Richmond Football Club Kicks Security Goals With WatchGuard Technologies

22-Nov-2018

WatchGuard Technologies, a leader in advanced network security solutions, today announced that Richmond Football Club in Victoria, has deployed WatchGuard Total Security Suite at its head office in Richmond.

Richmond Football Club, known as The Tigers in the AFL Australian rules football league competition, has a long, proud history stretching back to 1885. The club has won 13 premierships since its inception.

Richmond Football Club initially called on its longtime IT support partner, Greenlight ITC, to audit its network and security environment and recommend upgrades. The audit confirmed that the company’s 15-year-old Check Point firewalls were outdated, unreliable and placed the business and its valuable intellectual property at risk.

Professional football clubs are increasingly technology-driven with player data, sports analytics and video all used to help the playing roster to improve their on-field performance. Clubs try to hold that data tightly to maintain the competitive advantage of such programs. But an inability to establish a secure VPN connection into the corporate network from a remote location - like a training ground, stadium, house or a hotel when the team was interstate for an ‘away’ game - meant it had become standard practice for Richmond’s staff to run off portable hard drives and their own individual machines.

“We didn’t have the ability to access the data away from the club - you had to be working off hard drives or transferring the files over to a local desktop to view them,” explained Reinsch. “We wanted to lock that down and not just have everyone taking things off site and using it accordingly.”

The club also wanted a better way to define, set and manage security policies for its wi-fi network to reduce the risk of someone using it to gain administrative access to other corporate systems.

The club deployed WatchGuard Total Security Suite running on two M370 firewalls in a high availability configuration at its head office in Richmond.

“Watchguard had a good reputation at the price point we were looking at,” said Reinsch. “They were the stand-out contender and provided exceptional value for money while meeting our high levels of security expectations, product performance and simple installation and configuration.It also offered us functionality that we can grow into over time.”

The M370s were configured offsite and then installed and put into production over a weekend.As the previous firewalls had been in place a long time, the policies implemented through them were not well-documented. The club and Greenlight ITC manually vetted each existing policy to decide which to cut across to the new firewall and which it could simply leave. The exercise itself was useful; “It was a good thing to be able to refresh a lot of those old policies,” Reinsch explained.

Other policy configurations were sourced from the sport’s governing body, the AFL, and ticket booking agency Ticketmaster. Like many codes, the AFL offers clubs centrally-managed shared services for functions like finance, membership and events. The club also has close ties with Ticketmaster, which is the external booking agent for game tickets. It needed a way to comply with security policies for connecting to both sets of shared systems, and WatchGuard provided that assurance.

The M370 is also used to set access policies for the club’s newly-upgraded wi-fi network. What was once a single SSID for the entire club has been split into four SSIDs - one for corporate, players, guest access and an on-site Indigenous school. The club has implemented “different privacy and security policies” through the WatchGuard appliances for each user type and SSID, in part because the M370s offered an easier way to do this than the software that came with the access points. “This reduces the threat to our systems and data via wireless,” Reinsch said.

By switching to WatchGuard, Richmond Football Club has had its confidence restored in the resiliency of a key layer of its security defences. It is also able to offer its administrative staff a secure way of logging into its corporate servers and systems, which supports the club’s flexible working commitments while keeping internal data secure. “An important part of Watchguard is its flexibility.Being able to work securely in hotels or on the road is a big thing,” Reinsch explained.

Reinsch is more confident that the firewall is up to tasks like standard filtering of content, such as banning the use of gambling sites on the corporate network. He is also pleased with the ability to easily expand WatchGuard to other sites, should the club add more physical sites to its network in the future.

“If I look across our portfolio of ICT, the WatchGuard Total Security Suite doesn’t raise its head in terms of giving us any pain at all.WatchGuard is a rock solid solution,” said Reinsch.

Given the breadth of capabilities in the WatchGuard Total Security Suite - including site-to-site VPN, port scanning and intrusion prevention, web filtering, SSL VPN and anti-malware functions - the club is also in a position to expand its use of the technology into areas it was unaware of when it went down the WatchGuard path. “The capabilities I’m learning about - and our use of them - is growing more and more,” Reinsch added.

Another benefit has also been the far stronger level of support compared to the previous solution.

"WatchGuard just works," said Reinsch."It gives us the confidence that our security posture will continue to support our operations for many years to come.At the same time, the combination of WatchGuard and Greenlight ITC is a positive experience and they are reliable techniogy partnerswho provide us with the support that we require to keep our security humming.”

About WatchGuard Technologies, Inc.

WatchGuard® Technologies, Inc. is a global leader in network security, secure Wi-Fi, multi-factor authentication, and network intelligence. The company’s award-winning products and services are trusted around the world by nearly 10,000 security resellers and service providers to protect more than 80,000 customers. The company’s mission is to make enterprise-grade security accessible to companies of all types and sizes through simplicity, making WatchGuard an ideal solution for distributed enterprises and SMBs. WatchGuard is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. To learn more, visit WatchGuard.com.

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