VITO’s Remote Sensing Unit
VITO is the Flemish Institute for Technological Research which receives and processes data from satellites. A crucial part of its sustainability business is the independent Remote Sensing Unit, which processes and archives satellite images and converts the data into real actionable information on matters affecting our planet, from vegetation and agriculture to global disasters.
Need to solve issues of global vulnerability
Twenty years ago, VITO’s Remote Sensing Unit was formed to deal with the data on global vegetation received from the SPOT4 satellite. It has now grown into an independent 100-strong team, running an environment with around 650 physical servers, 7PB of data.
The unit relies on cloud technology for projects that deal with a huge number of images and need a lot of processing power. Because of the global significance of the data, its output is delivered to almost every country in the world, which leaves it vulnerable to cyberattacks on many fronts.
Specialized cloud-native protection
The organization has been using Check Point products for ten years and has now implemented the highly scalable Check Point CloudGuard Application Security solution which it uses to protect its internal cloud systems and a Hadoop cluster of 150 physical servers used for calculations.
After checking out various solutions, with the help of Check Point partner, TrueGEN, the unit had the cloud native CloudGuard Application Security solution up and running in just hours. It then migrated its sites from the old reverse proxy to a new NGINIX reverse proxy. The fast and easy installation of the product and automation are key values.
“We were looking for a company that we could trust and that would be agile and supportive to our requirements. We took on Check Point CloudGuard Application Security because in the past when we developed websites, they did not tend to be very closely managed and required extra security,” says Adri Timmermans, IT Systems Co-ordinator at VITO’s Remote Sensing Unit. “We also needed a Web Application Firewall that would be more specialized in dealing with threats to our applications and sites. Results came very fast and it was easy to show management the security incidents that were being blocked.”
Peace of mind from 24×7 surveillance
CloudGuard Application Security works 24×7 to provide protection and constant compliance, even out of office hours.
“For us the most important thing is that our websites are safe and secure,” says Timmermans. “We have some websites that have been developed a couple of years ago so we have to be careful with them.That is why it is very important that we have a Web ApplicationFirewallchecking all traffic 24/7.”
Backed by advanced machine learning engines and algorithms, easily administered CloudGuard Application Security protection enables the unit to expand its global business, safe in the knowledge that its data and websites are protected 24×7. Among its current projects that benefit from this extra security is the use of drones to photograph potato fields for improved agricultural practices and the use of satellite data to track the movement of locusts in North Africa, space-based vegetation policy support for the European Commission, and many other data-heavy endeavors.
CloudGuard Application Security also enabled the unit to cope well with the COVID-19 pandemic, as Timmerman explains: “We use VPN solutions from Check Point so for us it was very simple to scale up and ensure that everyone had access to the tools they need to work from home. We had it under control from day one.
“For us, Check Point is very, very important. Cyber Security is one of our key assets and it is essential that it is stable, well-maintained and does its job.”