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Published: 3rd April 2023 | In: Insights

As the largest operator of open-top sightseeing bus tours in the world, Big Bus Tours helps over 5 million people explore some of the most famous cities on Earth every year. Tourists can hop on and hop off to visit the main highlights in cities across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

Although it was successfully growing its business across four continents, the company acknowledged that it needed to overhaul its out-of-date and inadequate cyber security to protect its assets and its customer data. So when it was forced to freeze its services during the coronavirus pandemic, the IT team took the opportunity to simplify the whole security infrastructure, consolidating to a Microsoft security stack by June 2022.

Searching for the perfect partner

Part-way through the transformation programme they set out to find a qualified cyber security partner to protect their private equity-owned international business from the growing threats posed by cybercriminals to every organisation in any industry. They were specifically looking for a Security Operations Centre (SOC) to monitor and respond to any suspicious incidents across their IT estate around the clock.

Initially expecting this to be a fairly straightforward and easy exercise, they soon discovered they had to search high and low for a trusted Microsoft-first cyber security expert that could offer a simple, transparent service relevant to their needs. With a relatively small IT and security team, the company wanted to know exactly what security benefits and value they would receive for their investment.

However, despite a number of companies willing to work with them, it eventually took eight months for Big Bus Tours to identify the ideal UK-based partner that could deliver a service tailored to their needs and offer a fair price and sensible payment model to match. Quorum Cyber’s services and strong partnership approach was instantly very appealing.

Professional services with a simple, transparent pricing model

“It was the perfect fit,” says Dave Knowles, Chief Technology Officer for Big Bus Tours. “We found other companies to be very complicated to deal with – they just wouldn’t give us straight answers to our questions. Companies were trying to sell us things we didn’t need. It was a painful, frustrating experience and wasted a lot of our time.”

Before approaching Quorum Cyber, the tourism company’s cyber security set-up consisted of many different products and platforms from multiple vendors, making it laborious and time-consuming for the team to manage. Having started the transformation programme to consolidate their estate and move to a Microsoft-first environment, they needed a security partner who could support them on their journey and bring the right expertise to complement their own.

“One of the largest challenges we have is communicating with our diverse international team members – who aren’t all tech-savvy – to ensure they have adequate cyber security awareness training and don’t fall for the carefully crafted phishing emails we see,” explains Dave.

Feeling more confident after just the first conversation, Big Bus Tours signed up for the Microsoft Sentinel Managed Detection & Response (MDR) service. It’s run by Quorum Cyber’s SOC team who apply a combination of human ingenuity, knowledge and creativity backed by automated software to monitor an organisation’s entire IT estate.

Protection, confidence and peace of mind

“We feel that Quorum Cyber truly understands the ongoing threat landscape and protects our Chairman, C-suite and wider team from potentially dangerous phishing emails and other threats,” Dave continues. “Their team is very knowledgeable with their delivery, so we feel really confident in our security maturity and that we’re being looked after. I sleep much sounder knowing we have the Quorum Cyber team looking after us.”

Big Bus Tours’ short- to mid-term security goal is to maintain, or improve upon, the previous security score they were awarded in the parent company’s security assessment. This is against a more unstable geopolitical climate during the past 12 months when cyber incidents have increased in frequency and complexity.

The company is looking forward to building on what the partnership has achieved so far. “The next step is for Quorum Cyber to help us be more proactive in our security operations and assist us in making the progress we’ve made just business as usual.”

Microsoft Solutions

  • Microsoft Sentinel
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps