Avianca Takes Off to the Cloud Securely with Check Point

“CloudGuard IaaS for Azure delivers protection against the threat vectors we face while making it easy to maintain a safe environment in the cloud.”
—Zully Romero, Security Architect, Avianca

Overview

Avianca

Headquartered in Bogota, Colombia, Avianca connects the world to Latin America. Through its membership in Star Alliance, Avianca enables customers to connect to at least 1,300 destinations in 191 countries. More than 19,000 employees are committed to delivering unsurpassed service to each customer, in every destination.

Business Challenge

Cloud Security Gets a Flying Start

The company was founded in 1919, making it the world’s second-oldest airline still in operation. As Avianca approached its centenary, it committed to a corporate-wide digital transformation initiative with several critical components. Security is a key value—from transportation safety to cybersecurity. Innovation has been part of the company’s fabric from its founding. As it celebrates 100 years in operation, Avianca is building a digital foundation to support even greater agility and innovation in the future. Compliance is also paramount. Avianca Holdings is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which requires compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). The company also maintains compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standard, ISO 27000 and requirements of the Star Alliance, such as GDPR.

“We’re a digital company that happens to fly planes,” said Ms. Zully Romero, Security Architect for Avianca. “We’re committed to digital transformation, agile operations and innovative technology in the service of our customers.”

The cloud plays a key role in the company’s digital transformation. Avianca plans to move as many operations to the cloud as possible to increase agility, reach, and cost-effectiveness. One of its first steps was to move its e-commerce site—Avianca.com—to the Microsoft Azure public cloud environment.

“We’re experts in aviation and logistics,” said Ms. Romero, “and we rely on strategic partners for expertise in other areas. As we migrated to the cloud, we needed to ensure consistent, robust security across our portfolio of applications and services—whether in the cloud or on premises. Check Point was our choice.”

Solution

Centralized compliance and security “Cockpit” Command

Avianca had previously deployed Check Point firewalls for its on-premises environments. Although the Azure public cloud provides some security services, Avianca needed additional capabilities to strengthen security and support unique technologies in both its internal operations and customer-facing services. Ms. Romero’s team launched a proof-of-concept trial of Check Point CloudGuard IaaS.

CloudGuard IaaS provides advanced threat prevention security to protect Azure cloud environments from malware and other sophisticated threats. It enables Avianca to easily and seamlessly secure workloads, data, and assets while providing secure connectivity across the Azure cloud and its on-premises environments.

“We chose CloudGuard IaaS for Azure because we trust Check Point solutions,” said Ms. Romero. “CloudGuard  [IaaS] for Azure delivers protection against the threat vectors we face while making it easy to maintain a safe cloud environment.”

Fully integrated security capabilities defend against threats in the dynamic cloud environment. Avianca uses the built-in firewall, antivirus, anti-bot, and intrusion prevention system (IPS) to protect workloads in the cloud. Avianca also uses CloudGuard IaaS for Azure to micro-segment security across different parts of the company’s networks, which further minimizes risk. Teams can deploy granular policies to secure specific assets across a wide range of users and operations.

CloudGuard IaaS for Azure enables Avianca to easily extend its on-premises Check Point security to cloud workloads. For example, Check Point Compliance continuously monitors security infrastructure, gateways, technologies, policies, and configuration settings in real time. CloudGuard IaaS for Azure extends this capability to the cloud. It quickly detects and alerts the team of deviations from SOX, PCI, and ISO GDPR compliance requirements so that they can be remediated for continuous compliance.

Check Point R80 Security Management also unifies on-premises and cloud-based security visibility in the SmartConsole. With policy, logging, monitoring, event correlation and reporting in a single system, the security team can easily identify security risks across the organization. SmartEvent provides full visibility into security risks in a single view, accelerating incident response.

Benefits

Accelerated Cloud Deployment

Because Avianca was already familiar with Check Point solutions, deploying CloudGuard IaaS for Azure went smoothly and quickly. Once in place, CloudGuard IaaS for Azure delivered additional benefits.

“We deployed the Check Point solution hundreds of times faster than we could have deployed other solutions,” said Ms. Romero. “Check Point worked closely with us to accelerate and optimize deployment, delivering even more value than expected.”

The Avianca.com website was one of the first applications migrated to the public cloud. Since the migration, website stability has significantly improved. Special discounted fare promotions now run on the website without downtime from peak usage. As a result, customers can easily purchase last-minute tickets. Planes fly with many fewer empty seats. And Avianca sales revenue increased.

Assuring Compliance Through High Visibility

“CloudGuard IaaS for Azure enables us to secure our applications and workloads in alignment with business and compliance requirements,” said Ms. Romero. “The ability to segment—and appropriately secure—different services greatly reduces risk.”

Check Point R80 gives teams security visibility into cloud traffic, users and workloads. They can assess security measures in place, measure effectiveness and identify potential points of exposure. Consolidated monitoring, logging and reporting give security teams immediate visibility into status and incidents—whether in the cloud, on-premises or across all environments.

No Fear of Flying

To date, Avianca has not experienced any business-disrupting cyber attacks. Check Point cloud security delivers peace of mind, freeing the teams to move forward confidently on other digital transformation initiatives.

“Digital transformation requires a different way of thinking about our operations,” said Ms. Romero. “We first wanted to ensure cloud security, and Check Point enabled us to make our corporate value of security become a reality.”

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