Leading financial service provider in Australia and New Zealand, Allied Credit works alongside major Australian and international brands, including some of the biggest names in automotive, motorcycling, and recreational vehicles. Its expertise has allowed it to develop an origination system its partners love, and it's committed to adding value and mutual benefit for partners and customers by driving the best possible outcomes.
Handling an enormous amount of data including personally identifiable information (PII) has become an escalating challenge. Faced with growing customer service demands, and the need for effective data management, Allied needed a solution that could offer both efficiency and business insights. So, it turned to long-time partner Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS) for an innovative resolution.
“It was becoming challenging to manage our exponentially growing data and meet rising customer service demands after expanding to become one of the market leaders in vehicle finance,” says Rohit Kumar, Allied Credit’s Head of Enterprise Technology. “We needed a solution that would help us navigate these challenges efficiently focusing on data security, and we knew from our ten-year collaboration with CBS that they could handle the task.”
Scaling up: Navigating exponential growth and cybersecurity challenges at Allied Credit
When Allied began working with CBS ten years ago, the company had just 30 users and a handful of partners. In the last two years, after experiencing a period of significant growth the business has grown to around 300 staff and almost 40 partners and expanded geographically, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.
The burgeoning data, spread across many environments and systems associated with Allied’s exponential growth and processing needs posed a significant challenge. “Our infrastructure, customer base, and transaction volume have all grown massively,” explains Rohit. “At the same time, we’ve been focusing on cybersecurity and data protection by constantly updating our cybersecurity protections to comply with evolving regulatory requirements.”
Allied Credit’s challenge was improving it’s security posture in a time of increasing cyber activity and regulation. In the face of new data security regulations, the board and directors wanted to know how well the company was protecting its data, but providing answers proved difficult.
“We had made significant investments in several leading solutions like Palo Alto, Sophos, and ZScaler, but we were unable to validate or showcase these protections effectively,” explains Rohit.
The company needed to extract valuable data insights to support informed decision-making but lacked the capacity to do so effectively. Moreover, they sought to improve customer service by offering a more personalised experience.
“We needed a new solution to help us manage our growing data securely and extract meaningful insights for decision-making while enhancing our customer service experience,” Rohit explains.
“CBS has always been a trusted partner, so using another team within CBS was a no-brainer for us,” he adds.
Securing the future: Enhancing Allied Credit's security infrastructure with Microsoft E5 and Sentinel
CBS's cyber security team began by analysing Allied Credit’s data landscape to discover ways it could uplift its security posture and fill any gaps in its security infrastructure.
CBS recommended upgrading from M365 E3 to E5 to enhance their security and data protection as it is industry-leading and provides an integrated solution across their environments and applications. Because the company was already using Microsoft 365, E5 and the opportunity to add Microsoft Sentinel at no extra cost offered the most cost-effective solution that integrated natively with its existing services.
“It made more economic sense, and Sentinel is a great solution. Microsoft is investing a lot in this space, and it will keep improving—so it’s likely to yield future security improvements for Allied too,” explains Steve Huttleston, Account Manager for CBS.
“The easy transition to E5 is one of the biggest advantages of integrating Sentinel natively into our existing Microsoft services,” Rohit explains.“Currently, we just have the switches and the firewalls OnPrem, but that might change going forward.”
Transformative outcomes: A journey towards enhanced security and operational efficiency
“Having CBS as a single partner across our processes, automation, and security has been instrumental in facilitating our business operations. Its comprehensive product suite, coupled with the trust and integrity built over our long-standing partnership, greatly simplifies doing business. Its monitoring and alert services have added immense value by enhancing our security posture and providing us with vital visibility. So, the benefits are clear: the knowledge, trust, and diverse capabilities of a single partner make doing business decidedly easier and more efficient.”
Charmaine Willis, Chief Information Officer, Allied Credit
Allied Credit has made significant strides towards increasing it’s security posture with help from CBS, accomplishing quick wins and methodically progressing through its priority list with CBS’s guidance.
Rohit identifies ransomware as a primary threat, and with CBS’s support, Allied is addressing these and other risks and exploring mitigation strategies such as offline backup.
“We have a Disaster Recovery (DR) site based on the Azure platform, and we’re adhering to the essential eight from the Australian Signals Directorate,” says Rohit.“We have a strategy document in place after performing a gap analysis and are working to align with frameworks like CPS 234 and the upcoming CPS 230.”
Allied’s partnership with CBS has resulted in a unified approach to problem-solving.“When an issue arises, we collaborate to find a solution,” Rohit shares.“People from various teams work together to address the problem, negating the need for finger-pointing or deflection of accountability.”
Allied Credit is also planning for continued rapid growth, working on its infrastructure accordingly, focusing on network load balancing and service upgrades. Network segmentation is a key ongoing project to separate its development, production, and UAT networks.
Cybersecurity has remained a critical focus, with steps taken to ensure secure VPN connections, multi-factor authentication, and protect devices with security solutions like Microsoft Defender for endpoints.
“Security isn’t start and finish. It’s a continuous journey,” Rohit says.“Reflecting on our partnership with CBS, we value the trust and professionalism demonstrated over the years. CBS has been instrumental in deploying our on-prem network and infrastructure, and their consulting expertise gives us the confidence we’re moving ahead in the right direction.”
“We look forward to a long-standing, mutually beneficial partnership with CBS. We appreciate the open, dynamic conversations and the sense of extension of our IT team that CBS provides. Although there are some scalability issues we need to address, the platforms and systems we have in place are in a good spot, leveraging the power of public cloud and the whole Microsoft security story.”
Rohit Kumar, Head Enterprise Technology, Allied Credit
If you are looking for a comprehensive solution to your business IT and security challenges, get in touch with Canon Business Services today for a consultation.