Investing in security while keeping things lean

Case study: Leopardo

Investing in security while keeping things lean

Leopardo Construction has worked alongside WithSecure for seven years as part of their work to maintain a robust and proactive cybersecurity approach.

At the turn of the century, Leopardo managed all its cyber security internally, but the security landscape has completely changed since then. Paul Rentzelos has led the IT team at Leopardo for 25 years, overseeing the evolution of Leopardo’s security ecosystem. As threats multiplied and evolved over the last decade, Paul recognized that more strategic investment in security was needed.

One of his major concerns was around keeping the internal team lean and maximising the return on investment for cybersecurity. He explains: “We run a very lean organization and so we decided to pursue the CISO position as a managed service instead of developing a team internally. I wanted to bring in experts in the same way we would bring in an expert to do plumbing in a construction project. We were looking for a partner to help develop policies and drive change, and we wanted to build an ongoing relationship with them.”

Leopardo engaged DefendEdge as a Managed Security Service Provider in 2015. DefendEdge has a long-standing relationship with WithSecureTM and recommended specific products from WithSecure following an initial assessment of the security ecosystem.

These developments were especially important due to the changing attitudes of clients and partner organizations towards cyber security. Historically, Leopardo’s security posture was never discussed as part of the bidding for and winning of work. The impact of a security incident was usually much more contained than it is today, so it was rare for organizations to be invested in another company’s security capabilities.

Paul outlines how this has changed over his tenure at Leopardo: “Across the last 20 years, the effect on a construction company's ability to do work based on a security issue has gone from non-existent then to problematic today. Now, we get substantial interest and expectations around our cyber security policies and procedures. Our clients certainly want to understand that cyber security is not an afterthought for us.”

Why Leopardo chose WithSecure

Effective cyber security today is about being responsive to new threats and proactive in terms of identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. A simple antivirus and a strong firewall used to be all Leopardo Construction needed to prevent incidents, but that is no longer true.

Paul describes how things have changed: “Today, the threats are coming from multiple directions. Firewalls have advanced to a point where perimeter threats aren’t the biggest source of anxiety. Today, the most common attack vectors include email, web browsing, and social engineering. Although we train and simulate phishing attacks continuously, end users are the largest target, and they are directly singled out by attackers.”

To enable better security outcomes for Leopardo, their MSSP DefendEdge recommended upgrading the company’s entire antivirus process using WithSecure and adopting WithSecure’s Elements solution.

WithSecure’s Elements solution includes vulnerability management capabilities, endpoint protection (EPP), and endpoint detection and response (EDR) functionality - all of which Leopardo has taken advantage of. Elements EPP provides prevention as the first line of defence, while Elements EDR detects successful attacks on your organization and guides you to the correct response.

Paul elaborates: “Our unbiased external investigation showed that WithSecure products are outstanding. We couldn't find a reason why WithSecure couldn't be our antivirus or EDR platform. WithSecure gave us the ability to push updates and get visibility into these endpoints at a level our old products couldn’t match.

“Over the years we have implemented most of the updates and upgrades that WithSecure have come out with, as we went from a reactive department to very much a proactive department.”

Building a cooperative relationship with WithSecure

The team at Leopardo have made significant changes to their security infrastructure over the years, and so it was especially important to them that the experience with WithSecure was smooth. Fortunately, WithSecure prioritizes seamless integration and onboarding.

Paul explained: “I expected more obstacles when we were onboarding than we actually had. WithSecure is an amazing organization and DefendEdge is an amazing partner; together with my support team, implementation was flawless and easy. Our end users were unaware of the switch to the new EDR platform.”

Encouraged by their ongoing research and the early successes of the new partnership, Leopardo continued to invest in their relationship with WithSecure.

Paul describes how the team collaborated to resolve challenges and respond to changing needs: “We ran into a small issue when we were trying to find an automated way to offboard our people. We examined the workflow for offboarding and saw the potential for an improvement in a WithSecure product we were using. We explained that we saw an opportunity for the flow to become more sophisticated, and in the end that was resolved really well.”

Now, Leopardo’s security posture evolves alongside the offerings from WithSecure. Paul says: “We continue to evolve and add services as WithSecure brings them to the table. We keep adding almost whatever WithSecure puts in front of us and very quickly integrate it into our security ecosystem and take advantage of it right away.”

Leopardo’s plans for future improvements include developing their EDR capabilities to understand not only who is trying to connect to their network, but also which device is being used to make that connection. Paul has no trouble envisioning WithSecure being a part of that future development.

He said: “We should be able to have a list of authenticated people but also a list of authenticated devices that are allowed on the network. That’s currently in the works. We know there will be a lot of elements in that system but we expect that WithSecure will provide one or some of those elements.”

Want to know more about WithSecure's EDR offering?

WithSecure™ Elements Endpoint Detection and Response

WithSecure™ Elements Endpoint Detection and Response solution provides enhanced detection capabilities and security against cyber attacks and data breaches.

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  • Leopardo
  • Solutions from WithSecure

  • WithSecure™ Elements EDR WithSecure™ Elements EPP
  • Industry

  • Construction
  • Country

  • United States
  • About Leopardo

  • Leopardo is an ENR Top 400 commercial contractor based in Chicago and founded in 1977. With market expertise in healthcare, residential, municipal, retail and hospitality, they have completed award-winning projects all over the country for some of the world’s most recognized brands. The team has worked in over 30 states and has regional offices in California, Florida, and Ohio.

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