Portland trail blazers score a slam dunk for user security
The Portland Trail Blazers are an American NBA team based in Portland,Oregon. As a popular NBA team, Portland Trail Blazers are highly visible both in their home state and around the United States and this notoriety could make them a target for an attack. In order to ensure their infrastructure is protected, the Portland Trail Blazers embarked on an organization-wide initiative to tighten security.
The organization often has staff working remotely and who require access to IT systems via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). With data breaches occurring with more and more regularity, the Trail Blazers wanted to proactively secure their infrastructure by validating users are who they say they are.
Keeping it simple
Portland Trail Blazers wanted to start by tightening up access from outside the networked environment. Many users are able to access the organization’s systems when they are working from home, travelling, or in an area of the team’s campus where no network access is available. The team quickly established the Multi-Factor Authentication was the simplest and most effective mechanism for reducing the risk of the human factor. Working with partner Right! Systems, the organization selected Censornet MFA for its simplicity and flexibility.
“We wanted a solution that could offer a really simple approach to MFA and Censornet MFA did exactly what we wanted it to do,” explains Donovan Le,Network Systems Manager, Portland Trail Blazers. “Installation was simple, it worked right out of the box, and managing it has also proved to be really easy.”
Currently, there are around 115 users actively using Censornet MFA, but more are being added as the solution is rolled out across the organization,with a vision to have 200 on-board in the first stage of implementation. When a login attempt is made via the VPN, users are sent an SMS to their phone to verify who they are. If this verification is unsuccessful, it will move to email and then to a phone call if previous methods have not worked.
“Users have found it very straightforward and, given many people already use similar authentication technology for their banking, it wasn’t a big change for many. Staff are very aware that personal information is being stolen on a daily basis around the world, so they are happy to have it.” continued Le.
Value in peace of mind
The organization now has greater visibility over who is accessing its system and from where, as well as peace of mind that those users are who they say they are. Censornet MFA also enabled the Portland Trail Blazers to get a better grip on passwords across the organization, an unexpected benefit.
“We could see when users had passwords that did not meet our requirements. There were a number of passwords that adhered to legacy policies but not to new ones,” explains Le. “Censornet MFA helped us find users who weren’t compliant with their password and forced them to make them stronger.”
As for the ROI from Censornet MFA, Le says that this is difficult to calculate,but simply having the tools in place to stop malicious login attempts presents a clear return on investment. In addition, it has had a positive impact on staff knowing their information is protected. Le says, “the security landscape is at the forefront of people’s minds these days, with big name organizations being compromised left, right and center. So just everyone knowing that their company is protecting their information means the ROI is there.”
Looking to the future
Portland Trail Blazers will continue to roll-out Censornet MFA to the users that require access from outside the network and is looking at potential further use cases for the authentication technology. Currently, the NBA team is considering using it for access to web mail and Active Directory logins for administrator accounts to ensure it is actually administrators logging in.
“Censornet MFA is everything I hoped it would be and I’m very happy with the product,” concluded Le. “With plenty more functionality available, I hope we’ll be able to explore some more uses down the line, to provide our staff with the further layers of protection they value.”