No More Lost Sleep Over Ransomware Attacks

Exterior image of Meredith Sleep Centre

Meredith Sleep Centres uses Perimeter 81 to secure remote access and stop ransomware.

Exterior image of Meredith Sleep Centre
Today Perimeter 81 is an essential part of Meredith’s IT strategy. In general, I don’t think the company could do business without it. It’s also made the network much more agile and given us the ability to handle the unexpected–whether that’s meeting the new networking regulations for medical health practices or something as huge and unexpected as COVID.
Omar Matter
IT Manager

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. The clinic’s flagship state-of-the-art facility contains a modern six-bedroom clinic developed through a partnership with PHILIPS Healthcare, a world top 5 healthcare technology provider. Along with its sister unit at Waratah Private Hospital, the medical physicians, scientists, and technologists of the Meredith Sleep clinic offer personalized sleep treatment and care with a variety of sleep studies, oxygen studies, and wakefulness tests accompanied by a full range of expert advice and service.

Industry:
Healthcare
Location:
Sydney, AU
Employees:
5-49

Solution Highlights

Stopped frequent ransomware attacks
Enabled secure application access for remote employees
Improved network agility to handle unexpected changes

Working From Home with Remote Desktop Services

In 2019-20, about one-third of the company’s staff worked from home. Everyone was using Office 365 for email, but the electronic patient medical record system, the company’s core business application, was located on a server in the company’s internal network. All employees, except two, had company computers for work, and remote workers used Remote Access Services and the Remote Desktop Protocol to access the corporate network.

RDP was initially selected as it comes standard with Windows and was very easy to set up. Connecting to the network was very easy for non-techie remote users, who merely needed to enter the IP address and the password into the Remote Desktop Connection Client on their desktop, laptop, or mobile phone.

Ransomware Attacks Become a Painful, Monthly Occurrence

Unfortunately, Remote Desktop proved to be equally convenient for hackers, especially since many well-known techniques for hacking corporate networks use the Remote Desktop Protocol. 

“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. 

“When anything financial gets compromised, it tends to be quite critical. We needed to rapidly lock down the network and stop all offsite access until we could install an additional form of authentication. Only then could we move forward.”

Zero Ransomware Attacks with Perimeter 81’s Zero Trust Application Access

Omar rolled back the system and then rapidly deployed Perimeter 81 to re-enable remote access, bringing an end to ransomware attacks. “Since we switched, we haven’t had any problems with ransomware attacks at all. We’ve had zero attacks.” 

The initial setup was completed within a few hours and Omar was then able to focus on deploying the agents to the remote users’ laptops.

“We selected Perimeter 81’s Premium Plan for its Always-On VPN and the ability to define up to 10 user configuration profiles. Provisioning and deployment were very easy and it’s been an awesome experience. Although Customer Support was there for us every step of the way, the system’s backend GUI was so easy to use that we really didn’t need them.”

“For the users, the desktop Agent with Two-Factor Authentication has been very easy to use. Once we went live with Perimeter 81, users commented that they really noticed the improved performance and how rapidly they can connect to network resources wherever they are located. This is the upside of Site-to-Site Interconnectivity and Split Tunneling features.”

A Great Cost-Saver and Timesaver

In addition to the security and performance benefits of Zero Trust Network Access, Perimeter 81 has been a great cost-saver and timesaver. Meredith no longer needs to pay $6000 AUS a year for their VPN licenses or hardware and setup costs. Omar also works less than an hour a month on servicing Meredith’s remote users—down from 10 hours or more a month. 

“Perimeter 81 just works and I don’t need to take any extra steps to keep it running. That definitely saves me a lot of support time and keeps my remote users happy.”

Network Agility for COVID-19 or Anything Else

As a cloud-based solution, Perimeter 81 easily scales with company growth–or when you need to make rapid changes to your network. When Australia was hit with COVID-19, all Meredith employees quickly shifted to remote work at no risk to the corporate network or its applications.

“Today Perimeter 81 is an essential part of Meredith’s IT strategy. In general, I don’t think the company could do business without it. It’s also made the network much more agile and given us the ability to handle the unexpected–whether that’s meeting the new networking regulations for medical health practices or something as huge and unexpected as COVID. Our ransomware issue was actually a blessing in disguise. If we had gone through the COVID period without Perimeter 81, we would have been in a lot of trouble.”

Favorite Features 

  • Always-On VPN
  • Private DNS
  • Split Tunneling
  • Site-to-Site Interconnectivity
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

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