In order to shield its e-mail traffic against external attacks and ensure fulfilment of the extremely strict compliance requirements in the financial sector, the Swiss insurance company “Swiss Mobiliar” relies on the “Managed AVAS (Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam)” services of Swisscom.
The unreserved trust of customers is an essential asset for every insurance company, and Swiss Mobiliar is no exception. “There’s no room for compromises when it comes to protection – and that not only applies to insurance benefits, but also information regarding the insured persons themselves”, explained Hubert Zumwald, crossplatform team leader at Swiss Mobiliar.
Electronic mail has now become the most important communication channel, both for external correspondence with insured persons and internal communication and messaging within a company. However, the threat of malware and spyware emerges as soon as e-mails are sent via the Internet. For example, sensitive personal information on insured persons could be intercepted and forwarded to unauthorised third-parties using methods such as spam mail, virusinfected mail or phishing.
The fact that Switzerland topped international comparisons in 2008 with regard to the amount of spam received – around 94% of all e-mail received throughout the country was spam – motivated Swisscom to develop a highly reliable and sustainable anti-spam solution for its customers. Its routing and monitoring service, which is called “Managed AVAS (Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam)“, currently filters around 200,000 e-mails every day and achieves an efficiency rate of 99.9 percent.In order to keep the huge quantities of spam circulating the Internet away from its e-mail system, Swiss Mobiliar chose the Managed AVAS service. Managed AVAS provides a comprehensive mail backbone infrastructure, which is incorporated into and operated by the highly-secure data centers of Swisscom in Switzerland. Thanks to the integrated anti-virus and anti-spam filters, which monitor the incoming and outgoing mail traffic of Swiss Mobiliar, malware and undesired e-mail can be identified early on based, on the comp any’s internal security policies.
Swiss Mobiliar has been using Managed AVAS since September 2009, with nearly 25 million e-mails being monitored each month. Around 95 percent of all spam is detected and blocked very early on at the connection layer. And the complex set of rules and security policies, which are used for filtering purposes, can be automatically updated several times a day if required.
The benefits that a consolidated service solution like Managed AVAS, together with the associated mail backbone, can provide, are obvious: customers can dispense with the need to invest in their own mail backbone infrastructures, the costs of which can be substantial. “The resources that are freed up can be used for our core IT activities”, said Zumwald. The customer also benefits from investment protection, because Swisscom, as the provider, ensures the most up-to-date products and technologies are available at all times. This, in turn, means the customer will not be burdened with any lifecycle-related follow-up investments.
Generally, the Managed AVAS services provide preconfigured security policies based on best practise principles. In doing so, Managed AVAS fulfils the extremely strict security and compliance requirements of the financial sector regarding the monitoring of confidential mail traffic to and from the Internet. Another important aspect relates to the fact that traffic must be routed within Switzerland.
If required, customer-specific security provisions can be integrated. This was the case during the implementation of Managed AVAS at Swiss Mobiliar, as their own strict security requirements and exception rules had to be taken into consideration. “The service is flexible enough to allow our own individual and very strict security requirements to be taken into account”, praised Hubert Zumwald.
Swiss Mobiliar can rely on the extensive experience and expertise of Swisscom and its patented solution, which is already being used by a wide range of customers, for the outsourcing of its confidential and businesscritical e-mail traffic.
If required, the standard services provided by Managed AVAS can be extend ed by the customer with additional modular functions, such as the signing and encryption functions of Secure E-mail.
Swiss Mobiliar was founded in 1826 in Bern. It is the oldest private insur-ance company in Switzerland and operates 80 general agencies through-out the country. It is organised as a cooperative, which means its only obli-gation is towards the insured persons. Customers participate in the success of the company and receive payments from surplus funds on a periodic basis. With a premium volume of 2.9 billion francs, Swiss Mobiliar holds one of the top positions in the Swiss insurance market and offers the full range of insurance services. The all-sector insurer currently has around 1.5 million policyholders.