Facq embraces the secure modern workplace (Part 1)

Cyber security, Intune, MFA, Microsoft 365, Modern workplace

Facq is one of those remarkable Belgian organizations that knows how to turn challenges into opportunities. We guess that their 140 years (!) of experience has something to do with that. As far as collaboration and communication between colleagues is concerned, Facq used to rely on open-source digital tools, like Open Office and Mozilla Thunderbird. Then COVID-19 happened.

An opportunity to modernize the workplace with Xylos

The sanitary specialists, headquartered in Vilvoorde, immediately deployed Microsoft Teams for direct communication between  colleagues, all working from home now. They also immediately started exploring more possibilities and at Xylos we were more than happy to accompany them on this Microsoft 365 journey.

It wasn’t difficult to convince management at Facq of the Microsoft 365 virtues. Nonetheless, there were two aspects they were very keen on getting perfectly right: security and user adoption.

How multi-factor authentication disarms hackers

Cyber criminality being on the rise worldwide, we set up Microsoft Exchange and Outlook as the new Facq e-mail service and provided it with a multi-factor authentication (MFA) security layer. If a hacker would somehow manage to steal credentials and log into one of the almost 900 employees’ e-mail accounts, the MFA would stop him in his tracks.

As soon as a log-in attempt takes place from outside of the Facq network, the relevant employee receives an automized phone call to confirm or disconfirm he or she is in fact the person trying to log in.

Xylos’ zero-trust security approach immediately proving its worth

Another security component of the solution detects and alerts Facq IT-staff as soon as a successful login attempt takes place from outside of the expected geographical zone.  Already very early on – before the MFA was put in place – this bore fruit as well.

On one instance, the IT-department got a notification about an employee, allegedly logging in from Croatia. It sounded plausible, since he was on vacation. Nonetheless, the staff followed the zero trust principles and immediately blocked any further access. It turned the right choice. Their colleague was not in Croatia and had indeed been hacked. Facq was immediately able to set things right and instruct their employee on what had happened, how an incident like this could be successfully avoided in the future and how he could play an active role in it.

Secure and effective endpoint management with Intune

The empowerment of the Facq IT-staff with effective means was also reflected in our setup of the cloud-based Microsoft Intune solution as their newest endpoint deployment and management tool.

Previously, setting up and deploying a new employee device was an excessively time-consuming process. Applications would need to be installed and configured manually one by one, requiring easily an hour of follow-up for each device. Now, thanks to the setup we handed over to Facq, any computer vendor that delivers a new device simply links up the new computer to Facq’s Intune on the cloud. That way, when it arrives at Facq, only five minutes for a few minor configurations from the IT-staff are needed before the end user is ready to go.

Obviously, this results in an impressive relief in workload but moving on also the chance for Facq to strategically organize its security approach as well. Intune allows Facq to ensure company-wide and group-specific device compliancy: from hard-drive encryption, to conditional device access settings (like MFA), antivirus requirements, operating system requirements and much more.

The X-factor, according to Facq

Xylos listens, understands our needs and also adapts to those needs. But never without giving their own honest input, which makes them trustworthy. There is no blind execution in the Xylos journey. The collaboration is great, not in the least on a human level.

– Andy Valgaerts, IT-engineer at Facq

Coming soon (part 2):

How learning Microsoft 365 productivity goes hand-in-hand with adopting cybersecure behavior and the role of InviQta by Xylos.


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