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Saudi car dealer Universal Motor Agencies has implemented an ISS security solution combining desktop protection and patching.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  September 17, 2005

|~|Saleem,-Houss_m.jpg|~|“The most important issue is support and updates. ISS headquarters monitors our logs, spots suspicious activity and counters it. It delivers updates and patches and these automatically upload to the equipment.” - Houssam Elddin Saleem, national IT manager for UMA.|~|Universal Motor Agencies (UMA) has installed the ISS Proventia enterprise security platform (ESP) to allow it to securely take its operation online. In October 2004, UMA installed two Proventia devices at its Jeddah HQ, which can support up to 5,000 users. The company has 1,200 employees across 32 locations in the Kingdom, with the solution expected to scale to meet its needs for the next ten years of projected growth. ESP pulls together a number of ISS security solutions providing monitoring on the wide area network and bringing a system for implementing patches. At UMA, all remote sites link to the internet through IP addresses controlled by the HQ, heightening central control. The company also installs ISS desktop protection on to the notebooks of its mobile sales staff. “For the sales team it is crucial that internet access is secure,” says Saleh Naqeeb, national sales manager for UMA. “We are a big target for hacking and the system provides assurance to our customers. We carry out a lot of transactions online and we take detailed customer profiles and store them in our database. If that database is compromised it costs us money and it also compromises these individuals,” he explains. As sales manager, Naqeeb uses the internet to monitor how many customers his sales representatives are speaking to and also sees their conversion rate. UMA has many offices and a wide geographical spread, so the most efficient way to monitor staff is using an online dealer management system. The need for a comprehensive security solution was clear but UMA had a troubled road towards implementation, pilot testing other solutions before settling on ISS. “We lab tested a similar solution from another vendor before ISS but it didn’t work out well. We couldn’t get more than three modules working at a time. It was a matter of support and implementation rather than the product. Maybe in other areas of the world, this product would have worked fine, but the vendor didn’t carry out the installation in the right manner,” says Houssam Elddin Saleem, national IT manager for UMA. The support issue was crucial for UMA, which has a small IT team of five. The ISS solution generates more than more than 20,000 security logs a day, which is too much for the internal team to deal with. “The most important issue is support and updates. ISS headquarters monitors our logs, spots suspicious activity and counters it,” Saleem explains. “ISS then delivers updates and patches and these automatically upload to the equipment.” Proventia ESP includes security agents for desktops and servers that continuously perform assessments and report security vulnerabilities to SiteProtector — the ISS management console. ISS also works with software vendors in a bid to proactively spot and patch vulnerabilities before they become well known and therefore before hackers have a chance to write exploits. The preemptive nature of this virtual patching solution has grabbed attention since the release of the ESP solution. While talking up the ability of ISS to deliver cutting-edge technology solutions, the ISS Middle East president Moustapha Sarhank was also keen to emphasise the importance of ISS’s regional presence in tying up deals such as the one with UMA. “We see the deal with UMA as a partnership and one of the reasons they formed the partnership with us is our strong regional presence,” he says. “The regional managers of other security vendors report to EMEA bosses and they report to bosses in the USA or Asia and this slows the command chain. I own a 20% stake in ISS worldwide so ISS regionally does not report to anyone. If we need to react to our customers’ demands, we do it.”||**||

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