Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Deploys Global Email Protection


Perrigo Company plc is the world’s largest maker of over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical and other health-related products for drugstore and supermarket store-brand products. When the email protection product that it used was no longer effective in blocking malware and advanced threats, Perrigo had to quickly formulate a new plan.

Manufacturing facilities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Australia produce OTC and prescription drugs, nutritional products, and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Ten thousand employees around the world rely on email for critical communications.

“The company began evaluating its email protection options, and it looked at a number of possibilities,” said Paul Dumbleton, CISSP and Manager, Infrastructure Security Engineer at Perrigo. “Proofpoint had a strong reputation and ended up being our leading contender.”

Perrigo chose Proofpoint Email Protection and Proofpoint Targeted Attack Protection (TAP) in Email as its solution.

Proofpoint Email Protection protects against unwanted and malicious email with granular visibility into threats. It also provides business continuity by giving people access to their email even when their normal email service goes down. A combination of machine learning technology and composite reputation analysis gives Perrigo confidence that its people are protected.

Proofpoint TAP helps detect, mitigate, and block advanced threats that target people through email—such as phishing campaigns and malicious URLs. Using static and dynamic analysis, Proofpoint TAP stops phishing attacks and blocks access to malicious URLs that users might click.

“Proofpoint is our first line of defence for global email and communications,” Dumbleton said. “All inbound and outbound mail to and from Office 365 is routed through Proofpoint. By sitting in front of Office 365, it provides filtering and analysis for another layer of protection in the cloud before email even arrives at our internal systems for additional evaluation.”

Proofpoint TAP URL filtering is part of Perrigo’s layered defence. With multiple layers of defence, the IT team can filter traffic based on the firm’s own categories, known bad sites, and input from a third-party risk assessment service. If anything gets through, TAP alerts the team. The team can follow up to see how far the threat progressed and assess the impact.

“When we look at our statistics, we only allow in 7% of all email,” Dumbleton said. “We’re using the spam filtering. We’ve turned on the impostor email feature. Multilingual analysis is important because of our facilities around the world. Now we can protect against email threats and other unwanted messages in just about any language.”

Recently, the IT team started seeing a lot more spoofed email addresses. With Proofpoint Email Protection, it was able to quickly implement new email firewall rules along with the impostor email capabilities. Email subject-line tags notify users of suspicious messages that look like they come fr om Perrigo but actually don’t.

“Proofpoint does a good job of limiting risk by changing the URL links in the email,” said Barb Hiemstra, Manager, Information Security-Governance at Perrigo. “A lot of users don’t take time to check the links, so it’s nice that Proofpoint adds a layer of defence for them.”

The IT team has implemented blacklists based on known bad sites and IP address listings. They’ve also placed restrictions on executive and Board of Directors’ email addresses, limiting the types of messages that sources can send to them.

“We haven’t had any outbreaks of the threats that Proofpoint TAP defends against,” Dumbleton said.

Combined with Perrigo’s other security tools, Proofpoint delivers much better visibility into the threat landscape than Perrigo had before. The team uses metrics from Proofpoint for executive reporting on what was blocked, what was allowed, and which filters caught specific threats. It’s just starting to use this data for trend analysis to measure the effectiveness of their security-awareness program.

“We’re extremely happy with Proofpoint,” Dumbleton said. “It helps us do so much more.”

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