Asociación Peravia de Ahorros y Préstamos Improves Security and Efficiency with WatchGuard
Asociación Peravia de Ahorros y Préstamos is a private non-profit organization founded in 1963, with 220 employees and 10 branch offices. It offers various financial services and products, including savings accounts, loans, certificates, credit and debit cards, electronic payroll, transfers, remittances, and bill payments. These services focus on creating financial solutions that meet the most significant aspirations of their clients, based on exceptional service and a highly committed team dedicated to the complete satisfaction of their customers.
The main objective of Asociación Peravia is to promote and encourage the collection of deposits to be used for granting credits for the construction, acquisition, and improvement of housing. Additionally, it is committed to serving the community and aims to contribute to the greater and improved development of other sectors of the country's economy.
Moisés Peña is the chief information security officer for Asociación Peravia, responsible for the organization's overall security and ensuring their systems are protected from unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security threats.
Like many organizations today, Asociación Peravia faced challenges in ensuring the security of its systems and data through corporate networks and remote workers.
“We faced significant challenges in managing web filtering, protecting and controlling user browsing in the corporate environment, controlling unauthorized applications, and managing traffic or bandwidth,” says Peña. “Another challenge was establishing secure communication between branch offices and the main office without relying on a centralized ISP for administration, in addition to the high costs of MPLS telecommunications services.”
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated network security challenges by forcing Asociación Peravia to adopt remote work rapidly, which expanded the attack surface and made it more difficult to enforce security policies outside the corporate environment. Remote workers often use unsecured networks, making them more vulnerable to attack. Additionally, it is difficult to ensure that remote workers follow security best practices, such as using strong passwords and keeping their devices up to date.
Asociación Peravia knew their security solution lacked the features and scalability to protect them from cyberattacks. At this point, they reached out to their partner, Consultores en Seguridad Informática (CSTISA), for help.
Asociación Peravia and its former Chief Information Security Officer; Jonathan Santana, deployed WatchGuard Fireboxes in their 10 branches and added ADSL lines to establish BOVPN connections between each branch, the main office, and the data center.
The organization chose WatchGuard Passport to establish multi-factor authentication for remote user connections to ensure only authorized users could connect to the network.
WatchGuard’s authentication service, included in WatchGuard Passport, can recognize each user’s unique phone DNA to thwart hackers trying to use stolen user credentials.
WatchGuard Passport also includes DNSWatchGO to enforce corporate security policies for browsing, including phishing protection. This helped maintain the security of remote devices, even when users were logging in from their smartphones.
In explaining why they chose WatchGuard, Peña said, “…[WatchGuard] provided reliable equipment that offered a significant increase in the security measures we had in place. Furthermore, they offered cost-effective options for interconnecting with other devices and branch offices while maintaining enhanced security.”
In the future, Asociación Peravia will be looking to implement WatchGuard Endpoint Protection, Detection, and Response (EPDR) for another powerful layer of protection for their network.
Building their cybersecurity system with WatchGuard products yielded significant benefits across Asociación Peravia’s operations.
- Faster, secure, stable communication channels: The organization no longer depended solely on Internet service providers (ISPs) for configurations, leading to a notable improvement in the reliability and speed of their communication networks.
- Substantial reduction in telecommunication costs: This cost-saving measure was accomplished by reducing the usage of expensive MPLS telecommunication services, ensuring a rapid return on investment (ROI) for the organization.
- Remote work security: Utilizing identity controls and safe browsing, the organization was able to safeguard its assets and data – crucial as cyberattacks surged worldwide – regardless of the location of its employees.
- Significant enhancement in productivity at their branch offices: This improvement was primarily attributed to the increased stability of remote connections through the WatchGuard solutions to both the main office and data center. The organization could streamline its operations and processes, improving productivity and resource utilization.
In summary, Asociación Peravia not only achieved substantial cost savings and improved operational efficiency with WatchGuard but also established a fortified security posture. The organization could effectively manage web filtering, protect user browsing, control unauthorized applications, and manage traffic, as well as establish secure communication between branch offices and the main office, and ensure secure remote access. This comprehensive security framework has significantly bolstered the organization's defenses against evolving cyber threats.