Founded in 1947, Boyne Resorts is a collection of mountain and lakeside resorts, golf resorts, ski areas, and attractions across the United States and Canada. The company is headquartered in Michigan, where it first began, and now owns and operates 14 properties that span from British Columbia to Maine. With a team of over 11,000 employees and a track record of growth and innovation, the company requires a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.
Boyne’s security operations team works in a central location and is responsible for maintaining visibility into potential threats and exposures across the company’s distributed networks and device fleet.
The team was grappling with a legacy security information and event management (SIEM) system that presented challenges on multiple fronts. Although it was only ingesting a small amount of data, the SIEM produced a high false positive rate and few quality insights. In addition, the cost of adding more data sources was prohibitive.
As Mike Dembek, network architect for Boyne, explains: “Log collection was a huge weak point for us. Our SIEM was expensive and it was difficult to integrate sources.” He adds, “We were hunting down alerts that weren’t accurate. It was a hodgepodge of stuff that wasn’t correlated together.”
A third party managed the SIEM, yet even with this additional support, alert volume was immense. While Boyne needed relevant insights gathered across more data points, Dembek knew that simply adding more sources to the SIEM would result in a higher price tag and even more noise.
Strengthening security across thousands of company devices and reams of valuable data required more than its SIEM could provide—so Boyne made the transition to Palo Alto Networks Cortex XSIAM. The company also partnered with Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 for ongoing MDR services and a Unit 42 Retainer.
Boyne’s small, dedicated security team aimed to replace its legacy SOC with one that delivered the quality and rigor the business demands. The team wasn’t willing to settle for small improvements. Best-in-class was the goal.
To accomplish that, the team needed solutions that would:
Ultimately, the team wanted to expand visibility and deepen its analytics capabilities without the need to add more headcount. Tall order? Definitely. Doable? With Cortex XSIAM and Unit 42 MDR, absolutely.
When Boyne adopted Cortex XSIAM, it got robust SIEM functionality—and a whole lot more. Cortex XSIAM delivers multiple capabilities in one platform, including SIEM; endpoint detection and response (EDR); network detection and response (NDR); identity threat detection and response (ITDR); security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR); and more.
While the security team was hesitant to add data sources to the prior SIEM due to the high cost and engineering difficulty involved, Cortex XSIAM enabled Boyne to add multiple new sources and increase the amount of data ingested by a factor of 70.
Native parsing enabled by Cortex XSIAM makes data onboarding easier. Boyne is now able to capture data across devices, clouds, identities, web apps, system configurations, and more—all in one centralized platform.
On top of greater visibility, the number of false positives plunged. Cortex XSIAM has a correlation engine that consolidates multiple alerts into a single incident, reducing duplicates and rework. Incidents requiring investigation fell from 80–100 to 35 per day, due to reductions in both the false positive rate and the number of duplicate incidents identified.
Boyne also gained new levels of control and customization. “Our prior SIEM didn’t have any alert tuning or custom alert capabilities,” recalls Kenny Hicks, lead security engineer. “The out-of-the-box correlation alerts are a big advantage with XSIAM. We can also create our own custom alerts if needed.”
With Cortex XSIAM, the team saw improvements in multiple areas:
Boyne security leaders didn’t only want to strengthen the company’s security posture. They also wanted to have a 24/7 SOC—without expanding their team.
After implementing Cortex XSIAM, they engaged Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 to provide MDR services to augment the team’s efforts and provide coverage, 24/7, year-round. Working with Unit 42 MDR allows the company to leverage Unit 42’s world-class threat intelligence and extensive expertise in both security and Cortex products. Ultimately, this provides complete visibility and faster response across distributed networks and systems.
“We’ve been impressed by the MDR team’s willingness to help,” says Hicks. “Working with them has been very successful, giving us early access to new XSIAM feature sets and making us more efficient.”
The Unit 42 MDR service is integrated with Cortex XSIAM, giving Boyne a single user interface to review investigations and determine next steps, saving the small team time it used to spend juggling disconnected systems and allowing it to focus on more strategic priorities.
“The MDR team handles our investigations, forwarding any alerts, and shares a detailed report that helps us make quicker, more accurate decisions on those incidents,” explains Hicks. “This saves our team a huge amount of time.”
With continuous monitoring, proactive threat hunting, and other components of the MDR service, Boyne security analysts can be confident that even when they don’t have eyes on their environment, a trusted partner does.
The new approach delivers far more functionality and reduces the workload on Boyne’s security team. Cortex XSIAM was built to enable advanced automation, allowing the team to accomplish far more with less.
“With XSIAM,” Dembek reports, “we are stitching network and endpoint protection together, seeing the entire causality chain.”
Hicks adds, “XSIAM makes automation easy. The ability to easily ingest data and create playbooks with minimal coding drastically reduces the effort required to set up automation.”
Between transforming its SOC with Cortex XSIAM and retaining Unit 42 MDR services, Boyne now has:
The company is also now better prepared for the future. With its Unit 42 Retainer, Boyne will continue to take a proactive stance to its protection, while experts well-versed in its environment are on speed dial to respond quickly to a major incident—should one occur. Next, the Boyne team plans on using its retainer credits toward a Unit 42 Tabletop Exercise to improve its incident response processes and grow its effectiveness around real-world security scenarios and the latest threats.
The security team is very happy with how well all of its Palo Alto Networks products and services work together to improve the company’s security posture.
By partnering with Palo Alto Networks, Boyne is now better equipped to meet whatever challenges the future holds and keep the company secure as it continues to innovate and grow.