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Florida Crystals improves efficiency of Security Operations by 122%

The world’s largest refinery of sugar cane, Florida Crystals, saves over $100K in security costs with ReliaQuest by reducing the complexity of its security program.

Securing an Expanding Organization

Florida Crystals Corporation is the world’s largest refinery of sugar cane, earning 5 to 6 billion dollars in annual revenue. With a workforce of around 15,000, the business involves both a refinery element and substantial sales to global food and beverage manufacturers.

As Florida Crystals has grown, so has its need for an advanced security platform that can support its expanding business. The Florida Crystals security operations team sought to partner with an organization that could force-multiply its members and enable the company to effectively scale security operations for its maturing business. “We don’t have time to be triaging hundreds of security incidents in a month,” said Christine Vanderpool, chief information security officer for Florida Crystals. “We have to be laser-focused.”

Freeing the Security Operations Team to Focus on Strategic Initiatives

Before partnering with ReliaQuest, the Florida Crystals security team was fighting an uphill battle as they found themselves manually triaging security events – seeing over 16 billion from their SIEM in one quarter alone – leaving few resources to concentrate on strategic security initiatives.

ReliaQuest GreyMatter, a cloud-native security operations platform built on an Open XDR architecture, has freed up the Florida Crystals security team to, as Vanderpool states, “focus more on the strategy of security.” Instead of spending valuable time on manual tasks, they can focus on initiatives such as enabling business growth by bringing all operational technology under one IT umbrella.

Their hard work and the partnership with ReliaQuest have paid off – according to the GreyMatter Security Model Index, Florida Crystals has improved its security team performance by 122% since becoming a ReliaQuest customer. This is largely due to the 77% reduction in noise thanks to automated investigation with GreyMatter’s Intelligent Analysis capabilities.

Streamlining Security Operations’ Results with Improved Response Times

As an always-on manufacturer of one of the world’s most sought-after products, Florida Crystals takes cybersecurity very seriously. Any disruption to Florida Crystals’ business could trigger supply-chain issues that would ripple across the globe.

For a highly targeted company like Florida Crystals, Vanderpool knows that the ability to quickly respond to threats is the number-one most critical responsibility of a CISO. Before becoming a ReliaQuest customer, very few automation capabilities coupled with very little context around incidents translated into a mean time to respond (MTTR) for Florida Crystals that was worse than industry averages, sometimes taking weeks to reach resolution. Now, ReliaQuest GreyMatter’s contextual threat intelligence has helped the team drop MTTR by an astonishing 95% – from nearly three weeks to three days – despite an overall increase in alert volume.

“We use a variety of tools in our security program, including Splunk, SentinelOne, and Microsoft. With GreyMatter, my team doesn’t have to do a lot of chair swiveling; we can see everything happening on one platform, which has enabled us to quickly identify and respond to threats.”

Gaining Visibility and Insight to Better Manage Risk

Vanderpool believes an ongoing critical cybersecurity challenge is the “people challenge;” in other words, ensuring that every one of the 15,000 or so employees understands that they, too, are accountable for the company’s security. “No one wants to be the so-called patient zero,” says Vanderpool. Utilizing security program performance metrics from ReliaQuest allows Vanderpool’s group to consistently communicate security challenges and goals with the company’s employees – thereby addressing the people challenge head-on.

Not only is Florida Crystals managing risk better by improving their people challenge, but the increase in visibility has deeply affected how they operate. Before ReliaQuest, the team struggled to clearly understand their security risk. Specifically, they wanted to identify key metrics and benchmarks and better understand where they stood against perceived threats.

Now, by mapping to the MITRE ATT&CK framework and ReliaQuest Risk Scenarios, Florida Crystals has developed a better sense of its standing against the threats most critical to its business – which has enabled the company to increase its security posture by 44%, according to ReliaQuest’s Security Model Index. As Vanderpool shares, “Giving us visibility and insight so that we can see – where are we falling short? Where are we exceeding? Where can we invest more? Where can we make smarter decisions? Bringing insight of the full end-to-end process has been critical for improvement.”

Florida Crystals has achieved outstanding results in its partnership with ReliaQuest – simultaneously maturing its security program while reducing yearly costs. According to Vanderpool, “Using ReliaQuest ultimately allowed us to reduce yearly security costs by at least $100K. This is money that can now be redeployed for other cybersecurity projects that will support business growth.”

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With GreyMatter, my team doesn’t have to do a lot of chair swiveling; we can see everything happening on one platform, which has enabled us to quickly identify and respond to threats.

Christine Vanderpool

CISO for Florida Crystals

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