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Coors Beer and Computer Virus Protection

Network Associates Provides the Coors Brewing Company with Total Virus Defense which includes protection on the Microsoft Exchange server

Adolph Coors Company, founded in 1873, is ranked among the 650 largest publicly traded corporations in the United States. Its principal subsidiary is Coors Brewing Company, the nation’s third-largest brewer. Throughout its history, Coors has provided consumers with a broad line of quality malt beverages using a unique all-natural brewing process and the finest ingredients available. Coors products are available throughout the United States and in more than 40 international markets.

With expansive operations and distribution that spans the globe, reliable communications are a vital part of the day to day operations at the Coors Brewing Company.

Through the implementation of an extensive Microsoft Exchange environment, the Coors Brewing Company significantly increased their effectiveness as a business by improving the quality of their electronic workplace. The use of messaging and collaboration allows users to quickly and easily create a flow of information that keeps Coors competitive. Microsoft Exchange provides the use of E-mail , public folders to host open discussions, and the ability to collaborate in the creation of documents which has brought an unprecedented means of communication and productivity to the Coors environment. With over 120 Microsoft Windows NT servers providing connectivity to over 4500 users, as well as direct customers, suppliers, and the outside world, the Coors IT staff has a notable challenge providing maintenance, support, and security, for their global network.

Groupware environments like Exchange make it easy to share information more rapidly than ever before. Unfortunately, they also provide an excellent medium for the spread of viruses. Network Associates GroupShield for Exchange eliminates this threat by trapping viruses at the server level, before they have a chance to spread to users. “Viruses are a regular occurrence and can be devastating if not dealt with effectively, GroupShield for Exchange, which is part of the Total Virus Defense suite of products from Network Associates keeps viruses under control in our Exchange environment” said Mike Hager, Corporate Information Security Officer for the Coors Brewing Company.

The most prolific type of virus threat in a groupware environment comes from macro-viruses, which exploit the macro language capabilities of modern applications such as Microsoft Office. Macro viruses are relatively simple to write and have spread like wildfire because they attach themselves to every document subsequently opened in an application, then infect every machine in an office as workers exchange and collaborate on documents either through groupware applications such as Microsoft Exchange or E-mail to other systems. The affect of malicious macros can be anything from hindering print jobs to destroying data.

“The data communications network obviously has a large impact on the way Coors conducts business” says Hager. “We have implemented an aggressive policy to eliminate viruses not only at the Exchange server but at all entry points into the network. Without this type of multi-tier virus security our IT staff and helpdesk resources would be running from machine to machine trying to figure out why somebody lost data, or can’t print, or who knows what. GroupShield really helps us keep our Exchange environment operating the way it should, by allowing users to share information and not be wary of viruses”. Coors Brewing is an international company with facilities in such places as Korea, and Europe. “We have been fortunate to forge ahead with extranets and E-commerce to streamline the way we conduct business, and have been confronted with the task of ensuring the environment is kept virus free”.

On the Internet gateway, Coors has implemented WebShield for Firewalls to scan inbound and outbound SMTP, FTP, and HTTP traffic because the Internet has become an entry point for viruses. NetShield protects the file servers where users keep their documents, templates, data, and in some instances their applications. “We run scheduled scans at night when our traffic is low” says Hager. “If viruses get into documents, they can be shared in public server directories, posted to the exchange environment, or backed up to corporate archives, and continue spreading the virus to desktops or worse yet, somebody might send the documents out to our customers, so we have eliminated that problem”. Coors has also deployed VirusScan on the desktops to have protection that scans memory, boot records, FAT tables, executables, and documents on the users machines directly. In addition, a resident portion is configured to scan every floppy that is inserted in the machine to ensure that diskettes shared by users, or travelling back and forth from home are not infected.

“Users are typically unaware that they are spreading viruses,” says Hager “they are simply trying to get their report out to a distribution list or onto an Exchange database for comment. With our multi-tier virus security architecture we stop the headaches of mass infection by scanning on the desktops, the servers, and the Internet gateway. Even if a user has for some reason disabled their desktop scanning, we catch the virus on the network before it is spread to other users, or out to customers and suppliers”. This has dramatically reduced the amount of calls to the Coors help desk with related questions and concerns that would otherwise diminish the productivity of their IT staff.

The International Computer Security Association (ICSA) has estimated the average cost of a single virus affecting at least 25 machines at more than $8,000; not counting lost user productivity. Hager has never stopped to measure how much money Coors Brewing saved by installing Network Associates’ anti-virus software when they did. He prefers to look at its value in human terms. “I remember one case where a secretary for one of our executives received a high level email from a supplier with an infected attachment. GroupShield for Exchange cleaned the virus, and she was able to open it without a problem. She couldn’t stop telling me how grateful she was that it was self corrected and she was able to get the necessary information to the executive immediately. How do you put a monetary value on that?”

Summary
Microsoft Exchange is an excellent solution to increase communications and the flow of information throughout your enterprise network. However, because documents are often distributed rapidly through an entire organization, it is critical to catch macro viruses at the server level before they become widespread virus disasters. Whatever the size of a company, taking the time and effort to implement virus security at all levels with a virus protection policy will benefit any organization. It will save the time of valuable LAN administrators and helpdesk personnel from having to chase viruses down, eliminating the lost productivity that is caused when viruses strike. Network Associates offers Total Virus Defense, the most reliable, easy to deploy, administer, and update, anti-virus defense that will provide a foundation to build upon as an organization grows.

For up to date information on virus security and some of the most innovative and comprehensive network security products on the market, please visit the Network Associates web page at http://www.nai.com