The nature of Morgan Sindall’s business is highly collaborative, working on projects with partners, contractors, regulators, and other third parties. If security controls hinder this collaboration and productivity then, Binnie explains, he has failed in his role: “The day-to-day business of Morgan Sindall companies requires timely and safe collaboration and the sharing of data to bring different people together on projects.” This means that, rather than taking a heavy-handed and dictatorial approach to policy, the approach is one of education, guidance, and the provision of information to inform good decisions.
Binnie explains, “With Netskope we are able to better understand what applications and cloud services teams are using, and then use the Netskope CCI [Cloud Confidence Index] to assess the risk exposure of certain behaviours. We can see if teams are choosing to make use of applications that we determine to be suboptimal in their security credentials and then we can provide both automated and manual educational ‘nudges’ to encourage different behaviours and habits.”
Morgan Sindall does not want to lock down web usage for employees, and is very keen to avoid operating as a “big brother” overseer. Employees are allowed to use social media at work and via work devices, and Netskope now enables that to happen with oversight of patterns of data movement and anomalous traffic to ensure the organisation does not suffer from malicious or accidental data leakage. Netskope integrates with Morgan Sindall’s SIEM, creating insightful reporting and analytics which can be shared both upwards into the group management and back down with IT business partners and line managers within the component businesses.
Binnie adds, “Netskope enables us to meet our employees’ expectations of an optimal user experience (better than the one they get on their own home IT) in the safest possible manner.”
2020 has provided an uncharted landscape for many IT teams to navigate, with remote working occurring at unprecedented levels and minimal opportunity to prepare. Binnie was grateful for Netskope and the work that had been done ahead of lockdowns and temporary office evacuations. Binnie comments, “The very next day after sending home our office based staff, the entire workforce was online, with access to everything they needed and no scalability or bandwidth problems. Because Netskope puts our security workflows into the cloud, there was no need to backhaul data traffic to our data centres and no undue pressure loaded into those network connections.” Baseline user behaviours changed overnight with the workforce working from home. Binnie explains, “In the UK, suddenly BBC iPlayer became our biggest source of incoming data traffic. We would never have predicted that, but in hindsight it is obvious that individuals would put some digital radio on through their laptop while they work at home alone. If we hadn’t already moved away from on-premise SWGs ahead of lockdown then all of that data traffic would have been hairpinned back to our data centres for security purposes.”
Following the initial implementation, Netskope assigned Morgan Sindall a Customer Service Manager (CSM) whose role it is to ensure that Binnie and his team are getting everything that they can from their Netskope investment. Binnie explains the role and relationship, “Our CSM has a scheduled check-in with us fortnightly and we all use this time to evaluate the estate, tune and tweak policies and settings, and drive continual improvements to our implementation. These conversations are not about Netskope upselling to us, and they work very well to ensure we know about the new functionality that is being added all the time to the service. We are ISO accredited and Netskope’s CSM approach fits into our ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ model which is a component of that ISO standard.”