Case Study - French Connection

Robust Unified Threat Protection is High Fashion at Global Retailer

The French Connection group designs, produces and distributes branded fashion clothing for men and women from business premises in London, Swansea, New York, Paris, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong and Toronto. French Connection operates retail stores and concessions in the UK, Europe, US and Canada and also operates ecommerce businesses in each of those territories. French Connection also wholesales products to retailers operating in over 60 countries around the world and has licensed partners operating French Connection stores across Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Other branded products, such as toiletries, shoes and eyewear, are produced under license.

Maintaining a secure network

The core of French Connection’s operations is based on a robust and flexible corporate IT network that currently connects around 800 employees, using mainly PCs and some Macs, all protected by WatchGuard XTM 810 and XTM 545 Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances. These UTMs are installed in eight French Connection offices and data centres across the UK, US and Hong Kong, including its London headquarters and data centre.

The Watchguard appliances are core to French Connection’s security strategy and allow a secure and regulated network to be maintained, allowing the business to meet and maintain compliance requirements. Through configuration and content security, unauthorised access to the card holder data can be prevented as well as enabling French Connection to encrypt and secure communications and connections between its remote branch offices and mobile users to the main corporate network.

Since they were installed, the WatchGuard appliances shield French Connection from major cyber threats. Yashar Soltanzadeh, French Connection’s IT Operations Manager, said, “The UTMs have blocked potential threats that are happening all the time. They’re a good stop to any problems that might arise.”

As well as defending against DDoS attacks, the UTMs protect the network in a range of ways. For example, they prevent employees inadvertently downloading files that could contain dangerous malware, and stop staff accessing restricted websites such as gambling or adult content sites.

Most-liked features

Among the features that Yashar Soltanzadeh most values are WebBlocker and Application Control. These powerful systems classify 127 categories of websites used by the Websense Triton database, and manage over 2,500 applications, enabling French Connection to control which sites staff access, and to stop malicious or inappropriate apps from slipping through its defences.

Yashar also highlights ease of use and the ability to connect remote sites through ‘VPN tunnels’. “The WatchGuard UTMs are easy to manage with a simple interface,” he said. “They’ve also got the ability to set up VPN tunnels, creating a bridge between remote sites and allowing those networks to communicate with one another.”

At the personal level, Yashar also appreciates the service he has received from WatchGuard. “We have received very professional service from WatchGuard. They’ve continuously consulted with us and helped us buy the right products. They also offer the best advice in any situation,” he said.

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