Allegiance Health Management Adopts a Unified Security Approach with WatchGuard
Allegiance Health Management (AHMGT) is a health system based in Shreveport. It operates 15 hospitals in three states, bringing extensive years of healthcare operational experience to rural communities.
AHMGT provides various medical specialties, leading a wide range of medical facilities and services to customers in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.
The organization offers acute care hospitals, critical access hospitals (CAH), long-term acute care hospitals (LTACH), inpatient geriatric psychiatric units, intensive outpatient psychiatric services (IOP), and home health services.
The healthcare industry is highly attractive to cyberattackers due to the sensitive patient information it possesses. Allegiance Health Management's biggest challenge was to safeguard and manage the diverse networks while taking proactive measures against rising cybersecurity threats like ransomware, phishing attacks, and data breaches. The top priority was always to protect patient data and ensure uninterrupted business operations.
In a non-homogeneous network landscape, maintenance and troubleshooting complexities arise. Identifying and addressing issues in a timely manner across such a distributed environment is resource-intensive and time-consuming. Efficient management required a streamlined approach to network and systems maintenance.
“Some products were challenging to manage remotely, difficult for the IT staff to assist with, or lacking the features needed to enhance the security profile of the company,” says Mike Martin, network security engineer at Allegiance Health Management. “Setting up the previous endpoint security solution required a server and a lot of configuration to ensure proper functioning. Moreover, managing it in multi-domain deployments like ours was extremely challenging.”
Mike says there was an increasing need to find a way to simplify their security stack management and deployment while also improving detection and response capabilities across the infrastructure. Staff didn't have a clear security status picture due to a lack of data correlation and the need to do multiple logins into different portals and consoles.
“Managing single-point security solutions from different vendors has often been a daunting task. Each solution comes with its own interface, management console, and reporting structure. This disjointed approach resulted in inefficiencies, increased complexity, and gaps in our security coverage. As a result of these issues, and in line with our strategy to evolve our comprehensive security strategy, the chief executive of technology (CTO) decided to purchase more WatchGuard products to consolidate vendors and adopt a unified security approach.”
Working with long-term technology partner Insight, the AHMGT’s IT team assessed various endpoint and network security options on the market. After careful consideration, a decision was made to standardize on Fireboxes and EPDR solutions from WatchGuard Technologies and maintain a single pane of glass management capability.
“As mentioned earlier, deploying and managing the inherited systems and solutions consumed a lot of time and effort to ensure proper functioning. In contrast, WatchGuard's Fireboxes and Endpoint Protection Detection and Response (EPDR) solutions are much easier to deploy and configure, with EDPR taking only a quarter of the time that the older solution did,” says Mike.
"When making the decision we concluded that WatchGuard offered the best solutions, particularly in managing remote devices centrally and easily from a single pane of glass.
“We wanted the feature set, price point, and management solutions. In my experience, WatchGuard has excellent management capabilities that are complemented by its centralized Cloud visibility and logging features. These provide us with valuable insights into all our devices. The WatchGuard Cloud's reporting is also very helpful when troubleshooting network performance issues. Moreover, the licensing model is straightforward, as all security features, including DNS filtering, web filtering, and more, are available in a comprehensive security package.
"WatchGuard EPDR was a great choice for our deployment needs. We had 500 endpoints to set up, and it was significantly faster (75%) and easier (50%) than other products. The implementation process was straightforward, and the support website documentation was fantastic.
“Before joining Allegiance three years ago, I was unfamiliar with WatchGuard. My previous experience was with different vendors. However, upon using WatchGuard, I quickly realized its superiority. It impressed me so much that I even recommended it to my former colleagues.”
With the enhanced network and endpoint security solutions in place, Allegiance Health Management was quickly enjoying some significant benefits. Users are reporting simplified incident management and strong performance across the security stack and can access critical data to provide accurate response actions whenever required.
“Having now a unified platform like WatchGuard's has greatly simplified our processes, providing a consolidated view of our security landscape. Integrating all our security solutions into a single platform has transformed our approach to security. It has enabled us to effortlessly manage and correlate data, leading to a more holistic understanding of our security posture. This integration has streamlined our processes, simplified reporting, and empowered us to proactively address potential threats across various layers, ultimately driving us closer to achieving a comprehensive security strategy.”
Mike says that WatchGuard's XDR solution, ThreatSync, enables them to streamline workflows and speed up threat response. It also correlates detections across different products and security layers, assessing context, and automating responses for client networks, users, and devices, delivering a comprehensive approach through unified security.
ThreatSync is a comprehensive and simple-to-use XDR solution included as part of WatchGuard’s Unified Security Platform® architecture, and Mike notes that “ThreatSync’s accuracy gathering data and classifying incidents coming from the Fireboxes and endpoints has helped us correlate new threats data faster and easier than ever. Having one place to go view all security data is fantastic.”
Mike also says that admins actively use reporting and logging, managing their Fireboxes with WatchGuard System Manager at their data center. “However, we also rely on WatchGuard Cloud for threat intelligence and endpoint security management, offering a single interface and unique console to manage different products, saving time and reducing effort.
“I have recommended these products numerous times. If you need a network and security solution to fit any need, this is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a robust solution with great support and representatives.”