Better visibility to IT environment and protection against phishing
Easy-to-manage security supports Bang & Bonsomer’s rapid growth.
Case study: Bang & Bonsomer Group Oy
Transition to cloud caused new security challenges for Bang & Bonsomer. The scalable and easy-to-manage F-Secure Elements portfolio was the perfect solution for the company's international operating environment.
Getting bombarded by sophisticated phishing attacks
As Bang & Bonsomer, a provider of smart material technologies, moved to cloud-based Microsoft 365 collaboration and productivity tools, the number of phishing messages multiplied.
“The number of malicious messages increased measurably. That is understandable, when a domain of about three hundred users moves to a place with hundreds of millions of business users. It has been a struggle for us”, says Group ICT Manager Tero Törnqvist.
Recently, a senior executive at Bang & Bonsomer became the target of a malicious scam. Attackers tracked the target’s email, managed to bypass multi-factor authentication (MFA), and sent very credible messages from the breached account.
Törnqvist says this case was particularly serious because the messages had been sent from an authentic email address. Fortunately, one of the recipients became suspicious and IT was able to intervene in time. In the worst-case scenario, the damage costs could have been measured in tens of thousands of euros.
“The number of malicious messages increased measurably. That is understandable, when a domain of about three hundred users moves to a place with hundreds of millions of business users. It has been a struggle for us.”
Tero Törnqvist, Group ICT Manager
Security in the spotlight
Phishing has underlined cyber security’s criticality at Bang & Bonsomer. To ensure business continuity, investing into security is seen as non-negotiable. The most important data to protect is related to, orders and deliveries, formulas, and acquisitions.
Bang & Bonsomer serves a wide range of customers, of which the majority operate in the manufacturing industry, utilities, and the public sector. Their products involve smart material technologies on a broad scale, such as special materials that improve the composition of food or the usability of products.
The company has offices in eleven countries. Russian trade is a strong area of expertise, with a significant workforce located there, too. Many locations have their own separate ERP systems, and it is critical to ensure the continuous operation of these systems.
The company has been using WithSecure's endpoint security for several years and the solution has been managed by a service provider partner. Transition to the cloud and the appearance of frequent scams targeting Microsoft’s sign-in page led to an increasing need for effective email and collaboration protection. However, the biggest change to Bang & Bonsomer’s security set-up came unexpectedly.
Long due detection and response capabilities
Bang & Bonsomer decided to test WithSecure Elements Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) solution while upgrading their other security capabilities.
“We looked at the price level and what we could achieve with the investment. Then we ran the product as a proof-of-concept for a month, and it was just insanely great. It wasn’t a need that we were looking to solve but realized that we should have solved it already,” says Törnqvist.
Törnqvist found the security status visualizations in WithSecure Elements unique and just the perfect fit for the company. With offices dispersed in more than ten countries, the product gives stretched IT staff a comprehensive view of what’s happening on the endpoints. Additional investment was not substantial, so it was an easy decision for the company. "I'm absolutely amazed at how great the product is," says Törnqvist.
Vendor reliability was one of the most important criteria in choosing email security. European heritage and compliance to EU privacy legislation made WithSecure Elements for Microsoft 365 the right choice to keep Bang & Bonsomer’s cloud collaboration safe. WithSecure’s long history in the industry gave Bang & Bonsomer confidence that products will continue to be developed in the future and this reinforced their decision.
Bang & Bonsomer is growing fast and has made several acquisitions in recent years. Protecting its new workforce‘s devices has been easy and effective with cloud-based WithSecure Elements Endpoint Protection (EPP). "This type of solution is a perfect fit for us “, says Törnqvist.
Requirements and selection criteria:
- Protecting Microsoft 365 productivity tools against phishing and advanced threats
- Ease of use
- Maximum return on security investments
- Cloud-based scalability in the global business environment
“We looked at the price level and what we could achieve with the investment. Then we ran the product as a proof-of-concept for a month, and it was just insanely great. It wasn’t a need that we were looking to solve but realized that we should have solved it already.”
Tero Törnqvist, Group ICT Manager
Seeing what was hidden
“The best result is visibility into what is happening on our devices – and we achieved this with surprisingly little investment”, says Törnqvist. “Earlier, we believed that everything was fine if the antivirus didn’t alert anything. But that isn’t necessarily true. EDR catches very different types of threats.”
In acquisitions, the scalability and easy management of cloud-based security solutions have simplified the work of Bang & Bonsomer’s IT team. Previously, the company relied on a model where WithSecure’s partner managed their security solutions. Even though the company’s inhouse IT team has recently taken more responsibility of managing security, Törnqvist is satisfied with their co-operation with the partner and appreciates having the option to outsource security when necessary.
Deployment of Elements products was extremely easy, and the installation itself took only a few minutes. “Overall, we have been really pleased. EPP and EDR do not appear to impair device performance, which used to be a problem with some antivirus products in the past. WithSecure Elements for Microsoft 365 is almost an “install and forget” type of product,” Törnqvist explains.
The global organization’s operations have a lot of variance across locations and markets – not least in language differences. Still, Törnqvist has not identified any problems such as alert fatigue or false positives from any of the locations.
Benefits for Bang & Bonsomer:
- Real-time visibility into the IT environment
- Good return on investment from set-up to operationalization
- Ease of management, with the option to outsource to a reliable partner
- Smooth scalability per changing needs
- Seamless usability in different languages across locations
“The best result is visibility into what is happening on our devices – and we achieved this with surprisingly little investment.”
Tero Törnqvist, Group ICT Manager
Setting sights towards managed detection and response
Endpoint detection and response capabilities increase awareness of what is happening in the IT environment. While this has been positive progress for Bang & Bonsomer, resolving identified threats also requires human effort. As the business grows, Törnqvist is considering investing in a managed detection and response (MDR) solution to outsource some of the response actions.
Törnqvist also sees a risk-based approach as a future priority. This includes regularly monitoring, assessing, and classifying risks. User training and adding artificial intelligence will be important in the fight against phishing, as attackers are constantly changing their tactics and editing the content of their messages.
“In phishing, it’s often just words”, Törnqvist explains. “The attackers no longer include a link but try to trick users into doing something harmful. You can't rely on artificial intelligence alone.”
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