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UTM Appliances and Securing 500 Banking Branches – What you Need to Consider

Achieving secure connectivity with failover, content-based Web filtering and centralized management of more than 500 locations is never an easy task for an IT team, but when it’s a financial institution with over 2,250 employees based globally it gets even more complex. This is what Adarsh Credit Co-Cooperative Society, a leading multi-state financial institution in India, was tasked with and they turned to our team here at WatchGuard for help.

Adarsh deployed our XTM 8 and 5 Series UTM appliances in its data centers, as well as XTM 2 Series UTM appliances at all of its branch locations. While banking accessibility was vital, the organization also needed to restrict Internet usage at branch sites. Setting up the right IT security policies and ensuring uniform administration across these sites was a key driver in the selection process, as it should be!

Adarsh’s AVP of IT, Ramlal Arya, summed up his challenge and spoke of his experience…

We implemented the Core Banking application and needed to connect all the branches with the central location so it could be accessed seamlessly. When employees and members access the Core application, speed is important, but the bigger challenge is ensuring all transactions are secure.  Deploying WatchGuard helped achieve both goals. WatchGuard’s XTM also helps us achieve higher throughput, which results in faster application access across the board. Installation of the appliances in high-availability mode ensured uninterrupted connectivity and smooth failover from one appliance to the other. It proved fast and straightforward with the centralized policy management capabilities and has reduced our need for site-to-site travel. And, working with WatchGuard’s Expert Partner, TM Systems Pvt., made the entire process fluid. 

WatchGuard has given us a secure platform that allows us to connect all locations seamlessly and gives members and employees secure connectivity quickly to the applications they need. On the IT side, it gives us more control and the ability to easily manage these appliances and policies from a centralized location.

UTM security can play a role in solving many complex challenges, from banking to PCI DSS compliance to distributed retail environments. Whenever evaluating a UTM appliance you need to consider five core traits:

    1. Quality of the features and capabilities – Here at WatchGuard, we use a best-in-class approach to delivering the smartest UTM appliances available; integrating the leading technology provider for each security layer – Websense for URL filtering, Commtouch for anti-spam, and so on.
    2. Security performance or UTM performance – Our UTM performance is up to 3 times faster than UTM performance from most of the other vendors.
    3. Manageability and ease of use – Something to also consider when evaluating the manageability of your UTM is whether there are premium charges for certain functionality that should be provided as standard options. Look for simple, easy-to-use management in your UTM appliance.
    4. Flexibility – UTM customers should be able to boost security services, subscriptions, and capabilities on the fly, without ever having to swap out hardware—further extending the life of the appliance. UTM appliances should also have a high degree of network systems interoperability. This way, regardless of the network topology mix (Cisco, Juniper or other), your UTM appliances will provide maximum interoperability.
    5. Reporting and visibility – Network visibility and security go hand-in-hand—and when it comes to achieving regulatory compliance (PCI DSS, HIPAA, CIPA, etc.), auditability is required. So, why would a security vendor not include visibility and reporting tools? Yet, many vendors charge extra for these capabilities, often requiring purchase of a separate product just for reporting.

These five traits were paramount to Adarsh and their requirements for the ultimate in network security management. Be sure they’re on your consideration check-list when you’re looking to secure your network!

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