Plus500 delivers a proprietary digital platform that enables retail customers to trade contracts for difference (CFD) internationally. Founded in 2008 with offices across the world, the company has more than 430,000 active customers who collectively traded upwards of $1.7 trillion in 2020 across more than 2,500 global financial instruments, including equities, indices, commodities, options, ETFs, foreign exchange, and cryptocurrencies.
After acquiring two companies in the United States in 2021, Plus500 plans to offer trading opportunities to U.S. customers while entering the futures and options on futures market for the first time.
The Challenge: Managing a Complex Global Remote Environment
In 2009, Idan Mashaal joined Plus500 as the director of information technology and was tasked with designing the company’s network infrastructure. Right out of the gate, Mashaal — who’s now the company’s director of cybersecurity — decided to build bottom-up work from home capabilities into Plus500’s footprint because the company was aiming to expand internationally.
Although Plus500 was a Windows shop at the time, Mashaal — who prefers Mac and Linux devices — didn’t treat it as one.
“I didn’t lean into Active Directory, and that was hard because it’s easy to deploy and easy to manage,” Mashaal said. “But I didn’t want to use it because we needed to connect offices across regions of the world with VPNs, and it would be too much of a headache to do authentication or deploy software. So, I had to build out some custom tools and scripts to work around that.”
To make life easier, Mashaal moved the Plus500 team from Exchange to Google Workspace, and during this transition, Mashaal had an epiphany.
“I was like, ‘Why can’t I assume that Google will be my Active Directory?’” Mashaal explained. “‘Why can’t I control my devices from Google?’”
The Solution: The Long Awaited Discovery of JumpCloud
At the time, that capability didn’t exist. But Mashaal knew it would emerge at some point, and he decided to wait it out.
“That decision made life very difficult because we were growing and growing and I had no domain controller,” Mashaal said, “I had no capability to control my endpoints in a standard way.”
As a workaround, Mashaal created a GPO internally. But once Plus500 began adding Macs into the mix, he realized he needed a complete solution that enabled him to easily manage all devices.
After sifting through some potential solutions — including Okta and OneLogin — and deciding that they didn’t make sense for Plus500’s use case, Mashaal ultimately came across JumpCloud, which had just added the capabilities he needed.
“Every quarter, I was researching the market to see what tools were available. Finally, I was like, ‘Okay, now we’re talking,’” Mashaal continued. “This is what I’ve been looking for since 2012.”
After a quick proof of concept, Mashaal was able to easily convince Plus500’s current IT manager that JumpCloud was the perfect solution to their problem. Shortly thereafter, they rolled out JumpCloud to 150 users in their offices in Haifa and Tel-Aviv, Israel, and they haven’t looked back since.
The Results: Happy Employees and Secure Systems
Fast-forward to today, and Plus500 now has roughly 500 users on JumpCloud. Thanks to JumpCloud, onboarding new users is painless. “It’s as easy as you think: We just install the agent,” Mashaal said. “That’s it.” Offboarding is also a cinch, too; all it takes is one click to revoke access.
At the highest level, JumpCloud makes life easier for Plus500’s employees. “They feel empowered because now they can get to their tasks,” Mashaal explained. Beyond that, JumpCloud has delivered a number of additional benefits, which we’ll examine below.
The Plus500 team planned to finish deploying JumpCloud during the first quarter of 2020, but when March rolled around, the pandemic added a new layer to consider — remote users.
“I didn’t let that bother me because we had a plan,” Mashaal continued. “It took us another six months, but we were migrating people to JumpCloud while they were at home.”
Of course, migrating users to JumpCloud while they were working from home was not without risk. If something went wrong during the process, they could potentially lock remote users out of the company’s systems and wouldn’t be able to send anyone to help physically.
We designed the migration from an employee experience perspective, which proved successful as we didn’t encounter any issues. We took a lot of risks, but we found the perfect flow, which allows us to deploy JumpCloud in any scenario. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t.Idan Mashaal, Director of Cybersecurity
Endpoint management on a global scale
Thanks to JumpCloud, Plus500 is able to easily manage users in countries across the world, including Australia, Cyprus, Singapore, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“Let’s say I need to push something, a policy. We found a bug in some tool that we’re using and we need to push a registry key to fix it,” Mashaal explained. “You just click a button and that’s it. Thank you very much, we’ll talk later, it’s done.”
Looking ahead, any new subsidiary Plus500 acquires will be onboarded to JumpCloud right away.
The Plus500 team has particularly enjoyed JumpCloud’s flexibility, which enables them to easily create and push custom policies.
“When we onboarded, it was very easy to start using our own scripts using JumpCloud command runners,” Mashaal explained. “It made our Windows build super, super, super easy.”
One day, the team noticed an interesting bug where someone synced a file with a long path in Google Drive, and users couldn’t see it on Windows because the path was too long. Plus500 was able to solve this problem — and ensure it wouldn’t happen again — with custom policies.
“We said, ‘You know what? Let’s be proactive. We’re just going to push it as a policy for all our computers because we don’t want to be bothered with that issue again. So we created a custom policy, saved it, pushed it, and forgot about it.”
In the age of remote work, Mashaal knew he had to take proactive steps to keep company data and property protected. To this end, he wanted to ensure all employee devices were encrypted. Using custom policies in JumpCloud, he was able to make that happen.
“We got our report back saying certain computers can’t be encrypted because they’re too old,” Mashaal said. “So instead of changing and choosing computers by date, I’m now replacing computers that I can’t encrypt.”
Plus500 also uses JumpCloud’s multi-factor authentication (MFA) capabilities across Google instances, adding another layer of security to user identities.
Successful Merger and Acquisition Using JumpCloud
In July 2021, Plus500 announced that its acquisition of U.S.-based Cunningham was complete. According to Mashaal, JumpCloud played a pivotal role throughout the process.
We did a merger and acquisition, and JumpCloud was a very important part of it. We were able to manage all the servers and desktops of the company we purchased in a way that ticked all the boxes of compliance and cybersecurity. When you do an acquisition, there are challenges and risks. Thanks to JumpCloud, we were able to make a big headache small.Idan Mashaal, Director of Cybersecurity
A final comment that Mashaal wanted to add:
“We’re using every feature the platform can provide.”
Learn More About JumpCloud
JumpCloud changes the way IT administrators manage their organizations by providing a comprehensive and flexible cloud directory platform. From one pane of glass, manage user identities and resource access, secure Mac, Windows, and Linux devices, and get a full view of your environment.
Get started with JumpCloud today.