Case Study

Handelsblatt Media Group securely connects a global modern media organisation underpinned by Palo Alto Networks Prisma Access


Thanks to Palo Alto Networks Prisma Access, Handelsblatt Media Group staff can concentrate on what shapes the news, not network connections. A comprehensive cloud-delivered security service edge (SASE) platform is helping the German media organisation reach its goal of 50% home working and create a more rewarding work environment. This modern, innovative connectivity also saves the organisation €300,000 annually versus other platforms.





In brief

Customer

Handelsblatt Media Group GmbH

Industry

Media

Country

Düsseldorf, Germany

Featured Products and Services

Products such as Handelsblatt and WirtschaftsWoche focus on business and the communication of information, knowledge, and experience

Organisation Size

1,000 staff across multiple media subsidiaries


Challenges

The current remote connectivity platform lacked the security, ease-of-use, flexibility, and scalability to support all 1,000 employees. Handelsblatt Media Group also needed to reduce the cost of security.

Solution

Palo Alto Networks
Prisma®️ Access

Results

  • Saving €300,000 annually versus other platforms.
  • Creates a smarter, more agile media organisation.
  • Improves employee satisfaction.
  • Increases security.
  • Introduces new insights.
  • Improves operational efficiency.

Download PDF Share

CHALLENGE

Germany’s media powerhouse

The Handelsblatt Media Group (HMG) is the leading media house for economic and financial information in Germany. The Düsseldorf-based organisation was founded in 1946 and is recognised globally for its independent, quality journalism that reaches more than two million readers.

The newspaper Handelsblatt, belonging to HMG, traditionally relied on another platform for remote connectivity. Journalists, travelling the world to interview the decision-makers that shape the news, had the flexibility to securely submit their articles, whether it was from a war zone or a hotel lobby. However, when the German government enforced home working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, those 200 users were joined by the entire HMG workforce. Almost overnight, 1,000 staff were connected via virtual desktops to the network.

According to Markus Söller, Team Lead IT at Handelsblatt Media Group, this was a stop-gap measure. “The security was good, but we felt it should be better,” he says. “Most users logged on using just their email and password, for example. We used multifactor authentication on only about 20% of the users.”

But as Markus Söller goes on to explain, changes were due for other reasons too, “HMG newspapers and magazines are modernising rapidly in response to the ultrafast pace of change in the media industry. News is available 24/7 and the future is all about agile journalism. People need instant, secure access to applications and data, either in our new headquarters in Düsseldorf or working flexibly a few days a week from home.”


quote

Handelsblatt Media Group newspapers and magazines are modernising rapidly in response to the ultrafast pace of change in the media industry. People need instant, secure access to applications and data.

- Markus Söller
Team Lead IT
Handelsblatt Media Group

SOLUTION

Trusted, proven, and innovative brand

move-to-a-zero-trust-architecture

HMG has deployed Palo Alto Networks Prisma Access as part of a forward-thinking mobile workplace security service edge (SSE) transformation project. Markus Söller and his team considered various options, before settling on Prisma Access. He explains, “We compared Prisma Access with other solutions, but really liked the ease of use and how quickly we could onboard Prisma Access. There were no barriers to understanding the SSE solution and it moves us faster to a ‘clean desk’ policy. The other game-changer for us is the Palo Alto Networks brand: it’s trusted, proven, and innovative.”

Prisma Access protects hybrid workforces with the superior security of ZTNA 2.0 while providing exceptional user experiences from a unified, cloud-native security product. The single, cloud-delivered service model enables Markus Söller and his team to identify all 1,000 users and devices (approximately 950 are now live), apply policy-based security, and provide secure access to the appropriate application or data no matter where the users, applications, or devices are located.

Markus Söller refers to the network as an ‘extended star topology’. Users in the office connect directly to the network and the applications in the data centre. Someone working remotely – a journalist covering regional German elections, for example – uses their laptop to connect directly to Prisma Access and, through the Google backbone, to the necessary applications. The data is no longer backhauled to the German data centre.

“In time, our goal is to move to a 100% Zero Trust architecture. Prisma Access will be an implicit part of that, underpinning an enterprise-wide wireless architecture. We will eliminate implicit trust and continuously validate every stage of a digital interaction,” says Markus Söller.


RESULTS

Connecting a modern media empire

Palo Alto Networks is helping HMG continue to deliver well-founded, independent quality journalism – anywhere, anytime. The benefits include:

  • Creates a smarter, more agile media organisation: All 1,000 staff can connect securely and simply to the network. Journalists can write and file articles more quickly and easily – concentrating on the content not the connectivity. Likewise, all staff have the flexibility to work where they choose, meeting the organisational goal of 50% home working.
  • Improves employee satisfaction: Streamlined connectivity means all 1,000 staff receive a more rewarding experience. People with no technical experience can access applications just like they do in the office. One departmental head recently wrote to Markus Söller congratulating his team on the new remote working strategy, saying it represented a ‘great step forward’.
  • Increases security: With full content inspection integrated into the SSE solution, HMG benefits from more security and visibility into the network. Moreover, data protection policies within the SSE framework help prevent unauthorised access and abuse of sensitive data. “We benefit from strong authentication of user identity and the application of ‘least access’ policies,” says Markus Söller.
  • Introduces new insights: HMG now has control over applications and users that was missing before. “Our team can now see if clients have updated, for example. We never had that visibility before we introduced Prisma Access,” he says.
  • Reduces costs: HMG is making significant annual savings using Prisma Access, based on solution cost and reduced support intervention.
  • Improves operational efficiency: When the previous platform was live, Markus Söller’s team responded to multiple remote connectivity support tickets every day. “We rarely receive any requests for this type of support now. The volume of tickets has dropped dramatically,” he says.

quote

Thanks to Prisma Access, journalistsand other staff can now concentrate on news gathering, not network connections. It’s simple, secure, transparent, and cost-effective.

- Markus Söller
Team Lead IT
Handelsblatt Media Group