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Network perimeter protection for PayPoint.

InfoSecurity Europe : 29 February, 2008  (Application Story)
Web filtering and malware scanning service from scansafe enable PayPoint to maintain low risk services for its clients.
PayPoint is one of Britain's leading payment collection networks with over 15,000 payment terminals in operation across the United Kingdom. PayPoint is used primarily for the cash payment of bills and services and pre-payments for mobile phone networks and energy meters. During the last financial year, the Hertfordshire-based company processed more than 322 million payments worth approximately £3.8 billion, and now has more than 800 clients across the utility, television, mobile phone, local authority, financial and leisure sectors.

On average, more than 6 million transactions are made at PayPoint terminals each week. Over the last ten years, PayPoint's customer base has grown rapidly as consumers look for ever more convenient ways to pay for services 'over the counter'.

As the company grows in size, maintaining the integrity of PayPoint's IT network, is a top priority for PayPoint's business risk manager, Paul Rogers. This includes ensuring employees are given secure access to the Internet as part of the wider integrated approach to security adopted by PayPoint,

As a financial services firm, PayPoint is subject to compliance regulations and applies information security standards as best practice. Among these is ISO 27001 standard certification, an information security management standard designed to establish an effective information and network systems security policy. To help maintain its Internet acceptable use policy as part of this standard, PayPoint sought advice from UKN Group, a Thames Valley-based specialist IT services firm which helps businesses improve the efficiency of their IT systems and services by providing design, implementation and support services.

In order to protect PayPoint's 225 users from a growing number of increasingly sophisticated Web threats, UKN Group suggested an evaluation of ScanSafe's managed Web security services.

After reviewing other available solutions, including on-premise appliances, PayPoint opted for ScanSafe's managed service with leading heuristics technology that continually guards against the latest Web-borne malware and delivers the benefits of cost effectiveness and scalability.

PayPoint employees use the Web for business purposes and recreational Internet browsing during their free time. Additionally, some users log-on to the network remotely. As a result, the corporate network is at risk from sophisticated Web-based malware such as Trojans, key-stroke loggers and adware.

"As a technology-based company in the finance sector, our challenge is to maintain a secure, high-availability service for our clients and network of agents," said Paul Rogers, business risk manager, PayPoint. "We need to do this while meeting our compliance commitments in line with an increasing number of standards and regulations such as ISO 27001. My responsibility is to mitigate any risk to the integrity of our network by ensuring we have the most reliable technology in place, allowing us to remove or minimize IT security risks."

PayPoint already had a Web-filtering solution in place, which monitored HTTP traffic. However, this in-house tool was supported by PayPoint's internal IT resources, consuming valuable IT staff time that could have been allocated to other core IT projects.

"We needed a solution that would allow us to retain control over our applied IT policies and usage reports while at the same time being confident that we had a dedicated team of IT security specialists filtering all of our Web traffic," Rogers said. "We've noticed that the number and diversity of computer viruses in the wild has increased and we needed a solution that was capable of blocking Web-based malware before it even had a chance of entering our network. We were looking for a specialist IT security company with a proven track record that could do this efficiently and effectively without introducing any latency. ScanSafe was uniquely positioned in the market place to meet our needs."

In addition to the best available threat protection, PayPoint needed a solution that would provide robust reporting. Reporting can often be a time consuming and daunting task. It was critical for PayPoint to be able to analyse data quickly and produce reports on Web usage patterns, bandwidth utilisation, general Internet usage and to notify IT administrators about any potential security risks in a timely manner.

Since the beginning of August 2005, ScanSafe has provided PayPoint with Web Virus Scanning, Web Filtering and Spyware Screening services.

ScanSafe Web Virus Scanning provides PayPoint with protection from Web-borne viruses and is powered by ScanSafe's patented heuristics technology - Outbreak Intelligence. It removes harmful viruses before they reach the network, and identifies and blocks zero hour threats—threats that appear before an anti-virus signature is available.

ScanSafe Web Filtering provides control over how PayPoint's employees use the Internet. It provides easy-to-use tools to create, enforce and monitor company Web usage policies. Using the most accurate categorisation databases, Web Filtering helps manage the firm's Internet traffic, protecting the network and staff from undesirable Web content.

Finally, ScanSafe's Spyware Screening service works alongside Web Virus Scanning delivering protection against threats that use stealth or deception. This service can also help to identify machines which are already infected with spyware.

All of the ScanSafe services provided an easy-to-use, centralised reporting and administration portal—ScanCenter. ScanCenter provides PayPoint with a secure, Web-based dashboard that simplifies the process of configuring, monitoring and enforcing policy. It allows PayPoint to generate various reports ranging from general departmental usage trends through to more detailed individual reports. It enables the customer administrator to:.

* Review statistics of all viruses captured, spyware stopped and Web content blocked.
* Create access restrictions and apply these to specific users or groups.
* Customise browser alert pages seen by users when Web access to a particular site or file is denied.
* Update administration details for real-time email alerts.
* Configure and schedule automated system auditing and reporting.

ScanCenter makes reporting both easy and accessible for PayPoint.

On average, ScanSafe blocks 4,000 instances of spyware and adware each month for PayPoint. ScanSafe Web Filtering blocks average approximately 15,000 instances of unwanted Web content each month, affording PayPoint employees a safe and productive Internet environment.

"Deploying an in depth, multi-layered IT defence is the best approach towards protecting our network," says Rogers. "We'd been using a managed service for email anti-virus and anti-spam protection for a number of years, so it was a logical choice for us to outsource our Web security and control solution as well.

"Pushing the perimeter out to a trusted third party, while maintaining strong internal controls, has proven to be an extremely worthwhile and cost-effective decision for PayPoint.

"ScanSafe's technology has so far proved to be 100 percent effective at blocking all known and emerging Web threats. It provides features that enable us to retain control over our own policies while removing the hassle and expense of maintaining an in-house system."

ScanSafe is exhibiting on stand G155 at Infosecurity Europe 2008, Europe's number one dedicated information security event. Now in its 13th year, the show continues to provide an unrivalled education programme, new products and services, over 300 exhibitors and 11,700 visitors from every segment of the industry. Held on 22nd to 24th April 2008 in the Grand Hall at Olympia, this is a must attend event for all professionals involved in information security.
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