Case Study · 26 Apr 2018

Helping Noble Group to secure its global network

Using managed services to stay one step ahead in cyber-security.

Company
Noble
Industry
Global Banking & Financial Markets
Employees
Less than 10,000
Location
Global

Overview

With plenty of organisational change taking place inside Hong Kong-based Noble Group, it was time for a big realignment of its worldwide infrastructure. Thanks to the flexibility in its contract with us though, the whole process was a smooth one. 

We played a vital role in managing the transition, and now assist Noble Group in maintaining the highest standards of network security. We cover off everything from managed firewalls and threat monitoring, to vulnerability assessments. Together, it keeps vital intellectual property safe and business-critical systems working at all times.

The challenge

When your whole business revolves around real-time, online global trading, it’s crucial to have a secure and dependable network. That’s the challenge that commodity trader Noble Group faced. 

To make things more complicated, the company is undergoing significant restructuring. Since divesting Noble Agri, it’s now focusing on energy commodities and non-ferrous metals, like aluminium and copper. Going from more than 4,000 people in over 100 offices, it now has around 1,500 people in fewer than 50. And that meant big changes to its global network.

“Despite the high regional threat, we’ve found security services in Asia to be relatively immature. Our challenge was to find a business partner that could safeguard our network in Asia and every other place we operate in around the world. BT had all the right credentials.”

Shane Read
Chief Information Security Officer, Noble Group.

The solution

A managed IP Connect Global network now links the company’s Hong Kong headquarters to places such as Indonesia, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Mongolia, Switzerland, North and South America and London. Meanwhile, Connect Intelligence Application Performance Management services keeps the network running perfectly, so business critical processes always perform at their best. 

Applications using the network include Allegro (the group’s gas and petrochemical trading system), the customer on-boarding system and the data-intensive analytical tools used in hedging transactions. 

We also look after LAN management services at key Noble Group global locations, providing Cisco switches and routers. With One Voice IP telephony, we've reduced Noble's international call costs by sending them over their WAN network. And then there’s One Collaborate services, including Cisco WebEx® and MeetMe with Dolby Voice. 

Our latest contract, which has been extended for three years, offers greater commercial flexibility – a big factor as Noble Group gets ready for the future. “BT has been a great partner for us,” adds Shane. “It’s an innovative company and it’s pulled together some great proposals. We get regular senior level contact and it’s been understanding and flexible during some difficult times.” 

Noble Group uses a range of our  managed security services. And our Managed Firewall is central to that. “A key BT strength is that it tailors its approach to local needs,” says Shane. “When it comes to security most operators try to impose the way they work in their home market, without taking account of local issues. BT doesn’t do that. It adapts to our requirements around the world. In my experience that’s unique.” 

Our security architecture includes technologies from security leaders like Juniper, Palo Alto and Cisco. At our security operations centre in India, experts monitor and manage the firewalls around the clock. And it’s all supported by a 24-hour helpdesk. 

Those security provisions don’t stop at the perimeter. Our Managed Cloud with Zscaler scans and filters every byte of network traffic between the Noble Group network and the public internet. It can identify and block potential threats – and, because it’s based in the cloud, it doesn’t need onsite hardware or maintenance. Users can event manage internet policies and get comprehensive reporting through a central portal. 

“Zscaler from BT is highly intuitive and easy-to-use,” says Shane. “It offers the security we need, while it’s also one of the easiest reports I have to generate.”

The result

Our Threat Monitoring collects and analyses security information, as it happens, from across the Noble Group organisation. By combining our expert intelligence and technology, we're protecting vital information and the whole Noble network. 

“What impresses me most is that the BT team really knows its stuff; they live and breathe it. I like to deal with people like that,” says Shane Read. “Every time I’ve asked BT for a particular skill set they seem to have it.” 

Our Ethical Hacking and Vulnerability Assessment is next on the list. “We ran this a few years ago with great success,” says Shane, “but given the substantial contraction of our network we now need to repeat the exercise.” 

Soon, we’ll conduct a full-scale review to map the entire Noble Group network, create a full inventory, discover all entry and exit points, identify services running on every switch and router, and realign sensors. Using the Skybox® security suite, our team will then probe the network to test for vulnerabilities. That means we can fix any issues long before they become a problem. 

“BT is a great partner for us. We work really well together and we get great service. If ever there’s a problem BT listens, reacts positively and always comes up with the right answers.”

Shane Read
Chief Information Security Officer, Noble Group.

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