Argos, a household name, uses Xiscan to audit unauthorised
Formerly part of the GUS group, and now part of the Home
Retail Group, Argos is a catalogue retailer with a national branded high street
presence operating through 739 stores nationwide. A huge operation by any
high-street shopping standards. As well as its high street stores, Argos also
includes e-commerce, interactive television and telesales amongst its retailing
As with any other company, large or small, Argos has a
requirement to offer its clients, the public, the highest quality of service
possible - one aspect of this is a secure IT network system enabling a 'safe'
trading environment. In order to help them to achieve just that, Argos used the
Xiscan consultancy service to review and audit its modem security strategy.
Argos is a forward thinking company, both in terms of its
business strategies and its approach to the IT systems that support them;
especially when considering e-commerce is a major feature in their day-to-day
operation. As such they sought a telephone scanning product to complement their
comprehensive firewall protection - enabling them to monitor telephone access
into the organisation from external sources. Our Xiscan product proved ideal
for their requirements - easily configured to exactly meet the needs of
Available as packaged software or as a managed consultancy
service, Xiscan is written in Sun's Java 2 language. It identifies unauthorised
modems, which can provide direct and unrestricted routes into corporate IT
systems, and has been designed to rapidly scan large quantities of telephone
numbers to quickly locate these entry points. Flexibility is important and the
Argos scans were run over a few days, often in the early hours of the morning,
to avoid disruption and to maintain discretion.
Xiscan is an invaluable security tool for companies that
appreciate the very real threat unauthorised modems present. Many companies
believe that firewalls provide sufficient external access protection. Our
experience has shown that this is not the case. Firewalls form only one part of
a company's defence and need to be complemented by products such as Xiscan to
ensure an effective security policy is maintained. A network is only as secure
as its weakest link.
Thorough analysis and preparation are key to effective
telephone scanning. Prior to configuring Xiscan to perform voice and data
scans, Argos' telephone infrastructure had to be analysed. A key step was
completion of a Pre-Audit Site Survey to ensure all interested parties
understood the scope of the scanning exercise. This provided a detailed
framework for subsequent dialling schedules.
Xiscan has been welcomed by Argos and regarded as an
effective method of raising security awareness. Its comprehensive reporting
features include a management summary, telephone system survey description,
detailed scan results and future recommendations. This information has allowed
Argos to fully appreciate their telephone communication system and results have
been fed directly into the security strategy of the company.
Within any organisation; especially those dealing with
e-commerce activities, network security is paramount. Xiscan has given Argos an
opportunity to raise security awareness across all levels of the organisation.
The scanning operation has identified areas for improvement within Argos, which
have been prioritised and are now being addressed. The Xiscan programme has
underpinned the extensive security policy already being used within the
(Whilst Argos considers it has benefited from the use of
Xiscan and the skilled technical support provided, it does not endorse the
product in terms of its technical content, robustness and compatibility.)