Water firm SESW opens tap on ForeScout NAC security upgrade

Automation and better auditing with CounterACT

Sutton and East Surrey Water (SESW) has started using ForeScout's CounterACT network access control (NAC) monitoring system to boost the firm's security automation and asset discovery across its 500-user network.

SESW has until now used a mixture of tools to do the same job, including an IPS, but wanted to migrate these into one system that would reduce manual overhead.

Working with integrator BlueFort Security, tendering requirements included the ability to automatically block non-compliant devices and users, ensure anti-virus installation, block malware at network level, stop unauthorised applications from running, and automate auditing reports.

"A significant amount of manual work was required to collate all of the data, which introduces risk, said SESW group IT manager, Michael Cock of the company's previous regime.

"The ForeScout solution eliminated this problem and the fact it is so much more than an audit and discovery tool added real value to us."

The firm was even able to create a policy to block dual-homed network cards, Wi-Fi interfaces installed in PCs that can in theory be used to access a network without passing through the firewall.

"Many IT solutions, particularly security, require constant assessment and re-assessment of rules and the output from those rules - our IPS is a particular example of this. My ideal world solution is one that automatically delivers all of its benefits, and ForeScout is not far from this," said Cock.

ForeScout also integrated with McAfee's ePolicy Orchestrator and anti-virus clients, allowing centralised management without the need to install another agent on the endpoint.

The same CounterACT system was deployed in 2013 by the NHS Sussex Health Informatics Service (HIS). An unspoken issue in SESW's case could also be UK Government demands that providers of critical infrastructure such as water firms tighten up network security in the light of the threat of cyberattack.

SESW supplies drinking water to 670,000 customers in the South London and the South East of England, around between 160 million and 220 million litres per day depending on the time of year.

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