GLOBAL FINANCE, INC. (GFI)
Global Finance, Inc. (GFI) is a financial company that manages thousands of accounts across Canada, the United
States, and Mexico. A public company traded on the NYSE, GFI specializes in financial management, loan
application approval, wholesale loan processing, and investment of money management for their customers.
GFI employs over 1,600 employees and has been experiencing consistent growth keeping pace with S&P averages
(approximately 8%) for nearly six years. A well-honed management strategy built on scaling operational
performance through automation and technological innovation has propelled the company into the big leagues; GFI
was only recently profiled in Fortune Magazine.
BACKGROUND AND YOUR ROLE
You are the Computer Security Manager educated, trained, and hired to protect the physical and operational
security of GFI’s corporate information system.
You were hired by COO Mike Willy and currently report to the COO. You are responsible for a $5.25m
annual budget, a staff of 11, and a sprawling and expansive data center located on the 5
floor of the
corporate tower. This position is the pinnacle of your career – you are counting on your performance here
to pave the way into a more strategic leadership position in IT, filling a vacancy that you feel is so
significantly lacking from the executive team.
There is actually a reason for this. CEO John Thompson believes that the IT problem is a known quantity –
that is, she feels the IT function can be nearly entirely outsourced at fractions of the cost associated with
creating and maintaining an established internal IT department; the CEO’s strategy has been to prevent IT
from becoming a core competency since so many services can be obtained from 3rd parties. Since the CEO
has taken the reigns two years ago, the CEO has made significant headway in cutting your department’s
budget by 30% and reducing half of your staff through outsourcing. This has been a political fight for you:
maintaining and reinforcing the relevance of an internal IT department is a constant struggle. COO Willy’s
act of hiring you was, in fact, an act of desperation: the increasing operational dependence on technology
combined with a diminishing IT footprint gravely concerned Jacobson, and he begged to at least bring in a
manager to whom these obligations could be delegated to. Jacobson’s worst nightmare is a situation where
the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of the information system was compromised – bringing the
company to its knees – then having to rely on vendors to pull him out of the mess.
GFI has experienced several cyber-attacks from outsiders over the past a few years. In 2012, the Oracle
database server was attacked and its customer database lost its confidentiality, integrity, and availability for
several days. Although the company restored the Oracle database server back online, its lost confidentiality
damaged the company reputations. GFI ended up paying its customers a large sum of settlement for their
loss of data confidentiality. Another security attack was carried out by a malicious virus that infected the
entire network for several days. While infected the Oracle and e-mail servers had to be shut down to
quarantine these servers. In the meantime, the company lost $1.700, 000 in revenue and intangible
There’s no question that the company’s CEO sees the strategic importance of technology in executing her
business plan, and in this way you share a common basis of principle with her: that IT is a competitive
differentiator. However, you believe that diminishing internal IT services risks security and strategic
capability, whereas the CEO feels she can acquire that capability immediately and on the cheap through the
open market. You’re told that CEO Thompson reluctantly agreed to your position if only to pacify COO
CORPORATE OFFICE NETWORK TOPOLOGY
You are responsible for a corporate WAN spanning 10 remote facilities and interconnecting those facilities
to the central data processing environment. Data is transmitted from a remote site through a VPN
appliance situated in the border layer of the routing topology; the remote VPN connects to the internal
Oracle database to update the customer data tables. Data transaction from the remote access to the
corporate internal databases is not encrypted.
A bulk of the data processing for your company is handled by Oracle database on a high end super
computer. The trusted computing based (TCB) internal network is situated in a physically separated subnet.
This is where all corporate data processing is completed and internal support team has its own intranet web
server, a SUS server, an internal DNS, an e-mail system, and other support personnel workstations. Each
corporate department is segregated physically on a different subnet and shares the corporate data in the
1. Ever since the article ran in Fortune about GFI, your network engineers report that they’ve noted a
significant spike in network traffic crossing into the internal networks. They report that they cannot be
certain what or who is generating this traffic, but the volume and frequency of traffic is certainly
abnormal. The management is very concerned over securing the corporate confidential data and
2. Increasingly, GFI’s CEO Thompson attempts to outsource IT competency. In fact, you’ve been told of
a plan from COO Willy to outsource network management and security functions away from your
department and to a service integrator. COO Willy warns you that the political environment will only
become more contentious over time; you must make a compelling case as to what value your
department can bring over an integrator that can provide secure services at 40% less annual cost than
3. The interrelationship between data and operations concerns you. Increasingly, some of the 10 remote
sites have been reporting significant problems with network latency, slow performance, and
application time-outs against the Oracle database. The company’s business model is driving higher
and higher demand for data, but your capability to respond to these problems are drastically limited.
4. Mobility is important for the organization to interact with the customers and other co-workers in near
real-time. However, the CEO is concerned with the mobility security and would like to research for the
best practice for mobility computing. The CEO is willing to implement a BYOD policy if security can
5. Employees enjoy the flexibility of getting access to the corporate network using a WiFi network.
However, the CEO is concerns over the security ramifications over the wireless network that is widely
open to the company and nearby residents.
6. The company plans to offer its products and services online and requested its IT department to design a
Cloud Computing based e-commerce platform. However, the CEO is particularly concerned over the
cloud computing security in case the customer database is breached.
Identify and describe the organizational authentication technology and network security issues.
Make a list of access points internal and external (remote).
Design a secure authentication technology and network security for GFI.
Make assumptions for any unknown facts.
List all known vulnerabilities you can identify in this environment and address them by proposing
a new design. You may use any combination of technologies to harden authentication process and
network security measures.
Address the CEO’s concern over the mobility security and design a secure mobile computing
(smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) in terms of authentication technologies and data protection.
Identify wireless vulnerabilities and recommend what safeguards, authentication technologies, and
network security to protect data should be implemented.
Design a cloud computing environment for the company with a secure means of data protection at
rest, in motion and in process.