Omnicare Alliance (Omnicare) is the leading not-for-profit provider of aged, dementia and disability services to communities across the NSW Mid North Coast. The organisation formed between 2017 and 2018 when a number of long-standing local not-for-profit organisations united to enable beneficiaries to access a broader range of health and care services more easily. In addition to delivering comprehensive support, the alliance also eases the burden on recipients and carers of the service by offering a single point of contact for beneficiaries rather than multiple providers.
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Omnicare Alliance was established in 2017 when four organisations, Hastings District Respite Care Services, Meals on Wheels Mid North Coast, Parklands Cottage and Hastings Home Modifications & Maintenance merged.
While four organisations had formed to become one, Omnicare’s IT infrastructure did not reflect this change. Across its sites, Omnicare had a mix of physical servers, network attached storage, three Microsoft Office 365 tenancies and Microsoft Exchange on-premise, all running and managed independently.
Omnicare had arguably grown too quickly and needed to transition from a reactive to a proactive approach to its IT and cybersecurity. Omnicare engaged managed services provider (MSP), Integer IT (Integer) to ease this burden.
Integer began working with Omnicare in April 2018 and immediately audited the organisation’s IT infrastructure. The audit uncovered a number of areas for improvement, including a lack of remote desktop protocol (RDP) connections, no backups, insufficient anti-virus protection and sub-par firewalls.
Omnicare had to refresh its IT infrastructure in a way that would not only meet its current requirements but allow for future growth. It started by securing its perimeters with robust firewalls to protect against breaches while the teams worked through the broader IT strategy.
Integer installed the Sophos XG210 Firewall at Omnicare’s headquarters in Port Macquarie and the XG105 at its 13 remote sites. With Sophos XG Firewalls in place, Integer has greater visibility into any risky activity and suspicious traffic on Omnicare’s network. It uses next-gen technologies such as deep learning to keep the organisation secure. If a threat happened to make its way into a system, the threat will automatically be identified and isolated from the rest of the network to stop any risk of it spreading.
“By installing Sophos’ XG Firewall, we laid the foundation for Omnicare to be secure. From here, we were able to comfortably work through the rest of Omnicare’s IT strategy, knowing the organisation wasn’t at immediate risk of being breached,” said Garry King, Managing Director at Integer IT.
The MSP is now working closely with Omnicare to bring its disparate systems together under a single operating system and with single sign-on capabilities.
Integer is also helping to raise cybersecurity awareness among Omnicare’s employees with Sophos Phish Threat to support a broader training initiative. With Phish Threat, Omnicare’s employees are tested and trained on their ability to identify a phishing attempt, in a safe environment and provided with best-practices, tips and advice on how to stay safe online.
“In terms of how a not-for-profit should approach cybersecurity challenges, in our case, Omnicare’s NFP status doesn’t mean we are in a position to underplay the importance of robust protection for our IT systems,” Iggy Pintado (interim CEO and Company Secretary of Omnicare Alliance) said.
“Just like any other provider of human services in the sector, our compliance requirements for client data are very stringent. So much of our community-based ethos revolves around building and maintaining trust, not only with clients, but with their primary carers.
“To cut corners and compromise data would hurt us from both regulatory and reputational perspectives. We’ve faced many challenges in integrating the five pre-existing business units into one amalgamated entity, and finding the optimal IT solutions within our organisational framework has been a major priority.”
Thanks to its relationship with Integer and Sophos, Omnicare has been given true peace of mind. The team can be confident that its IT infrastructure, and security set-up, will keep its highly confidential and sensitive data safe. What’s more, the training initiative developed by Sophos increases the knowledge of staff while online, helping to further increase the security posture of the organisation.
“It’s important to us that our employees and beneficiaries understand just how seriously we take protecting their data,” said Iggy Pintado. “Through our work with Integer and Sophos, our employees are better equipped to deal with today’s threats and our back-end systems can handle the rest. The partnership delivers peace of mind across the organisation that data won’t end up in the wrong hands.”
For Integer, its partnership with Sophos has provided:
• Increased visibility – providing the MSP with superior visibility into risky activity, suspicious traffic and advanced threats on Omnicare’s complex IT network.
• Ease of use – the solutions were easy to setup and install. In fact, Integer was able to get Omnicare’s firewalls up and running in under half a day.
• Operational excellence – Sophos’ next-generation approach to cybersecurity, alongside its employee training element, has increased the effectiveness of Omnicare’s security position ten fold.
Garry King said; “Thanks to the simplicity and ease of use of Sophos products, we quickly set-up the cybersecurity infrastructure for Omnicare with minimal disruptions. Moving forward, we can effectively monitor and manage Omnicare’s network, ensuring there are no issues or threats.”
It’s important to us that our employees and beneficiaries understand just how seriously we take protecting their data. Through our work with Integer and Sophos, our employees are better equipped to deal with today’s threats and our back-end systems can handle the rest. The partnership delivers peace of mind across the organisation that data won’t end up in the wrong hands.
Thanks to the simplicity and ease of use of Sophos products, we quickly set-up the cybersecurity infrastructure for Omnicare with minimal disruptions. Moving forward, we can effectively monitor and manage Omnicare’s network, ensuring there are no issues or threats.