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Data Security Controls For Market Harborough Building Society

Pentura : 03 November, 2010  (Application Story)
British financial institution uses Pentura to provide data protection and ensure the security of sensitive information and regulatory compliance
Market Harborough Building Society (MHBS) was established in the south Leicestershire town of Market Harborough in 1870. It offers traditional savings, mortgages and insurance products. The business has grown steadily over the past 140 years, priding itself on being secure, stable and with a customer service orientation.

The Society is based in Market Harborough and has assets exceeding £420million, nearly 50,000 savings customers and 9,000 mortgage customers.

In 2009, Neil Williams, Head of IT at MHBS carried out a review of the existing data security controls that were in place at the building society. "We were satisfied with the existing level of data security; however, we are not a team to rest on our laurels and with the Financial Services Authority's Data Security Guidelines being continually re-examined, we were keen to develop our data security strategy to further protect sensitive and regulated information." comments Williams.

MHBS identified three key challenges. Williams explains, "Our first challenge was to be able to show where sensitive data exists in our environment. We needed to be able to prove what we already knew. This also showed that employees had the right level of access to confidential information. We also wanted better visibility over how data is used throughout the network. Finally we wanted a way to further strengthen compliance with our internal use policies.

With staff spread throughout five branches and two offices in Market Harborough, customer data can be accessed by numerous internal stakeholders each day. Williams comments, "Front line branch staff access customer data to deal with day-to-day queries, internal marketing need access to tailor specific promotions and incentives to customers, and management need to review the state of the business and to examine current customer data to plan new products and services."

Williams continues, "Although we were well protected and have a formal Risk Management structure we wanted to further develop our defences with regards to any potential data loss."

MHBS approached Pentura in 2009, one of the UK's leading IT Security Consultancies. Having worked with Pentura on several previous projects, MHBS were confident in the quality and credibility of the Reading-based company. Pentura's Research & Development team provided additional assurance that whichever technology was put forward, it would have gone through rigorous testing to ensure the solution was fit for purpose.

Pentura have extensive experience in deploying effective data loss prevention solutions and after two years of conducting comprehensive commercial and technical tests into the data leakage security market, found that Websense DSS offers an excellent mix of granular endpoint and network control. Having looked at the challenges facing MHBS, Pentura identified Websense Data Monitor, a leading network data loss prevention solution, as the best fit technology.

Websense Data Monitor automatically provides context to identify what data is at risk; who is using the data in real time; and where this data is sent over the Web or via the internal network - and Pentura are one of the few Websense partners who can independently deliver Websense Data Security Solutions.

"This function better protects the Society and our customers. If anyone looks at data deemed not applicable to their role we are alerted. We can see what has been accessed enabling us to take appropriate and timely action", said Neil Williams, Head of IT Market Harborough Building Society

Pentura was able to tailor a custom policy to detect and alert when files are found containing customer data that is specific to MHBS. This has helped to reduce the number of false positives that are reported and means less administration for the IT team and improved security for the Society.

After a successful evaluation MHBS implemented the full Websense Data Monitor Solution in May 2010.

MHBS has complete data visibility and is able to monitor confidential information over its network as well as what is sent via web or email. The IT team also recognises the context of the data in order to identify what is being used in real-time and by whom in order to show the data use is appropriate.

Williams explains, "This function better protects the Society and our customers. If anyone looks at data deemed not applicable to their role we are alerted. We can see what has been accessed enabling us to take appropriate and timely action."

Williams continues, "Although staff are regularly tested on the Society's appropriate use policy, and there has never been an incident, it is good to know we have the functionality installed and switched on as an additional insurance policy."
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