Together Housing Association is one of the largest organizations of its kind in the north of England, managing over 36,000 homes across the region. As a non-profit, all the money it makes from rental properties and homes for sale are invested back into the company for the benefit of residents and local communities.
Lee Richardson has been Systems Engineer at the group for the past 12 years, scanning the market for new products which might align with Together Housing’s evolving requirements, as well as managing day-to-day server and network operations. There are two main sites with many more satellite offices and 1,500 users to manage across that IT infrastructure.
Organizations like Together Housing may not sound like the typical target for a cybercriminal. However, they’re often seen as a “soft” target that may be less well protected than commercial counterparts. According to a 2020 government survey, a quarter of charities (26%) reported having experienced cybersecurity breaches or attacks in the previous 12 months, rising to 57% for those with larger incomes. It’s a figure that’s been increasing for several years.
Why Trend Micro?
Together Housing has been a Trend Micro customer for several years, but recently began a journey towards a more unified, cloud-centric, connected threat defence approach. They wanted solutions across network, endpoint and cloud app layers that closely interact for maximum protection and minimum management overhead.
Lee Richardson and his team have always viewed themselves as enablers for the organization, and have been open to trialling new Trend Micro platforms.
“We are led by Trend Micro in terms of the roadmap for products” Lee says. “If it’s benefitting us as an organization and making our life easier while improving security, we look to roll out additional solutions.”
"With Trend Micro it’s all there in one window, which is a lot more intuitive. It just makes life much easier."
Systems Engineer, Together Housing Association
Although Together Housing was already set up with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and had a flexible working philosophy pre-pandemic, the transition to mass remote working forced by COVID-19 accelerated its digital transformation even further. Trend Micro has been there every step of the way to support these efforts.
Together Housing recently invested in Trend Micro Apex One for unified endpoint protection, Trend Micro Deep Discovery Inspector for network-based threat detection and Trend Micro Cloud App Security.
Trend Micro Apex One offers:
- A blend of cross-generational threat techniques (including, pre-execution and runtime machine learning, application control, data loss protection, anti-malware).
- Centralized visibility and control from a single portal, covering virtual and on-premises endpoints.
- Detection and response through integration with the XDR capabilities of Trend Micro Vision One.
Deep Discovery Inspector offers:
- Visibility into all network ports and over 105 protocols.
- Monitoring of east-west and north-south traffic.
- Detection of targeted ransomware and advanced threats.
Cloud App Security offers:
- Seamless SaaS-based protection for Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and other cloud apps.
- Protection against millions of threats per year that are not spotted by Google/Microsoft.
- Detection of ransomware, business email compromise (BEC) and other threats using advanced machine learning.
With Trend Micro Apex One in place, Richardson and his team have been able to enforce security policy across all virtual and regular endpoints and servers across the non-profit’s 1,500-strong userbase, wherever they are—particularly useful given the distributed nature of the workforce over the past 12 months. The integration of Trend Micro Vision One provides XDR across endpoints, servers, cloud apps, and the network has been particularly powerful in providing correlated threat detection and response across the entire environment.
From the IT teams’ perspective, the unified visibility and control Trend Micro provides from a single user interface has been especially welcome—boosting staff productivity.
“In the past, being forced to log-in to different services to check alerts and notifications could be quite cumbersome,” explains Lee. “With Trend Micro it’s all there in one window, which is a lot more intuitive. It just makes life much easier.”
"We have access to the technical guys straightaway. We jump online and it’s job done. You just don’t seem to get that from other vendors."
Systems Engineer, Together Housing Association
Lee’s immediate plans include growing Together Housing’s relationship with Trend Micro—not just through their platforms, but also the services they provide. “We’ve been working with Trend Micro a few years now and work so well with the team there,” concluded Lee. “If we need to configure a product in an unusual way or have any other queries, we have access to the technical guys straightaway. We jump online and it’s job done. You just don’t seem to get that from other vendors.”