Customer Story

TDK Electronics Turns the Cloud into a Security Hotspot with CrowdStrike

TDK Electronics AG has made IT security a top priority — and it’s no wonder. With high-profile customers predominantly from the automotive and industrial electronics industries, the company has no room for cyberattacks of any kind. The CrowdStrike cloud-based solution provides the comprehensive protection TDK can depend on.

Security Goals

“The security goals — availability, confidentiality and integrity — have absolute priority for our management board. As a reliable supplier of electronic components and systems for industries such as the automotive industry, we must be able to guarantee a very high level of IT security,” says Thomas Zeulner, IT Security Officer at TDK Electronics, Munich, getting straight to the point. In addition, he explains that there are new legal regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that make IT security a top priority for this ISO 9001-certified company, which has 20 development and production sites worldwide.

Zeulner looks back, saying, “We changed our antivirus software vendor seven years ago as that solution does not fulfill today’s increased requirements.” For example, in recent years, users of mobile devices like tablets or smartphones have increasingly been targeted by cybercriminals. At the same time, the malware and methods of attack on TDK Electronics’ clients and servers have become increasingly sophisticated. “The threat to our IT infrastructure has increased noticeably,” says Zeulner. “That’s why the electronics manufacturer decided to consider a product change in terms of endpoint security. We have used different products over the years, but found that these solutions no longer helped us,” he explains. A solution was needed whose technical core is based on artificial intelligence (AI), because “an AI solution does not have to wait on security updates.”

The company made a relatively speedy decision. As Zeulner explains the problem, “With the solution we used to use, we were forced to run two products — the antivirus protection and the AI solution — with different consoles. This meant that our administrators also had to understand two solutions, operate different dashboards and also identify possible attacks.” According to Zeulner, the high false-positive rates were a problem, especially when developing electronic components.

Winning with Flying Colors

In this light TDK Electronics started a new evaluation process. CrowdStrike won the race. The CrowdStrike Falcon® endpoint security platform covers all aspects of IT security on clients and servers and combines AI approaches, behavioral analysis, vulnerability prevention and IT hygiene with a cloud-based endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution. “In December 2019, we performed a proof of concept with CrowdStrike on the first 700 computers. We were particularly interested in integrating Falcon with our two-factor authentication to achieve our multi-level security strategy across the board,” Zeulner explained. In addition, TDK Electronics tested the granular rights management for worldwide administrators, with which access is granted based on role. “CrowdStrike also passed this with flying colors,” says Zeulner. He explained that the same applied to false positives, which were much fewer in number during the proof of concept than with the competitor’s product they had been using.

Zeulner was convinced by the sensor software agent of the CrowdStrike Falcon platform when, in February 2020, it was decided to deploy it worldwide across a total of 13,700 TDK Electronics devices within a week.

The Falcon agent is extremely lightweight and does not affect the performance of the systems. Furthermore, very little bandwidth is required to distribute the software over a large area"
Thomas Zeulner, Information Security Officer
An AI-based solution does not have to wait on security updates.
Thomas Zeulner, Information Security Officer
I can now simply isolate a client from the network if it is conspicuous and analyze what is going on there.
Thomas Zeulner, Information Security Officer

The CrowdStrike cloud-native solution is not only able to reach TDK Electronics’ various locations, but also all of its home office employees much more quickly and easily than would have been possible within an on-premises infrastructure. “I can now simply isolate a client from the network if it is conspicuous and analyze what is going on there,” he says.

Comprehensive IT Security Solution

“Today, TDK Electronics has a comprehensive IT security solution that requires much less administration than the solutions used in the past. In concrete terms, the IT security manager estimates that CrowdStrike saves his team around 25% of the time that would otherwise have been spent on computer security administration. In summary, Zeulner says, “The new solution offers us many advantages and the highest possible IT security. We are also extremely satisfied with the support.”