With the corporate philosophy of “Bringing more smiles and more happiness to the world”, Partner Agent Inc. (hereinafter “Partner Agent”), continues to create high added value as an innovator in the marriage services industry. It’s approach. caused a stir in the conventional marriage services industry which has a track record of excessive pre payments and low success rates. Partner Agent has shaken up the industry with considerable acclaim as being number one in the industry for its high success rate and exceeding customer satisfaction levels.

The underlying reason for the company’s rapid advancement is due to its concierge service comprising of supervisors with special coaching skills, and its web-based service platform. Partner Agent has created a new business with a B2B platform that is provided to partners and other corporations. In the process of creating a system which is efficient and secure and capable of guaranteed protection of its web applications, it took notice of Imperva’s SecureSphere. Partner Agent, convinced of its effectiveness as the only solution providing integrated web and database security, decided to go with Imperva. By adopting it into its core system it was able to secure very significant results.

Deployment details: WAF guaranteed security becomes indispensable as Partner Agent expands into B2B

Partner Agent, providing a full suite of marriage related services from the introduction of prospective marriage partners, on through to various marriage-related get togethers, right on up to intermediary services and the actual wedding, is entrusted with extremely personal details about its clients. For this very reason it went from the system it had originally developed to a next generation UTM (unified threat management) system as part of its security strategy. For the marriage services industry doing business through a website is now quite commonplace and a reliable IT system has become an important part of the business infrastructure.

As the business undergoes rapid expansion, the number of new features provided and their constant upgrading have given rise to new problems. Yuji Tajima, Leader of the Information Systems Department at Partner Agent, tells us about the situation at the time his company underwent these changes.

“A B2B-style service was planned to make the Partner Agent system available to other partner enterprises so they could use it for their marriage services. This process required a much more robust and dependable security approach, especially for the protection of web applications. And in order to have our partner enterprises feel safe about using our system, we needed a security solution with such a good reputation that the mere mention of its name alone would alleviate any worries the client might have.” In selecting a security product, the requirements that came up, in addition to a web application firewall (WAF), were brand name value and ease of operation. “Actually, at Partner Agent, in order to quickly develop new features and make them available to our customers, all of our system development and operation needs are taken care of in-house. For our in-house supervisor it was imperative to have a security solution that could be operated easily with limited resources.”

In the process of selecting products that met our conditions, there were two possible candidates, including Imperva. We contacted each company and while gathering information learned about the Imperva SecureSphere UUT (Universal User Tracking) solution with WAF and database integrated security management. Imperva’s integrated security management system including data, that combines the SecureSphere WAF web application firewall product and DAM (Database Activity Monitoring) was a very appealing product that actually surpassed the security solution we originally had in mind.

Imperva was chosen because it offers absolute protection of important customer information through the UUT integrated security management system incorporating WAF+DB

Ordinarily, when using databases on websites, the account used for accessing the database has a common ID for the entire system, thereby making it impossible to have integrated management of the transactions of the user who accessed the website. The UUT (Universal User Tracking) feature in Imperva’s SecureSphere, however, allows you to manage web access and database access by tying them together. The core component of this feature, DAM, not only gives you database access logs, if you set the policy
beforehand and there is unauthorized access, an alert is issued and access can be blocked. This not only allows you to manage the access trail, but also makes it possible to protect against information leaks from the database.

“For our company, the protection of our customers’ data is our ultimate concern so the DAM feature which lets you thoroughly protect and monitor databases was the biggest differentiating factor. This function, along with UUT which offers a web application firewall feature through the SecureSphere WAF, were the deciding factors in selecting Imperva.” (Yuji Tajima)

On December 25, 2014, Partner Agent officially introduced Imperva SecureSphere and put it into actual operation as the security infrastructure for supporting its service platform.

Results: Partner enterprises feel secure, database access functionality has been optimized, monitoring has been unified, and high operational efficiency has enabled absolute security.

In the last two and a half years, Imperva SecureSphere has proven itself to produce results that exceeded expectations. Mr. Tajima had this to say about the overall results.

“Our B2B partner enterprises naturally felt at ease when we said we were using Imperva for security monitoring for our partner enterprises and the confirmation process went ahead smoothly. What we did not expect was the DAM’s detailed analysis of the database access status made it clear that the SQL text issued to the database from the application had room for improvement. In other words, tuning the system to permit more appropriate database access led to an unexpectedly great result.”

Performance deterioration that arises when the volume of data increases rapidly to accommodate business expansion, can rock the very foundation of the service industry. Mr. Tajima anticipated that using the UUT could give them an accurate assessment of the situation, was able in a short period of time to restore the performance level. This was an unexpected major benefit of using Imperva.

Using the Imperva solution also produced very good results regarding the most important issues, that is web access control with the WAF, and reliable database protection, monitoring, and management with DAM.

“Through our B2B enterprise partners, there were various improvements to security, such as measures against brute force attacks and stopping cross-site scripting. These are thought to be due to Imperva’s quick and easy countermeasures. As a unique approach, a honey pot trap was set, and the instigator would be blocked and blacklisted if attacked. This too was made possible thanks to Imperva.

Good results from the perspective of comprehensive monitoring were also very apparent. “One of the major benefits of the Imperva solution was the integrated management of web access and database access monitoring logs. SecureSphere alone enables monitoring management and reporting for both web and database access, not only bringing greater operational efficiency but also enhancing analysis speed and performance, which is extremely important.”

Even from the point of view of Mr. Tajima, who was with a firm specializing in network security prior to joining Partner Agent, the Imperva solution has proven to be very effective. Looking at the overall results, he emphasizes that, “ Imperva, apart from blocking all security threats, alerts us immediately of any imminent danger without us having to constantly keep our eyes on the console. Assigning a number of full-time staff to handle security would be very problematic so the fact that Imperva can provide highly reliable and easily managed security, even with our limited resources, and can protect our critical customer data, I feel are its greatest merits.”

Future Prospects: Further enhanced overall security monitoring and surveillance

The results Partner Agent gained by introducing Imperva SecureSphere were either as hoped or beyond expectation, and they are now looking into further enhancing their system security for the future.

“Thanks to Imperva, our web and database access monitoring and security measures have been more than adequate, but in the future we plan to use such things as security patches so we can move from a manual to a more systematized approach. In this way we hope to further strengthen our monitoring and auditing capabilities for overall enhanced security.” (Yuji Tajima)

Partner Agent continues to move forward as an innovator in the marriage services industry. And Imperva SecureSphere, which provides guaranteed security support for its business platform, the company’s core infrastructure, has already become indispensible.