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Citi Orient Securities Improves Efficiency and Enhances Security with BlackBerry UEM and Awingu

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The Organization

A joint venture securities company established in 2012 by Orient Securities and Citi Global Finance Asia, Citi Orient Securities is a top-tier investment bank with extensive financial expertise. Headquartered in Shanghai, it also maintains four branch offices in major financial hubs across China. Between those offices, it employs approximately 400 people.

Combining Orient Securities’ local presence with Citigroup’s global resources, Citi Orient is committed to helping clients succeed both in China and overseas. Through an integrated local and global experience, it provides a full range of financial services. These include equity financing, bond financing, mergers and acquisitions, financial advice, and business services for over-the-counter market organizations.

The Challenge

The investment banking industry is extremely competitive, and success requires not only expertise but timeliness. Even a minor delay can mean missing out on a major investment or leaving an important client dissatisfied. For that reason, Citi Orient cannot settle for anything less than exceptional where communication is concerned.

Security is the bank’s greatest stumbling point in that regard. The financial services industry is a frequent target already, with firms attacked nearly 300 times more frequently than businesses in other industries.1 Given that Citi Orient typically deals with large sums of money, this means it cannot afford to lower its guard for even a moment.

The Internet of Things only further exacerbates the issue. As with many industries, connected endpoints and devices in financial services represent considerable value – as high as $15 trillion by the end of the decade.2 At the same time, they also create a massive threat surface, and one that grows larger by the day.

Data exfiltration aside, financial institutions must also contend with issues such as attempted fraud, identity theft, and account takeovers. The tactics used to perpetrate such crimes are many and varied, ranging from social engineering and phishing to advanced, targeted attacks. As a premier investment bank, Citi Orient must prevent data breaches by protecting its assets against these threats and others.

It achieves this through a range of solutions, including a corporate VPN, intrusion detection, remote access gateways, a web application firewall, and behavioral management systems. However, the company’s leadership recently recognized that it needed to do more. They recognized that, as the firm continued to rapidly expand, it would need a way to manage and secure mobile infrastructure. 

“As investment banks, we pay a great deal of attention to data security,” notes Zhang Weimin, CTO of Citi Orient Securities. “Our security measures are incredibly comprehensive, and all solutions are chosen from among the leaders of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report. Through a recent evaluation, we identified the need for a platform capable of providing stringent security for mobile endpoints.”

The prominent issue is the security challenge brought about by the investment banking teams’ frequent travel from city to city.  At any given time, there may be as many as 400 staff working out-of-office, primarily from the IPO department. When these employees are on-site, immediate access to corporate resources is essential to meeting client needs – this is something mobility provides.

“The demand for mobile enablement was high,” says Zhang. “The team needed a package of safe, reliable, and productive solutions that enabled them to truly realize the advantages of mobility. We also sought solutions that would be easy to learn, minimizing the cost of implementation and deployment.”

Image of man standing in front of windows looking out at the city skyline

The Solution

After reviewing other endpoint management offerings on the market, including MobileIron and several local solution providers, the organization made its decision. To provide secure, remote connectivity to its mobile employees, it deployed BlackBerry® Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). Citi Orient now has a single view of its entire mobile infrastructure, coupled with the capacity to apply policy control across devices and apps.

The bank also chose to secure its mobile email with BlackBerry® Work, a powerful application that combines email, contacts, calendar, presence, document access, document editing, and more. Finally, for further remote enablement, it deployed BlackBerry® Access, a secure browser that gives general staff access to a wide range of web and intranet apps.

“BlackBerry has been involved in cybersecurity for decades, and their expertise is widely recognized by the financial services industry,” explains Zhang. “We are also pleased with Freelink Information Technology, which assisted us with the rollout of BlackBerry UEM. With nearly 10 years of experience supporting BlackBerry, its rich technical skills, high-quality service, and mobile security expertise proved invaluable.”

“To date, Freelink has supported and serviced over 100,000 BlackBerry users over the past ten years,” Zhang adds.

Citi Orient Securities also worked with BlackBerry ISV partner Awingu to securely access its legacy applications and files on mobile devices, deploying it to transaction staff, trading staff, and its IT operations department. A unified, online workstation solution, Awingu allows an organization to securely access corporate resources from directly within a secure browser. Citi Orient’s staff can now access files and run Windows® apps, Linux® apps, web apps, intranet apps, and virtualized desktops from any device. 

The BlackBerry Access browser combined with Awingu unlocks a highly competitive, disruptive and secure unified workspace solution for mobile working, B/CYOD and Server Based Computing. Awingu unlocks use of virtual desktops, Windows or Linux apps, as well as company files inside BlackBerry Access to enable mobile working without constraints.

Walter Van Uytven,
CEO, Awingu

The Results

The deployment process for both BlackBerry UEM and Awingu was smooth and seamless, resulting in several considerable gains.

Higher Efficiency and Lower Cost: Leveraging BlackBerry and Awingu, Citi Orient has sped up processes, increased efficiency, and improved overall competitiveness. Whether they need to send and receive emails, access in-house application systems, communicate with clients, or access trading systems, Citi Orient’s employees are able to do so with ease from their mobile devices. This has also made device restoration far simpler – in the past, a user would have to work directly with IT to ensure all drivers and applications were properly reinstalled.

With Awingu, they can simply access a server-side virtual desktop, which can be instantly backed up and re-initialized at any time.

Citi Orient has also leveraged BlackBerry and Awingu to enable convenient, efficient desktop client backup and recovery of key applications. This includes desktop virtualization of several vital trading systems - the Hang Seng Trading System, Shanghai and Shenzhen Clearing, and Local Currency Trading.

Finally, BlackBerry has helped Citi Orient make its system more compatible with new mobile applications, integrating them through BlackBerry® Dynamics, a secure application container. Web-based applications can further be accessed on laptops, iPads, and smartphones. This eliminates the cost associated with developing new apps, and greatly improves user enablement through easier access to new applications.

Security and Compliance: Secured by BlackBerry Dynamics, BlackBerry Work has helped Citi Orient greatly enhance its email security, reducing the risk of data leakage in the process. Employees are able to access their email accounts without needing to go through a lengthy VPN login process and without compromising security. Perhaps most importantly, Citi Orient’s solution is lightweight, easy to use, and easy to install and manage for IT.

This ease of use has had another unexpected benefit – since the implementation of BlackBerry UEM, work habits have gradually changed to align more closely with security processes and regulations. Because it is now more convenient to use safe-guarded in-house tools, business communications are now more frequently carried out via secure channels. This means that emails and other sensitive assets are now better-protected.

Future Plans: Moving forward, Citi Orient is examining the possibility of deeper integration between BlackBerry UEM and Awingu. It is considering a rollout of Awingu to its general staff, and equipping its IT maintenance team with the ability to use Awingu and BlackBerry Access to remotely log in to its servers. The organization is also interested in seeing more cybersecurity-geared AI solutions, such as situation awareness and advanced threat detection.

As noted by Zhang, BlackBerry’s acquisition of Cylance – whose expertise lies in AI and cybersecurity – will likely be a solid complement to BlackBerry’s product line.

“BlackBerry and its partners have met our high expectations at every turn,” says Zhang. “With the Cylance acquisition, it has a perfect layout in terms of endpoint security and artificial intelligence.”


Awingu has developed a unified, browser-based cloud workspace that provides secure, audited access to legacy software, web and SaaS applications, and enterprise data with minimal configuration and no client-side software installation. Based in Ghent, Belgium, Awingu also maintains offices in the United States.  

For more information, visit https://www.awingu.com

Organization Profile

Industry Financial Services
Employees +400
Location China