Oetker Collection relies on DNSFilter to stop threats in real-time

International hotel chain: Oetker Collection

Oetker Collection is an exceptional portfolio of Masterpiece Hotels, Estates and Villas in Europe, the UK, Brazil and the Caribbean. Located in the world’s most desirable destinations, each property is a landmark and an icon of elegance, blending legendary hospitality with genuine family spirit that is unique to Oetker Collection. Carrying on a refined legacy in hosting that originated in 1872, the Collection’s mission is to preserve and extend its unparalleled standards through acquisition and management of one-of-a-kind properties.

Hotels have changed a lot since the 1870s. Like any other modern business, Oetker Collection’s employees use the internet to complete daily tasks, opening them up to digital threats like phishing and malware. In 2020, they moved to a new antivirus solution. Their previous antivirus software did some content filtering for them but the new solution had no filtering capabilities. This meant they needed to find a dedicated web filtering solution.

Oetker Collection sought remote security

2020 was the year that companies moved to remote work. Florian Rousselle, Head of IT at Oetker Collection said “We needed a new web filtering solution to protect our computers even when they are outside the corporate network.”

His team did a proof of concept with Cisco Umbrella, but they were “not really happy with the Roaming Client.” Cisco’s Roaming Client wasn’t working with their VPN solution, another key component of their remote infrastructure. 

Florian needed to deploy Roaming Clients to nearly 1,000 Windows devices. He needed a solution that would just work without hassle.

Discovering DNSFilter

After deciding his team couldn’t move forward with Cisco Umbrella, Florian turned to Reddit to read discussions about web filtering solutions. He found other IT professionals mentioning DNSFilter. He started his free trial, and shortly after signed.

dnsfilter interstitial page

To Florian, what set DNSFilter apart was the interstitial page feature. Though still in beta, the ability to pause DNS resolution and scan an uncategorized page before allowing a user to visit it was incredibly valuable for his team.

“This [feature] is great because in most web filtering solutions, you either decide to allow or block uncategorized websites. So if you block uncategorized websites and you have a lot of users like us, you will have a lot of complaints. A lot of support,” Florian said. The interstitial page allowed Florian to allow uncategorized websites knowing that they would be categorized once DNSFilter completed its real-time scan of the site. 

“For the security, this was really good for us.”

The Results

Florian and his team were able to get DNSFilter deployed on their networks, across all 10 hotels, in just one week. They then rolled out Roaming Clients to their 1,000 Windows devices in under 2 months.

But the biggest benefit for them was getting to see the interstitial page feature work first-hand and block uncategorized malicious domains that were distributed via a phishing email. “Two users in two different hotels received an attachment by email, so they opened the malicious attachment. And before running any malicious payload on the computer, the file tried to download the malicious payload from a new domain. This was blocked by DNSFilter because of the interstitial [page] feature.”

Oetker Collection’s IT monitoring solution reached out to alert them. “They said, ‘Two users at your company received a suspicious file. We have seen that no malicious payload was downloaded, but this was not blocked by your antivirus. Do you have something else?’ We said ‘Yes. We have DNSFilter. That’s why.’

Creating better security habits

As important as it is to have the right software in place to block threats, Oetker Collection is also dedicated to helping their employees develop better IT awareness. By using DNSFilter’s API key, Florian’s team was able to pull their network data into a proprietary IT monitoring dashboard. The intention of the tool is to help each hotel location improve its overall security. This allows managers at each location to compare what types of sites their team is accessing compared to the other hotels.

Cybersecurity education is never over, but the right tools make it easy. “If you want to deploy easily (and in a minimum of time) ...you should think about DNSFilter,” Florian said. “To protect the network...it just takes five minutes. It's really easy.”

Oetker Collection Destinations

The current portfolio includes Le Bristol Paris, Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, Château Saint-Martin & Spa in Vence, The Lanesborough London, L’Apogée Courchevel, Eden Rock-St Barths, Jumby Bay Island in Antigua, Palácio Tangará in São Paulo, The Woodward in Geneva, Hotel La Palma in Capri, and more than 150 private villas and estates around the globe.

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