IT-Freshmaker equips computers with security

Case study Eset
The market for remanufactured hardware is booming. So-called refurbishers such as bb-net media GmbH buy discarded devices, bring them up to date with the latest technology and sell them on. Comprehensive IT security guarantees a smooth transition into the second life cycle. With ESET, of course.

German companies update their IT equipment every three to five years. But what to do with the used computers, servers and countless equipment from graphics cards to keyboards? After all, most of the devices are still completely intact and worth real money. Therefore, storage in the office basement or recycling at recycling centers are hardly considered. Michael Bleicher recognized this business potential over 20 years ago. At that time he founded bb-net GmbH, which specialized in the purchase of used IT and its quality-oriented processing and marketing. Today bb-net is one of the largest German processors with its 65 employees. More than 100.000 devices currently pass through the technology center at the company's headquarters in Schweinfurt every year. More and more companies and system houses are turning to bb-net in order to generate additional income by selling their own hardware or in order to purchase new, inexpensive, refurbished IT. In addition to sales, IT rental from the secondary market is establishing itself as a further mainstay.

The secret of the success of the "IT Freshmaker" is based on a completely thought-out production cycle. The software solution SAM, developed in-house, plays a key role here. “SAM is a good example of how we tackle challenges and generate solutions. A problem is always thought through comprehensively – that applies to production and perhaps even more to IT security,” says Michael Bleicher. “We work with big companies and marketers. The data exchanged in this way must under no circumstances be accessible or manipulable for unauthorized persons - and certainly not leave our company". In the highly competitive refurbisher market, customer trust in data protection and IT security is considered the most important trump card. Therefore, the Schweinfurt-based company developed a security architecture with the solutions from ESET, which not only offers security, but also maximum performance and easy administration.

bb-net has been using ESET Endpoint Security as a basic defense for years. The software offers a balanced mix of maximum detection rate and minimum resource consumption. The malware-free result confirmed that the managing director had chosen the right manufacturer: “ESET's approach to multi-layer technology impressed me from the start. Machine learning, ransomware protection, defense against fileless attacks and memory checks: we were protected long before these types of attacks became acute ”. A short time later, the protection of the file servers was also placed in the hands of ESET. However, it is often the unspectacular functions of security software that at first glance are all the more valuable in practice. For example, bb-net was looking for a way to make the use of USB storage devices more secure. These count as dangerous carriers of malware worldwide. In Schweinfurt, the USB drives serve as a means of transport, for example to transfer the latest device drivers from the company network to the separate production network. ESET Endpoint Security solved the problem: All external devices are automatically scanned for malicious code when they are connected. The administrators also specified in the software which group of people is allowed to connect external media. Even the USB sticks themselves are registered individually so that external data carriers cannot gain access at all. 

In 2020 bb-net decided to expand the security level again. The residual risk that always exists due to dangerous incoming e-mail attachments should be minimized. “We work with many large corporate customers, marketers and hardware manufacturers. Most information from contract documents to operating system updates is exchanged digitally. Since such data is extremely lucrative for cyber criminals, the risk of phishing e-mails and ransomware increases, ”says Michael Bleicher, summarizing his concerns. With every data transfer there is potential danger, because malware can be hidden behind a seemingly harmless exe file. The requirement on the part of bb-net: Incoming files should be executed in a sandbox before they reach the mailboxes or the network. There you can safely check what you are doing and what you are accessing. However, this procedure requires computing resources and a large number of sandbox templates, which cannot be implemented on premise. The solution: ESET Dynamic Threat Defense (EDTD). The samples are automatically sent by bb-net to the ESET data center and its sandboxes, or manually if required. These consist of various sensors. These include static code analysis with the help of machine learning, checking the working memory and behavior-based analyzes. Compared to the endpoint solutions, EDTD uses a much wider range of technologies to detect dangerous samples. The returned result then determines whether files are clean or need to be defused.

The technical concept for protecting servers, clients and mobile end devices from a single source is of fundamental importance. However, the bb-net security concept only becomes fully effective with central administration and its clever everyday functions. Mr. Bleicher's IT team has full control and an optimal overview of the security status via the ESET Security Management Center: “We can manage and monitor all devices from a central location. This saves time and increases security. For example, we are automatically notified of security incidents and clients in the case of encryption Trojans are isolated in the network. "

With the current security setup, bb-net is at the cutting edge of security technology - both from a technological and from an operator's point of view. But the plans for further security measures are already in progress. “The switch from the current multi-factor authentication to ESET Secure Authentication is next on our to-do list. This enables us to secure the login to our domain, cloud and VPN even more, ”the managing director thinks about the near future. Because IT security is a living process for him and not a completed project.


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