Secure, cost-effective and flexible IT system supports BRAC to fight against poverty
Headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, BRAC is the world’s largest NGO, employing nearly 120,000 people in multiple operations and offices in 10 Asian and African countries. Established in 1972, the grassroots development organisation is dedicated to poverty alleviation by empowering the poor to realise their potentials and bring about positive change in their lives.
To date, millions of people have benefitted from small loans from BRAC to invest in agriculture, trade and other small businesses, while others enjoy the increased security of protected savings to help plan for a more prosperous future.
Microfinance is one of the largest programmes offered by BRAC. It aims to meet financial needs of the poor, providing them with access to loans and savings products as many of them do not have access to mainstream banking services.
To support its work in microfinance, staff at BRAC rely heavily on secure and reliable IT, especially when providing financial services to individuals, small businesses and communities.
However, in many of the countries where BRAC operates, national infrastructure is often weak, making IT systems, networks and equipment particularly vulnerable to malicious attacks. Many of the virus attacks happened at local offices are often caused by running infected USB drives and CDs on PCs and laptops.
As a result of these virus attacks, systems regularly crashed, files were lost and hard drives damaged. Equipment had to be sent back to the IT team at Dhaka, Bangladesh, for complete reformatting and reinstallation of software, an extremely time consuming and expensive process.
Frequent cybersecurity breaches prompted BRAC to look for an IT security partner to help defend it against such cybersecurity threats. At the same time, given the fact that its satellite offices are located in remote areas without local area networks, or even electricity for hours at a time each day, BRAC needed a partner with the capability to install and update antivirus software manually.
In summary, BRAC was looking for a cybersecurity solution that embodies three major criteria:
(1) Secure – to reduce problems caused by virus attacks
(2) Cost – to save cost by eliminating resource-intensive repairs
(3) Flexible – to allow BRAC’s dispersed workforce to work efficiently, even in remote locations
BRAC found the solution at Kaspersky Lab.
After detailed discussions about BRAC’s requirements and plans for the future of its microfinance programme, Kaspersky Lab’s leading partner in the region, Officextracts, delivered a series of demonstrations to show how the Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business - Bangladesh solution was ideal for the task.
Kaspersky Lab met the needs of BRAC with its world class, multi-layered anti-malware protection, its systems and dispersed workforce, together with application, device and web control, mobile security and mobile device management. The solution was also configured to work smoothly alongside BRAC’s customised microfinance systems and software.
“With the quality of the Kaspersky Lab product, operations at our remote offices are much smoother and we are not wasting resources fixing damaged systems and equipment,” said Mr Paul Purification, Systems Engineer at BRAC Microfinance.
The collaboration also highlighted the importance of long-term partnership and support in delivering impressive results.
Given the practical challenges of BRAC’s work in the field, the deployment had to be carefully planned and executed over an extended period. Officextracts spent considerable time with BRAC’s microfinance team in Dhaka training and facilitating the installation, scanning and configuring the Kaspersky Lab solution and in ongoing maintenance, management and updating of the systems and individual modules in order to get the very best results.
After more than a year of intensive work and support, more than 2,500 users in 9 countries are now enjoying the benefits of the solution.
“Before using Kaspersky we were facing virus attacks and infections at all of our local satellite offices. It was very disruptive and damaging – and sending equipment back to Dhaka for complete reformatting and installation was a slow, tedious and expensive process,” Mr Purification said.
“With the quality of the Kaspersky Lab product this has now been resolved, operations at our remote offices are much smoother and we are not wasting resources fixing damaged systems and equipment,” he added.
At the same time, the long-term partnership and support helped to boost both cybersecurity awareness and productivity among the staff at BRAC. According to Mr Purification, the training and consistent support that BRAC has received over a long period of time has been very reassuring and valuable.
“Controls on the use of USB drives and CDs and DVDs by users in the field has resulted in a big reduction in local infection problems. This is making thousands of our people much more productive as they can focus on the vitally important work they are doing in their communities,” he concluded.
All information in this case study is provided by Kaspersky Lab.