Registers of Scotland is a non-ministerial office of the Scottish administration, responsible for maintaining records relating to property, and other legal documents.
Registers of Scotland is on an ambitious journey to digital transformation, re-platforming to a modern, cloudfirst strategy based on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The outcome will be a more efficient organisation with the ability to pivot quickly around change; and a more engaging customer experience.
In this new strategy, security takes centre stage. Almost the entire Palo Alto Networks portfolio has been deployed to deliver complete, automated protection against cyberattacks. This includes connected network security, comprising Palo Alto Networks ML-Powered Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW), VM-Series NGFWs, and natively integrated Cloud-Delivered Security Services (CDSS) subscriptions.
The challenge for Registers of Scotland was to continue operations during the pandemic, when its Glasgow and Edinburgh offices were closed. At the time, the law required all property registrations and contracts to be conducted on paper.
Bob Bowden, Security Architect, Registers of Scotland, explains: “With colleagues working from home, we were unable to process paper transactions submitted by solicitors and other interested parties. Scottish property sales all but ground to a halt within a matter of days.”
In response, the Scottish Government passed urgent legislation allowing the submission of conveyancing documents via the web, rather than applications on paper only. However, Registers of Scotland still needed an automated means of scanning these incoming digital documents to eliminate malware risk prior to processing.
Rerouting files to the Palo Alto Networks NGFW for malware scanning was ruled out, as it would interrupt and delay file submission – compromising the customer experience.
Bowden and his team needed to act fast to find a secure, seamless way to process digital files. The solution would need to meet their requirements to:
Integration with Palo Alto Networks WildFire via the API underpins the fast, seamless submission of digital registry submissions. The innovative application of this CDSS prevents unknown threats, automates protection, and allows Registers of Scotland to focus its valuable resources elsewhere. And the solution was created in less than three weeks.
So how does it work? Users drop digital documents onto a file share outside the Registers of Scotland network. Palo Alto Networks XSOAR initiates a playbook to search the file share periodically/when a new file is created. The WildFire API is called to analyse each file in WildFire’s cloud analysis engine. If WildFire declares the verdict to be malicious, artefacts are extracted and protections are automatically delivered across the world, protecting all Palo Alto Networks customers in real time. For Registers of Scotland, malicious files are flagged, and validated benign files move automatically inside the network for processing.
Bowden explains: “This WildFire innovation has revolutionised registration. It has allowed the secure processing of thousands of digital registrations every day; we have dramatically decreased operational reliance on expensive scanning for the paper documents, and the process is significantly faster than before.”
He adds: “Using WildFire, we were able to assure the Registers of Scotland governing body that the digital submission of legal documents would be 100% secure. Ultimately, this approach supported the change in Scottish law, upending hundreds of years of paper-based land registry processes.”
Other CDSS are simultaneously helping to prevent and detect unknown malware, zero-day exploits, and other advanced cyberattacks. For example:
The benefits of the CDSS include:
Bowden concludes: “With WildFire malware analysis, Registers of Scotland has visibility into everything. Intelligent automation minimises our risk while maximising the end user experience.”