Blue Hexagon Blog

Case Study: Heffernan Insurance Brokers Stops Network Attacks with Blue Hexagon

Heffernan Insurance Brokers CIO John Petersen speaks about deploying Blue Hexagon to secure against network threats.

Headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, Heffernan Insurance Brokers has a nationwide presence, offering comprehensive business insurance, personal insurance, employee benefits, and financial services products to a wide range of businesses and individuals. Since its founding in 1988, Heffernan has remained employee-owned and has grown revenue to over $100 million primarily through organic growth, along with strategic acquisitions.

Heffernan is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s largest independent insurance brokerage firms. and has been named among the insurance industry’s “Best Places to Work” lists. The company’s commitment also extends to philanthropy. Since 2003, Heffernan has been named a “Top Corporate Philanthropist” and on average, donates over 10 percent of profits to charity each year.

John PetersenChief Information Officer of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, has responsibility for the company’s security and IT infrastructure. As CIO, his job is to make sure that the Heffernan Insurance Broker IT strategy helps the business meet its goals of profitability, growth, and increasing shareholder value.

From a security perspective, John needs to ensure that critical client data is protected. There are numerous business-to-business transaction processes to secure, along with sales teams on the road, that require secure access to information from any device, anywhere.

Watch the video above to see why John selected Blue Hexagon to protect against network threats. 

Blue Hexagon Delivered Fastest and Most Complete Threat Prevention Platform

John Petersen, who does not believe the traditional network security approach of using firewalls with signatures and sandboxes is effective, had been looking for a new approach to network threat detection when he was referred to Blue Hexagon. He and his team put Blue Hexagon, along with other security vendors, to rigorous tests. As seen in the video, John was impressed by Blue Hexagon’s ability to detect all types of network threats, known and unknown, in less than a second. He selected the company’s Deep Learning-powered Network Security Platform for network perimeter threat detection at Heffernan Insurance Brokers.

The Blue Hexagon deep learning models inspect the complete network flow—payloads, headers, malicious URLs, and C2 communications—and is able to deliver threat inference in less than a second. Threat prevention can then be enabled on firewalls, endpoint devices, and network proxies. Blue Hexagon’s proprietary deep learning models have successfully identified a number of unique threats, including Anatova and Trickbot. Blue Hexagon also identified a weaponized version of the New Zealand shooting suspect’s Manifesto.

At Heffernan, Blue Hexagon quickly proved its worth with the detection of a Emotet malware variant that had infected one of its servers. Originally designed as a banking trojan to steal sensitive and private information, Emotet has now evolved to a malware delivery service. It can deliver very malicious payloads that infect organizations with malware such as ransomware. Emotet is a polymorphic malware that can constantly change itself to evade detection, and is thus extremely difficult to detect via traditional security methods like signatures and sandboxes.

Blue Hexagon’s speed of detection allowed the security team to take action right away. In fact, Heffernan’s cyberinsurance carrier was in disbelief that Blue Hexagon was able to catch—and neutralize—the Emotet threat so quickly.

“Without Blue Hexagon, there could have been a lot more damage in the network—things that would have affected our business and our ability to provide that safety for our clients, and that’s our job as an insurance broker,” John said.

Blue Hexagon is an integral security “partner” to Heffernan Insurance Brokers. According to John Petersen, “When disaster strikes, that’s what we’re there for, to help our clients. Now we have that level of insurance with Blue Hexagon; that when disaster tries to strike on the network, Blue Hexagon is there to help make sure that we’re able to continue to do what we need to do for our clients.”

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