Apr 28, 2022

How a Global Leader in Semi-Conductors Fell in Love with Armis

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It’s not often you hear IT professionals using the language of romance when describing their security solutions. You can hear it in the way the IT team at Allegro MicroSystems talk about Armis.

“The relationship with Armis started as a curiosity, and it blossomed into a love affair,” says CIO Phil Strathas. Strathas attributes the warm feelings to all the ways in which Armis benefits him and his team. Armis shines a light on devices connecting to Allegro MicroSystems’ networks, streamlines asset management, and helps the company better manage risk, so Strathas and his team can save time by day and sleep better at night.

Along with Gary Gomes, Director of Global Operations, and Mike Vigneau, Senior Manager for IT Security, the IT leadership team at Allegro MicroSystems has always made security a top priority, particularly safeguarding their highly valuable semiconductor intellectual property (IP).

Protecting IP from suspicious devices

For over 30 years, Allegro MicroSystems has been leading the semiconductor industry across multiple sectors, including automotive, computer, and consumer. They consider their semiconductor designs and proprietary algorithms to be their bread and butter. The IT team’s biggest fear is the potential for exfiltration of their IP resources—especially across their cloud footprint—in light of escalating ransomware attacks and data breaches. They knew that their Manilla, Philippines manufacturing facility, in particular, had many unsanctioned, rogue devices connecting to their network. They initially approached Armis with the goal of tightening up their overseas security.

Before turning to the Armis Platform, the team deployed a cloud access security broker (CASB) solution to protect their data in the cloud. Although the CASB deployment was a step in the right direction, the team realized  they weren’t able to monitor all connected assets. In particular, unauthorized devices—mainly personal mobile phones and tablets—posed potentially significant risks. “No matter what we did to lock the network down, people came up with creative workarounds for connecting to our networks,” says Strathas. The IT team knew they needed to block these suspicious devices, but first they needed to be able to see them on the network.

Enhancing visibility with the Armis Platform

Armis rose to the challenge and filled in the visibility and security gaps that Allegro Microsystems’ existing security solutions could not address. Strathas admitted he was skeptical about Armis until the Armis proof-of-value (PoV) team was able to demonstrate immediate time-to-value. “Prior to the PoV, I didn’t believe that Armis could offer us anything more than our existing tools could. But Armis proved me completely wrong. The visibility Armis provided was unique and differentiating,” he says. “Armis confirmed our suspicions about what people are doing with their devices in the Philippines. Some are going out to malicious domains. Now we have the visibility we need,” adds Vigneau.

The Armis Platform  found at least twice as many devices on company networks than the Allegro Microsystems team expected. With its expanded visibility, the IT team can pinpoint rogue devices and block them from accessing the network. As Strathas points out, “If you can’t find it, you can’t stop it. It’s hard when you’re thousands of miles away. Armis is allowing us to exert some control over individuals who don’t follow our security policies.”

Converging IT and OT networks more securely

As a manufacturing company, the team was also concerned about security issues arising from the convergence of their IT and OT networks. Though they had reliable asset tracking in place for the corporate network, they had little visibility into factory floor devices on the OT side. 

Vigneau appreciates how the Armis Platform goes beyond identifying just the standard IT devices on the manufacturing floor. “Armis identified a number of networked programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and shined a light on their vulnerabilities,” Vigneau observes. “The intelligence is invaluable to our security defense.”

One of the main reasons the IT team chose Armis over the competition was for its ability to aggregate the data from a host of solutions. “Armis integrates with most of our existing tools,” says Vigneau. “We get a centralized database with comprehensive visibility of both IT and OT devices through a single pane of glass.”

Simplifying reporting

As a publicly traded company, Allegro MicroSystems is required to report its security posture to the board’s audit committee on a quarterly basis. Thanks to the reporting features in Armis, the IT team can show their board and equity partners how they are protecting the company’s assets, IP, and other precious data, with high-level and granular reports on their security posture.

To read more about how Armis helped Allegro MicroSystems protect IP, enhance asset visibility, secure IT and OT networks, and simplify reporting to the board, read our full case study.

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