Colonial Supplemental Insurance
addressed not only our security challenge, but also allowed us to
centrally manage and automate numerous other IT functions with minimal
action required on the part of our independent agents."
Enrollment Technologies Manager
Colonial Supplemental Insurance
Protecting sensitive customer information is no longer simply a good
business practice. It is a business requirement. If common sense and
industry best practices are not compelling enough reasons for companies
to take aggressive action to protect customer information, recent news
of fines and penalties imposed by government regulators on companies
that failed to provide adequate protection should certainly spur them
This business imperative presented Colonial Supplemental Insurance with a pressing and unique challenge.
Colonial is a market leader in providing voluntary insurance to employees and their families through the workplace. Its supplemental insurance products include disability, accident, life, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance policies. These products are sold through a direct sales force of independent insurance agents, operating in 49 states and the District of Columbia, and in New York through an affiliate company.
Because its sales force consists of mobile independent agents who own their laptop computers, enhancing existing sales-force-wide security was a sticky issue. Thanks to Sybase iAnywhere mobile device management and security software, Colonial has been able to better secure the sensitive information collected by its independent agents, while also providing those agents with functionality that enhances their sales efforts.
“The whole security environment has changed and has become a top priority in our business,” explains Tim Sox, Enrollment Technologies Manager for Colonial. “Insurance companies probably handle more sensitive data than many companies. We collect salary information and all kinds of personal medical and family information. So we knew we had to become educated about the risks and implement best practices and technology to better protect the information we collect. The fact that our independent agents work on and control their own computers just complicated the task a bit.”
- Colonial’s Enrollment Technologies department is now able to implement, monitor, and enforce stringent data security policies and update security and revenue generating software as needed from a central location using a single console.
- Improves ability to implement, monitor and enforce stringent data security policies
- Improves IT productivity by implementing device management and security administration from a single console
- Improves customer service resulting from most up-to-date information on agents’ laptops
- Increases competitive edge, customer confidence and sales due to industry-leading security measures to protect customer information
- Enhances company reputation as an industry leader in information security
Information Anywhere’s Afaria Selected for Comprehensive Frontline Management Capabilities
Colonial’s specific challenge was to find a way to protect the sensitive data residing on its agents’ 3,500 active laptops located across the United States without requiring those agents to send their machines in to the company’s Enrollment Technologies department to be manually encrypted.
The only way to achieve that objective was to identify and implement a technology that would allow the Enrollment Technologies department to secure the laptops remotely, and to manage them on an ongoing basis, also remotely.
Colonial preferred to implement a single solution to allow it to secure and manage the laptops rather than a combination of software products, each of which enabled a particular task or action. This was because the latter approach would be more costly and complex to administer.
“We found our solution in Afaria from Sybase iAnywhere,” says Sox. “Afaria’s comprehensive frontline management capabilities enabled us to efficiently address not only our initial security challenge, but to centrally manage and automate numerous other IT functions with minimal action required on the part of our independent agents.”
An added benefit for Colonial was that the company found Afaria to be flexible enough to support both its online customer enrollment application as well as its offline enrollment application.
Information Anywhere’s Afaria Enables Remote Hard Drive Encryption and More
Following the selection of Afaria, Colonial began a two-pronged program to address its security objectives. The first involved educating its agents so they would better understand the necessity of protecting customer information. The second involved implementing the Afaria mobile device management and security software to allow Colonial’s Enrollment Technologies staff to remotely administer and update the agents’ laptops – most importantly encrypting their hard drives and enabling Colonial to disable laptops that are stolen or lost.
The project began with the automated distribution of the device management and security software client to each agent’s laptop. This distribution occurred as a background operation when the agents connected to Colonial’s centralized application server to submit their business. Once the client was downloaded and installed on the agents’ laptops, Colonial had the ability to perform full hard drive encryption on their machines. The Afaria solution also allows updates and file deliveries to be pushed out to the agents’ machines whenever they are connected to the Internet – even if the users are simply surfing the Web.
Information Anywhere’s Afaria Contributes to Competitive Edge
“When we introduced our plan to implement a remote management and security solution on their laptops, we got some resistance from our independent agents,” recalls Tim Sox. “In the course of educating them about the importance of providing more protection for sensitive information, the benefits to them as well as our customers, and the specifics about the solution, we had an experience with one agent who was vocal in his resistance to this initiative. Nevertheless, we made sure his laptop was configured properly and that his hard drive was fully encrypted.
“Not long after that, following a meeting at a potential account, the agent called us to share his experience. As he explained, one of the first few questions the prospect asked him was how Colonial protects its clients’ information. The agent was surprised, but delighted, because he had an answer. ‘I’m glad you asked,’ he told the prospect, ‘because we’ve just implemented a comprehensive security solution including full disc encryption.’ As it turned out, that proved to be a major factor in his winning the account. Since then, we’ve had many agents tell us that security has become a regular topic in their sales conversations and has provided them with a competitive edge.”
Additional Significant Benefits
While this anecdote provides one example of the benefits Colonial has realized as a result of its implementation of Afaria, there are many others.
Colonial’s Enrollment Technologies department is able to implement, monitor and enforce stringent data security policies and update security and revenue generating software as needed from a central location using a single console. The combined management and security solution also allows all tasks to occur during a single connection, streamlining IT resources.
In addition, there is no need for agents to bring or send their laptops into the Enrollment Technologies department for updates or fixes. Rather, thanks to Afaria, these tasks can be performed proactively and transparently without inconveniencing agents or negatively impacting their productivity. As Tim Sox comments, “What has been particularly remarkable is that we’ve been able to secure the data on 3,500 laptops across the country without ever having to physically touch them. We can manage and administer the whole environment from a single console. And the fact that we have Afaria in place now gives us the opportunity as our policies change and evolve to do any number of management things as needed.”
The corporation as a whole also benefits from improved laptop security and compliance, thereby providing additional safeguards against potential financial and legal liability and damage to its reputation.“Our Afaria-powered remote security and management solution has significantly strengthened our ability to comply with regulations governing the handling of sensitive information,” says Sox.
Perhaps most importantly, Colonial’s customers benefit by knowing that the company is serious about protecting their personal information.