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NCSC feed: Advantage adds a local flavour to international security solution
Thu, 1st Sep 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Bringing the adage ‘more is more' to life, managed IT and security services provider Advantage has integrated the Government Communications and Security Bureau's Malware Free Networks feed into its Netskope threat monitoring and protection platform. The result is arguably an unrivalled offering in the Security Service Edge environment, according to Advantage Auckland regional manager Steve Smith.

He explains why: “Integrating Malware Free Networks into Netskope SSE increases and enhances end user protection by including local threat intel in an international product. Typically, cloud solutions only have international feeds.

The concept of SSE, or Security Service Edge, has fairly recently (2021) emerged as a necessary means for securing access to websites, Software as a Service and private applications. Distinct from the perhaps more familiar Secure Access Service Edge (which targets network access issues with a single brokering fabric), SSE is comprised of a collection of integrated, cloud-centric security capabilities. These capabilities include multiple ‘feeds' for threat intelligence; as Smith has noted, in the services of global vendors such as California-headquartered Netskope, the feeds originate ‘anywhere but little old New Zealand'.

Until now, of course.

The NCSC's Malware Free Networks is little old New Zealand's contribution to data security – which is, after all, a problem without geographical bounds. A threat detection and disruption service, Malware Free Networks is delivered through a curated threat intelligence feed from a range of sources, including the NCSC's international cyber security partners (we note the emergent paradox, as this imperils the local claims) and information drawn from the National Cyber Security Centre's cyber defence capabilities. Malware Free Networks, says the NCSC, ‘provides near real-time threat intelligence reflecting current malicious activity targeting New Zealand organisations'.

In its implementation of Security Service Edge, explains Smith, Netskope ‘protects users from bad URLs, malware and other threats no matter where they connect from', and reduces the requirement for VPN and Data Loss Prevention rules to protect company data. In other words, it makes working from anywhere easier from a security and access perspective, as the comforting days of ‘everything behind the firewall' recede and people work from home, cafes and bus stops.

Smith says Advantage wasted no time getting involved with Malware Free Networks, commencing integration in December 2021 with the task complete by February this year. And Advantage didn't stop at Netskope, either, integrating the NCSC feed into its Security Information and Event Management platform, managed firewall, email filtering, managed detection and response services. Yes, and also its Netskope-based Secure Access Service Edge and Secure Web Gateway platforms.

Of course, Advantage also wasted no time getting the solution to market. One example is a win with partner MSP Xuba: “We deployed Netskope as a Data Loss Prevention solution for NZ's largest Credit Union,” says Xuba managing director Jarrod Dowd. “We now have transparency with our cloud environment and can restrict data from traversing cloud platforms with alerts of any possible data breaches. Our overall security levels have increased significantly.

“Since integrating Malware Free Networks, we've has disrupted thousands of potential attacks across all our products,” Smith asserts.

Advantage managing director Brad Pearpoint is understandably pleased with the results achieved by Advantage in integrating the NCSC feed and delivering a Netskope service incorporating Kiwi ingenuity. “The guys put in plenty of effort in getting this delivered fast over the holidays, no less,” he says. “That's the sort of agility which has kept us at the forefront of IT services for more than 35 years.