AudioNova is one of the largest providers of hearing aids in Europe with over 1,200 stores in 13 countries. Established in 1926 by Herke Schoonenberg in Rotterdam, Netherlands, it was the first store to specialize in optics and photography as well as hearing aids. When Schoonenberg retired, his son Gerard took ownership of the company. Gerard immediately began to focus on growth and has since then expanded the company AudioNova now owns more than 230 Schoonenberg Hoorcomfort stores throughout Europe.
The AudioNova IT department, headquartered in Rotterdam, Europe, is responsible for all global AudioNova IT operations. This means a relatively small IT department is responsible for managing all global offices and stores from one single location.
“We work with a small, compact IT department. The aim is to work as efficiently and effectively as possible. The smaller the administrative burden, the more time we can spend on operating the business.”
— Mark Klerkx, Manager ICT Services & Operations, AudioNova
For its web and email security, AudioNova had previously implemented multiple solutions, each in different regions. This became their biggest challenge while making efforts to consolidate and reduce management.
“We began looking for one, centralized solution to replace all various on-premises systems.”
— Jan Rubingh, IT Director, AudioNova
AudioNova had previously implemented Forcepoint in the Netherlands — one of the many security vendors that had been installed. In 2007, because of the positive experiences with the Forcepoint solution, the company opted for the complete, international rollout of the platform. In addition, in order to provide a seamless introduction to a global solution, AudioNova implemented the solution via the Cloud.
“In the Netherlands we were satisfied with the Forcepoint solution. Because we could use it as a cloud solution, we will remain flexible. Forcepoint, in three days, was rolled out smoothly and has since provided the necessary email and web security.”
More than 3,500 AudioNova users in Europe use Forcepoint Web Security and Forcepoint Email Security. Additionally, the Cloud aspect of Forcepoint proved very important.
“The cloud approach ensures that the system responds exactly to our requirements. The Forcepoint solution requires little management on our part, it is highly scalable, and is very quick to deploy. These are very important for an organization that is growing rapidly.”
Since 2007, AudioNova has been able to pragmatically apply the Forcepoint security solution.
“The frequency of calls to our helpdesk is our main indicator of the quality of a system. No news is good news. The number of calls after installing Forcepoint has been drastically reduced. If we have any issues at all, Forcepoint responds quickly and accurately.”
The pragmatic use of Forcepoint is also evident in the choice of one, unified set of policies for Web Security. AudioNova continues to benefit, daily, from “ease-of-use” Forcepoint classification categories. According to Klerkx, Rubingh, and their IT team, this approach is much more practical than using whitelists.
“You determine, for any group of users, which categories are acceptable — you adopt them and you’re done.”
With the flexible but appropriate policy settings, for example, employees can access social media, but are prohibited from posting anything or playing games. At AudioNova, only HR and marketing staff have access to social media for the purpose of recruitment and social media campaigns.
In the future, AudioNova looks to implement the client endpoint security capabilities of Forcepoint. In addition, Rubingh reports that the IT team is looking forward to Forcepoint’s continuous investment in product development:
“It is important for us that this type of product continues to work and continues to grow as we grow.”
AudioNova has relied on Forcepoint security solutions since 2007.