Customer Story

Europe Energy Protects Customer Data and Multimillion Euro Trading Transactions with CrowdStrike Solutions

If just one of its multimillion euro energy trading transactions should fail because of a cyberattack, not only would Europe Energy lose revenue, but it may not have enough time to buy all the energy needed to supply its customers before the market closes, and it could also face regulatory compliance issues with the risk of having its market account suspended. It is not surprising, therefore, that security sits near the top of the list of concerns for Stefano Libriani, Chief Information Officer at Europe Energy.

Europe Energy is a multinational organization specializing in energy trading and distribution across Europe. The company also provides telecom and internet services with the aim of providing customers with a single supplier for all their utility needs. Europe Energy was founded in 2007 and has 150 employees.

Protecting €10 Million Transactions

Besides its high-value trading operation, Europe Energy must also secure the data of its 100,000 customers to protect them, its brand reputation and avoid regulatory fines such as those incurred following a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) breach. “Some of our trades, which are valued at up to €10 million, can take hours to complete and having just one of these transactions compromised is something we fear,” said Libriani. “When we buy energy from one region, we must sell it to another customer the same day since you cannot store it. Starting a transaction and not being able to close it results in a huge loss to the business and our reputation.”

Although the risk for Europe Energy is no different from other industries, its high-value revenues that approach one billion euros can make it seem like a honeypot for criminals and ransomware attacks. But because the business has thin margins any potential loss would create a major problem for the company.

With addressing the threat of attack an increasing priority, Europe Energy sought to improve and strengthen its security. It was managing all its own security needs, an approach that was becoming increasingly difficult, slow, costly and labor-intensive. But when a pervasive zero-day security breach hit, it shocked the business into action. “The zero-day attack propelled us to think about a service solution that could offer much better control of our security perimeter,” said Libriani. Fortunately, the attack did not result in any damage, but it took the company three days to locate and mitigate related issues.

Unique Pre-sales Experience

Europe Energy started scouting the market for a new solution and, after evaluating eight companies, selected CrowdStrike. “Europe Energy liked CrowdStrike because of the technical capabilities and the range of services offered,” said Libriani. “For instance, CrowdStrike’s extended detection and response tool is the best on the market. But the whole engagement with CrowdStrike was fantastic. CrowdStrike spent a lot of time and effort outlining the products and services, and even let us ‘test drive’ them in a lab environment before we committed to a purchase. It showed us how an attack occurs and how to stop it. We learned so much, not just about CrowdStrike, but also the whole security space. Providing such a deep and comprehensive insight into the scope and capabilities of the CrowdStrike solutions early in the sales process was unique. No other vendor offered this.”

One of the other key decision drivers was the range of additional modules and tools that other vendors charge extra for and are included with CrowdStrike. “With CrowdStrike everything is integrated into a single platform, and this is a huge advantage. It means we only need to learn, monitor and maintain a single cloud-based solution, which reduces both time and overhead,” said Libriani.

Europe Energy has deployed a suite of CrowdStrike Falcon Complete solutions to monitor and protect 300 endpoints comprising laptops, PCs and servers. Most employees use laptops, which has enabled them to work at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rollout, which took just two days, was simple and easy even across different operating systems.

At first we used CrowdStrike to watch what was going on in our environment,” said Libriani. “But since then — and this is the key point about CrowdStrike — we do not need to look at the console every day because it works automatically in the background, reducing the amount of time we used to spend significantly.
Stefano Libriani , Chief Information Officer
Europe Energy

The business has a hybrid cloud and on-premises IT infrastructure. On-premises is a hyperconvergent Linux server farm for internal business operations. Customer-facing systems are in the cloud and comprise mainly online portals for customers to view and manage services, along with mobile and partner applications.

CrowdStrike Falcon OverWatch is “Amazing”

To emphasize how effective CrowdStrike is, Libriani explained that a workstation belonging to a former employee had been locked. As soon as the team started to access the device — because of the abnormal behavior on the workstation — there was an instant alert from Falcon OverWatch and then the Falcon Complete team sprang into action to contain and eliminate the threat.

The response was amazing and from that point forward we knew we could trust CrowdStrike to protect our customers and our business.
Stefano Libriani, Chief Information Officer
Europe Energy

For Europe Energy, one of the key benefits of CrowdStrike is the confidence gained from being able to strengthen and improve the efficacy of endpoint security. “Having CrowdStrike in place is peace of mind for us,” Libriani said. “As well as robust security, it also means we can focus on more valuable work such as spending more time delivering practical and impactful services for our customers.”

The scope of capabilities in the CrowdStrike portfolio has enabled Europe Energy to deal with a broad range of security activities such as highlighting and mitigating vulnerabilities and providing the business with a clear, detailed and comprehensive view of its environment. Falcon Spotlight, for example, helps the business efficiently implement security updates. Along with other CrowdStrike solutions and additional measures such as multifactor authentication, closing firewall ports and moving external-facing services to the cloud, this has resulted in a more robust and reliable security infrastructure.

Delivering Confidence and Trust

“CrowdStrike has given us the means to defend against attacks,” said Libriani. “We can monitor the environment accurately and in real time with a single dashboard, which highlights vulnerabilities and what needs to be done to secure them. It used to be a double fear: the fear of being attacked and the fear of not knowing what vulnerabilities we had.”

Prior to CrowdStrike, Europe Energy dedicated a full-time person to monitoring and mitigating security vulnerabilities. Automated processes in the CrowdStrike solutions have since enabled the individual to redirect a significant portion of time to more valuable and productive activities.

Libriani added that one of the important aspects of the relationship with CrowdStrike is its impact on brand reputation. “One of the biggest advantages of the partnership has been using the CrowdStrike brand to reinforce ours,” he said. “We can now demonstrate to our customers and other stakeholders that by deploying CrowdStrike — one of the best and well-known security solutions on the market — we are protecting them and their data even more effectively and robustly than ever before.”