Workforce productivity is key to excelling in today’s modern world and enterprises are relentlessly searching for new ways to ensure they operate with the most efficient approach in order to reduce downtime and loss of productivity. Making sure the system is protected against cyberattacks is an essential focus and a critical requirement for RCS MediaGroup, to guarantee secure access for employees. Giandomenico Oldano, Director of IT Operations for RCS MediaGroup, tells us why the company decided to implement a Pulse Secure solution.
Pulse Secure, a leading provider of software-defined Secure Access solutions, has announced the delivery of a successful project at one of Italy’s largest media organisations designed to help foster mobile workforce productivity while ensuring protected, compliant access to cloud and data centre applications. RCS MediaGroup employs over 3,000 staff including 700 journalists.
RCS MediaGroup is one of the leading multimedia publishing groups, active mainly in Italy and Spain across all publishing fields, spanning from newspapers to magazines, from digital to books, from TV to new media and to training. It is also one of the top players in the advertising market and in the organisation of iconic events and major sporting formats, such as the Giro d’Italia.
The RCS group publishes the daily newspapers: Corriere della Sera; La Gazzetta dello Sport; El Mundo, Marca; and Expansion, as well as numerous magazines – the most popular including Oggi, Amica, Io Donna, 7, YO Dona and Telva. Like many other popular enterprises, being an integral part of the region’s culture and communications has made RCS group a target for cyberthreat actors.
“Protecting our systems against cyberattacks is a critical requirement, as is ensuring our staff and journalists have easy, flexible and secure access to their work,” said Monica Venanzetti, Network Manager for RCS MediaGroup in Milan. “To meet this need, we maintain several security controls across our network, as well as regularly conducting cybersecurity training. We deployed our first VPN solution in 2006 to enable secure access to our systems and it was time to progress our capabilities.”
“As a group, we have an ongoing strategy to help our staff embrace smart working. This is part of an initiative to improve the work-life balance of our employees and reduce their travelling time, which in a busy city like Milan can be very time-consuming,” said Giandomenico Oldano, Director of IT Operations for RCS MediaGroup.
As part of this work-life balance strategy, RCS MediaGroup has invested in more remote, mobile and cloud technologies and recently moved its staff onto Microsoft Office 365 to encourage this transition.
“To meet this need and as part of our commitment to ensuring best practice secure access, we decided to upgrade our legacy VPN to provide more capacity and to better integrate with new cloud services such as Office 365,” said Venanzetti. “We examined several options and Pulse Secure provided us a modernised platform with more advanced features including endpoint compliance and cloud single sign-on. We found the tool comparatively simpler to administer, very interoperable and with a broader featureset.”
The upgrade process was straightforward and the simplified management interface allows RCS MediaGroup to set up enterprise-wide policies that make it easy for its remote users to connect to its critical publishing systems. The solution also incorporates client checking technology that ensures that its users’ devices, both corporate and personally owned endpoints, are running the right system and security patches before they can attach to the corporate network.
“One of the most important features was deep support for our users’ devices including tablets, laptops and PCs across both Apple and Microsoft environments,” said Oldano. “Our upgrade has been a success and provides a lot of potential for future projects that will allow us to offer secure access for more cloud-based applications. Pulse Secure has been with us throughout this process and its technology is helping us to deliver on our commitment towards smarter working for all our staff.”
Pulse Secure enables enterprises to centrally manage Zero Trust secure access to applications, resources and services that are delivered on-premise, in private cloud and public cloud environments. The Pulse Access Suite delivers protected connectivity, operational intelligence and threat response across mobile, network and multi-cloud environments in order to provide easy, compliant access for end-users and single-pane-of-glass management for administrators.
“Enterprises are fortifying capabilities to accelerate mobile workforce productivity and take advantage of cloud computing. Pulse Secure offers a proven, comprehensive and integrated suite that works with an enterprise’s hybrid IT infrastructure to enable a simpler, more manageable and scalable approach to secure access,” said Paul Donovan, Vice President of EMEA Sales at Pulse Secure. “We are pleased to have been selected by RCS MediaGroup, a prominent and progressive market leader in multimedia publishing, and look forward to supporting its ongoing Digital Transformation initiatives.”
The Pulse Secure Advanced Suite gives RCS MediaGroup a simple way of enabling secure access to Office 365 for mobile users. The Advanced Suite integrates the Pulse Connect Secure VPN with Pulse Workspace mobile security. This allows RCS to provide its users with an easy to use, policy-based, secure connectivity to any internal or cloud application, direct from their mobile devices.
Implementation and deployment of the Pulse solution is a straightforward process. Pulse Workspace is configured and managed through the Pulse One web console. IT administrators can simply send an email inviting users to self-provision their mobile device. The mobile device’s native email client can be automatically provisioned to connect with Office 365. Multi-factor authentication and device security posture checking are combined to provide true ‘Zero Trust’ access to applications.
Behind the scenes, the Pulse Connect Secure becomes a ‘SAML identity provider’ to both internal and cloud applications. For RCS, this means that on receiving a login request, Office 365 delegates authentication responsibility to Connect Secure. Connect Secure verifies the user’s privilege level with Active Directory, and checks the security posture before allowing any communication with O365. Once verified, email and data flow directly between the native email client and Office 365.
Mobile device security posture checking is carried out by the same ‘Host Checker’ function used for full VPN users. Mobile devices are monitored before – and during – a connection to the network to ensure that it meets RCS corporate security policies. Host Checker makes sure that jailbroken or rooted devices, or devices with unpatched operating systems, don’t connect to critical applications. Non-compliant devices can be quarantined or remediated, reducing the chance of malware propagation.