NovaGroup is a multi-industry conglomerate consisting of three key member companies: Novaland Group, Nova Service Group, and Nova Consumer Group—operated in the fields of property, trading and service, and agriculture-consumer goods. In 2021, NovaGroup continued to complete its ecosystem, operating mainly in three fields—service, technology, and industry—and established five more corporations: Nova Tech, Nova Capital Partners, Nova Logistics, Nova Industry and Nova Finance, bringing the total to eight member companies. The cybersecurity team at NovaGroup was already on the lookout for a solution that could enable a Zero Trust architecture that would make the company cyber resilient in the face of increasing threats. This effort was bolstered due to the sudden onset of the pandemic that prompted an urgent shift to work from home (WFH), making it imperative for users to connect safely and securely from anywhere.
With extensive experience in cybersecurity, Mr. Trần Phú Nghĩa, Cyber Security Director NovaGroup - Cyber Security Committee (CSC), had already embarked on a strategy to counter the thousands of cyberattacks that the multi-industry NovaGroup faced on a daily basis. “With an ever-evolving threat landscape, we had already begun our efforts to strengthen our existing cybersecurity strategy with Zero Trust architecture and make sure that we were protected against any intrusions into our system applications and infrastructure,” recalls Mr. Nghĩa. “The pandemic and consequent lockdowns made work from home (WFH) the new normal, and we needed mass VPN scaling, which was not possible with legacy solutions and a small cybersecurity team.”
NovaGroup needed a solution that could smartly detect and stop external threats, while also securing remote workers through VPN. The company had complex, legacy firewalls that made it difficult to detect fast-moving threats within the network. The company wanted a solution with better visibility and ease of management.
After an extensive review of cybersecurity solution providers, including evaluating Gartner and Forrester reports, NovaGroup selected Palo Alto Networks.
The solution that they chose needed to address:
Palo Alto Networks was already deployed when the pandemic hit, enabling Mr. Nghĩa and his team to adapt to the sudden and almost overnight requirements of WFH. The company conducted a pentesting with Palo Alto Networks to assess how they could detect and stop threats.
Complying with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards, NovaGroup was keen on the deployment of ZTNA, and they were aware of the Palo Alto Networks reference architecture. “In addition to evaluating documented reports and rankings, we conducted an internal assessment through a pentest with Palo Alto Networks to showcase realworld capabilities. They demonstrated superior technology and high-quality reference architecture,” says Mr. Nghĩa.
Being a multi-industry company, NovaGroup faced thousands of attacks every day, and a solution that could limit attacks was needed. What stood out for Mr. Nghĩa and his team was the urgency with which the deployment was executed. “Within a mere week or two, we had switched from in-office mode to work from home for about hundreds of companies belonging to the NovaGroup ecosystem. This was exceptionally timed by the team from Palo Alto Networks, bearing in mind the urgency of the requirement,” he states.
NovaGroup accelerated the deployment of ML-powered Next-Generation Firewalls, Threat Prevention, Advanced URL Filtering, WildFire® and GlobalProtect™. The newly established security operations centre (SOC) allows for more proactive detection of cyberattacks
The decision to opt for superior technology from Palo Alto Networks has brought in tangible benefits of significant cost savings for NovaGroup. With Palo Alto Networks, NovaGroup can expect to have more than 50% in cost savings providing both hardware and software licensing—whereas their legacy solution was more costly and was only for the cost of the software license. Besides the cost savings, there are additional tangible benefits to NovaGroup such as best-in-class security and additional built-in security features. It is also noteworthy that the reduced cost has not meant that the quality of the solution has been compromised.
No one could have predicted that the pandemic would result in prolonged lockdowns and shift the landscape to work from home. NovaGroup and its subsidiary companies who have switched to the Palo Alto Networks solution have been able to easily integrate the new solution to ensure that the whole framework follows Zero Trust architecture. In addition, the solutions are scalable, resulting in time savings.
NovaGroup was able to realise a seamless shift to work from home for thousands of employees with remote access through VPN. Protected by encryption and security protocols, all communication is private and secure. GlobalProtect ensures a secure connection for work from home and has helped fend off cyber breaches. Threat Prevention has helped reduce operational costs, and WildFire has increased productivity within the teams.
As part of its expansion plans, NovaGroup is moving towards cloud transformation and a hybrid cloud environment. Palo Alto Networks and NovaGroup have begun planning to ensure a seamless transition to the cloud and enhance incident response with new capabilities to increase cyber resilience.
Having done an extensive review of the cybersecurity solutions in the market and experiencing first-hand the support and the services provided by Palo Alto Networks, Mr. Nghĩa is confident that he has opted for the right partner in Palo Alto Networks. He calls out the immense support he has received from the local team as well as the global team at Palo Alto Networks when he has needed to escalate an incident for timely assistance. He expects the two organisations to have further opportunities for collaboration and cooperation in the future.