Web Application Firewall and Single-Sign-on for Helvetia

Helvetia is an internationally active Swiss insurance company that looks back on a 160-year track record of success and customer satisfaction as an all-lines insurer.


«Standard authentication methods and federations can easily be integrated into the solution.»

Peter Imhof, Chief Information Security Officer, Helvetia Group

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The project

Helvetia has been a frontrunner in transposing its services and processes to web applications. But the convenience this digitalization created for customers, partners and Helvetia staff was naturally accompanied by a heightened vulnerability of the highly sensitive and now online business processes to internal and external attacks.

  • The goal: To set up protective network components and access mechanisms that not only fulfill strict security and compliance specifications, but also are able to meet the integration and operating requirements under a high data load and for a large number of users, including 6000 internal staff and up to 20'000 customers and partners.
  • The process: nevisProxy, a component of the NEVIS Security Suite, was installed as a secure reverse proxy with its integrated web application firewall (WAF). nevisProxy serves as a primary central entry point for all web traffic to the online services, thus controlling user access and protecting the web applications from attacks of all kinds. The convenient access of customers, partners and staff to services has been maintained by integrating Helvetia's web applications in a company-wide single sign-on (SSO), provided by nevisAuth, another component of the NEVIS Security Suite, which supports a wide range of authentication measures and technologies. Accordingly, access to the web applications is managed centrally.
  • The result: A state-of-the-art security portal that withstands even the most sophisticated threats without sacrificing operability nor user convenience. The seamless interaction between nevisProxy and nevisAuth forms the foundation of a consolidated security infrastructure with support for Java- and Microsoft-based technologies and a total of four authentication mechanisms (SAML with different bindings, password/userID, Kerberos, and 2-factor authentication with mTAN). By uniting numerous platforms, technologies and applications, the central access management infrastructure enables a rapid SSO integration of new partners and customers.

Technologies used:

  • Nevis components: nevisProxy, nevisAdmin 4 and nevisAuth
  • SAML
  • Java EE

The benefits

Benefits for Helvetia Group:

  • Effective protection for all externally accessible web applications
  • Increased security for Helvetia's website
  • Integration of several platforms and technologies
  • Implementation of web SSO for customers, partners and internal users
  • Integration of Helvetia with IG-B2B (portal of Swiss insurance brokers)
  • Flexible integration of additional external partner companies via identity federation

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‹‹Helvetia now has a powerful infrastructure to give partners and customers secure and convenient access to our applications. Furthermore, creating new access accounts is efficient, cost-effective and does not require any adjustments to the applications››
Harald Müller, Head of Web Access Services, Helvetia Group

The customer

In over 160 years, the Helvetia Group has grown into a successful international insurance group. Helvetia is one of the leading all-line insurers in its home market of Switzerland. With the countries Germany, Italy, Austria and Spain, which have been combined to form the Market Area Europe, the company has a second strong pillar. With its Specialty Markets market area, Helvetia is also present in France and in selected regions worldwide. Some of its investment and financing activities are managed through subsidiaries and fund companies in Luxembourg. The Group is headquartered in St.Gallen, Switzerland.

 

Helvetia is active in the life and non-life business, and also offers customised specialty lines and reinsurance cover. With some 11,500 employees, the company provides services to more than 7 million customers.

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Contact us – we are pleased to help!

Should you have questions or wish to talk to an experienced advisor, contact us – we will be pleased to help.

Dominique Schneider Managing Director Insurance

Stéphane Petit Key Account Manager