M Capital Advisors
See how David Coull of M Capital Advisors integrates Sentinel into his comprehensive network security and compliance strategy.
“We always want to keep one step ahead of the hackers, because they’re always trying to get in,” Coull said. “So, I’m constantly thinking about compliance, and what we can do to make sure our networks are as secure as possible. We don’t want to be tomorrow’s headlines as the next data breach.”
That continual search for the optimal security set up is what lead Coull to discover Sentinel.
“I learned about Sentinel at a technology show about six years ago. Sentinel had a booth there, and I was able to sit down and talk to some of their staff about how it worked and what it did,” Coull said. “I really liked the fact that the box sits outside of our firewall as an independent appliance, focused on guarding the perimeter. At the time, Internet speed was expensive, so the more burden you could take off of your firewall, the better your throughput.”
But, according to Coull, what really got his attention was Sentinel’s proprietary Network Cloaking.
“Network Cloaking really intrigued me because, when a hacker tries to break through your defenses, the Sentinel picks it up and basically, makes us disappear off of the network, as if we didn’t exist,” Coull said. “Over the years, Sentinel has created this huge database of known, bad IP addresses, and automatically cloaks our network from them. I think that’s a huge advantage.”
“Over the years, Sentinel has created this huge database of known, bad IP addresses, and automatically cloaks our network from them. I think that’s a huge advantage.”
When It Comes to Security, More Is Better
No question, firewalls have come a long way since Coull installed Sentinel at M Capital Advisors’ San Antonio branch and Nashville headquarters six years ago. But, when it comes to protecting your network, Coull believes that even the best firewall is just not enough.
“The Sentinel does a better job than even the best programs out there running on a firewall, in my opinion,” he said. “No firewall has Network Cloaking, so they can’t make you disappear off of the network. Once a hacker has your IP address, he always has your IP address and will try to hack you again. With Sentinel, the hacker can’t find you, which is a big plus.”
According to Coull, even firewalls with intrusion prevention just can’t catch everything.
“I think some of the firewall companies are trying to get into that world of IPS and prevention and things aren’t working well. For example, the firewall we’re on right now blocked our Windows updates, like it was a hacker. We had to do a firmware update just to be able to get the updates we needed again,” Coull explained. “Any technology can have issues. That’s why I’m not a proponent of putting all of my eggs in one basket. I like using different vendors to keep a little more diversity in my network equipment. If you have just one vendor and something goes wrong, then you have big issues.”
“Sentinel has blocked two ransomware links, which means it has already paid for itself 100 times over.”
Compliance. Convenience. Consistent Service.
The fact that M Capital Advisors is in the financial sector adds another layer of complexity to network security, and that’s compliance.
“I can give our compliance officer reports that show everything that Sentinel has blocked, categorized by severity,” Coull said. “That shows that we are diligently trying to keep hackers out of our system; and that we have succeeded.”
If a Sentinel device sees abnormal activity on a network device, Coull instantly gets an alert.
“I can go to the desktop in question and see if something’s happening or if someone clicked on a link he or she shouldn’t have clicked on—which is what’s happened 99 percent of the time,” he said. “I have the peace of mind that Sentinel is constantly monitoring my network. If there’s a problem, I hear about it.”
Although Sentinel can’t prevent an employee from clicking on an attachment, it can prevent that mistake from turning into a real nightmare.
“In the last year or so, I’ve gotten reports that show that Sentinel has blocked two ransomware links, which means it has already paid for itself 100 times over,” Coull said.
“The Sentinel does a better job than even the best programs out there running on a firewall, in my opinion.”
Making Complex World of Network Security a Little Easier
Coull is also impressed with the way the Sentinel team is adding features to make users’ lives easier.
“I’m interested in what they’ve done with Sentinel HQ, which is going to let me manage both of my devices from a single pane of glass,” he said. “Right now, you log in and check device activity or adjust settings individually. So, having a centralized control panel and a centralized white list or black list will make things much easier to manage.”
Although he’s a one-person security operation, Coull knows that, with Sentinel, he has a team of security pros in his corner.
“You just put in your IP addresses and fire it up and that’s it. Once it’s set up, the Sentinel team takes over and makes sure everything’s working for you,” Coull said. “The only thing you have to worry about is white listing something that gets blocked by accident—and that rarely happens. You basically set it and forget it.”
But, most importantly, Coull is a Sentinel fan simply because the solution works.
“We’ve been using the devices for the last six years and, knock on wood, we haven’t had a data breach or malware or any significant security issues,” Coull said. “Like I said, since we’ve had Sentinel, I sleep a little better at night. I know the devices are doing their jobs, 24/7. I know our networks are protected.”