Putting an End to Ransomware Attacks with Perimeter 81

Hybrid Work at Sydney’s Largest Sleep Disorder Clinic

The Meredith Respiratory and Sleep Centre is the largest sleep disorder clinic in Southern and Western Sydney, with four locations. They offer personalized sleep treatment and care with various sleep studies, oxygen studies, and wakefulness tests accompanied by a full range of expert advice and service.

Before Covid-19 hit Australia, Meredith was a hybrid workplace with about one-third of the staff working from home. Everyone could easily access the cloud-based Office 365 for email, but the on-premises electronic patient medical record system was accessed using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and a VPN.

RDP seemed like the logical choice to access the corporate network as it came standard with Windows and was easy to set up. More importantly, it was easy to use for non-techies who needed to enter an IP address and password. But RDP was just as easy for hackers.

Ransomware Becomes a Monthly Occurrence

“Because of the RDP, we were getting hacked every month,” says Omar Matter, IT Manager for Meredith Respiratory and Sleep Centres. “After detecting a ransomware attack, I would have to shut down the network for an hour and roll back our electronic records system using our offsite backups. Usually, we only lost an hour or two of data. But if it was a severe attack and I caught it relatively late, we could lose a full day of data.”

Omar was looking at Perimeter 81, but a high-speed VPN wasn’t yet a priority. That changed overnight when the hackers locked the company out of its accounting system.

Exterior image of Meredith Sleep Centre

Attacks Drop to Zero with Zero Trust

Omar worked from a backup to restart the accounting system and then rapidly deployed Perimeter 81’s Zero Trust access. After completing the initial setup within a few hours, Omar installed Perimeter 81 on the remote users’ laptops. 

“Right after we switched, ransomware attacks dropped to zero, without making life more difficult for the users. They found the desktop agent with Two-Factor Authentication very easy to use. More importantly, they reported that their connections to network resources at any of our offices were faster. The increased performance is from Perimeter 81’s Site-to-Site Interconnectivity and Split Tunneling features.”

Ready for COVID-19 or Anything Else

As a cloud-based solution, Perimeter 81 scales easily and lets you make very rapid changes to your network. For example, when COVID-19 hit Australia, Meredith quickly shifted all of its employees to remote work at no risk to the corporate network or its applications.

“Today, Perimeter 81 is an essential part of our IT strategy. In general, I don’t think Meredith could do business without it. It’s also made the network much more agile. Our ransomware issue was really a blessing in disguise. If we had gone through the Covid period without Perimeter 81, we would have been in a lot of trouble.”