Case Study - Royal Yachting Association

Smooth Sailing Ahead for the Royal Yachting Association with WatchGuard Firewalls


The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the UK’s national body for all forms of boating under power or sail. Created in 1875, its initial purpose was to standardize the rules of measurement for racing yachts, so that boats of varying classes could compete fairly against each other. Today the RYA Training Scheme is delivered in 47 countries through a network of over 2,500 training centers. Recognized by the British government as being the primary consultative body for all sailing matters, it manages the British sailing team which has won more sailing medals than any other nation at each of the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Since 2013, RYA’s mission as a governing body has been to grow its relevance amongst boating communities and establish its reputation as a representative and influential organization by 2017. From a technology standpoint, this meant working towards PCI compliance, meeting the requirements for Data Loss Prevention and adhering to the rules around firewall configuration. RYA looks after a membership of over 105,000 people with more than 150,000 people per year completing RYA training courses. This translates into thousands of online transactions and the responsibility for huge quantities of personal data.


For Andy Galvin, IS Manager at RYA, meeting PCI compliance and Data Loss Prevention requirements meant adopting a more proactive approach to managing RYA’s security solutions, as well as implementing Advanced Threat Protection features. Control and visibility of web access was a particular focus, given its role in the day-to-day workload of remote and headquarter staff. Despite the range of providers, WatchGuard was the clear choice for Galvin. “We’ve been with WatchGuard since 2000,” he explains. “The team’s reliability, support, and feature sets have always put our mind at ease, so they are our first port of call when it comes to security matters.”


For RYA, upgrading with WatchGuard meant critical features like APT Blocker and WebBlocker could be switched on instantly, safeguarding personal information and intellectual data as well as providing remote workers with comprehensive perimeter protection and defense-in-depth, and stopping malicious actors from exploiting the attack surface of this distributed enterprise. First impressions of the WatchGuard appliances played a decisive role in the relationship. Through the powerful visibility tool, WatchGuard Dimension, gathering big data from the RYA network was immediately transformed from a tedious search through logs to a simple, single pane-of-glass analysis. Galvin comments, “The amount of data available at a click is so useful when looking into issues. Since adopting WatchGuard’s appliances, configuration and management of the network through the console became so simple to pick up." The ability to manage all hardware from a single management interface, along with access to online training and support, allows the small IS team to easily make changes within defined compliance rules. In the longer term, the feature-rich appliances and scalability of the Fireware operating system mean introducing additional defenses is as easy as switching them on, without the need for any extra hardware.

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