Case Study - Maloney Properties

 

Maloney Properties Builds a More Secure Network with WatchGuard

Background

Founded in 1981, Wellesley, MA-based Maloney Properties Inc. develops and manages multi-family residential and commercial properties. With 450 employees in 60 branch offices spread throughout the New England area, Maloney Properties manages 80 properties, and approximately 8500 apartment units. With affordable housing units dominating the mix, Maloney Properties manages a multitude of sensitive customer data, including income data.

The Challenge

In 2010, Massachusetts adopted MA 201 CMR 17.00, one of the most stringent data protection regulations to emerge across the nation. The law mandates that all businesses that store or use personal information about a Massachusetts resident must protect the customer's personal information. The regulation stipulates specific security measures (encrypted laptops, up-to-date firewall protection, etc.) that organizations must implement. Since state-wide adoption of the regulation, the Massachusetts Attorney General has pursued judgments against companies for non-compliance, with some organizations being hit with substantial fines.

"Compliance with this regulation presented a big challenge for us," relates Melissa Andrews, Director of Information Technology at Maloney Properties.

As part of the regulation, Maloney Properties also was required to develop a written information security program. While MA 201 CMR 17.00 applies only to companies collecting or using personal data of Massachusetts residents, "regardless of where our properties are located, we hold them to this regulatory standard," says Andrews.

Maloney Properties solicited the expertise of an independent auditor to help maintain compliance with the changes. "The auditor actually recommended going beyond what the law states," tells Andrews. "We've been implementing the auditor's suggestions in our security decisions."

Evaluating Solutions

"Maloney Properties has used WatchGuard firewalls for over 10 years and they've always worked great, but we couldn't centrally manage the older appliances as required by the new regulation," states Andrews. "We evaluated other companies at the request of our consultant, but my experience with others is that they are just far more complicated and challenging to work with. WatchGuard is the best solution for us because they are incredibly user friendly, easy to navigate, and easy to work with. We never had an issue with WatchGuard--so in the end, there wasn't any reason to switch."

Seamless Implementation of New WatchGuard XTM Firewalls

Maloney Properties installed a WatchGuard XTM 5 series appliance at their Wellesley headquarters and set-up their branch offices with XTM 2 series appliances, including some wireless appliances.

"We centrally configured the devices and then just plopped them in," says Andrews. "With WatchGuard's drag and drop feature, VPN setup is a snap! We established virtual tunnels to each of our 60 locations. Using the WatchGuard System Manager (WSM), we applied standard, secure configurations to all of our devices—the policy templates really simplified the process for us."

In recent months, WatchGuard launched RapidDeploy, a cloud-based configuration capability that enables firewalls to self-configure in the field, making remote set-up of firewall appliances for MSSPs and distributed environments quicker and easier than ever.

WatchGuard System Manager Simplifies Administration and Provides Innovative Tools

"In refreshing our firewalls with WatchGuard, we were particularly excited to start taking advantage of the WatchGuard System Manager's centralized management and ease-of-use features," relates Andrews.

WatchGuard System Manager provides administrators with powerful centralized management for WatchGuard XTM solutions, including:

  • Multi-device (from 1 to 100s) management
  • Ability to manage all feature sets and security services through a single pane of glass
  • Unparalleled network visibility, reporting (65+ free reports), and policy management capabilities
  • Time-saving capabilities, such as RapidDeploy and Drag and Drop VPN

"The ability to access the WSM on remote devices with just one click has proven to be an extremely beneficial troubleshooting tool," tells Andrews. "One of my favorite tools within WSM is HostWatch, which helps me see network traffic clearly. It's a huge help."

Each of the Maloney Properties sites leverages five static IPs. One IP is for the management office, while the others are for secondary systems, such as boiler systems and security systems. "Every day, more and more of our properties are externalizing the management interfaces of their security, solar, boiler, and other systems," says Andrews. "Occasionally the vendors of those systems don't know which ports need to be opened. With a single click, I can clearly see what traffic is being blocked and get the information I need in seconds."

"One of the best benefits we get from centralized management is the ability to push updates to all our XTM devices," tells Andrews. "On a monthly basis, we check to see if a firmware update is available--if one is, it's an enormous time savings to be able to push out updates to all 60 XTM devices simultaneously. Then, with WatchGuard's reporting, we are able to get a snapshot of when the firewalls were last updated and provide this information to auditors. This helps us stay compliant with the mandate [MA 201 CMR 17.00] to have up-to-date firewall protection."

"We use a 3rd party consultant for a lot of our IT work and they aren't cheap to send on service calls," says Andrews. "Having all of these technologies manageable from the WatchGuard System Manager and also being able to centrally push out firmware updates rather than sending someone out to the site—again, it just saves us so much time and money."

A Flexible Solution Means Security Can Grow with Evolving Needs

Maloney Properties subscribes to WatchGuard's UTM bundle, which enhances firewall protection with seamlessly integrated best-in-class security services powered by elite partner technologies.

"It's incredibly cost-effective to have all of these technologies bundled," explains Andrews. "We evaluated Dell SecureWorks IPS—it was very expensive. WatchGuard's IPS solution, for instance, saves us so much money by being integrated into the XTM firewall solution. Although we haven't implemented the WatchGuard URL filtering or Application Control at this time, what we really like about the WatchGuard XTM appliance is that it has all these technologies available—it's very flexible. This provides us with the opportunity to evaluate these best-in-class security technologies along the way, and implement the ones that works for us."

10+ Years (and Counting) of Reliable Security from WatchGuard

We can't afford to have something not go right and for a site to go down," declares Andrews. "I can't even think of a service call I've ever had to place in 10 years of using WatchGuard. With WatchGuard, we get dependable connectivity and flexible security at an excellent value."

 

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We can't afford to have something not go right and for a site to go down. I can't even think of a service call I've ever had to place in 10 years of using WatchGuard. With WatchGuard, we get dependable connectivity and flexible security at an excellent value.

Melissa Andrews,
Director of Information Technology,
Maloney Properties

 

 

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