Kalahari Resorts and Conventions are privately owned adventure theme-park hotels with four locations in the U.S. Their amenities and activities include indoor and outdoor waterparks, golfing, arcades, bowling, zip lines, rock climbing, laser tag, ax throwing, music and dance performances, amusement park rides, spa services, and more. Perfect for family vacations, the resorts also host trade shows, conferences, and faith-based retreats.
Like any business in the hospitality sector, Kalahari has unique security concerns. Kalahari’s corporate headquarters in Wisconsin Dells, WI (the waterpark capital of the world) is where Tim Everson, CISO, oversees his team of roughly 30 IT professionals. They are responsible for securing and managing multiple networks across Kalahari’s four locations, including their corporate infrastructure, payment card industry (PCI) infrastructure, guest network, and conference facilities.
Everson was looking for a solution to provide greater visibility into his networks and 5,000 or so networked assets. He was also concerned about the security risks of having tens of thousands of guest devices touching their network at any given time. Additionally, he wanted to increase operational efficiency for his small security team so they could spend less time on vulnerability management and more time on other important work.
The Kalahari team achieved its goal from day one of deployment of the Armis Asset Intelligence Platform. “The time to value was immediate,” says Everson. “Armis is great at finding everything in my environment. I’m seeing what I need to see and really appreciate the functions I didn’t have before.”
Everson is especially happy with the mix of powerful capabilities in the Armis Asset Intelligence Platform along with its usability. “Armis stood out from other vendors, mainly because of its ease of use, simplicity, straightforward interfaces, plug-and-play deployment, and its ability to segment, view, sort, and alert,” he explains.
Armis provides multiple layers of protections and resources for Everson and the Kalahari team. For example, they rely on Armis to ensure the security of cardholder data as required by Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). Armis monitors communications between network segments to ensure that the segmentation is working and properly enforced. Armis also alerts Everson’s team when new devices attempt to access the PCI environment and allows the team to continuously monitor traffic going through the subnetworks so they can quickly identify and respond to unusual patterns.
“We can go back to the firewall and make sure the ports are closed so that the data doesn’t reach any endpoints. This use case alone is justification and validation for investing in Armis,” he says.
Another area where Armis is making a difference for Everson and his team is tracking and categorizing their large inventory of managed networked assets, including PCs, switches, video cameras, and more. The platform provides comprehensive data on every asset, including security status, known vulnerabilities, owner, and physical location. It shows which devices are using unpatched applications or older operating systems, and monitors them for anomalous behavior. It also monitors certificates for network security protocols, so the team can bring expired certificates up to date and ensure secure application workflows and user transactions.
Guest assets are no longer a worrying security risk, thanks to the ability of Armis to discover every connected device and monitor their traffic. From mobile phones to laptops to wireless-enabled vehicles in resort parking lots, the Kalahari security team can now detect unusual activity on guest assets and quickly take appropriate action. For example, when guests use BitTorrent to download or share large multimedia files, it slows down the internet for everyone else and opens the potential risk of malware entering the network. Armis enables the Kalahari team to easily quarantine offending assets.
“With Armis,” explains Everson, “we can see that kind of activity from guests immediately. Then we can knock them off the network and lock down the access point and not have to worry about it.”
The data collection capabilities of Armis and the ease with which it can be filtered, viewed, and shared are saving Everson and his team from going into 15 different tools to collect and analyze data. “Armis has given us back our time,” he relates. “Now we can share the dashboard and give the IT team the information they need to act on. It has taken so much off our plates.”
When asked if he would recommend Armis to other organizations, Everson didn’t hesitate to say yes: “Armis has been a game-changer for us. It’s saved us so much effort, and I’m happy to spread the word.”
To learn more about how the Kalahari Resorts and Conventions security team uses Armis to streamline workloads, improve PCI security, and gain visibility and control over their networks, read the case study.
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