UPDATED 20:00 EDT / AUGUST 12 2019

car-dashboard-drive SECURITY

AutoNation uses Zscaler’s visibility tools to drive network protection from outside threats

The first sign of cyber trouble for AutoNation Inc., a major automotive retailer, occurred when the firm encountered a small breach of a third-party company that was handling its customer information. That prompted the company to hire its first chief information security officer. What the new CISO found when he came on board was more than just a warning light.

When Ken Athanasiou (pictured) joined AutoNation as its vice president and CISO, he brought in Zscaler Inc. to provide increased visibility into the network infrastructure. Using Zscaler’s tools, what Athanasiou discovered under the hood was engine trouble.

“We were seeing commodity malware infections happen on a fairly regular basis; we were seeing botnet traffic originating from our system,” Athanasiou recalled. “It was obvious that our internal controls were not where they needed to be. Taking that to my executives and risk committee, it was very easy to justify additional investments and other security tools to really clean up the environment.”

Athanasiou spoke with Peter Burris (@plburris), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, in Palo Alto, California. They discussed the need to protect a national network with multiple points of vulnerability and how Zscaler’s tools provided the visibility AutoNation needed to combat threats. (* Disclosure below.)

Addressed antiquated software

AutoNation’s CISO had to deal with a distributed network that created multiple points of vulnerability. The company has 300 dealerships across the country, in addition to parts distribution and collision centers.

“One of the first things I noticed when I got here was each of the independent locations had an internet point of presence, as well as a circuit back to our data centers,” Athanasiou said. “Those internet points of presence were protected with fairly antiquated software techniques. That was exposing significant risks to the organization.”

Using Zscaler’s solution, AutoNation was able to block command and control traffic from a system in its environment that was enabling many of the vulnerabilities. AutoNation also deployed Zscaler Cloud Sandbox to protect against advanced threats.

“When we were going through the evaluation and looking at the various products, Zscaler definitely had the most complete solution,” Athanasiou said. “I can’t stress enough how much that visibility helped us drive new controls into the environment. I can sleep at night, for the most part.”

Watch the complete video interview below. (* Disclosure: Zscaler Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither Zscaler nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash

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