Extending Security Beyond the Office with SecureDoc™
Headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, Arch Chemicals, Inc. (Arch) is a global biocides company with approximately $1.5 billion in annual sales. A leading provider of innovative, chemistry-based solutions to control the growth of harmful microbes, Arch’s main areas of concentration are in water, hair and skin care products; treated wood, paints and building products; and health and hygiene applications.
Together with its subsidiaries, Arch operates in two business segments – Treatment Products and Performance Products. Arch and its subsidiaries employ 3,000 people in manufacturing and customersupport facilities in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. The global nature of Arch’s operations necessitates extensive travel for Arch executives, sales people and other employees. Arch’s IT security staff is keenly aware of the data security issues presented when employees leave the safe confines of their offices.
“There are more than 800 people working from laptops, and every year one or two devices go missing,” commented Damon Allen, Manager, Distributed Systems Operations, Arch Chemicals. “The price of the laptop itself is insignificant when compared to the value of the data, and so we wanted to be absolutely certain that unauthorized users could not gain access to valuable information via a lost or stolen device,” Allen continued. “Our CIO wanted us to be as proactive as possible when protecting data to ensure a stolen laptop could not pose a security threat and also to ensure that we met and surpassed all compliance and privacy regulations.”
Securing data beyond office walls
In 2003, Allen was tasked with setting up a team to research and pilot available encryption packages. The IT team developed a list of data security criteria that had to be met, and then set up a three-month pilot to find the encryption solution that could best meet those specific requirements. “Obviously, the selected solution had to provide high-level security, yet easily manage a large number of users,” said Allen. “But, as we were chiefly concerned with remote access, we also wanted to ensure the solution would make it simple for administrators to allow travelling users to securely gain access into the system in the event they forgot their passwords,” Allen continued. “We also wanted to be certain that we would be able to easily gain access to a laptop in the event that a user called in sick or left the company.”
The IT team also wanted to be certain that the encryption software would not intimidate users. “Some technology scares people to death, and so they don’t use it properly,” commented Allen. “And, the truth is that when you talk about encryption, everybody’s eyes glaze over,” Allen continued. “So, we wanted to be certain that the encryption software would not only meet all security and management criteria, but would also be so transparent that data would be protected without the user really having to do anything.”
The pilot revealed that WinMagic’s SecureDoc provided Arch with the best combination of security, ease of use, and ease of administration. “Our testing showed us that SecureDoc not only provided the excellent data security we needed, but, most importantly, provided the functionality that made accesskey management simple to administer for a large enterprise,” noted Allen. “It was critical to ensure administrators could easily manage our large and distributed user base.”
The IT team also confirmed that travelling staff would always be able to access necessary data. “If somebody in China forgets their password they can call our central 24-hour help desk and utilize a simple challenge/response protocol to get a new password,” commented Allen. “With SecureDoc, a 32-bit hexicode appears on the screen, and the user simply reads it to the help desk,” Allen continued. “Once the help desk confirms the user’s identity via specific questions, it sends a 32-bit response which the user then uses to create a new password.”
Allen’s faith in the encryption solution was further reinforced by past experience. “I had previous experience in a lawsuit where someone wanted information from a laptop,” explained Allen. “The laptop was protected with SecureDoc, and the recovery company couldn’t bypass the encryption,” Allen continued. “That type of scenario gave me real confidence in the encryption capability of the product.”
Simple anytime, anywhere data security
Careful planning and product support ensured the installation went smoothly.
“SecureDoc proved simple to integrate with all of our existing applications, such as Microsoft Office,” noted Allen. “WinMagic’s excellent support team was always available to ensure installation was a painless process,” Allen continued. “The installation included setting up every laptop in exactly the same way to ensure that if any user did have a problem going forward, the help desk would know exactly how to fix it.”
Secure Enterprise Server has also made it simple for administrators across the system to deploy SecureDoc to the dispersed user base without inconveniencing the staff.
“Each individual site is managed by a single administrator who deploys SecureDoc from the central database,” Allen continued. “SecureDoc pulls a new user into the database to record them and their laptop and is so transparent when running that most users don’t even realize the encryption is on.” Allen was also pleased to note that WinMagic has even made changes to the software over the last few years to meet Arch’s ever-more-demanding security requirements.
“WinMagic listens to our feedback on management functionality,” commented Allen. “SecureDoc always provided outstanding data protection, but has worked hard to greatly improve the management console which now makes it much easier to centrally deploy the software as well as to make any patches and configuration changes,” Allen continued. “This is proving invaluable as we move from Windows XP to Vista.”
As with adding any new technology, Allen feels that careful planning is at the core of smooth, nondisruptive implementation. “The pilot is key, as just reading a magazine review does not provide the firsthand product experience required to know exactly what a solution can do, and how to best use it to meet specific criteria,” advised Allen. “It is critical to standardize all security during the pilot and then ensure that the actual deployment is done exactly the same way to guarantee a successful implementation.”
Encryption that’s good to go
Arch Chemicals understood that data protection is a critical part of doing business, and SecureDoc has met every one of the company’s security requirements. Consequently, Allen has great confidence that all information is protected no matter where users travel.
“Security can make or break a company,” concluded Allen. “A data breach can be catastrophic, and so you need to be 100 per cent certain that all data on all devices is protected at all times,” Allen continued. “SecureDoc ensures that the data contained on Arch Chemicals’ laptops is protected at all times – even when the devices are being used outside of the office.”