„We have again found euromicron to be a very strong and competent partner"
Dieter Engesser, Head of the Information and Communication Department
euromicron Deutschland GmbH
Phone: +49 7121/9758-0
info [at] euromicron-deutschland.de
Cyber attacks represent a permanent threat to authorities. euromicron shows how such attacks can be dealt with: to provide the Schwarzwald-Baar District Office with optimal protection against unauthorised access to stored data, the experienced network specialist designed and implemented a two-tier firewall with the most advanced IT security technology.
Public authority stored data are a popular target for attack by cyber criminals. Those who gain access to the data can tap into information about individual citizens or companies. Health and social data are particularly sensitive. Administrative bodies are therefore dependent on the best possible protection solutions. The Schwarzwald-Baar District Office was looking for a solution of this nature. In order to protect its some 500 computers, 300 terminals and 90 servers against internet attacks, the authority wanted to optimise its firewall concept. The background to the measure: the existing Stateful Inspection Firewall no longer met today’s security requirements, because while it can examine network ports and IP addresses, it is unable to analyse the content of transferred data packets. Analyses of the application layer, for example used for the exchange of emails, were also not possible using the previous technology. As such, no adequate protection could be guaranteed with respect to unknown threats.
Two tier firewall secures data
As longstanding IT partner of the District Office, euromicron was awarded the contract to develop and implement the new firewall concept. The network specialist did not get rid of the existing firewall, but rather supplemented it with a Next Generation Firewall from its technology partner Palo Alto Networks. In this way it implemented a two tier firewall concept in which the existing hardware could continue to be usefully deployed. The additional firewall guarantees analyses of data packages and protection at the application level. It also replaces the proxy server that previously acted as the interface between the internet and the authority network, but whose operating system revealed potential security gaps. In ongoing operation, the Next Generation Firewall implemented by euromicron acts as a second security level after the Stateful Inspection Firewall. Whilst this operates before the transition zone (“demilitarised zone”) between internet and authority network, the new firewall protects access to the internal network using the most up-to-date security technology. In order to additionally eliminate unknown threats, this operates using a so-called sandboxing process: incoming data sets are led to think they are already at the level of an operating system. If they then display damaging behaviour – such as spreading a virus – they are specifically blocked. A further advantage of the new firewall: thanks to connection to the directory services (Active Directory/ LDAP), it offers the option of regulating the access to web content in a user-specific manner. Prohibited access avoids a complex intrusion prevention system. Even in the event of a hardware failure, there is no fear of negative consequences: because of the double design of the firewall (hot and standby), the protective function is also guaranteed in these cases.
The District Office is very satisfied with the solution implemented. “We have again found euromicron to be a very strong and competent partner”, says Dieter Engesser, Head of the Information and Communication Department. The fact that support is available by telephone for all technical problems completes this positive overall view. “A comprehensive support of the kind seen here, from planning through to implementation and downstream support, was and is anything but a matter of course”, Engesser continues.