Abtran is a market leader in delivering Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Its focus is on strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships with major corporate and government clients in domestic and international markets. Headquartered in Cork, Ireland, Abtran provides its clients with a range of solutions: sales and customer service, administration processing, claims processing, and financial management processing. To support these applications and service offerings, the company operates two data centers, two call centers, and a total of approximately 500 desktops and thirty servers.
Compliance with PCI DSS and ISO 27002 a top priority
“Information security is on the top of our clients’ agendas and it’s on the top of ours as well,” says Robert Ravenscroft, IS security manager of Abtran. “We strive to keep our clients’ processes and data as safe as possible. Our business depends on it.”
Because Abtran BPO services process thousands of credit card transactions daily, compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) is one of Abtran’s top concerns.
Better central management for threat protection needed
Protection from viruses, spyware, and other malware at all endpoints is a non-negotiable requirement for Abtran. For several years, the company was using a popular anti-virus software to protect its desktops and servers, but problems with the product’s central management prompted the company to look for other solutions.
“Rolling out anti-virus clients to new machines would often fail, and we couldn’t count on all of our desktops being up-to-date with the latest signatures,” says Ravenscroft. “Our IT support staff had to physically visit desktops even though we supposedly had central management.”
Choosing security risk management solutions, starting with an IPS
Because intrusion detection and prevention is a key requirement for PCI compliance and ISO 27002, Abtran first focused on finding the right intrusion prevention solution (IPS). After a thorough evaluation, the company chose McAfee Network Security Platform (formerly McAfee IntruShield Network Intrusion Prevention System) to proactively block network attacks before they occur. “The superior architecture and capabilities of the McAfee Network Security Platform set it apart from the competition,” says Ravenscroft. “That, and the fact that McAfee is such a trusted name in the security business.”
Along with the McAfee Network Security Platform 2700 appliance, Abtran deployed two sensors: one inside the company’s firewall and one within the web infrastructure.
In addition to inspecting all incoming packets at line-rate speeds and blocking unwanted and malicious traffic, the McAfee IPS also defends infrastructure components, such as switches, routers, and VoIP deployments, from targeted attacks. The built-in management console also makes it easy for Abtran to provide its clients with monthly reports that detail which intrusions were detected and blocked from their designated private virtual lines.
A few months later, when Abtran turned its attention to replacing its anti-virus solution, it chose McAfee Total Protection (ToPS) for Endpoint with the McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) platform. “We were happy with our first McAfee purchase, but the main driver for going with McAfee this time was ePO,” says Ravenscroft. “ePO’s central management capabilities are far superior to our previous products or any others we’ve seen.”
"Because McAfee provides centrally managed anti-virus protection, encryption, intrusion detection and prevention, vulnerability management, and more, it plays a key role in our road to compliance with PCI, ISO, and other information security standards and customer requirements."Robert Ravenscroft
IS Security Manager, Abtran
Smooth migration to McAfee with ePO platform
Before it began making endpoint threat protection easier to administer, the ePO platform helped Abtran ease migration from the previous solution to McAfee ToPS for Endpoint. “After a one-hour conference call with a McAfee engineer on migration tips, we browsed Microsoft Active Directory and added clients to the console and then had ePO automatically and seamlessly uninstall the old clients from all of our endpoints and push out the McAfee clients,” says Ravenscroft. “It was surprisingly easy.”
Today Abtran uses ToPS for Endpoint to provide anti-virus and anti-spyware protection across its 500 desktops and thirty servers. The company may use the solution’s host-based intrusion prevention functionality and device control in the future as well. Abtran also relies on McAfee Email Security Service to protect incoming emails from viruses, phishing, spam, and other threats.
Saving hours each week with ePO platform
McAfee ePO 4.0 saves Ravenscroft and the Abtran IT support team hours each week. Thanks to its customizable dashboards, they can see at a glance whether all endpoints have the most current .DAT files and, if any are not up to date, which ones need attention. With the ePO platform, deploying a new McAfee client to a new PC or updating the client on existing desktops or servers takes only one minute.
In addition, thanks to the ePO platform’s flexible, automated reporting capabilities, weekly reports that used to take three to four hours now only take one to two minutes. Ravenscroft also appreciates that, because the ePO platform is web-based, he can access it easily at home or on the road over a secure connection.
Centrally managed SRM, from anti-virus protection to encryption
Abtran continues to strengthen its SRM portfolio — with McAfee as the first vendor it considers when adding new functionality. To assess vulnerabilities on its network, the company purchased McAfee Vulnerability Manager. Now, Abtran administrators can schedule periodic automatic scans of all systems or a subset of systems on the network, to help detect vulnerabilities as soon as they arise and accelerate time to remediation.
To prevent data loss from the company’s 40 laptop PCs, Abtran purchased McAfee Endpoint Encryption. Transparent to end users, Endpoint Encryption restricts data access — to a full disk or specified folders and files — to authenticated users. In the future, Abtran hopes to take advantage of integrating these and other McAfee solutions with ePO for central SRM management—for instance, using the ePO platform to easily push out encryption software updates or agents to new laptops. Says Ravenscroft, “Our McAfee solutions have lots of functionality and integration possibilities that we have yet to tap into.”
“Because McAfee provides centrally managed anti-virus protection, encryption, intrusion detection and prevention, vulnerability management, and more, it plays a key role in our road to compliance with PCI, ISO, and other information security standards and customer requirements,” adds Ravenscroft. “The fact that McAfee is recognized as an industry standard also gives our clients’ confidence, which helps us retain and grow our business.”