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Modernizing the Security of Australia’s Largest Fuel Network

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Ampol has been Australia’s leading transport fuel company since 1900. What began over 125 years ago is now an organization that powers a country, operating 1,500 retail stores and stations across ANZ, plus 89 depots for refining and importing fuels and lubricants, and 8,200 employees throughout Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Singapore. And while Ampol’s history goes back a century, they are a modern organization, using internet of things (IoT) technology across operational and retail locations, with sensors on everything from electric vehicle charging units to fuel tank gauges to transportation trucks to refrigeration units inside retail stores.

As a critical energy provider to a country of over 25 million people, Ampol’s security needed to match its evolving infrastructure. As Satish Chowdhary, Network Enterprise Architect, said, “At Ampol, we have implemented sensor technology across our network: from gauges in the fuel tanks to monitor fuel quality and quantity to sensors that monitor the temperature in various refrigerators across our retail sites to ensure goods stay chilled. It’s critical to manage these devices effectively and securely, and that’s where Cisco comes in…With IoT, a major security risk is posed by dodgy legacy devices left unpatched and vulnerable within your network. Cisco’s TrustSec and VLAN segregation automatically isolate vulnerable devices, not exposing the rest of the network to risks from untrusted devices.”

 

Making security an enabler, not a hindrance

In addition to securing the IoT that let’s Ampol monitor and manage its critical operations, Cisco was able to create a comprehensive security environment that solved for their three strategic goals.

“Three key components of our cyber-resilient strategy were isolation, orchestration, and rapid recovery. Cisco SecureX nailed all three providing us a single interface to see all security events, and malicious files, thus expediting how fast we can isolate events and recover,” Chowdhary explained.  “Before using Cisco Secure, security was a hindrance, not an enabler for our IT team, employees, and even customers,” he added.

In fact, Cisco Secure helped Ampol improve their security posture so much that they were able to quickly pivot during the early days of the pandemic.

“When Covid triggered supply challenges during lockdowns, people not being able to access groceries turned to their local service station convenience stores to get what they needed.  For Ampol, maintaining that supply continuity was critical, not just for our business, but for the customers who were relying on us to get their supplies. And all of this was done when many employees were now having to work remotely…This was possible only because we could maintain our revamped locations, staff, clients, and business partners safe on our network – while still maintaining speed and efficiency. Cisco Secure was the ticket to Ampol’s resilience in the face of major change,” Chowdhary said.

Solving security challenges with speed and simplicity

In addition to enabling flexibility against supply chain fluctuations, Ampol is readily protected against  threats, cyberattacks, and other vulnerabilities. Their Cisco security solution included:

  • Cisco Secure Firewall and Identity Service Engines (ISE) allow Ampol’s 3rd-party vendors to safely access the network
  • Cisco Umbrella and Secure Endpoint protected network and wi-fi access at retail locations
  • Cisco Duo protected the SCADA pipeline network users and devices against phishing attacks and established device trust
  • Improved efficiency and threat detection with Cisco SecureX

“The major force for our Cisco Secure investment was simplification by integrating the entire Security portfolio…If we ever happen to have a cyber-attack, we can quickly find it and contain it,” Chowdhary said, adding, “The greatest outcome of using Cisco Secure is simplicity at its core. We achieved great efficiency integration, better visibility, and context that’s not hidden across five, ten, or fifteen consoles, and ultimately, greater security outcomes.”

To find out how else Cisco Secure is helping protect Ampol against sophisticated threats and other challenges, read the full case study.


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