Case Study: Gottfried Schultz Takes on Cybersecurity

The Company

The Gottfried Schultz Group is the largest private dealer for the Volkswagen Group brands – Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Bentley, Porsche – and for Bugatti in Germany. In a total of 27 operations in the greater Rhine-Ruhr area, the company currently employs more than 1,900 people at its sites in Dusseldorf, Neuss, Dormagen, Grevenbroich, Leverkusen, Solingen, Erkrath, Mettmann, Velbert, Wuppertal, Mülheim, and Essen.

Gottfried Schultz can look back on more than 80 years of experience as an authorized dealer, which benefits customers in service as well as in new and used cars. In 2017, Gottfried Schultz Automobilhandels SE sold around 65,000 new and used cars.

The Situation

As part of an Enterprise Agreement (EA) contract, Gottfried Schultz Automobilhandels SE uses Microsoft Forefront company-wide, a solution that also includes endpoint security. The group has a total of 2,000 endpoints and 200 servers. While not initially a focus of a planned MPLS network improvement project that was undertaken by Gottfried Schultz’s IT department, headed by Claus Ebert, some concerns were raised around the company’s ability to protect its network from malware and other security threats.

Gottfried Schultz’s technology partner, Magellan, offered a solution that included a firewall system and new endpoint protection software. After conducting a thorough load analysis on its network, the company chose Fortinet’s firewall. 

When it came to protecting the company’s endpoints from malware and other threats, discussions were held in great detail. Gottfried Schultz did not want to rely on traditional signature-based antivirus products any longer. “We tested signature-based security solutions for Windows operating systems,” says Claus Ebert, “but this principle only works well if the malware or virus is already in the signature database. And even assuming that the distribution of signature updates is optimal, the signatures often lag behind for up to 48 hours.”

The Process

“We were looking for a completely new approach to endpoint protection and wanted to combine this solution with the firewalls,” says Claus. “Our proven partner Magellan then proposed CylancePROTECT®. We were thrilled with the approach of using math against malware. With CylancePROTECT, one can do without expensive updates and operate the solution even offline. The approach seemed to us by far the most intelligent. Malware, ransomware, adware, and previously unknown threats are neutralized before execution, which convinced us almost immediately.”

By using mathematical algorithms to analyze the DNA of a file instead or relying on signatures, CylancePROTECT can detect and block both known and unknown threats and ransomware. As part of the proof of concept for Gottfried Schultz’s new network security solution, CylancePROTECT immediately worked to locate and block threats with no performance loss.

“In the automotive industry,” says Claus, “it’s not uncommon that you have to deal with software variants that are not up to date. Naturally, CylancePROTECT alerted us when files were unsafe to run. During the POC phase, however, partners and manufacturers gave us a lot of support. Thanks to the fast response times, we were able to quickly adapt the systems. Creating occasional exceptions is easy, so there were no issues or disabilities at launch. It all went extremely fast and reliably without us having to accept any performance restrictions.”

The Results

Gottfried Schultz’s firewall and CylancePROTECT work together in harmony, providing security for the company’s network. The decision was made very quickly to roll out CylancePROTECT for the entire group of companies. Claus Ebert emphasizes that this process has been completed quickly and, above all, smoothly:

“That’s what I would wish for all our IT projects. And the practice has given us every right to go our own way in choosing a security solution for the endpoints. Even compared to AV solutions, which also choose a different approach than the traditional signature-based approach, Cylance’s approach is, in my opinion, unique.

We have a four-year swap cycle within the group, so we go beyond the warranty period. That means we do not always have the latest and fastest systems in use. Nevertheless, we do not have to drive CylancePROTECT anywhere with the handbrake on. This is an advantage not to be underestimated for us. In addition, the solution convinced us right from the start with its high detection rate. In many cases, only CylancePROTECT has detected the malware in question.”

Summary

INDUSTRY: Automotive

ENVIRONMENT: 2,000 endpoints and 200 servers protected by CylancePROTECT

CHALLENGES: 
        • Modernize endpoint protection without sacrificing performance
        • Ensuree compatibility with special hardware systems

SOLUTION: Implementation of CylancePROTECT to protect from unknown threats with minimal system impact

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