Global Intrusion Prevention System implementation during a pandemic

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Service: Executing projects
Sector: Life sciences
Area of expertise: Cyber security

THE SITUATION

The head of the SOC of a global pharmaceutical company required assistance in upgrading their cyber security technology stack of Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) for their global affiliates. The existing stack IPS devices at 21 locations was nearing end of life and thus required quick action unless the global network was to be left unprotected. As Covid-19 forced office closures, the communication and change management for all affected sites was essential to ensure smooth collaboration during the upgrade and implementation process. The project was of high importance as the upgrade would ensure fully up to date network intrusion protection capabilities across all affiliate sites.

WHAT WE DID

Kopenhagen Konsulting planned and executed the global IPS upgrade in collaboration with a global team consisting of security engineers, security architects, the service manager and in close coordination with local site implementation teams . Planning of the project included the creation of a communication plan to create awareness of the project and establish urgency at the affiliate sites impacted by the upgrade. A cabling and step-by-step installation and implementation manual was created to guide local teams who were responsible for implementation on-site. A shipping plan was also needed as the upgrade involved 21 different locations with more than 30 devices to be transported across the globe. Kopenhagen Konsulting executed the upgrade project in three distinct steps governed by a steering committee.

The first step was to prepare all the new IPS devices to be shipped. The project team decided to pre-configure all new IPS devices before shipping them to make physical on-site implementation as easy as possible for local teams. The second step was a complete mapping of local IT stakeholders at all sites, as they would be un-racking the old devices and install the new devices once received. Close coordination and collaboration were required with all local stakeholders. A key element of the communication plan was an upgrade information package to be sent and presented live to all sites. The package included a project presentation outlining what the new technology was and why it was important, how to rack/install the device, how to decommission the old device and next steps to progress the project, such as agreement on a shipping and installation date.

The second step was the creation of a shipping plan, based on feedback from local stakeholders and at the same time allow for a large amount of flexibility due to Covid-19 constantly changing local lockdown measures and rules which could not only challenge the local implementation but also the shipping process. Shipping cybersecurity hardware is a highly regulated activity and the project had added complexity in the form of destination countries such as Russia and China. The shipping process was carefully coordinated with various logistic providers and local stakeholders to ensure timely and safe arrival of the hardware.

The third and final step was the racking and installation of the IPS hardware. Once arrival was confirmed by local stakeholders the planned installation could commence and this was carried out with live assistance from the Global Security Operations team to ensure proper racking and installation. Successful installations could be confirmed remotely by the security team via the central software management console that all devices communicated with. The new IPS devices were fully integrated with the existing incident monitoring, detection and response processes established by the SOC which resulted in a stronger overall security posture.

THE OUTCOME

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic that forced office closures around the globe, Kopenhagen Konsulting completed the IPS upgrade project below budget and before the agreed deadline. Resulting in continued and up to date network intrusion protection capabilities across 21 locations globally.