Customer Story

Porter Airlines Consolidates Its Cloud, Identity and Endpoint Security with CrowdStrike

All passengers on Porter Airlines travel in style with complimentary beer and wine, free premium snacks, free WiFi, free inflight entertainment, no middle seats — the list goes on.

With these perks, it’s no wonder Porter is growing fast. Headquartered in Toronto, Porter revolutionized short-haul flying in 2006. Since then, the airline has stretched its wings, amassing 58 aircraft, 3,200 employees and 33 destinations across North America.

Early success has only fueled the company’s ambitions. Porter plans to double its workforce by 2026 and blanket all major U.S. cities and beyond. While this growth brings exciting business opportunities, it also creates new cybersecurity challenges, as the company piles on more data, devices and attack surfaces to protect.

“When we started, we weren’t really a target for attackers, but we’re seeing more activity today,” said Jason Deluce, Director of Information Technology at Porter Airlines.

To secure its growing business, Porter relies on the AI-native CrowdStrike Falcon® platform and CrowdStrike Falcon® Complete for 24/7 managed detection and response (MDR). This is the story of how CrowdStrike delivers the flexible and scalable cybersecurity that Porter needs to secure its business today and into the open skies ahead.

New Security Requirements

The move to CrowdStrike was born out of necessity. Porter’s previous security stack centered on a noisy endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution. Alerts overwhelmed Deluce’s lean security team, and the vendor wasn’t much help. Then, after three years without contact, the sales rep dropped a high renewal bill.

Porter used a separate cybersecurity platform for vulnerability management and log management. But according to Deluce, “it was all manual. It detects vulnerabilities, but it doesn’t do anything about them. That wasn’t enough for us.”

Furthermore, none of the solutions were integrated, leaving Deluce and his team with multiple agents and multiple consoles to operate. “They kind of talk about the same thing, but there’s nothing to marry them together in one place. You have to go to separate places, try to make sense of the data and determine if it’s accurate or not.”

With the business taking off and cyber threats surging, Porter needed a modern cybersecurity platform to reduce the noise and stop breaches. With its single-agent, cloud-native architecture, the Falcon platform gave Porter exactly what it needed: one agent and one console for complete visibility and protection across the company’s expanding security estate.

And whereas the previous cybersecurity vendors left Deluce with more questions than answers, Falcon Complete MDR acts as a force multiplier for Porter’s security team, providing around-the-clock expert management, monitoring, proactive threat hunting and end-to-end remediation, delivered by CrowdStrike’s team of dedicated security experts.

Stopping Breaches in the Cloud with the Falcon Platform

A few years back, Porter made the strategic move to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) for hosting its business applications and corporate data. While this cloud strategy delivers the scalability and flexibility Porter needs to grow, it also introduces new security risks.

With the lightweight Falcon agent already deployed, Deluce was able to easily add CrowdStrike Falcon® Cloud Security to its arsenal of protections. And because CrowdStrike and Amazon are strategic partners with many product integrations, deployment was a breeze.

The one-click deployment is pretty amazing," said Deluce. "We were able to deploy Falcon Cloud Security to a bunch of servers very quickly."

Falcon Cloud Security is the industry’s only unified agent and agentless platform for code-to-cloud protection, integrating pre-runtime and runtime protection, and agentless technology in a single platform. Being able to collect and see all of that information in a single console provided immediate value, according to Deluce.

Porter soon looked to expand its cloud protections with CrowdStrike Falcon® Application Security Posture Management (ASPM). While evaluating the product, Deluce gained visibility into dependencies, vulnerabilities, data types and changes his team previously had no visibility into, ranging from low risk to high risk. The company moved fast to deploy Falcon ASPM.

With ASPM delivered as part of Falcon Cloud Security, Porter gets comprehensive risk visibility and protection across its entire cloud estate, from its AWS cloud infrastructure to the applications and services running inside of it — delivered from the unified Falcon platform.

Better Visibility and Protection

Porter has deployed numerous CrowdStrike protections to fortify the airline against cyber threats. Recently, that included CrowdStrike Falcon® Identity Protection to improve visibility of identity threats, stop lateral movement and extend multifactor authentication (MFA).

Deluce noted that previously, he had no easy way of knowing about stale accounts or service accounts. He’d have to do an Active Directory dump and go through each line to see what was happening. With Falcon Identity Protection, Deluce saw that Porter had over 200 privileged accounts, which didn’t add up, given his small number of domain admins.

“I saw that a large group had been given print operator roles, which would have allowed them to move laterally to domain admins,” noted Deluce. “With Falcon Identity Protection, I was able to change those permissions quickly to reduce our risk. I also started enforcing MFA from the solution, which is something I couldn’t do before with the products we had.”

Gaining better visibility has been an important theme for Porter. The company also uses CrowdStrike Falcon® Exposure Management to gain comprehensive visibility to assets, attack surfaces and vulnerabilities with AI-powered vulnerability management.

“We’re taking on new vendors faster than we’re taking on airplanes, so we need to limit our exposures,” said Deluce. “With Falcon Exposure Management, I can scan our digital estate to see which assets we have exposed to the internet, as well as any exposures belonging to our subsidiaries and partners, so we can reduce those risks.”

The solution provided quick value when Deluce noticed one of his APIs was exposed to the internet, which shouldn’t have been the case. He also found that many of the assets connected to the company’s network belonged to third parties, which is a major risk, given that any attack against those devices could affect Porter.

“Falcon Exposure Management shows us our vulnerabilities and exposures, and how we can reduce them,” said Deluce. “This is key as we continue to build out the company and expand our partner network.”

Securing the Future with CrowdStrike

Safety is paramount to airlines — and that includes keeping customer data safe. With its investment in CrowdStrike, Porter is demonstrating its commitment to safety and security.

But for cybersecurity leaders like Deluce, the work is never done. Adversaries continue to get bolder, faster and stealthier. To stay ahead of evolving threats, Porter continues to lean into CrowdStrike, recently testing Charlotte AI and CrowdStrike Falcon® Adversary Intelligence, among other capabilities designed to help teams work faster and smarter.

Deluce reflected on how far the company has come in its cybersecurity journey and the role that security plays in enabling future growth.

We've gone from multiple tools, high complexity and spending a lot for poor visibility to a single pane of glass where we can do a bunch of new things with one platform,” concluded Deluce. “Cybersecurity is key to scaling the company and we know CrowdStrike is there for us.”