West Bend Mutual Insurance Protects Sensitive Data With NSX

More than 120 years ago, a fire roared through the city of West Bend, Wisconsin, destroying an entire commercial block and devastating this bustling Midwestern town north of Milwaukee. Local residents felt out-of-town insurers were price gouging the victims of the fire and, as a result, a new local company, West Bend Mutual Insurance (WBMI), was formed to provide cost-effective insurance for families and local residents. WBMI gained a reputation for its honest approach, and over the next century the firm grew steadily to serve the needs of an expanding customer base. Today, WBMI is a billion dollar company offering insurance services across the Midwest, including auto, home, identity theft, renters insurance, workers’ compensation, and loss prevention.

The Business of Risk

As WBMI grew, the company needed to modernize its business in order to stay competitive. Additionally, because insurance is a highly regulated industry, protecting customer data and mitigating risk were key priorities.

“We are in the business of managing risk, so it only makes sense for us to look both externally, as we create products to manage risk, and internally at how we manage our own risk,” says Brandon Hahn, solutions architect at West Bend Mutual Insurance.

To both protect the company’s most valuable data and hasten its own digital transformation, WBMI turned to network virtualization with VMware NSX.

“Digital technology is playing a huge role at West Bend as we look at transforming our business and being able to respond much quicker to the insurance marketplace, our customers, and our agents,” says Hahn. “NSX has been huge for us as a core part of our security strategy, as it enables us to mitigate the risk to sensitive business data that we need to service our customers as efficiently as possible.”

Rapid Deployment

Because WBMI set an aggressive schedule to adopt NSX, the company also relied on VMware Professional Services to accelerate implementation and avoid common pitfalls.

NSX allowed WBMI to define the company’s security policy in a single place and implement consistent security protocols across the company. NSX not only provided preventive security measures, denying access to unauthorized systems, but it also provided a secondary level of security, called micro-segmentation, that makes it difficult for malicious hackers to propagate through company systems even after an initial breach.

“When we looked at the cost for data breaches, the average cost was $215 per record,” says Hahn. “When you look at the number of records we need as a business to function, that number climbs very large, very quickly.”

VMware NSX network virtualization platform not only helped a hundred-year-old company transform its business, it also gave the venerable insurer additional means to protect sensitive data, further accentuating a reputation of trust that West Bend Mutual Insurance has relied upon since its founding.

Watch the video to learn more about the benefits NSX brought to West Bend Mutual Insurance.