployment
Like all its other McAfee solutions, GROB is finding it straightforward to install and deploy Host Intrusion Prevention because of the centralized management performed via ePO. “Having a single point of administration is the single biggest reason why we continue to stay with McAfee for IT infrastructure security,” Rothermel comments. “It greatly simplifies management of our software and installation of new capabilities.”

GROB expects its ten-year record of success with McAfee to continue
McAfee software now has a decade-long success record helping GROB avoid security breaches, and the company has every intention of continuing with its all-McAfee solution for the indefinite future. “Having a suite of security solutions from one vendor that works well together and is centrally managed is definitely the way to go for us,” concludes Rothermel. “Our McAfee software has protected us 100 percent of the time against security risks, and we are confident that it will continue to do so. This peace of mind is priceless. We are very happy with our decision to make McAfee our long-term partner for information security.”

GROB-WERKE

Customer profile

Supplier of flexible manufacturing equipment

Industry

Manufacturing

IT environment

GROB-WERKE has approximately 2,000 desktops and mobile devices networked with 70 Windows servers and several AIX, Solaris, and Linux machines

Challenges

GROB-WERKE needed to fully protect its endpoints with minimal IT resources and limited budget

McAfee solution

  • McAfee Total Protection for Endpoint Essential provides anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, and host intrusion prevention for approximately 2,000 endpoints
  • McAfee Endpoint Encryption protects data on 280 laptops
  • McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator provides a single management console for all these products

Results

  • Has achieved a 10-year record of success mitigating 100% of security risks
  • Centralizes management, saving 50% of the time it would otherwise take to perform dministration and deployment
  • Closes security leaks immediately, allowing patches to be installed at a comfortable pace
  • Encrypts data on laptops, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data in the event a laptop is lost or stolen