The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) collects and accounts for revenue, as well as advise the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development on revenue sources and policy while delivering consistent, impeccable client service.
Transforming Infrastructure and a Country
Uganda is on a mission of transformation. The Uganda Vision 2040 strategy includes digital transformation as an important factor in transforming the Ugandan society into a competitive, prosperous force for good in Africa and the world. URA plays a key role in developing revenue support for economic development. The Authority or Uganda Revenue Authority is operational in approximately 80 locations across Uganda, as well as in neighboring Kenya and Tanzania.
URA’s operations are primarily premises-based, although it also has VCE Vblock and Oracle SuperCluster private clouds. Its Office 365 environment runs in Azure. The IT team also supports 2,800 endpoints across the agency. Originally, URA deployed perimeter firewalls and an antivirus solution for its endpoints. However, due to digital transformation, there has been increased risk of cyber threats. As URA moved forward with its strategy, it needed better protection for its infrastructure, assets, and connections with strategic partners.
“We exchange data with numerous partners,” said Peter Collins Wasenda, Manager of IT Security at URA. “They include Uganda government Ministries, Agencies, and Departments, regional agencies, financial institutions, and international partners. As a result, URA strives to secure that the data received is safe and not in the public domain.”
In its previous security environment, URA’s security team had limited visibility into firewalls and endpoints. The existing security solutions provided little reporting detail, few troubleshooting capabilities, and poor support. Suspicious system events were difficult to identify and remediate. It was clear that a new—”no excuses”—approach was needed, and security became an important strategic imperative. As the team set out to identify a new solution, they knew that they wanted more effective security defenses, better visibility, and simpler management. They also needed a high-availability security environment to ensure transaction integrity.
“We looked for an industry-leading vendor with the latest technology,” said Mr. Wasenda. “Check Point offered the latest security architecture with a comprehensive range of capabilities. When we saw they also ranked as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, it made our decision easy.”
Continuous Industry-Leading Protection
URA upgraded its security infrastructure using Check Point Quantum Security Gateways and Check Point Harmony Endpoint. Quantum Security Gateways combine industry-leading unified management with the most advanced threat prevention, remote access VPN, high-availability architecture, and the fastest throughput for demanding datacenter environments. Quantum is powered by ThreatCloud, which uses AI technology and big-data threat intelligence to continuously update protection and prevent advanced attacks.
Check Point Professional Services worked with Mr. Wasenda’s team to deploy the Quantum Security Gateways with session failover for high availability in the event of a routing change or failure. URA also implemented VPN connectivity on the gateways. This enables the IT team to easily provide users with secure connectivity to URA’s private clouds.
“The Check Point team provided expert advice and we learned a lot through the implementation,” said Mr. Wasenda. “A solution that delivers VPN connectivity as well as security has been essential—the ability for Quantum Security Gateways to do many things well was a winning point.”
Check Point Harmony Endpoint was rolled out for URA’s endpoints. Harmony Endpoint prevents the most imminent threats to endpoints while automating 90% of attack detection, investigation, and remediation for the security team. In recent MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK Evaluations, Harmony Endpoint delivered 100% detection of all attack steps, 98% of them in the highest technique score for advanced persistent threats (APTs).
“Harmony Endpoint is really a winner for us,” said Mr. Wasenda. “It gives us unprecedented visibility into the status of our endpoints in the same console interface as the rest of our security architecture.”
URA utilizes Check Point capabilities through Check Point Infinity Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) in a simple, all-inclusive subscription offering. Infinity ELA provides the products and associated services needed while ensuring budget predictability and efficiency. As the agency continues on its cloud journey, Infinity ELA consolidates protection across the entire infrastructure and delivers industry-leading threat prevention while significantly simplifying management for URA’s team.
Protection That Ensures Integrity
Over the years, URA has been targeted by many cyber threats and continuously evolves its security capabilities. As a revenue-based agency, financial accounting and transaction integrity is paramount. A high-availability gateway configuration keeps URA aligned with its performance goals, and robust endpoint security helps ensure that nothing slips through a crack.
“Check Point is key to ensuring that we maintain transaction integrity,” said Mr. Wasenda. “During our peak season, a traffic glitch triggered failover to a secondary security gateway. We continued to work without interruption and, for us, that’s critical.”
Consistency with Visibility
Maintaining consistency across endpoints and dispersed geographic locations had been challenging in the past. The Check Point solutions integrate with Microsoft Active Directory through the Infinity Portal, delivering identity awareness and giving the URA security team centralized visibility across all users.
“The Infinity Portal gives us a single interface into endpoints, events, and emerging threats,” said Mr. Wasenda. “Logging and reporting are simple, making it easy to demonstrate the value URA receives. Check Point Infinity Portal has made security so much easier for our team, enabling us to protect our organization better.”
Realizing the Vision
Quantum Security Gateways VPN features secure critical channels with financial and banking partners. As Uganda moves forward with digital transformation, URA’s investment in high availability and industry-leading security inspires confidence from its partners and clients.
“Building trust with our constituents is very important for us,” said Mr. Wasenda. “We’re a small team, so having multi-faceted security and a single interface into everything enables efficiency. Check Point works flawlessly.”