The Granarolo Group, Italy’s largest dairy provider and a leader in the country’s manufacturing sector, recently selected ForeScout’s automated security control platform, CounterACT, to advance its network defences and achieve operational savings. Since deploying CounterACT, Granarolo has saved 50% in related man hours and approximately €20,000 in annual costs.
Granarolo – a large company with a complex IT network
Granarolo is Italy’s biggest provider of fresh milk, and second only to Parmalat in the UHT milk market. The Group includes two separate, but synergistic parts: first, a consortium of milk producers – called Granlatte – which operates in the agricultural sector and collects the raw materials, and second, a limited company – called Granarolo SpA – which processes and sells the products and has six manufacturing facilities located throughout Italy. Following the opening of Granarolo Iberica SL in 2011, Granarolo also has a food distribution centre in Spain.
The Granarolo Group is committed to providing excellent quality products, and has a strong ability to innovate: the company was the first to launch dairy products from organic farming, for example, and the first to market with a product for lactose intolerant people. Such innovation, high quality and Granarolo’s management of the entire supply chain, demands stringent network security to defend the company’s heterogenous network operations.
Due to the complexity of its IT network – comprising a mix of wired and wireless technologies, distributed industrial and office structures, plus a wide variety of device types from notebooks to smartphones, laptops and iPads wanting to access the network – Granarolo’s CTO Roberto Poli recently decided that it was necessary to improve network access control, as well as advance the Group’s security procedures in order to maintain defences, compliance and operational performance, uninterrupted by the ever-changing threat landscape.
Granarolo’s information security supplier, Yotta Tecnologie, recommended ForeScout’s automated security control platform, CounterACT, to tackle the wide-ranging network security issues that Granarolo was facing. In addition to CounterACT, Granarolo also examined other market leading network access control (NAC) solutions. The decision criteria they adhered to were: agent/agentless; 802.1x protocol support; flexibility; impact on Granarolo’s network and infrastructure, and complexity of use. After facilitating numerous Proof of Concept tests, Granarolo chose ForeScout CounterACT for the primary reason that it addressed more of the company’s network security needs than any other solution.
Moreno Selmi, Security and Network Administrator at Granarolo, described the subsequent deployment of ForeScout’s NAC appliance across seven sites, serving 5000 endpoints, “We first installed a central CounterACT appliance in our company headquarters, which is where our data centre is also located. For the first few months we activated CounterACT in listening mode, to collect and catalogue the devices, and to begin compiling and testing security policies specific to our network environment. This provided us with compliance monitoring and allowed us to decide how to phase in policy without needlessly disrupting end user productivity. After about six months, we made the move to enforce our policies. Finally, we installed six other remote devices in our six main manufacturing sites, across Italy which we found was quite easy to centrally administer.”
How ForeScout Helped
Seamless deployment and easy administration
Roberto Poli, CTO at Granarolo Group, commented, “We were concerned that deployment of a NAC solution might disrupt network performance and levels of end user productivity. This has not been the case at all: since installation, ForeScout CounterACT has been quietly and effectively doing its job, plus it is extremely easy to manage. We had it up and running in no time, the interface is very good, and it handled the diversity of our network. This has helped our IT team significantly reduce the amount of time spent building up defences and subsequently tackling security issues.”
Endpoint compliance and guest networking
Moreno Selmi explains, “We can set policies for who and what corporate devices are allowed on our network and the security configuration of those devices. We also have to consider guest management. Non-corporate devices such as contractor notebooks, tablets and smartphones are classified and blocked by a virtual firewall and redirected to our ForeScout HTTP portal. Here, the user must complete a form before being granted access to the network by a member of our IT team and we can segregate that access from other parts of our network. The product’s policies are built in and very easy to customise so it supports our compliance requirements well.
Since ForeScout assesses the security posture of all devices before and after they get on to the network, this reduces possible gaps in endpoint security. Further, ForeScout CounterACT includes a built-in threat prevention mechanism called ActiveResponse. This protects Granarolo against viruses, worms and other zero-day threats, as it continuously checks the behaviour of all devices on the network, whether corporate-owned or non-corporate. Moreno Selmi adds, “The software protection on end user devices can be affected for various reasons and that presents a problem. With CounterACT, we can better manage this risk since the system can locate and help fix these issues without our IT staff having to spend time on such matters.”
The ForeScout Difference
According to Roberto Poli, CTO at the Granarolo Group, “The simple integration and central management of CounterACT into our existing network infrastructure, without any serious impact on performance or productivity, is a huge differentiator of ForeScout’s solution compared to other NAC products. CounterACT gives us all the visibility and security information we need to control our network, and – ultimately – ensures the best possible levels of security for our business.”
Gord Boyce, CEO at ForeScout, commented, “Throughout Europe, customers like Granarolo are seeking network access and mobile security solutions that can readily work with their existing heterogeneous environment and can deliver immediate savings. This is where ForeScout’s automated security control platform, CounterACT, is different from other infrastructure approaches. The combination of ForeScout’s usability, deployment flexibility and demonstrable cost savings are a huge benefit to our customers.”
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