Mangano IT Improves Security, Compliance, and Productivity at Elston, a Leading Australian Financial Services Company

Mangano IT and Elston have enjoyed a long partnership that has seen the former provide ongoing IT managed services support and oversee the financial leader’s migration to Microsoft Office 365 to resolve collaboration and inconsistent data issues.

Initially, Ben McNamara, Elston’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) explains, “We needed reliable internet connections, because we go into market and we trade for clients. If you have an internet disruption with things like that, it’s problematic. Mangano came in and got us up to an enterprise-grade, stable environment. We established the M365 environment, and then we moved on to things like digital calling. It’s really changed our entire workplace.”

Following these early wins, McNamara credits Mangano IT’s proactive approach with increasing the scope of work between the two companies. “With Mangano IT, we have people who are thinking more strategically about our IT environment, rather than someone who’s just putting band-aids on things,” he says. “They’ve really exposed us to where things are going and to the different possibilities, and that’s been a catalyst for us to ask them to move forward in different ways.”

Responding to an Increasingly Complex Environment

In particular, as Elston’s IT systems and processes have grown in maturity, new opportunities to further strengthen the firm’s baseline environment have arisen—especially in light of new cybersecurity threats and COVID-related lockdowns.

At the start, we just needed someone to fix our environment and make sure it didn’t break. But since then, we’ve had growing project needs around things like security work and upgrading our network. Because we’re an Australian Financial Services license holder, we have strict compliance and regulatory frameworks we have to operate in. We literally manage people’s life savings. If we were to have any sort of trust issue publicly, we’d have major problems.

Ben McNamara, COO, Elston

Robert Mangano, Director at Mangano IT, had also identified areas where Elston could take advantage of new cloud platform features to support both security and productivity initiatives. “The mitigation strategies that we need to implement for organisations, particularly when there’s a compliance requirement, evolve every day,” he explains. “The attack surface gets bigger and bigger because bad actors find new ways to attack organisations.”

“At the same time, Microsoft and other cloud providers continually release updates to their platforms—what we can do with them today wasn’t available a year ago. It’s really true that, if you’re just standing still, you’re going backwards.”

Supporting Elston’s Security Posture

Given the complex nature of Elston’s security and compliance requirements, the organisation partners with multiple companies to effectively protect its data. According to McNamara, “Mangano IT has done an amazing job of bridging the gap between our specialist third-party security provider and our general IT environment.”

“Our specialist provider handles incident response and provides a SIEM service where they’re managing our environment and have sensors deployed around our network,” he continues. “They also do an annual cyber resilience assessment which maps us against ISO 27001 and a few other frameworks. But there’s some connective tissue that’s required between these services and our general, day-to-day IT environment; they’re not necessarily coming to us with the solution or the configurations to implement. That’s where Mangano come in.”

As an example, given its compliance demands, Mangano IT helped guide Elston to move from Microsoft’s E3 to E5 licenses in order to better support the aggressive security posture the company was pursuing. Mangano IT further assisted Elston in deploying the appropriate configurations; McNamara notes that, “There was a whole process to configure those licenses and the security features that exist in that environment.”

Among the steps taken to configure Elston’s new licenses, Mangano IT deployed conditional access policies using multifactor authentication (MFA) and geolocation restrictions. In addition, the team configured identity protection features to limit risky sign-ons, established self-service password reset (SSPR) functionality, designed mobile protection and lockout policies for Elston’s users, and deployed endpoint protection.

Mangano IT’s security work also helped refine Elston’s approach to identity and access management (IAM), driving consistent, reliable, and audited IAM across a range of core line-of-business platforms. “Identity is foundational to all the other security pieces that sit on top of it,” explains Mangano. “If you can’t appropriately authenticate someone’s identity, and you let the wrong person in, then the rest of the security you’ve built on top of that becomes somewhat useless.”

Using the Microsoft 365 and Azure frameworks, Mangano IT have been able to deliver consistently secure access to the Microsoft cloud to Elston, in addition to leveraging that infrastructure to provide secure authentication to third-party systems.

A View Towards Productivity

The foundational work undertaken by Mangano IT left Elston in a strong position at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Because we had already transitioned to that environment, our ability to collaborate using Teams was all completely seamless,” says McNamara. “We literally did not even miss a beat, which was unbelievable from an operational point of view. When other businesses were really struggling to rush through a solution, it was just like another day at the office for us.”

Furthermore, he explains, “From a business continuity perspective—and from a redundancy point of view and a productivity point of view—it’s extremely liberating that people can continue to work wherever they are.” McNamara also expects that this seamless experience within Elston’s IT environment will make it easy to sustain future growth. “Our current environment is tremendously scalable,” he explains. “We could double the number of people, and it would make no difference at all.”

Looking ahead, McNamara sees ongoing opportunities for the two organisations. “We see Mangano IT as a critical extension of our business,” he states. Mangano IT deliver business-led initiatives. It’s never about selling a product for Mangano IT, it’s about how that solution can improve X, or generate Y for our business and clients.”

From small cloud projects to complete managed services, and from helping your teams collaborate better to reinforcing the security and availability of your systems, Mangano IT can help you achieve the outcome you need. For more information visit manganoit.com.au, or give them a call on 07 3151 9000.

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