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Western Federal Credit Union Enhances Laptop Security

Aurora installs PGP Universal Server and Whole Disk encryption

• Wanted additional protection of data on mobile computing devices
• Needed to encrypt data without hindering end-user experience
• Needed to integrate current PGP products into a de facto encryption standard

• Hired Aurora Enterprises to architect an encryption platform by deploying a PGP Universal Server and PGP Whole Disk encryption

• Improved security on all laptops via whole disk encryption and USB device encryption capability

We were very satisfied with Aurora’s professionalism and knowledge of the PGP products. The company did a great job of evaluating our needs and developing a relationship with our organization. We would rate the overall installation experience, the timeliness and the quality of the installation, and the professionalism of Aurora’s engineer as excellent. We would be glad to work with Aurora again in the future.

Nate Howe, Information Security Manager, Western Federal Credit Union

As the Information Security Manager at Western Federal Credit Union (“Western”), Nate Howe works closely with the IT department to develop information security solutions. During a risk assessment to identify potential security exposures. Howe confirmed that data on mobile computing devices was stored in unencrypted form. “These devices sometimes leave our realm of physical security. They’re laptops that people use in the field,” Howe explained. “That corresponded with what we saw in the news last year with the V.A. and Ernst and Young, and other organizations that lost laptops.”

The organization reviewed the way employees worked on laptops, to assess whether it was necessary to store business files on the machine. “We decided these files had to be on the computer at times, such as for a presentation when network access wasn’t available, or to do business development work in the field,” Howe said. “So we wanted our employees to continue to use their laptops the way they always have, but we had to gain the assurance that if it was out of their physical possession, it would be a lot harder to compromise data on that laptop.”

Howe began an evaluation of several vendors that offer Whole Disk Encryption products. “One of the differentiators for us was the concept of central management – we wanted to add this layer of encryption but not put ourselves in a situation where the end user locks himself out of a laptop by forgetting the password, and the hard drive needs to be reformatted and rebuilt,” Howe said.

“We also wanted to guarantee the same service level to end users when they’re on our network and when they’re off. The encryption layer should not result in a degraded service level. That was an area where PGP provided a level of comfort that other solutions did not, especially when it was mated with the Universal Server.”

Howe knew there were already PGP encryption technologies being used at Western in one-off situations, driven by business partner requirements. Keys and pass phrases had been established, but not relative to any enforceable policy. “Our decision to purchase the Universal Server allowed us to gain more control and start integrating all the PGP products we’re currently using,” Howe said. “I like the idea of building a model that we can use as our de facto standard of encryption wherever we may need to do it today or tomorrow.”

For installation and data security expertise, Western turned to Aurora Enterprises.  “There were so many up-front decisions that we had to make correctly, it made sense to bring knowledgeable people in,” Howe explained. “A consultant from Aurora did the installation with us, established corporate keys, walked us through the installation of Whole Disk, and trained our help desk staff.”

Deployment was successful. “We received a high level of support from Aurora. From a client relationship standpoint they did a very good job,” Howe said. “We wanted to be able to reach out to the vendor when putting together a budget and get a quote, and we didn’t have to wait long to get that data turned around. It was never a challenge to get information, and I never felt like I was dealing with a bureaucracy. Aurora adds value beyond just the implementation of the equipment, in their process of getting to know us and understanding our concerns.”

Statistics show that companies lose an average of 1% of their laptops in a year. So far, Western has been fortunate. “The good news is we haven’t lost a laptop yet, but we know it’s not a question of if, but when. The day will come when a laptop goes missing, whether it’s stolen or lost in travel,” says Howe. And that’s when the decision to call Aurora will pay for itself.

“Western serves approximately 110,000 members who consider us their trusted partner. Securing their data helps protect that trust. Just the cost of notifying our membership of a potential data compromise would likely exceed the cost of this technology solution.”

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