This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of The Record.
Founded in 1974 in Lisbon, Unicre has grown to be a successful provider of payment solutions and credit card management systems.
Several years ago, it became clear that Unicre’s legacy IT infrastructure had become too costly to maintain and manage. What’s more, it lacked the scalability that Unicre required as its business grew. At this point, Miguel Vidal, production, systems and communications manager for the company, along with chief security officer Pedro Pereira, decided to explore alternatives.
Pereira had previously hosted on Microsoft Azure, and was impressed with its high reliability, flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. “We were committed from the beginning to making a complete switch to a public-cloud environment. We were familiar and satisfied with Azure, so it was an easy choice,” he explains.
Two requirements were very important. First, the transition had to be transparent to customers, with no service interruptions. Second, the highly regulated nature of their industry – and the business risks associated with a security failure – required their applications to be completely secured against cyber threats and criminals. Compliance with EBA regulations and PCI DSS standards was critical.
Unicre chose OnepointSale as the solution provider, who recommended the Barracuda Web Application Firewall to ensure security and regulatory compliance, and set up a 90-day proof-of-concept (POC) to evaluate the product.
Paulo Saramago, IT Development Manager at OnepointSale, recommended the POC based on others’ reviews, along with the fact that the Barracuda solution was the first web application firewall available on Microsoft Azure, easily configured and deployed through the Azure Marketplace.
Working closely with Barracuda support, and with Microsoft Cloud solution architect Valério Farias, they completed the POC with no difficulties. Saramago says: “In terms of their commitment to supporting partners and resellers like OnepointSale, I would rate Barracuda as 100% excellent.”
By the end of the three-month POC deployment, Vidal, Pereira, and Saramago were satisfied that the Barracuda Web Application Firewall would effectively secure Unicre’s outward-facing applications and ensure that the company remained compliant with all regulations.
Furthermore, they were impressed with how easy it was to configure and deploy the solution within Azure. The fact that Barracuda Web Application Firewall can auto-scale right along with the Azure deployment – instantly extending protection to new instances as they are spun up – was also a big plus.
OnepointSale executed the entire transition in just three months and no Unicre customers experienced any service interruption. “To be honest, I expected the project to be more difficult,” says Vidal. “Thanks to OnepointSale’s expertise and the support we had from Barracuda and Microsoft, it ended up being surprisingly easy.”