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CLIENT: NETWORK BOX USA
Aug. 20, 2008: Credit Union Tech-Talk
Network Box Corporation was founded over a decade ago by three British entrepreneurs and has expanded rapidly to become one of the world's leading suppliers of UTM (unified threat management) solutions. UTM, sometimes called the next generation of firewall technology, is used to describe network firewalls that have many features in one box, including e-mail spam filtering, anti-virus capability, an intrusion detection (or prevention) system (IDS or IPS), VPN (virtual private network) protection, and World Wide Web content filtering, along with the traditional activities of a firewall.
This new generation of secure gateways enables organizations of all sizes to obtain the highest levels of security and application level control over networked traffic, while simultaneously removing the need for multiple management stations and servers.
Credit union CFOs will appreciate the fact that Network Box UTM appliances reduce the capital and operational expenses of purchasing, managing and maintaining a multitude of different solutions and provide a flexible path for future adoption of additional security functions without the need to purchase additional hardware. This enables reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) and preservation of the credit union's security investment.
>From an environmental perspective, UTM deployments translate into fewer devices in your data center which in turn has a direct positive impact on cooling and power consumption. UTM appliances truly represent a green alternative due to their overall smaller carbon footprint. On the back end, there is also the energy reduction in the manufacturing phase, as well as less hardware to recycle at end of life.
Credit union IT Directors that deploy UTM solutions enjoy the inherent risk reduction and labor savings UTM devices offer. With solutions from different vendors, IT employees must learn different ways of managing the various operating systems and services, with all the inconsistencies this involves. One UTM device is much easier to manage and this simplification by its very nature means that the credit union has a less riskier environment. Finally, troubleshooting becomes much more straightforward and less time-consuming if and when something goes wrong. The bottom line is that the best solution is the simpler solution - managing one appliance only.
Even though UTM devices pretty much run themselves once they are installed and configured, virtually every organization smaller than a Fortune 500 company needs professional expertise for monitoring, event reporting and analysis. That is unless your credit union can hire an experienced security administrator, which according to a recent InformationWeek Research's National IT Salary Survey, the average salary plus bonus run $90,000. Unfortunately attackers don't work nine to five hours, so even this highly paid and trained individual is not able to work around the clock protecting the credit union's critical infrastructure and data.
Network Box has addressed this issue from the outset via their Global Network of Security Operation Centers that monitor and manage every Network Box 24x7 year round (including environment, hardware, operating system, security modules and performance measures). Updated threat protection signatures and software packages are installed as soon as they are available, using Network Box proprietary PUSH technology. 3DES encryption and 2048bit RSA authentication keys protect the management and monitoring communication channels. Network Box Security Specialists install, configure and monitor every Network Box appliance to suit the customized requirements of each individual client.
One very satisfied Network Box client is San Antonio-based Air Force Federal Credit Union (AFFCU) which installed the Network Box E-1000 in 2007. Prior to the installation of the Network Box appliance, the $260-million credit union had experienced a handful of virus incidents and quite a bit of unsolicited email - up to 10% of the inbox total. After replacing another far less effective UTM device with the Network Box E-1000, AFFCU has not had a malware infiltration and the credit union has relied on Network Box to block all but 1% of their spam.
Updates to the system have also improved tremendously according to Chad Day, network administrator at AFFCU.
"We were unaware, due to insufficient monitoring, that the necessary updates weren't being applied until the FFIEC told us the vendor wasn't updating as promised. After that, we needed to find a vendor that knew what they were doing. We really put Network Box through the grinder," said Cortez.
That due diligence has paid off for AFFCU and they have been very satisfied with Network Box's technology and technical support. They are now able to review the raw log data provided by Network Box to make sure signatures are updated and to check for any changes to the appliance. Network Box also provides an online "Box Office" application that allows the credit union to easily submit configuration requests to Network Box's experienced security technicians.
Every credit union goes through an annual vulnerability assessment and penetration test with a third party security firm to test their defenses. AFFCU actually pays for two external vendors to perform assessments of the E-1000. The end result of these tests has been that the professional security auditors did not discover any issues whatsoever, compared to a handful of problems found on their previous UTM system.
Every security expert will tell you that security is an ongoing process, not just a box. Even world class technology like the Network Box appliances must be expertly installed, configured, managed and updated in order to remain effective.
That is why Network Box has always made a commitment to offering their customers managed and affordable comprehensive network protection. This commitment is demonstrated by AFFCU's success story along with their dozens of other credit union clients that range from $15M in assets to over $1B in assets.
Return to: 2008 Feature Stories