Turning a light on security and IT risks during an organisational shift

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Any organisational change, regardless of size, comes with potential risk. Whether your company is assessing a brand name change, an acquisition, or simply moving offices, security and IT should be at the forefront of planning. Unlike divisional priorities, these need to underpin the entire project. If they fall too far down the list, you are putting your organisation at risk of attack, likely due to rouge endpoints on a disjointed estate.  

At Signify, formerly Philips Lighting - we went through our name change this past May. For us, this was a huge moment in time as it was a shift from the Phillips name that was started in 1891. Branching out into an exciting new era required perfection and quick execution; any disruption as we transitioned to Signify would have put our brand image in jeopardy.   

When we began mapping out every possible business concern, we started with the typical red flags: potential customer loss and market confusion, the legal undertaking and paperwork, and outdated brand and product messaging and collateral. Across the board, we also needed to ensure the name change happened seamlessly “overnight”. 

After this shortlist came potential IT and security risks within our estate, as we knew this had to remain top of mind throughout the entire process. 

Obstacles we faced 

Our first hurdle was migrating our entire IT infrastructure and environment within the cloud. Aside from the technological effort, this also had implications around compliance. Our main priority was our company’s web address. This unique identifier is used within our office environment throughout many of our applications. In order to switch the security from Lighting.com to Signify.com, we had to change the whole landscape all at once. These kinds of actions require a special kind of precision but also automation, and we quickly discovered that a management tool such as Intune was not sufficiently mature to effect the surgical changes required at scale. 

We realised we needed a really cutting-edge solution and knew the sec-ops space would be the right place for utilising a tool that could implement the accuracy and reach we needed. There are a few tools purporting to offer this sort of capability, such as Tanium, though we opted for the newer Tachyon tool by 1E, since its modern architecture was better suited to the cloud and mobile-rich environment we maintain at Signify.

Tachyon is a bit like the Google of our entire IT landscape. We can ask any question of it and it provides a real live answer. An equally important advantage with Tachyon, is that it never interferes with our business network. The impact on our network is absolutely neglectable, meaning we can always use it without worrying. These points are pivotal when you are planning to transition an entire IT environment in just one weekend, as timing is of the essence. We could not have tasks happen out of sequence or happen too late. Tachyon was able to deliver a solution that made us prepared around simulating group policies, compliance, patch reporting and software installation. 

We were able to ensure that tasks happened when they needed to happen with the latest patches available on the 22,000 endpoints of all our users, regardless if they were at home or in the office. For example, we knew Windows 7 devices would have issues through the process - including having the right level of security. Tachyon called out which specific devices would have problems during the transition and where necessary we were able to isolate these devices until they were patched. 

Beyond the name change 

One of the most fascinating things about engaging a sec-ops tool like Tachyon is that you quickly find yourself utilising it in ways the name suggests – both security and operational. 

As the Global Director of User Services, my two biggest priorities are around having state-of-the-art technology in two key areas, that:

  1. Provides real-time visibility into our systems for multiple functions to establish control and identify opportunities and risks.
  2. Ensures our IT environment is secure across multiple locations, at all times.

This becomes an even higher priority when an organisation goes through a significant transformative process. 

We knew we could depend on Tachyon during the name change because it is our security Swiss army knife on an ongoing basis. For example, when Intel Spectre threats endangered granting password administration rights from any device connected to our network, Tachyon prevented this from happening in just two days. Without it, the process would have taken weeks or even months. During the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, we identified an undocumented third exploit. 

Using Tachyon, we were able to create an instruction to close the vulnerability and execute and remediate on our estate (22,000 devices) in under two hours. Tachyon allows us real-time visibility, which is incredibly important in today’s world. Particularly when you look at viruses, phishing attacks, and these kind of phenomena, they happen moment to moment; you need to be able to react quickly. There may have been a time when it was safe to wait a couple of weeks to remediate – certainly there was a time when you had to. Today, however, real-time information makes all the difference.

Our name change process seemed daunting at first and had multiple implications around security and compliance. Fortunately for our team, this process was automated and seamless because the tools allowed us to plug and play. This saved both time and cost and freed me up to be more focused on securing our environment and moving the digital transformation of the business forward. 

Erwin De Kort, Global Director of User Services at Signify 

Image Credit: Startup Stock Photos / Pexels