An IKARUS success story.

Steyr Arms Logo

STEYR ARMS – traditional company with locations in Austrian and USA

In 1864 the young industrial pioneer Josef Werndl founded the “Josef & Franz Werndl & Company, weapon factory and sawmill in Oberletten” together with his brother, which became the foundation stone of many important high-tech companies of the present and became the home of many important innovations in the weapon industry.

Starting from its traditional location in Steyr, which also gave the company its name, today’s STEYR ARMS has developed into an international group of companies with locations in Austria and the USA. STEYR ARMS produces and distributes high-quality outdoor products worldwide, in particular hunting and sporting weapons, knives and accessories. After the merger to form Steyr Daimler Puch AG in 1934, Steyr Mannlicher became independent in 1989. On 1 January 2019, the company was renamed into STEYR ARMS.

IT Challenges

Operating an IT network with high demands on security-relevant virus protection, the challenge is to master the balancing act of a medium-sized company with around 180 employees and limited resources on the one hand, and high demands on data security, confidentiality and secrecy towards customers on the other hand. As a developer of highly sensitive weapons and the necessary manufacturing processes it is particularly worth protecting this knowledge in order to maintain the technological lead that the company has built up over many decades. This process is indispensable for market success. Therefore, it is necessary to provide an infrastructure that enables efficient work on the one hand and prevents unwanted information from being made public on the other hand.

Daily Business in the IT – it depends on the thinking as a team!

As in most companies, there are regular incidents that turn out to be harmless, but also targeted attacks, whether via email or other areas. For example, if an employee arrives early and copies large amounts of data to a local computer, the system detects an anomaly, which lands on the IT screen. In general, a large number of threats are still coming in via email. “We use a multi-level technical security concept and rely on the awareness of our colleagues,” explains Walter Hölblinger, CIO at STEYR ARMS, adding, “All our employees are well trained and work safe. In doubt, they approach us – ‘I’ve got something I’m not sure about’ – and we look at it together.” Regular training and information, formulated in a way that is comprehensible even to non-experts, motivates us not to hide anything and to communicate conspicuities openly. This is an important part of our corporate culture.

Normal versus custom threats

The market is highly competitive, especially during public tenders. In the final phase, targeted attacks might attempt to penetrate the network and access information via well-camouflaged emails. Thanks to the awareness of the development team and constant improvements in the interplay of attack and defense, even modified viruses can be detected. However, as with many other companies, there are also quite “normal” threat scenarios, a kind of “background noise”.

STEYR ARMS also attaches great importance to customer confidentiality. Whether private person or public institution – every sale and export is being checked and documented. Long before the introduction date of the DSGVO in May 2018, the company founded a data protection advisory board that meets monthly and deals with relevant topics.

Cultural differences in the USA

Speaking of data protection: America generally has a different approach, the topic is less pronounced than in the EU. Nevertheless, a framework for IT security was provided. The purpose of this written policy is to understand why different things should be avoided and to bring cultures together. A balancing act with the aim of not obstructing processes and yet providing a framework that is accepted by all. A learning process on both sides!

Cooperation with IKARUS Security Software

The trigger for the decision to work with IKARUS was an acute incident in which the antivirus solution used at the time did not take effect and did not strike either the gateway or the client. One of the few solutions that ultimately worked was IKARUS. “The cooperation with IKARUS and the service worked very well from the very first contact. You feel that you are not one of many customers, but you are taken seriously”, reports Walter Hölblinger: “I particularly like the fact that I really receive only relevant information and am not spammed with unnecessary offers. I feel that I am in very good hands.” The feeling of having to sell something under pressure and everything is done after the deal is closed does not arise – on the contrary: If there is a better solution in the next quarter, this is explicitly pointed out. STEYR ARMS has been using various IKARUS solutions for more than five years now, starting with an antivirus solution.