Proofpoint Customer Story Outbrain

Simplified and secure access for all users across all sites

Outbrain help publishers adapt the print experience of turning a page to discover the next article or product online. Outbrain’s feed technology helps users explore and discover new things on the open web. With 18 global offices, it facilitates more than 290 billion discoveries every month in more than 55 countries.

The Challenge

The Outbrain team needed a secure and simple remote access solution to improve agility and serve the needs of all types of users.

Outbrain’s original remote access solution was based on a traditional VPN solution that required users to install a client on their laptops and to know which location they wanted to connect with to access various resources.

In 2019, Outbrain acquired a company, which translated to an increase in staff. New hires included mainly non-technical employees for marketing, sales and HR teams. And they required a more agile and easy-to-use access solution. Before this expansion, all employees came from technical backgrounds and were accustomed to sometimes complicated work processes.

Major challenges facing the company included:

Setup: While technical users were able to get started, there were always issues with incomplete or failed installations and software patches. IT was constantly called upon to intervene and address issues.

Management: This arrangement required IT engagement because they needed to connect users to every site and then connect between the sites, creating a complex mesh of site-to-site VPN connections.

Lack of agility: New employees lacked the technical skills and needed to get up and running quickly and seamlessly.

The Solution

“Proofpoint Meta includes all the features we set out to find to ease the onboarding of so many new teams.”
- Jack Kotev, security engineer, Outbrain

To solve their secure remote access issues, Outbrain explored the idea of onboarding new employees with a clientless solution, while preserving the traditional VPN process the development team had been using. They also discovered that some proxy-based solutions did not support the specific requirements of their application.

The Proofpoint Meta team assisted Outbrain in mapping all their required internal resources and building a three-layer role system. It delineated developers (full access), business users (agentless access), and contractors (restricted permissions). For developers, Outbrain replaced legacy VPN clients with Proofpoint Meta. And in the agentless environment, they mapped all the endpoints they wanted to expose publicly. They then informed the relevant teams that they no longer needed to use VPN clients to access those sites.

The implementation began by first onboarding the business users who required a clientless solution. This allowed them to gather feedback to better understand how their ideal design should look. After seeing the success of stage one, Outbrain rolled out a gradual onboarding process for the rest of the staff, moving all technical and development employees to Proofpoint Meta rather than relying on two separate systems.

The Results

One access solution for all sites and users: Proofpoint Meta enables Outbrain to implement one access method across all teams and reduce their dependence on complicated VPN configurations. Proofpoint Meta is the overlay through which all Outbrain resources and elements are consumed and managed.

Better, faster user experience: Proofpoint Meta provides better performance than VPN. With POPs dispersed around the globe, Outbrain employees connect to the one closest to their location, reducing latency.

Simplified onboarding: Cloud-delivered secure remote access enables simple deployment and central policy management, plus client and clientless modes for a seamless onboarding process and UX.

Enhanced Zero Trust security: Adaptive controls and micro-segmented application access isolate Outbrain’s network from threats while restricting third-party access to only what’s needed. If a user doesn’t have explicit access to a resource, it is invisible.

Learn More

For more information, visit proofpoint.com/security-awareness.