Teachers Credit Union (TCU) is the largest credit union in Indiana, with over $1.8 billion in assets and 37 branches throughout both Indiana and Michigan. The credit union’s 630 employees provide traditional financial, travel and insurance services for more than 250,000 union members.
Overwhelmed with email security management
Even though adequate physical security for the bank branches is necessary, TCU is aware that its most challenging criminals may never go near a bank branch. As such, the company takes proactive steps to secure its network systems from Internet hackers who could steal valuable union member names, account numbers and passwords.
TCU’s Network Engineer Robert Boenne shares email management responsibilities with one other network engineer, and he manages the Windows servers, virtual private network (VPN), desktops and laptops. Early on, he recognized the importance of catching inbound viruses, spam and other malware at the gateway, before they reached the Company’s 600 email users. “
At the time, we were using a software-based mail filtering product that had reached the end of its lifecycle. To augment this older program, we employed a desktop anti-virus solution. We knew we needed a change when the desktop product started catching email viruses that the mail filtering software had missed, and when more spam was getting through to end users,” explains Boenne.
In addition to the aging mail filtering software, Boenne says that his department was not happy with the previous vendor’s technical support. With rapidly increasing mail volume, the software-only product could not keep up with demand. “Because the old product had problems keeping up with the high volume of mail traffic, I had to constantly monitor and manage the system on a daily basis. Also, when a new version of the product was released, the vendor split the functionality into two separate products, which would have meant licensing them separately. We decided this was the perfect time to find a better solution,” says Boenne.
Advantages of appliance-based security
In 2003, after much consideration, TCU selected McAfee Email Gateway (IronMail) from the McAfee Network Security Business Unit (formerly Secure Computing). Although TCU had considered a managed services solution, the company could not justify the costs involved. The McAfee Email Gateway appliance-based solution afforded TCU the best cost structure, the most efficient administration, and superior product features and functionality. Boenne also particularly liked McAfee Email Gateway’s integrated mail encryption feature, since providing a way for employees to send secure emails remained a high priority.
“When our employees communicate confidential information to vendors or credit union members, we have to pay special attention to outbound security,” says Boenne. “These emails must be encrypted, or sent in a secure manner. McAfee Email Gateway gave us the necessary tools to enforce our outbound email policies.”
In addition to McAfee’s encryption capabilities, Boenne also valued McAfee’s ability to stop inbound attacks that come in the form of spam and viruses.
The initial implementation of McAfee Email Gateway was very simple and took less than a day. “Once set up, it does not require much administration. Our time spent managing the system is now less than one hour a month,” says Boenne.
As an appliance-based solution, McAfee Email Gateway does not require constant management or oversight from Boenne and his team.
“McAfee Email Gateway gave us the ability to just set it up and forget about it,” Boenne adds. “Knowing that it is constantly working in the background to secure our email environment provides tremendous peace of mind.”
Now, TCU uses McAfee Anti-Virus along with McAfee Email Gateway v.6.5.3 and McAfee Email Encryption, Gateway Edition.
"McAfee Email Gateway gave us the ability to just set it up and forget about it. Knowing that it is constantly working in the background to secure our email environment provides tremendous peace of mind."Robert Boenne
Network Engineer, Teachers Credit Union
Trusted Source brings peace of mind
McAfee’s reputation-based technology, TrustedSource, was integrated into McAfee Email Gateway. The release of TrustedSource happened to coincide with a huge spike in spam traffic to TCU’s domain, so the company immediately recognized its value. TCU has come to rely on TrustedSource as a means of accurately detecting and preventing attacks before they enter the network.
“My opinion of TrustedSource is that it is the single most important technology McAfee has released on the device since we purchased it,” says Boenne. “The appliance itself delivers tremendous benefits, but TrustedSource adds a whole new dimension of possibilities. Now we can go well beyond just relying upon signatures and heuristics to filter spam.”
Consistent, reliable email protection
TCU’s purchase of McAfee Email Gateway has resulted in consistent, reliable protection for both inbound and outbound email. The company has also realized a number of other significant gains.
For example, blocking illegitimate connections at the gateway has resulted in much greater efficiency. Currently, TCU blocks about 58 percent of all inbound connections (approximately 150,000). Of the 42 percent of inbound connections accepted, eight percent are passed on to the end user. The result is a much more efficient and easily manageable inbox—and a safe and secure mail environment free from malware and spam.