Cynthia Lawton

06.10.2021

Lightstream Managed Services designs and implements Fortinet SD-WAN and Cortex XDR from Palo Alto Networks to help the company shift from MPLS, lower network costs, and improve endpoint security.

Business Challenge

A large global automotive supplier, like many organizations, faced uncertainty in March 2020. No one could predict the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic or estimate the effect it would have on the company’s global revenue. This put pressure on the company’s budgets, and leaders across the organization searched for ways to lower costs.

For the IT organization, this effort involved assessing the company’s global IT operations, identifying trouble spots, and exploring new technologies both to lower costs and to improve service delivery. One area that quickly stood out was the wide-area network (WAN).

The company relied on a private MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) wide-area network with centralized network-based firewalls, all managed by a large, global telecommunications provider. The provider staffed the network operations center (NOC) and owned service delivery for everything outbound from the routers at each site, including all network circuits and bandwidth.

When prioritizing projects to pursue, the WAN was a logical place to start. The MPLS network was expensive, and the company had been experiencing operational problems and network outages. For years, the company had two different service providers—one managing their WAN and another managing their security operations center (SOC)—and the two organizations often struggled to work together cohesively. Changes often were made by one provider without coordinating with the other, and these sometimes caused loss of service, degraded performance, or security gaps that lasted for weeks as the two providers tried to resolve the problems.

Solution

To address these challenges, the company sought proposals for an SD-WAN (software-defined wide-area network) solution. The company’s IT leaders believed SD-WAN technology offered many attractive benefits and would be a lower-cost alternative to their existing MPLS network.

At the beginning, the company wanted an SD-WAN proposal with centralized network-based firewalls similar to their current WAN configuration. But as Lightstream experts met with the company and discussed SD-WAN capabilities, they were convinced a centralized architecture wasn’t the best fit. Instead, the Lightstream team proposed placing firewalls at the edge. This allowed local access to internet and third party providers, as opposed to channeling traffic through a central site, which lowered the risk of bottlenecks and outages.

The company agreed with the design recommendation. Lightstream submitted a design placing Fortinet firewalls with SD-WAN at the edge in a high availability configuration, which included two firewalls and two circuits at each site, along with full managed services for the devices.

As discussions with the company continued, the topic of security came up. The company had struggled for years with problems caused by having two different services providers, one managing the WAN and the other managing security.

Lightstream solved this problem by proposing full managed services for the SD-WAN network. This included the network operations center (NOC), the security operations center (SOC), and the management of the firewalls. Doing this meant one provider would be responsible for coordinating changes, identifying problems, and resolving issues with the WAN.

The company liked the solution, and Lightstream was selected over several competitors. After six weeks of engineering work, the new SD-WAN architecture was implemented.

During this same time, the company decided to explore a new endpoint security solution for its 3,000 devices. Symantec was the company’s current provider. The contract with Symantec was nearing expiration, and the company was looking for a replacement solution that provided full endpoint detection and response (EDR) capability.

Lightstream proposed Cortex XDR from Palo Alto Networks with full managed services as the replacement for Symantec and was awarded the contract, beating out several large EDR solution providers. The company required an aggressive implementation—3,000 devices across the globe in less than six weeks. Lightstream not only met the aggressive timeline, but also exceeded expectations by turning on all 3,000 devices two weeks ahead of schedule.

Business Outcomes

More Cohesive WAN Service Delivery

By reducing the number of service providers from two to one, the company was able to eliminate delays caused by conflicting actions and priorities. Since Lightstream is responsible for managing the network operations center (NOC), the security operations center (SOC), the Fortinet firewalls, and the Palo Alto Cortex XDR endpoints, changes are coordinated and problems are quickly identified and resolved. This has simplified service delivery for the company and eliminated problems caused by lack of communication.

Reduced Risk

Redesigning the WAN lowered the risk of outages to the business. By placing firewalls at the edge instead of centralizing them, the company was able to improve service performance and reduce the chance of an outage impacting a large number of users.

A More Modern, Lower Cost Wide-Area Network

The implementation of SD-WAN modernized the company’s wide-area network. The company can now take advantage of the core benefits of SD-WAN technology—lower-cost bandwidth, support for cloud-based apps, improved agility, and more—at each of the company’s global locations.

Enhanced Endpoint Security Protection

Selecting Cortex XDR from Palo Alto Networks enhances the company’s endpoint security. With Cortex XDR, the company receives a full detection and response solution, enabling them to leverage threat intelligence, identify threats early, and respond to them before widespread problems can occur.

Contact Information

To learn more about how Lightstream Managed Services can help you architect, implement, and manage an SD-WAN that meets your business needs, visit Lightstream.tech.

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Cynthia Lawton

06.10.2021

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