Founded in 2002, W+K has grown from two partners to be one of Australasia’s undisputed leaders in the provision of legal services to the insurance industry with more than 300 specialist insurance lawyers across offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in Australia, and Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand.
Being part of a growing business in a highly regulated industry means that W+K are committed to adopting and maintaining the most stringent data and information security controls. “We provide legal services to some of the world’s largest insurance companies, and they regularly perform audits and third party risk assessments,” said Mahesh Belagali, Information Technology Security Manager at W+K. “Our clients have specific information security and data protection requirements, so it’s imperative we have sophisticated IT security measures in place.
W+K have taken a defense-in-depth approach to their email security with a number of best-in-class solutions from different vendors: a secure email gateway (SEG), security awareness training (SAT), user reporting for automatic scanning, and outbound email security to block misaddressed emails.
But users were frustrated with the number of false positive alerts. “There were a lot of complaints that they interacted with a particular recipient quite often and were still receiving prompts which were wrong,” Belagali explained. “Those kinds of prompts were putting off the users and actively working against the behavioral changes we try to drive and increases the chance the warning will be ignored when a real threat exists.”
Additionally, Belagali estimated that around 40 malicious emails were evading inbound detection every month. Given these concerns, Belagali and his team decided to look to see if another solution would better suit W+K’s needs. “As a small lean IT team, one of our main focuses was to try to find a solution that addressed multiple pain areas rather than just one or two,” he said.
As a small, lean IT team, one of our main focuses was to try to find a solution that addressed multiple pain areas rather than just one or two."
W+K’s IT team researched potential email security solutions and ultimately chose Egress. “We wanted to see if we could get better protection from outbound email threats but quickly found that most intelligent email security vendors focus just on inbound. I consulted Gartner and found Egress,” said Belagali.
With Egress deployed, Belagali and his team have focused on protection in several areas. Outbound protection is now provided by Egress Prevent, which prevents users from sending misdirected emails, those with misspelled addresses and emails that contain both a password-protected file and the password. “We detect and warn staff on [data] exfiltration attempt from sending emails to their personal accounts,” explained Belagali.
The inbound protection provided by their SEG has been augmented by Egress Defend to fill the gaps that were resulting in malicious emails evading detection. Defend uses intelligent technologies to detect suspicious emails and add color-coded warning banners to help users understand the nature of the threat.
Users receive the right alerts at the right time, helping boost user compliance and positively influencing user behavior."
Feedback about Egress from users across W+K offices has been positive. Belagali said, “Anecdotal feedback from the users is that they’re happier — so far, we’ve received no complaints! Users receive the right alerts at the right time, helping boost user compliance and positively influencing user behavior.”
Egress has successfully prevented breaches caused by misaddressed emails and, from an inbound perspective, effectively detects threats that evade SEG detection. Additionally, the W+K IT team has also noticed that the number of emails attempting to be sent to personal accounts has decreased.