Case Study - Heritage Bank


Heritage Bank Gets Strong Security and Tremendous Value from WatchGuard


Founded in 1927, Heritage Bank is a full-service community bank headquartered in Olympia, WA and serving the Pacific Northwest with 28 branches, and managing over $1.6 billion in assets. A true community bank, Heritage seeks deposits from its communities and makes loans to customers who have ties to local markets. Heritage offers a comprehensive array of business and personal banking tools: checking; savings; commercial, home and construction loans; merchant services; remote deposit and online financial management tools through their website.

The Challenge

Heritage Bank has about 500 users spread throughout 40 locations and serves thousands of customers. Heidi Geathers, Vice President, Technology at Heritage Bank, has been managing IT for approximately 20 years, and has witnessed trends come and go. "Today, the key trends we're seeing are the use of cloud services, the use of consumer-based devices for work (BYOD), and the outsourcing of solutions, rather than having in-house IT staff," notes Geathers.

However, according to Geathers, end-user education is the biggest challenge confronting Heritage's IT staff. "Users today are bombarded with technology communications from social media, email, text, mobile devices—they often don't take the time to think before they react," declares Geathers.

With the bank handling rich amounts of financial and personal data, robust, multilayered security is a must to ensure protection in the face of inherent vulnerabilities and multiple attack vectors.

Why WatchGuard: Multilayered Security, Scalability, & Value

"We've been a WatchGuard customer for about 8 years," states Geathers. "Prior to that, we were a Cisco shop. WatchGuard has built-in solutions that are not available from their competitors. The scalability of the XTM product line has made it our primary choice for years. We reap tremendous value by consolidating the UTM functions, such as web filtering, application control, and reporting."

While satisfied with WatchGuard, Heritage still wanted to take a look at several competitor solutions when recently looking to refresh its security. Ultimately, the security, scalability, performance, and value of WatchGuard's latest XTM solutions helped it handily win out over the competition. "Our reseller educated us on all of the choices, but let us decide what we felt would be best for our company," says Geathers.

"The Cisco ASAs couldn't do what Heritage wanted and they were very expensive," tells Paul Graydon, VP, Strategic Accounts, of BlackPoint IT Services, the Seattle-based MSSP that helps Heritage with managing their firewall strategy and solutions. "You get better performance, security, and value with WatchGuard," assesses Graydon. "The WatchGuard XTM is such an easy-to-use and versatile UTM device. It just has so much under the security umbrella. With WatchGuard XTM, just one device will service 90% of what is needed by customers. That's a huge selling point."

Deploying WatchGuard

"The deployment of our newest WatchGuard XTM solutions has gone smoothly," says Geathers. Heritage deployed XTM 1050s at their corporate headquarters in Olympia for high availability, while using XTM 810s at the bank's major WAN sites.

"We're in the process of building our web filtering policies so we can eventually utilize the powerful capabilities that Watchguard has implemented in the newer XTM line," tells Geathers. "We block certain categories that are not business-oriented. However, some business sites we need access to fall within those blocked categories. The Watchguard web filtering solution has the flexibility to allow those sites as an exception to our rule. Limiting web access increases productivity and reduces some risk the web poses in regards to fraud or hacking."

As part of the UTM suite, Heritage Bank also leverages WatchGuard Application Control. "We want to continue to improve management of web access controls by restricting parts of social media sites," explains Geathers. Increasingly a "must have" technology, WatchGuard Application Control provides the ability to see and control over 1800 applications. Administrators can even exercise granular control, such as by allowing an application sub-function (ie. Facebook posting), while blocking non-productive, or risky application sub-functions (Facebook games).

Why Partner with WatchGuard?

As a WatchGuard partner for over 10 years, BlackPoint IT appreciates that, as Graydon puts it, "WatchGuard is not Cisco trying to be 18 different things, or Dell trying to be 38 different things. WatchGuard knows security—that's all they do." Adds Graydon, "The UTM concept provides outstanding value, and the WatchGuard XTM excels at being easy-to-use, scalable, and flexible."

As an MSSP serving a diverse array of customers, BlackPoint IT relies on WatchGuard for the security solutions, tools, and training needed to provide reliable, value-added service to their customers. "The WatchGuard sales team is incredibly easy to work with as a reseller," enthuses Graydon. "They train us on the products when we need to be trained on the products. They quickly answer all the little nagging questions that arise. They actually listen to input we provide on the different solutions that are important to different customers. WatchGuard then tailors their solutions to the customer, whether it be budgetary or solution-based. Outside of WatchGuard, not every security vendor manufacturer is willing to go that extra 9 yards to educate and make sure the solution is a correct fit. Very few of them in fact."

About BlackPoint IT Services

Drawing from more than 30 years of experience and expertise, BlackPoint IT Services provides unparalleled managed IT and consulting services, including infrastructure, security, storage, virtualization, business continuity, portals and collaboration, print and sustainable IT solutions.



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WatchGuard has built-in solutions that we could not find with their competitors. The scalability of the XTM product line has made it our primary choice for years. We reap tremendous value by consolidating the UTM functions, such as web filtering, application control, and reporting.

Heidi Geathers,
Vice President, Technology
Heritage Bank



The Cisco ASAs couldn't do what Heritage wanted and they are also very expensive.
You get better performance, security, and value with WatchGuard.

Paul Graydon, VP Strategic Accounts
BlackPoint IT Services



About WatchGuard

WatchGuard has deployed nearly a million integrated, multi-function threat management appliances worldwide. Our signature red boxes are architected to be the industry's smartest, fastest, and meanest security devices with every scanning engine running at full throttle. Why buy WatchGuard? Find out here.



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