A rising middle-class with escalating disposable income has helped the Indian financial services company Fedbank Financial Services Limited (Fedfina) enjoy unprecedented growth in the last decade. With 250-plus gold-loan branches catering to the Indian market, Fedfina is poised to emerge as a leading player in the BFSI space. Growing in such a highly competitive market required Fedfina to establish itself as a trusted financial services brand.
However, the company was battling two major challenges: vulnerability to cyberattacks owing to unrestricted internet access and threat of data loss due to leakage of sensitive data outside the organization.
With over 1,800 employees across 300-plus offices pan India, managing and controlling internet access for individual employees was difficult. Installing firewalls at all locations would have been a costly proposition but leaving internet access unrestricted presented a huge security risk, making the system vulnerable and jeopardizing the entire network.
In terms of internal threats, unauthorized data sharing by employees was a major concern. Fedfina didn’t have the means to determine when sensitive data leaked out over email internally or externally, or uploaded to cloud, leading to a risk of data loss.
Besides, the regulatory mandate by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also required NBFCs (non-banking financial companies) to install a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) system for data security.
Powerful hybrid solution closes web security holes and keeps an eye on critical data
To address these requirements, Fedfina started off by evaluating DLP and web security solutions from Cisco, McAfee, Symantec and Forcepoint through a Proof of Concept (PoC) exercise. This was supplemented with Gartner’s review of respective solutions.
Forcepoint made the right impression on Fedfina for the following reasons:
• Offered integration of both the web gateway and DLP solutions into a single agent.
• The solution was scalable, reliable as well as tried and tested in the market to support the company’s growth and expansion plans.
• Received highest ratings in review by Gartner
• Had a strong support network.
“With a single hybrid agent Forcepoint offered ease of manageability, which was our key selection criterion. We didn’t want management of our security environment to become complex with multiple solutions as we scaled up to support our business growth,” explained Digvijay Deshmukh, Manager, Information Security, Fedfina.
In their individual capacities too, both Forcepoint Web Security and DLP solutions stood out with their advanced functionalities.
Securing against new and emerging web threats
With Web Security, Fedfina can control user access of the web content, mitigating the risk of downloading malicious code and securing users, data and network against new and emerging web threats.
Other useful features that helped Fedfina included:
• An easily customizable solution with a cloud-based approach simplified creating the agent
• Features like proxy bypassing, URL filtering, etc. helped raise the bar of web security within Fedfina
• Excellent policy management with a number of pre-configured policies and flexibility to apply different policies to different sets of users
• An efficient Proxy agent with a fast turnaround time which could reflect the applied policy in a user account within 10-15 minutes
Taking control of data
From the DLP perspective, the Forcepoint solution deployed at end points has helped instill confidence that no confidential data can be leaked through email or uploaded on cloud.
The solution’s biggest value-add is the OCR functionality that can read content within images as well. This ensures the system catches and raises an alert even if someone tries to send out data as an image.
The system can also track if someone tries to share unauthorized data by renaming the file to escape DLP scrutiny. The alert mechanism is aware that the file name has been modified.
Having full control over data empowered Fedfina to maintain its data integrity. This has also helped from an audit perspective.
As DLP policies are configured by departments, this prevents unauthorized sharing of data internally among departments.
Forcepoint DLP allows for three triggers to be initiated: at the first level, the system audits the activity and sends notification; at the second level, it sends notification up the hierarchy; and at the third level, the system starts alerting users at every level as well as the IT head. This helps build a foolproof system with multiple redundancies.
Going forward, Fedfina plans to build on its partnership with Forcepoint to step up its data security and integrity. As a first step, it plans to upgrade the DLP solution from an ‘alert only’ to the blocking mode to realize greater benefits. “Our partnership with Forcepoint is a key pillar of our growth roadmap that focuses on a trust-driven business growth,” concluded Deshmukh.