Fortune 500 Company Insures Web-Based E-mail with Messageware OWA Suite

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November 22, 2010, Toronto, Canada – Messageware (http://www.messageware.com), the world’s leading provider of enterprise security, productivity and customization solutions for Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access and Outlook Web App (OWA), today announced that Fortune 500 company, Western & Southern Financial Group (http://www.westernsouthern.com), is now using Messageware OWA Suite to satisfy web e-mail security mandates from government and industry organizations. The company is now benefitting from onscreen user prompts that help prevent unwanted OWA activity, secure file attachments and the ability to view hundreds of different types of file attachments without opening associated applications.

Managing risk and generating strong investment returns are two skills that have turned Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern) into one of America’s leading diversified financial services companies. A Fortune 500 company, Cincinnati-based Western & Southern is comprised of 14 subsidiary companies that together provide millions of individuals, businesses, and institutions with life and health insurance, annuities, mutual funds, and a variety of investment management products and services.

As the company has grown, it has acquired a variety of e-mail and collaboration software —Novell GroupWise, Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook, to name a few. In 2004, the company embarked on a long-term project to unify its headquarters staff of 2,300 with its mobile sales force of 2,500 on a single platform and in the process selected Microsoft Office Exchange Server.

Once its Outlook deployment was underway, the Western & Southern IT server infrastructure team chose to add Outlook Web Access (OWA) to the mix, giving employees anywhere/anytime access to e-mail via the Internet. “These days e-mail is like dial tone; people expect it to simply be available,” noted Chuck Mahon, Windows Server Team Manager for Western & Southern.

In a highly regulated industry like financial services, however, privacy and security are business imperatives. While workers need the flexibility to access e-mail from home, public kiosks and other non-corporate PCs, sensitive information must be protected—especially file attachments containing large volumes of client account data.

Given that Western & Southern is mandated to follow security standards ranging from HIPAA and PCI to those of 50 different state insurance commissioners, a well-designed and protected e-mail infrastructure is critically important. “Basically, whatever governing body has the toughest laws is the benchmark we have to meet,” said Mahon. “Several states audit us regularly—and in the investment management realm we have additional regulatory conditions. Our risk analysis showed some scenarios we just weren’t comfortable with.”

Western & Southern’s Windows server team embarked on a detailed effort to identify the best security solution for its Web e-mail capability. It worked closely with the company’s Legal & Compliance department and its Information Security group; it even talked extensively with IT research and advisory leader Gartner to gain additional insight.

“Two things we were worried about. We needed a session timeout feature, so people couldn’t stay logged in without timeout when they were using personally identifiable information. The other was a way to prevent leakage of data, especially because attachments could so easily be downloaded to non-encrypted or non-company devices,” recalled Mahon. “In the end, Messageware’s AttachView andTimeGuard products were our leaders.”

AttachView, Messageware’s OWA attachment security solution, not only allows IT security administrators to set and enforce file attachment protocols, but it also adds over 400 file types to OWA’s WebReady Document Viewing feature. Administrators can set rules that control the user’s ability to view, open, print and save documents, preventing unwanted or accidental dissemination of information.

TimeGuard, the other Messageware product selected by Western & Southern, helps enforce the company’s security policies. It provides a friendly prompt shortly before a user reaches the session inactivity time limit. The prompt offers the option to either extend the session or logout. Additional capabilities allow administrators to define a maximum usage period, after which the user is required to re-authenticate.

“Installation and configuration of AttachView and TimeGuard took maybe all of one day. Both products were very straightforward, both during rollout and in the time we’ve used them since. In our eyes, that says a lot about Messageware’s quality,” stated Mahon.

According to Mahon, Messageware’s OWA enhancement products have helped satisfy every state and federal mandate. So much so that this year, Western & Southern took the additional step of upgrading their product lineup to the full Messageware OWA Suite 2010 for Microsoft Exchange 2010. This complete family of Messageware solutions adds NavGuard, an OWA session control tool, as well as a range of productivity enhancements that include Plus Pack (Outlook-style addressing, personal spell dictionaries and more), OWA Print (contact and calendar printing), ActiveSend (one-click e-mailing from MS Office apps) and CalendarPack (improved calendar performance and delegate permissions).

“Considering the positive feedback we’ve received from our users, it was really a no-brainer to upgrade to OWA Suite,” Mahon noted. “We’re really about having a high quality, high performance and secure IT environment. Integrity and trust is everything to us. Is Messageware continuing to deliver what we need? Absolutely.”

 

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