Case study: City of Alghero

Secure remote working for the City of Alghero

Overnight transformation to unified cloud-native endpoint security

Company

City of Alghero

Solutions from F-Secure

F-Secure Elements Endpoint Protection
F-Secure Elements Endpoint Detection and Response
F-Secure Elements Vulnerability Management

Industry

Public Sector

Country

Italy


The City of Alghero is the local authority in charge of the administration for Alghero, a city in the province of Sassari on the northwest coast of Sardinia. Alghero is the fifth largest city in the region in terms of population (around 45,000) and is one of the island’s main tourist destinations. Around 300 people work for the city.

As a public body responsible for the administration of an entire city, the City of Alghero needs constant assurance that its services are available without disruption at all times and under all circumstances. This includes during the outbreak of a pandemic. The City of Alghero’s IT team had to move with haste to enable secure remote work for its employees and to keep the sensitive data of its citizens safe.

Remote working introduces new challenges to security management

At the start of the pandemic, public bodies such as city governments - which were used to having their workforce attending their offices in person - found themselves having to quickly adapt their infrastructure to ensure that their employees could work remotely and their citizens’ services continued uninterrupted.

The City of Alghero was amongst the many that found themselves needing to quickly set up secure workstations in their employees’ homes. The only employees physically present in the city government’s offices were the data centre technicians, who were responsible for ensuring its operational continuity, as well as a handful of other authorised people. The first stumbling block to emerge at the very outset was the remote management of all the endpoints connected to the office via VPN.

“The pandemic has radically transformed how we work,” explains Roberto Manca, Technical Officer at the City of Alghero. “In 2020, almost all of our employees worked remotely, and even now, we have a vast number of resources logging on from their homes every single day. The biggest challenge is ensuring the security of the network and all the endpoints connected remotely, managing the various updates and patches released, and monitoring what is happening on the network, both inside and outside its perimeter.”

Needs and requirements of City of Alghero:

  • Secure remote workforce’s endpoints
  • Need for continuous patch management
  • Need for visibility into what is happening on the endpoints
  • Need for a simplified centralized security solution
“The biggest challenge is ensuring the security of the network and all the endpoints connected remotely, managing the various updates and patches released, and monitoring what is happening on the network, both inside and outside its perimeter.”

Roberto Manca, Technical Officer at the City of Alghero

Simplifying a complex situation

Rapid transition to remote working, new endpoint monitoring requirements and the imminent expiry of existing antivirus licences provided by another vendor meant that the City of Alghero needed to think about switching to a new solution - one that would provide robust security, but also easier management and the ability to update all its endpoints remotely.

To protect its remote workforce, the City of Alghero had to ensure all installed software was up-to-date and patched. It was also crucial to continuously see what was happening on the endpoints. The city opted for a comprehensive suite of F-Secure Elements, including F-Secure Elements Endpoint Protection, Endpoint Detection and Response and F-Secure Elements Vulnerability Management.

“To put it simply, F-Secure allows the right things to get through while it blocks the wrong things. Some of the most attractive features which tipped us over the edge in opting for their security solutions were the simplicity of installing licences from the Cloud and the ease of managing the endpoints, computers and servers directly from a single platform,” summarizes Manca.

“To put it simply, F-Secure allows the right things to get through while it blocks the wrong things.”

Roberto Manca, Technical Officer at the City of Alghero

Optimised management of all endpoints and servers from a single console

The City of Alghero can now control its endpoints both inside and outside its network. It can manage security patches and update all software installed via the unified F-Secure Elements Security Center.

“Now I just have one portal to monitor. From there I can see all of our F-Secure Elements products, and quickly check if there are any issues and how to fix them,” says Manca. “With the combination of our firewall and F-Secure’s solutions we feel fairly well protected, but you should never let your guard down”. Manca continues and concludes: “Reliability, straightforward cloud-native deployment and ease of centralized security management for endpoints, computers and servers are the key benefits, in my opinion.”

Key benefits for City of Alghero:

  • Constant overview of all remote workers’ endpoints
  • Up-to-date software for remote workforce
  • Comprehensive visibility into network level vulnerabilities
  • Continuous visibility into security status of computers and servers
“Now I just have one portal to monitor. From there I can see all of our F-Secure Elements products, and quickly check if there are any issues and how to fix them.”

Roberto Manca, Technical Officer at the City of Alghero

Never too secure

The City of Alghero handles the highly sensitive data of its community. Current regulations require public organizations to take extensive measures to protect their citizens’ privacy. The City of Alghero keeps a keen eye on any new technological developments in the field of cyber security.

“We are fairly well protected with our current set-up, but you should never let your guard down.”

Roberto Manca, Technical Officer at the City of Alghero

Transform and unify your security for the next normal