Guess? Inc.

Fashion retailer gains affordable, secure redundancy and disaster recovery with VMware Solutions

Overview

The technology team for Guess? operations in North America has responsibility for a diverse, large-scale network and infrastructure. From its central data center location at headquarters, the group manages mission-critical technology at four large offices as well as more than five hundred retail locations on the continent.

Guess? first ventured into the world of server virtualization when faced with the need to replace some older equipment. They found that virtual servers provided a more affordable, management alternative to one-for-one hardware refreshes of the aging servers. However, the potential benefits of virtualization could only be considered if their security model could be simultaneously evolved to protect the integrity of the company’s PCI-compliant environment.

Challenges

Guess?, Inc. designs, markets, distributes and licenses a lifestyle collection of contemporary apparel, denim, handbags, watches, footwear and other related consumer products. The Company also distributes its products through better department and specialty stores around the world.

Over the years, the company’s security solutions have evolved in response to the changing threat landscape and highly dynamic compliance requirements and guidelines that fall on companies within the U.S. retail industry.

“A few years ago, our security challenges stemmed from our previous endpoint solution,” said Scott Forrest, the director of the Networks & Infrastructure department at Guess?. “The client software was getting too big for us to deal with on our WAN, and we were faced with a rip-and-replace effort to get to the next release. Malware was on the rise back then, so we decided to consider all of our options including switching to another vendor.”

"The biggest benefits from our VMware environment include redundancy for software and solutions that don’t fit in a redundant hardware deployment model. Also, VMware has really simplified disaster recovery for us."

Scott Forrest
Director Networks & Infrastructure, Guess? Inc.

Trend Micro™ Threat Management Services helped Guess? identify and analyze corporate- wide security and vulnerabilities. Armed with in-depth knowledge of its network and user behaviors, the Guess? technology team was able to clean malware and spyware off the North America network. The discovery process and working relationship with Trend Micro also led to a switch to Trend Micro™ Enterprise Security, including endpoint protection, mail server security, firewall defenses, and security monitoring capabilities.

Solution

“Virtualization has really worked out for us—we saw immediate benefits from VMware solutions,” said Forrest. “Today we are 60-70% virtualized, with vSphere in our main data center. For our small offices, with very limited resources, we have deployed VMware ESX servers. We use vCenter, vMotion, DRS, and just about everything that VMware has to offer.

The virtualization of its data center and office systems required Guess? to evolve its security solution in a way that would minimize impact on the applications running on multiple, dynamic virtual machines within each physical host. Besides performance, compliance requirements had to be taken into consideration. As a public company and a retailer, Guess? is subject to audits for compliance with government regulations and industry guidelines such as Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards.

"Virtualization has really worked out for us—we saw immediate benefits from VMware solutions. Today we are 60-70% virtualized, with vSphere in our main data center. For our small offices, with very limited resources, we have deployed VMware ESX servers."

Scott Forrest
Director Networks & Infrastructure, Guess? Inc.

“Compliance was a major factor in our data center project,” said Forrest. “Trend Micro™ Deep Security, with the integrated firewall and deep packet inspection, gave me the capabilities I absolutely needed for PCI compliance. Deep Security allows me to segment and secure traffic that falls under PCI requirements, and right out of the box it instantly addresses seven points of PCI regulations.”

Results

“The biggest benefits from our VMware environment include redundancy for software and solutions that don’t fit in a redundant hardware deployment model. Also, VMware has really simplified disaster recovery for us,” said Forrest.

Switching to Trend Micro has raised the level of confidence in security—for the technology staff who spend less time battling threats, for managers who appreciate threats that are stopped in the cloud, and for employees who don’t have to think about security and who can focus on selling clothing.

The new Trend Micro solutions have been easy to configure and deploy within the VMware environment, and easy to manage on a day-to-day basis. “Once we got our policies and groups aligned with our security architecture goals, we have not had to spend much time on Deep Security,” said Forrest. “Changes are very easy, and the Deep Security console gives us excellent visibility. Sometimes it is so quiet that I worry that Deep Security isn’t running and I ask my team to check—it has made security almost too easy.”

To make sure that their confidence in Trend Micro Enterprise Security is justified, Guess? routinely brings in a team of third-party security experts. Once a year, the high-level security professionals evaluate the security deployment at Guess? and a hacker attempts to break through Trend Micro security and get into the company’s most sensitive data and systems.

“Our annual security evaluations started with a PCI gap analysis, and grew from there,” said Forrest. “Every year we bring in security experts and ask them to try to breach our security. Since we added Deep Security, they are not getting into any of the servers protected by it. This has turned into a great practice for us.”

"Every year we bring in security experts and ask them to try to breach our security. Since we added Deep Security, they are not getting into any of the servers protected by it. This has turned into a great practice for us."

Scott Forrest
Director Networks & Infrastructure, Guess? Inc.

Deep Security has helped Guess? take full advantage of virtualization in the data center, with the convenience of a security solution that can protect both traditional and virtual servers. The technology team is also evaluating cloud services for the potential to more flexibly meet future business requirements.