Victoria-based Bowens has been around for over 125 years, and has been technologically improving with the times to meet customer demand. However, upgrading their security to match its growth proved to be a complex task.
Brendan Hart, IT services manager at Bowens, said the challenge of upgrading their security arose due to the constantly changing nature of digital threats.
“Security is not something that you can fix once and then forget about,” Hart said. “We needed to be sure we had the best tools in place and that those tools would be enhanced and improved over time.
“At the same time, we wanted to work with a leading managed security services provider who could best advice, consult, guide and recommend the best security tools for our business.”
Over the last eight years, Bowens has been working with managed services provider Viatek to help improve the supplier’s security, utilising solutions from security vendor WatchGuard.
Bowens’ recent security overhaul began in 2017 with the installation of two firewalls in the supplier’s data centre, with installation taking approximately one night and testing taking up to two weeks.
“We have been very centralised in our approach to IT and security,” Hart said. “All our sites connect to the data centre via an MPLS network, which reduces complexity as only routers are needed at each site. Having two firewalls means we can reboot and upgrade when required without interrupting our network traffic.”
In order to provide options that could adapt with business growth, Viatek suggested the WatchGuard Total Security Suite, and worked closely with the team at Bowens to make sure the suite world work for the supplier.
“This was a relatively straight-forward process as the suite comprises all the tools that we need but we were assured of this strategy through Viatek’s experience in working on cyber security projects with similar organisations,” Hart said.
One tool from the suite in particular that has proven helpful, according to Hart, is DNSWatch, a cloud-based service that can protect users from phishing attempts.
“It was literally a five-minute job to point our DNS servers to DNSWatch and it was up and running,” Hart said.
“If any staff member clicks on a link to a potentially dangerous web site, access is automatically prevented and an alert generated.”
Threat detection and response was another installed solution to monitor activity across the network to identify any irregularities and to restrict user access from specific applications and data stores.
In addition, Bowens’ IT team recently finished installing WatchGuard’s AuthPoint multi-factor authentication to stop unauthorised users from connecting to the supplier’s systems.
The vendor’s Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS) was also recently installed at each of Bowen’s locations to protect the supplier’s Wi-Fi networks. Protection of these networks is important, as they connect to devices like point of sale terminals and stock scanners.
“As WIPS is cloud-based, it means I can manage all my Wi-Fi access points and connected devices from a single console which is very efficient,” Hart said.
“If an access point needs replacing at one of our sites, a new unit can be plugged in by a staff member and I can configure it remotely.”
The new system also has a web portal used for management which can monitor and manage networks from one central point, cutting down on travel time between sites.
Viatek’s partner relationship with Bowens extends past provider, and is closer to a “trusted advisor”, according to a statement from Bowens.
Hart added that Viatek understand the supplier’s business “very well” and can identify and recommend value-added products and services.
“Ultimately, our proper planning and research ensured that we found a partner in Viatek who could offer the security required to protect our data and business, adhered to security and privacy standards and ensured disasters wouldn’t impede our business workflow,” Hart said. “At the same time, they are secure enough to do business with moving forward.”