CUSTOMER STORY

Hong Kong Conglomerate Emperor Group enhances its security posture with F5 Advanced WAF

PRODUCTS

BENEFITS

Optimized protection of data and applications

Scalable defense to promote innovation and agility

Consistency with dedicated support

CHALLENGES

Increased volume of mission-critical web applications that needed to be managed and secured

Exposure to cyber threats

Operation efficiencies

From its beginnings as a watch retailer in 1942, Emperor Group has grown and expanded into a diversified group of businesses that includes financial services, property, watch and jewelry, entertainment, hospitality, media, furniture and furnishing, esports, as well as co-working space. With F5 Advanced Web Application Firewall (WAF), Emperor Group strengthened its security posture on Alibaba Cloud to improve operational efficiencies and reduce risks against malicious cyber threats.

Business Challenges

Since 1942, Emperor Group has journeyed from being a humble watch retailer to a conglomerate of companies across various industries. The diversified nature of Emperor Group has created synergies, resource-sharing, and reduced costs among its businesses to transform the Group into a key industry player. In fact, the Group’s emphasis on synergy among its business groups signified that access to potential resources by one group often meant others benefited as well.

An outcome of Emperor Group’s success is the amassing of vast amounts of data every day. Leveraging Alibaba Cloud to better manage and store large amounts of information, Emperor Group also enjoys the ability to scale on demand. The Group had long moved past the time-consuming need to plan for and procure servers and other IT infrastructure weeks or months in advance. Instead, it can simply spin up hundreds of servers in minutes and deliver results faster.

To ensure its leadership in the highly competitive, and oftentimes unpredictable, consumer and business landscape, Emperor Group continues to expand its platform, integrating sales and operational processes with increasing depth. Coupled with greater reliance on services in the cloud, including storage, data analytics and artificial intelligence, the Group found itself juggling multiple, complicated functions at the same time.

Furthermore, as a progressive organization that constantly demands innovation and disruption, the Group was not merely seeing accelerated growth of its datasets, but also in the rising number of mission-critical web applications that needed to be managed and secured. Given the fast-evolving threat landscape—so dramatically different with each passing year—the Group needed to be able to mitigate increasingly sophisticated and targeted attacks against its various businesses.

Emperor Group’s rigorous technology adoption also led to an ever-growing number of endpoints, translating to increased exposure to infiltration, cyber disruption and theft.

Emperor Group was in need of a tech refresh that would complement its cloud deployments and improve operational efficiencies, while also enhancing its security posture across the board.

The threat landscape is evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated. As data is shared across all our business groups, we were seeing an exponential number of endpoints accessing data. We urgently needed a security solution that would mitigate the risk of breaches.

Solution

While Alibaba Cloud ensures the security of its infrastructure, Emperor Group needed a complementary solution that would secure its apps and data in the cloud. Deploying F5 Advanced WAF on Alibaba Cloud meant that Emperor Group could use the same, enterprise-grade security, performance, and availability services in its multi-cloud ecosystem.

F5 Advanced WAF filters, monitors, and blocks HTTP/S traffic to and from a web application to protect against malicious attempts to compromise the system or exfiltrate data. By inspecting HTTP/S traffic, F5 Advanced WAF prevents web application attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, and cookie poisoning, among others.

With F5 Advanced WAF as its gatekeeper, Emperor Group now has an active security control capable of interrogating endpoints while dynamically strengthening the security of applications. It also employs countermeasures to detect and stop evolving application layer threats.

At a high level, the solution integrates behavioral analysis and dynamic code injections as its two main mechanisms available to more comprehensively assess the threat associated with any given session. Its behavioral analytics and machine learning provide highly accurate Layer 7 Denial-of-Service (DoS) detection and mitigation. 

We ultimately decided on F5 not only because they came highly recommended by our customers, but because the team was also thoroughly impressed throughout the evaluation process. F5’s leadership positioning in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAF was validated through the performance we witnessed, from the protection of our web servers against intrusions to the efficacy of securing our core business data and preventing server malfunctions caused by malicious threats. The effectiveness of F5 Advanced WAF and the benefits we have received have helped Emperor Group reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) in this deployment.

Benefits

Leveraging the cloud-based F5 Advanced WAF, Emperor Group ensures the security of its data is housed in its critical applications in Alibaba Cloud to benefit all business groups.

Optimized protection of data and applications

Emperor Group deployed F5 Advanced WAF in Alibaba Cloud to provide comprehensive protection against existing and emerging application attacks. Combining machine learning, threat intelligence and deep application expertise, F5 Advanced WAF provides highly accurate Layer 7 DoS detection and mitigation, enabling the Group’s IT team to focus on new business innovation and not be constantly distracted by external security threats.

Scalable defense to promote innovation and agility

Emperor Group’s continued growth demanded a solution that could scale alongside its expanding needs. F5 Advanced WAF enables Emperor Group to deploy essential app security for multiple cloud platforms—both private and public.

F5 Advanced WAF also shortens deployment times for new apps with easy-to-use cloud templates, giving Emperor Group the freedom to grow their on-premises and cloud infrastructures according to its business priorities, as well as the confidence that their apps will be protected without being tied to any individual deployment model or particular cloud platform.

Consistency with dedicated support

With its flexible service infrastructure, F5 Advanced WAF allows Emperor Group to consolidate and better manage its security infrastructure to ensure efficiencies and consistency throughout the environment.

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