MEDIALAAN seamlessly secures virtualized environment with Trend Micro Deep Security and ScanMail
Easy-to-manage solutions keep broadcast environment safe
MEDIALAAN is the second largest media company in Flanders. It includes several television and radio brands: TV stations VTM, 2BE, Vitaya, JIM, VTMKzoom, and radio stations Q-Music and JOE FM. Since the company’s creation and the launch of VTM in 1987, these various channels have become an indispensable part of the Flemish media landscape. Online broadcasts are constantly gaining importance in MEDIALAAN’s strategy. In the summer of 2015 it decided to broadcast all TV and radio programs online free of charge.
The convergence of IT with everyday activities is now ubiquitous in our digitized society. Many applications and systems are currently running on several shared virtualized platforms at MEDIALAAN, so everyone within the organization has to cooperate with each other. This also means that IT must support the other departments as much as possible without getting in the way—even when it comes to security. “We are trying to exchange our separate corners and black boxes for a common standard hardware platform as much as possible,” explains Yves Paulus, System Engineer at MEDIALAAN.
For one thing, this IT switch has consequences for the internal workings of the different teams. “There is far more cooperation now,” says Paulus. It moreover has an impact on the entire organization: IT has become an antenna-critical system. Whereas broadcast systems and ICT infrastructure used to be separate, today a problem can become perceptible even when you are on the air, with consequences for viewers or listeners. Radio broadcasts, for instance are now made from our virtual platform. If it fails, the transmission fails.”
“Virtualization has been an incremental process that started about eight years ago,” Paulus explains. At first it was limited to the pure ICT infrastructure. Now a virtual layer can be cast over the broadcast systems in particular.
Paulus realizes that much work remains to be done. “Take anti-malware, for instance: for most non IT specialists, it is a necessary evil. That feeling is fueled by suppliers of broadcast systems, who seldom, if ever allow anti-malware on their systems. Our own technical people were not very inclined to implement MEDIALAAN seamlessly secures virtualized environment with Trend Micro Deep Security and ScanMail it either, because they had no expertise to support it and they feared that the anti-malware would make the system run slower. A few years ago, we made an attempt to protect our virtual servers, but unfortunately to no avail,” Paulus says. “It turned out to be too complex to manage, and the impact on the speed of the system was profoundly perceptible.”
People became increasingly aware that endpoint security was not enough after a journalist loaded a text via an infected USB stick to infect the whole lot. Then everyone realized that system security is no luxury, but an absolute necessity.” The same objections were raised again nonetheless at the start of the search for a suitable security system. “The task was clear. We had to find a solution that really worked for detecting and blocking threats, but one that was also easy to manage—a daunting challenge.”
The IT team was inspired by Gartner and by colleagues in other organizations. “We came up with a shortlist with three solutions,” Paulus says. “We then had extensive talks with suppliers and the technical colleagues that would have to manage the system.”
In the end, Trend Micro was selected from this shortlist, with Deep Security and ScanMail for Exchange “because it provided the best answers to the concerns of our technical managers,” says Paulus. “The system boasts very simple central management, with excellent reporting and other tools for better insight. Furthermore, it is an excellent system for the delegation of rights for each team, whereby everyone can control his own settings.” And with its Deep Security solution, Trend Micro provides the best answer for skeptics who were apprehensive about bogging down the system. Paulus says, “With agentless scanning, the workload on the system is limited to the minimum.”
The implementation process went without a hitch also. “They tested the new environment on the IT infrastructure first, and then on the broadcast infrastructure for a group of key users. The implementation proceeded virtually flawlessly, thanks also to the clear procedures that Trend Micro had provided for us. There were no surprises, which is always a relief when it comes to implementation.”
The only surprise came later, Paulus recalls, “Usually, a new antivirus package gives many false positives the first day, whereby reliable files are designated as suspicious. This was scarcely the case here. On the other hand, it detected many threats which had always remained under the radar before. That was very reassuring, and at the same time it wasn’t,” Paulus adds with a smile.
The protection against zero-day threats turned out to be better than ever before. “This is primarily thanks to Trend Micro’s Smart Scan technology, which provides a combination of locally stored information on recent threats and databases of known threats stored in the network.” The results of the agentless scanning exceeded expectations as well. Finally, the choice of Trend Micro as a company hit the bull’s eye too, “First and foremost because of the excellent relationship with VMware,” Paulus explains. “Trend Micro is kept abreast of every new development at VMware, and has the appropriate security solution ready at once.”
Security solutions are always difficult to quantify in terms of ROI. “You actually have to calculate what has not occurred, and what would have happened without this solution, and that is impossible to do,” Paulus acknowledges. And yet, he sees certain concrete business benefits that justify the investment. “The other departments accept the presence of a security system far better, on the one hand because the impact is scarcely perceptible, and on the other because the environment is so easy to manage. Everyone realizes the importance of good security, and now they often begin with it when starting a new project. So our total environment is protected far better than before, and the chance that a broadcast will be sabotaged by a virus has become infinitely small.” The right choice of a security solution can thus have beneficial consequences for your lazy Sunday evening.