How a website lead, then a hack attack, led to a $9 million, five-year contract for cybersecurity and managed services.
After discovering Impact Networking during an online search, a Texas-based consumer products manufacturing company with a million-dollar-a-day business that employs hundreds of contractors contacted the dealership to learn more about its managed IT and cybersecurity offerings. The company’s CEO flew to Chicago to meet with the Impact Networking team at the dealership’s headquarters. Things were looking good and an assessment was scheduled, however, before the Impact Networking team could begin their assessment, its new prospect experienced a security breach.
IBM Security reports that the global average cost of a data breach has reached $4.45 million in 2023—an all-time high and a 15% increase over the last three years. Last year, 71% of companies worldwide were affected by ransomware, but only 4% of them got all their data back, according to cloud-backup software firm Druva, Inc.
As in most cases, these hackers obtained access to historical shopping data and were threatening to leak sensitive customer information. “There was a ransom note, which we reported to the FBI,” revealed Patrick Layton, partner and vice president of managed IT services at Impact Networking. The black hats posed as good guys who had revealed system weak spots and were happy to help fix things—for a price. A subsequent port scan would reveal that a breach was inevitable and that the liberal use of default passwords was a primary culprit.
What Layton’s team didn’t know: Was there a ticking time bomb waiting to go off? Every minute counted. Online shopping carts stopped filling as the clock ticked. With each passing day, the breached company was losing $1 million in net income coming straight out of its bottom line. Understandably upset about the blackmail attempt, the CEO wanted to give the proverbial finger to the threat actors who had gained backdoor access.
Impact Networking to the Rescue
“We are not typically in the incident-response business,” explained Scott Copeland, president of Impact Networking Texas. “Remediation is no fun.” Impact Networking quickly decided that pooling its collective resources to fix this hack was an opportunity to prove its worth. “When faced with the unthinkable occurring, how will your firm react?” questioned Copeland. During such a nightmarish scenario, business continuity is crucial. “The key to the future is not reverting to bad habits,” he emphasized.
Impact Networking’s complex rebuild, which took 72 hours to execute, included seamlessly integrating with the client’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The Shopify e-commerce platform was also part of the equation. On the operations side, seven to eight discovery calls were placed over the course of two days to discuss IT maps and server lists. “They had more than 80 servers and hundreds of endpoints,” reported Layton. The network was taken down on Thursday, and the client was up again by Sunday morning. In preparation for downtime, customer shipping labels were preprinted.
To clean up the dirty network, Impact Networking engineers essentially turned off the internet and built parallel networks to keep the hackers in the dark. “We had concerns about CryptoLock (threat protection software), too, which was another reason for our team’s strategy of building their new network from the ground up,” said Copeland.
What highly impressed the new client was Impact Networking’s ability to marshal numerous resources. “Their leadership made it clear upfront that they were looking for a holistic approach and did not want to cut corners,” said Copeland. “They didn’t want to deal with three, four, or five different vendors piecing together various [project] components.”
The project management team coordinated a total team effort. As cloud architects worked online, Impact Networking had people from its development group review code while the marketing group assisted with Shopify integration. The dealership custom-tailored a risk-aversion solution for the client, which needed to ship products. “They did not miss one day of shipping,” Copeland said proudly.
He added, “What they were using was outdated. We were able to redesign, change, and simplify their business process by incorporating new, more efficient technology.”
Multiple databases had to be refined and restored. As part of the ongoing system improvements, within two and a half weeks the client’s network was transformed from 85 on-site servers to employing only five Microsoft Azure cloud-hosting servers. Working backward, from ticket set-up and corporate management to the ERP staging, more than 40 subject-matter experts immersed themselves in the rebuild over a 48-hour period. One employee logged 260 hours on the project, which, in the end, proved worth the investment of time and effort.
“The new network is more scalable, easier to support, and much more secure,” noted Copeland. The Impact Networking team earned its client’s trust, sealing a $150,000-per-month deal over five years.
Impact Networking is happy, and so is its new client. “I have a CIO and CTO, and they work for Impact Networking,” said the client’s CEO. “We’re not the experts; our partner is.”