Mutual Ser EPS protects its multi-cloud environment with Fortinet

Mutual Ser EPS protects its multi-cloud environment with Fortinet

Colombia-based health insurance company, Mutual Ser EPS has implemented Forniet’s security solutions to protect its cloud network. Here, we explore how the offering enabled the business to adopt a unified management system and increase service availability for clients.

Mutual Ser EPS is a health insurance company that provides services on the north coast of Colombia, with its main office located in Cartagena City. In this region, the company serves over 2 million Colombians through a 118-office network scattered across distant municipalities. The institution has been rated as one of the best in its field for six consecutive years, following a focused aim of offering preventive health management services backed by a Digital Transformation strategy. The technology modernisation process covered multiple elements, from user experience, interoperability and integration, cybersecurity and cloud computing to Artificial Intelligence and automation, data analytics and talent training.

As part of the transformation, Mutual Ser EPS migrated its entire infrastructure to the cloud. It decided to rely on a multi-cloud environment with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) dedicated to its databases, while the applications and information analysis layer is located on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Cloud adoption and migration of Mutual Ser EPS’s services to OCI and GCP environments meant that online security has become more complex. Mutual Ser EPS needed an integrated cybersecurity architecture to ensure the protection of the entire network. The company supported this change through the Fortinet Security Fabric platform. With it, the insurer can deploy an integrated and centralised cloud network infrastructure that securely links all the company’s offices with the headquarters with high availability.

The cloud migration eventually revealed that the main offices had no protection or perimeter security solution. The company also encountered problems in terms of web application filtering and suffered a denial-of-service attack on its website in 2018. In addition, several offices had connectivity issues, as the most-used network traffic was competing with corporate application traffic.

Moving to a secure and reliable infrastructure mutual

Ser EPS also had to modernise the network infrastructure of all its offices to ensure its connectivity and security with the cloud data centres. Given the challenging geographical conditions of the region, many of the offices had only 4G links to support their operations before the migration. The connection would sometimes fail and offices would even be cut off for several days. To plug this gap, Mutual Ser EPS deployed a fibre-optic network with additional backup channels that allow for an uninterrupted connection.

“Our focus is healthcare, so it must be up and running 24/7 considering the sensitivity of the information. It is crucial for us to always be online and we have achieved this with the Fortinet Security Fabric platform implementation,” said Holman Mauricio Cárdenas Varón, Technology Manager at Mutual Ser EPS. “Fortinet’s technology offers us complete network integration, unified management and an overall increase in the service availability offered by the company.”

To secure the multi-cloud environment, the company implemented a FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) that analyses and filters all traffic entering through GCP before giving it access to any resource. This service also has an additional firewall running across the connection between GCP and OCI to reinforce security for the main databases. As its primary level of local protection, the company installed FortiGate NGFWs in its 16 main offices, in line with an existing plan to provide all offices with these devices.

Integrated platform with centralised management

With multiple sites in remote locations, Mutual Ser EPS uses the FortiManager application to centralise network management and secure offices in its multi-cloud environment.

FortiManager provides an integrated network architecture and complete visibility, allowing Mutual Ser EPS’s technology team to manage from a single location, deploy updates, apply new policies or rules and control every detail. Gone are the days of poor service delivery and a bad internal customer experience due to security implementation challenges brought about by geographic and physical barriers.

To further reinforce its security suite, Mutual Ser EPS also deployed FortiAnalyzer. This solution provides more advanced incident logging and reporting, which frees the IT team from constantly being on the lookout for potential attacks and threats. The tool analyses traffic generates incident reports and works hand-in-hand with FortiManager for more intelligent and optimised management.

This integrated network approach has also been crucial in handling security eventualities. In the past, IPs at offices were often blacklisted for sending spam or unwanted emails from infected computers. By implementing the Fortinet solution, these cases no longer occur.

Optimised availability for multiple locations

After implementing FortiGate at each location, Mutual Ser EPS enabled FortiGate Secure SD-WAN to raise service availability levels across its 118-office network. By having a fibre-optic channel and other backup links, the company can automatically route to the backup to prevent connection loss in the event of a network failure or service degradation on the main channel.

Fortinet’s implementation has also enabled the company to balance traffic, giving priority to corporate applications. Today, even if employees consume a lot of traffic through external applications, bandwidth for business-relevant applications is guaranteed. This has also affected the company’s resource optimisation. With Fortinet, Mutual Ser EPS can now keep the network communications better performing by segmenting traffic through the platform to define what goes through each link and securing the entire IT platform in its multi-cloud environment.

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