A manufacturer's path to mature cybersecurity

The partnership between Trace3, Critical Start and Palo Alto is bringing peace of mind to SMC Corporation

For SMC Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of pneumatic components and a global leader in automation, keeping its data and IP safe is a big headache. Threats proliferate at alarming speed and with ever-increasing sophistication, and as Michael Loggins, Global VP of IT at SMC said: “Cybersecurity is one thing that keeps me awake at night.” SMC turned to Trace3 to help its leadership to rest easy. “It has really allowed us to rapidly increase our capabilities at a security operations level, bringing maturity into a place that we didn't have before and helping us build an organization that didn't exist six months ago … finding a trustworthy partner like Trace3 who has the ability to look out further than we were doing and get us prepared for what is coming next is huge.” says Loggins.

There's great strength in partnership. In delivering service levels like this, Trace3 naturally leverages the power of giants from AWS to VMware, but customers like SMC also benefit from the managed detection and response (MDR) services, offered by Trace3’s close partner Critical Start. Bryan Kissinger, CISO at Trace3, manages the internal security programs ensuring that the data and technology architecture is secure for employees and customers, but that’s not all he does. When Kissinger engages directly with key customers like SMC, he advises them to work closely with Critical Start, the MDR provider that puts a stop to alert fatigue by eliminating false positives at scale through their Zero Trust Analytics Platform (ZTAP) and industry leading Trusted Behavior Registry. “Critical Start has been one of our strongest partners,” says Kissinger. “When it comes to the operations, daily management and customer care and response, the managed services of Critical Start is really the first place that we try and introduce our customers to.” 

Trace3 understood the value behind Critical Start’s 24/7 investigation and response services by leveraging powerful solutions such as Palo Alto Networks, which SMC was also evaluating. Kissinger states that the Palo Alto Networks platform is a powerful solution to help mitigate cyber-attacks across the organizational footprint. Cortex XDR is one of the lightest MDR agents out there, however it does not skimp on features - bundling behavioural threat protection with machine learning, AI, and cloud-based analysis. “Acquisitions by the organization over the past couple of years have helped Palo Alto produce a more holistic and integrated defense platform.” 

SMC is on a mission to transform its security capabilities. Leading manufacturers and the IoT they utilize are a big target for cyber-attacks and their environments can be very complex to secure. SMC brought Trace3 in to look at their overall technology environment, to do assessments of that environment and then recommend practical solutions to be able to mature their security program, focusing on IoT. Kissinger says, “SMC has done a great job of embracing the leading solutions to secure the manufacturing environment and the HR and process side of things. We've really enjoyed the partnership and now we're really seeing the fruits of all of our labors - their program is really becoming outstanding.” Randy Watkins, CTO at Critical Start endorses this, “All credit to SMC – they looked at the threat landscape, saw that attackers were pursuing them, and turned to Trace3 to help them down a strategic path that included alignment with the Palo Alto Networks portfolio. They also saw the need to get additional resources to operationalize that technology, which is why they bought Critical Start. We were able to engage with SMC and Trace3 to not only monitor the endpoint but get it deployed, so now we have a global deployment of Palo Alto Network's Cortex XDR that's being monitored 24/7 for any and all threats by Critical Start's Security Operations Center (SOC).” 

With Trace3's oversight of the architecture and infrastructure requirements, combined with the power of Critical Start's MDR and Palo Alto Cortex XDR, the threat landscape and the attackers' techniques are continuously monitored and thwarted, allowing manufacturers who rely on the integrity of their complex automation and IoT capabilities, to sleep well.

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