Check Point Quantum Security Gateways Enable Clarks to Elevate Security Protection and Management Simplicity to New Levels

“With Check Point Quantum Network Security, we gained industry-leading protection, better visibility, and we can manage much more of our security services ourselves,” said Fletcher. “We were looking to simplify security—and we’ve done that while gaining so many additional benefits.”
– Dan Fletcher, Network Service Manager

Overview

Founded by two brothers in 1825, with £1.5 billion in sales and 1,400 stores worldwide. Clarks invented the world’s first foot-shaped shoe. The company continues to innovate with 3D printing, rapid prototyping, and a digital foot gauge. Forty-six million pairs later, Clarks is appealing to customers’ sense of style and comfort in 75 countries.

Business Challenges

Seeking a Better Fit
Headquartered in the UK, Clarks supports manufacturing, distribution, and retail sales in the United States, the UK, Europe, and Asia. Until recently, security management had been primarily outsourced. Protection was limited, often due to contractual complexities or resource constraints meaning it was difficult to realize the full benefit of products in use. Whilst numerous protections had been implemented, there was little visibility into the organization’s overall security posture. Initiating security policy changes was burdensome with most of the work falling to the Clarks IT team. When a new IT team joined Clarks, it was clear that change was needed.

“We launched a security overhaul,” said Dan Fletcher, Network Service Manager for Clarks. “In addition to adding more robust security functionality, we wanted to simplify management, improve our ability to keep pace with a dynamic landscape and have better visibility into security measures. We already had a great relationship with Check Point, and that made our decision easy.”

Solution

Powerful Protection Automatically
Clarks based its security refresh on Check Point Quantum Security Gateways. Quantum Network Security provides ultra-scalable protection against Gen V cyber attacks across the enterprise. With powerful firewall, IPS, Anti-Bot, Antivirus, Application Control, and URL Filtering, Clarks’ infrastructure immediately gained the industry’s best protection against known cyber-attacks and threats. Seven Quantum gateway clusters defend the company’s global footprint.

“We use every capability,” said Paul Davey, Infrastructure Service Specialist for Clarks. “The URL filtering has been especially useful. It detects and prevents web access security events, and SSL inspection technology scans and secures SSL/TLS encrypted traffic. We were able to eliminate seven internet proxies around the world as a result.”

ID awareness capabilities have reduced overhead while simultaneously improving security. Prior to Quantum Security Gateways, the team had to create rules to give access to specific resources with little control or granularity. Now they can grant access based on identity, without opening access to everyone on the VPN.

“We simply turned on Anti-Bot and Antivirus measures and they do their thing,” said Davey. “They automatically block threats with no impact to our business and we’ve seen no false positives. We know everything stopped is truly malicious.”

Fast, Smart Deployment
Migrating to the new solutions was easier than anticipated. Over time, as policies or rules had been changed they had often been disabled and left them in place. The Clarks team wanted to create new policies on the Quantum Security Gateways instead of having to import existing policies and rules and go back to clean them up.

“We originally planned to use 30 days of professional services for deploying the gateways and revising policies,” said Fletcher. “We migrated systems region by region according to our predefined testing plan and even completed the last migration remotely. We only used seven days, which was quite a saving.”

Gateway logs now feed into Clarks’ SIEM, giving the security operations team deep visibility. Check Point Compliance continuously examines the gateways, software modules, policies, and configuration settings in real time. Clarks’ privacy and compliance teams receive this data, combined with Check Point SmartEvent reporting, to ensure that security measures align with best practices.

Benefits

Capacity Just in Time
Clarks deployed its new security solutions right before the pandemic unfolded. Quantum remote access VPN features made it easy for the team to deliver secure, scalable and seamless remote access to the corporate networks and resources as people began working from home.

“Prior to the pandemic, our configuration allowed 200 users to access their applications over a VPN,” said Davey. “When everyone began working from home, we were able to quickly increase capacity and connect up to 600 users per day.”

Confidence in Protection
“When we migrated, one of our main policies included 550 security rules,” said Fletcher. “We’ve reduced this by around 60% with the same level of service but the simplified policies make future changes easier and clearer. The only impact on the business is having much better protection.”

The team has high confidence in the company’s protection. Check Point Quantum Security Gateways automatically detect and block port scans. In the past, the team would have had to discover those events in firewall logs and reactively block them. If a user was phished and downloaded software, malicious DNS requests could be sent outbound to a cloud proxy service. Today, Check Point gateways detect and stop malicious DNS requests automatically before they can leave the network.

More Benefits in Sight
As Clarks continues to explore cloud technologies the team have expanded their Check Point deployment to include Azure. At first, the team used a standard Azure Firewall gateway, but experienced numerous connectivity problems. They turned to Check Point CloudGuard Network Security to resolve this but also significantly improve visibility of their cloud traffic.

CloudGuard keeps data in public cloud networks safe from even the most sophisticated attacks. The Check Point team used CloudGuard Network Security to set up a virtual hub in Azure, providing secure connectivity between the data center and cloud. Clarks gained consistent security protection, policy enforcement, and full visibility between the premises and cloud networks.

The Clarks team now can secure new cloud-based solutions in minutes as the company continues on its cloud journey. Industry-leading advanced threat protection and single-pane-of-glass management makes it easy for the team to ensure consistent, comprehensive security protections across its estate while keeping pace with dynamic business requirements.

The team also expects savings in endpoint security. Previously, multiple agents were deployed on users’ remote and mobile endpoints—one for securing the device and others for SOC team monitoring. Users experienced performance issues and the team received numerous complaints. Clarks chose Check Point Harmony Endpoint for complete endpoint protection and automated attack detection and remediation. Harmony Endpoint handles URL filtering on the endpoint, giving users much better performance while Check Point Zero-Phishing technology identifies and blocks phishing in real time.

“With Check Point Quantum Network Security, we gained industry-leading protection, better visibility, and we can manage much more of our security services ourselves,” said Fletcher. “We were looking to simplify security—and we’ve done that while gaining so many additional benefits.”

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