With a business model rooted in car repair as well as the specialist market for original quality car products, A.T.U is expanding beyond Weiden in the Upper Palatinate of Germany, and stepping up to the European stage. The company is already represented throughout Austria, and the network of branches is now being expanded to include Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
Wanted: Secure, readily-available email and web communications
Secure and readily available email and web communication is pivotal to the organization and performance of any company operating across borders in Europe. The availability of comprehensive reporting functions is an essential factor in being able to provide complete evidence at all times, to both investors and stakeholders, as well as within the scope of legal regulations. The existing decentralized IT structures at A.T.U, the product of years of development, were no longer fulfilling these requirements. “We are an international company on the path to significant further expansion. Each year we open around 50 new branches,” explains Manfred Gerlach, IT Manager at A.T.U. “Therefore, there is a need to protect our IT systems centrally from any form of malicious attack and to safeguard effective web and email communication for our 15,000 employees. This necessitates reliable, fail-safe implementation of all IT systems. In addition, to proactively avoid interruptions, we must also guarantee maximum protection from attacks and hackers who use the Internet and IT environments.”
To address these issues, A.T.U, together with its system integrator and consulting company “circular,” has developed a completely new security concept. The decentralized installations have been gradually phased out, with the end goal of fully centralizing security management.
"The influx of spam has been drastically cut – by as much as 99%. The risks associated with malicious emails, viruses and malware infiltrating our systems and compromising operation have been radically reduced."Bernhard Panzer
Network, Server and Security Manager, A.T.U
Choosing scalable, centralized solutions
From the outset, only high-performance, scalable solutions were considered suitable for the protection of all email traffic and the web gateway at A.T.U. Comprehensive management and reporting functions were also essential, particularly since the company has grown from a one-time family business to a large-scale European enterprise. A.T.U must verify the availability of its IT systems and must thoroughly document who communicates via the corporate platform. Specific reports must also be produced for use in IT auditing and the credit services sector, as well as to meet legal requirements. It was in relation to these specific requirements that A.T.U considered products from McAfee’s Network Security Business Unit (formerly Secure Computing). In addition to a well-engineered range of security features, McAfee Email Gateway (IronMail) and McAfee Web Gateway (Webwasher) both provide comprehensive internal and external reporting and monitoring functions. For instance, IT administrators can use these functions at any time to analyze where capacity bottlenecks occur and which factors impair network traffic.
The consulting company circular had recommended the positioning of McAfee Email Gateway and McAfee Web Gateway as central, scalable components of the security infrastructure to secure email and web communication. “From our point of view, the products from McAfee are virtually indispensable within a high-availability IT security architecture due to McAfee’s market-leading technologies,” explains Alexander Krist, Sales Manager at circular.
Following an initial security audit and comprehensive security analysis, circular developed a solution scenario for A.T.U. The central concept included the construction and operation of a super-ordinate IT security infrastructure at the company’s headquarters. This infrastructure would manage and secure all email and web communication for the entire A.T.U workforce.
Drastic decrease in spam activity correlates to an increase in employee efficiency
After agreement was reached between A.T.U and circular, A.T.U tested McAfee Email Gateway and McAfee Web Gateway for several weeks in order to evaluate the performance of the products in a network environment. “The implementation and the entire test procedure were completed without issue,” says Krist. “For our part, we were confident of the performance capabilities and strengths of the products right from the start. The test showed A.T.U that the applications met the requirements in all respects, and that they are very easy to manage.”
A.T.U put both new solutions directly into live operation immediately following the test phase. Both Email Gateway and Web Gateway have been in reliable, 24/7 operation ever since. The solutions rule out the possibility of anyone manipulating, destroying, or spying on sensitive company information. McAfee Email Gateway and McAfee Web Gateway also save A.T.U employees a great deal of time by helping them to concentrate more closely on their principal activities.
“Our employees are very happy with the new solution,” explains Bernhard Panzer, Network, Server and Security Manager at A.T.U. “The influx of spam has been drastically cut - by as much as 99%. The risks associated with malicious emails, viruses and malware infiltrating our systems and compromising operations have been radically reduced.”
After completion of the migration process, all access to ERP in the future will be through the new centralized IT infrastructure. In addition, A.T.U is evaluating McAfee data encryption products for the next stage of its plan to manage email security with selected communication partners.