A Streaming Video Platform & Production Company Cuts Costs and Enhances the User Experience with Help from AWS CloudFront and Lightstream

The company achieves financial and performance optimization via CloudFront and Lightstream Cloud Managed Services

Business Challenge

A budding streaming content and production studio with a growing number of subscribers based throughout the world is dedicated to providing customers with the best viewing experience possible while keeping an eye on its bottom line. Company leadership made the right choice in utilizing content delivery networks, or CDNs, to take advantage of their high availability and performance benefits. CDNs put the streaming content physically closer to subscribers via a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers.

The company had many of its workloads housed in AWS  but was using a competing CDN provider to deliver its streaming content. Around 2016, it became evident to the organization’s leadership that they were spending an exorbitant amount on CDN services. Moreover, performance in certain areas of the world wasn’t as fast or efficient as it could be due to the nature of the CDN provider’s edge locations. On the brink of launching a new global streaming series, the company was looking for new ways to streamline content delivery as well as improve the day-to-day management of its multi-cloud environment.

Solution

Lightstream’s specialized engineers analyzed the company’s AWS environment against technical and operational best practices and identified areas for financial, operational and security optimization. Lightstream is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and provides the company with ongoing cloud advisory services through its Cloud Managed Services offering.

With the launch of the new streaming series in mind, it was determined that part of the financial and performance optimization involved creating a pathway from the company’s original CDN to Amazon CloudFront to accommodate large data transfer at a lower cost and integrating it with other AWS services. Lightstream worked with the company to understand the benefits of switching to CloudFront for the streaming series’ future traffic, which delivers content to end users with lower latency using a global network of 225+ Points of Presence (215+ Edge locations and 13 regional mid-tier caches) in 90 cities across 47 countries. Using CloudFront on AWS lowers customers’ data-out charges in comparison with competitors. It also leverages Amazon’s highly resilient, fully redundant, global backbone network for superior performance and availability for end users.

Partnering with Lightstream for CMS also allows the company to tap into Lightstream’s expertise on the latest and greatest AWS offerings. AWS is constantly adding new capabilities so users can leverage cutting-edge technologies to experiment and innovate more quickly. Staying on top of this became burdensome and time consuming for the company’s in-house IT professionals. With Lightstream Cloud Managed Services, a team of cloud and security experts helps continually optimize the financial, security, technology, and operational aspects of a company’s AWS cloud. When specific issues like CDN optimization arise, the Lightstream team is already on hand to recommend best practices and drive successful outcomes.

Business Outcomes

Since CloudFront is an AWS solution, the service is bundled into the company’s overall AWS usage. Supported by Lightstream, this gave the organization leverage to negotiate better rates than it had been paying with its previous CDN. CloudFront’s cost-efficient and customizable pay-as-you-go model resulted in greater financial optimization since the company no longer had to pay high data-out transfer fees to deliver the new streaming series globally.

With Lightstream, the company was able to successfully re-route the streaming series’ content to CloudFront. Thanks to the success of the series, CloudFront’s monthly usage has grown from 2 PB to 10 PB without an exponential increase in cost the company would have experienced with the competitor’s CDN. CloudFront’s global network of edge locations has also improved content delivery and performance to certain areas of the world. Its flexibility enables the company to easily scale up and down with subscriber demand.

With Lightstream Cloud Managed Services, a team of experts consistently analyzes the company’s technology spend and performance and guides them toward greater financial savings as well as enhanced operational and security measures.

Contact Information

To find out how Lightstream can help your business implement Amazon CloudFront and integrate it with other AWS services or to learn more about how Lightstream Cloud Managed Services can support the successful migration and optimization of your cloud environments, fill out the information-request form on this page.

SOC 2 is the answer – but whose problem is it?

SOC 2 is, with increasing regularity, becoming the go-to certification requirement for companies who handle their customers’ data. SOC 2 is the first step to sales discussions, contracts, and revenue – yet it’s completely misunderstood. Lightstream V.P. of Security Strategy Rafal Los and JustProtect Founder & CEO Vikas Bhatia will de-complify what it takes to achieve certification, and why it’s more about process maturity and evidence than technology.

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High-Stakes Software Company Optimizes its AWS Cloud Environment with help from Lightstream

Lightstream’s Cloud Managed Services empowers the company with enhanced visibility, security, configuration and a 20% savings in overall cloud spend

Business Challenge

A leading developer of governance, risk management, and compliance software solutions was housing most of its infrastructure within Amazon Web Services (AWS). Migrating to the cloud made it easy for the company to procure and spin-up resources quickly in real time, increasing their agility and innovation and giving them an edge over the competition. Security was of utmost importance, with high-profile customers frequently exchanging extremely confidential documents and assets. The cloud gave the company a secure global portal and facilitated communication and collaboration between customers and IP.

While the focus on advanced technology and security had always been a top priority, service procurement and spending visibility had become increasingly challenging as the company’s cloud usage expanded along with its global footprint. Employees across all areas of the company utilized AWS cloud services for their daily operations, resulting in a high monthly expenditure that was exceeded only by payroll. The organization was using dozens of AWS services and constantly flexing up and down to meet ever-changing demands.

Getting an accurate picture of their cloud spend had become very difficult as their cloud infrastructure had become more complex. Despite a broad client base and significant investment into multiple cloud services across AWS, the company received a single monthly invoice offering no insight into what cloud resources were being used and who was using them. This inability to delineate costs and analyze spending made for a hugely complicated client billing process. Moreover, the lack of visibility and control was causing the company’s financial and IT leaders to question the efficiency of their cloud usage and spend.

Solution

Lightstream tailored its service package with the goal of achieving four main objectives for the organization: cloud optimization, in-depth spending visibility, waste management, and cost reduction. They began by negotiating a contract with AWS and the software company to resell its cloud services in order to gain visibility into the organization’s spend and identify opportunities for optimization.

The organization also contracted with Lightstream for its Cloud Managed Services (CMS). Using its proprietary tool Lightstream Connect, Lightstream took a holistic view of the company’s technology spend and performance to gain a clear vision of how the cloud resources were being allocated. Lightstream identified several areas for optimization which would allow the company to take advantage of greater financial savings as well as enhanced operational and security measures.

Since its inception, Lightstream’s experience with organizations of all sizes and across all sectors led its leaders to the understanding that “advanced optics of spend” is a continuous challenge for everyone. In fact, 80% of enterprises struggle with cloud spend management.[i] That’s why the provider developed Lightstream Connect, a system that provides advanced visibility of cloud service usage. From the very simple instance all the way up to a macro pie chart of how a company spends money across AWS services, Lightstream Connect translates bills and tags into data that provides real-time clarity and accountability for consumption. This allows customers to gain a deep understanding of how their budget is being allotted as opposed to the single-line invoice they previously received.

Partnering with Lightstream for CMS has also allowed the company to tap into expertise on the latest and greatest AWS offerings. AWS is constantly adding new capabilities so users can leverage cutting-edge technologies to experiment and innovate more quickly. In addition, AWS frequently modifies its savings plans to offer more flexibility and cost savings for customers. Instead of blindly renewing their cloud services, Lightstream’s procurement team identifies and applies the appropriate new AWS offerings to the organization’s cloud environment in order to deliver the greatest performance, security and efficiency.

Business Outcomes

Lightstream’s in-depth understanding as to which AWS services would deliver the most value for this particular customer has allowed the organization to experience increased flexibility of service usage. When Lightstream first began working with the company, they were less than 10% optimized across their AWS usage. In less than six months, Lightstream has helped the company to achieve 64% cloud optimization, and is continuously working to improve upon that number.

The organization has been saving more than $50,00.00 per month through procurement optimization and waste management, i.e., the identification and elimination of unused services. Lightstream has also applied identity and access management best practices in order to enhance the company’s cloud security.

Once cloud optimization was achieved, Lightstream entered the organization into the AWS Enterprise Discount Program to reduce costs by an additional 10%. Lightstream is in the process of negotiating a private pricing offering that has the potential to cut the organization’s overall spend by an additional $40,000.00 per month over the next three years.

Lightstream directly supports the organization’s C-level executives, meeting with them regularly to report on efficiency enhancements and new opportunities for technical, financial and security optimization. Going forward, Lightstream plans to continually perform security assessments in order to routinely upgrade its configuration, identity and access management, and overall cloud performance.

Contact Information

To learn more about how Lightstream can support and optimize your cloud deployments on major platforms like AWS and Microsoft Azure with technical and operational best practices and cost optimization, visit www.lightstream.tech.


[i] https://www.informationweek.com/cloud/10-tips-for-managing-cloud-costs/d/d-id/1332242?

 

Global Retailer Trusts Lightstream for Network Connectivity Project Management

Lightstream coordinates and manages network connectivity services installation for all new warehouse openings, maintains corporate-wide network inventory, and oversees network modifications at over 800 existing sites.

Business Challenge

This company is a global, members-only retailer, with over 800 stores (i.e. warehouses) and a large membership base. Business projections are strong, and the company continues to grow, adding new members every month and opening 25-30 new warehouses per year globally.

Each warehouse is connected via a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network, with the recent addition of SD-WAN (software-defined wide-area networking) and broadband for highly-available multi-path networking capabilities.

Overseeing such a large network is complicated. Every change needs to be carefully planned and coordinated with the telecom provider to ensure project timelines are met and service is not disrupted.

Complexity can make this work cumbersome and frustrating. In the network connectivity space, relevant data such as circuit IDs, locations, circuit types, IP addresses, bandwidth, and more is vast and detailed. On top of that, provider billing systems are often inaccurate. Without near-constant attention to detail and a solid tracking system, network inventory can quickly get out of control, resulting in project delays and wasted money on unused services.

Before a new site can be operational, all network connectivity services must be installed and new circuits burned-in and tested. This requires coordination with contractors, telecom providers, and IT personnel with proper focus on project dates, milestones, and lead times in order to ensure a successful opening.

Solution

With network connectivity services such a complicated but vital part of its business operations, the company needed an organization with demonstrated expertise in the network connectivity industry that could manage and coordinate services with all of its service providers both for new installations and for changes at existing sites, coordinating with company facilities management, construction teams, and other third-party resources.

Today, Lightstream provides three client engagement managers (CEMs); two are dedicated to new warehouse openings, and the third focuses on existing facilities. For new warehouses, the CEMs are responsible for overseeing all project activity involving network connectivity services. This includes monitoring site surveys, ordering MPLS, internet, and voice circuits, testing circuits, coordinating with construction companies, coordinating with power companies, communicating project status, escalating issues, managing contract approvals, and all other tasks required to ensure network connectivity services are ready prior to a new warehouse opening. “Both Lightstream (CEMs) have been amazing in driving our network connectivity services work streams for new locations,” said one of the company’s IT IMAC (installation, moves, adds, changes) analysts.

At existing warehouses, the CEM helps manage network modifications. When installations, moves, adds, or changes to the network are required, the CEM interfaces with the company’s service providers and ensures work is completed successfully. On occasion, the CEM has been asked to take on additional work, as was the case with the company’s recent broadband deployment. “She (the CEM) understands what it takes to do a major broadband deployment,” said one the company’s infrastructure services project managers, “and she helped us navigate those waters with structure and clarity.”

In addition to project management services, Lightstream tracks the company’s network inventory via its Lightstream Connect platform, which provides a single pane of glass into the company’s technology spend and network. With Lightstream Connect, the company’s network connectivity team can get near real-time visibility of their entire network inventory, order status for any telecommunications services, and all contractual and technical detail of each service. This relationship has evolved and expanded over more than a decade.

Business Outcomes

Successful Network Connectivity Services IMACs (Installations, Moves, Adds, and Changes) at All Warehouse Locations

Lightstream provides the company with dedicated client engagement managers who are experts in network connectivity services and are adept at working with telecom companies, contractors, and power utilities. This delivers high-quality project management services to the company, helping to ensure successful IMACs at all the warehouse locations.

Fewer Challenges Dealing with Telecom Carriers

Having worked in the telecom industry for many years, Lightstream project managers understand how to get things done. They provide a single point of contact for network connectivity work and are experts at navigating vendor bureaucracy and solving problems, which results in fewer network connectivity services challenges.

Fewer challenges results in many benefits. First, the company’s staff spends less time working through issues and more time on project activities. Second, warehouse openings go smoother. Third, speed to implementation is increased, which helps ensure new warehouses are opened on time.

Near Real-time Access to Network Inventory

Lightstream Connect provides the network connectivity team an on-demand, accurate, up-to-date view of network inventory. The application provides an easy-to-use, intuitive interface into the company’s inventory database, giving both consolidated and detailed views of all network connectivity services across the entire organization.

Increased Carrier Billing Accuracy

Lightstream specialists not only track the company’s network inventory in Lightstream Connect but also periodically reconcile the company’s billing against expected contractual rates. This exposes billing irregularities, ensures accurate billing, and prevents the company from paying for services that are no longer needed.

Contact Information

To learn more about Lightstream Managed Services, visit www.lightstream.tech.

Lightstream Welcomes Denise Anderson as Senior Director of Partner Business Development

Salt Lake City, UT, August 24, 2021– Lightstream announced today the hiring of Denise Anderson as the company’s new Senior Director of Partner Business Development. In her role, Denise will be responsible for owning the executive partner relationships and helping to drive joint growth strategies.

“We are extremely pleased to have Denise join the Lightstream team,” stated Jim Cassell, Co-CEO of Lightstream.   “She is a natural strategist and corporate thought leader who can identify and implement innovative business development strategies and operational processes that will allow our cross-collaborative teams to achieve and exceed targets. Denise is critical to supporting the explosive growth that Lightstream is experiencing in our cloud, security, and managed services businesses.”

Denise has spent over 20 years in direct and indirect channel sales and service provider organizations.  She has spent the last 10 years primarily focused in cybersecurity channel strategy and partner-to-partner (P2P) business development. She has experience in developing, accelerating and operationalizing channel and partner Go-To-Market strategies with concrete results, including driving an average of 50% YoY growth with strategic partnerships and accelerating partner revenues in excess of $100 million.

According to Denise, “Lightstream represents an exciting opportunity for growth thanks to its combined cloud, security and network practices. Rather than simply identifying gaps, Lightstream’s lifecycle approach enables customers to trust a proven partner who can provide integrated professional, advisory and managed services across a customer’s entire IT stack. I look forward to continuing to solve some of our customers’ biggest challenges through the combined strength of our market-leading partnerships and Lightstream products and services.”

About Lightstream

Lightstream provides full-service cloud, connectivity, and security solutions to enterprises worldwide with a focus on managed services for all three, as well as cloud infrastructure implementation, security, and support.

Lightstream was named Palo Alto Networks Public Cloud Partner of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and is an AWS Security Competency Partner, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, and a Microsoft Cloud Platform Gold Partner with Security Competency. Visit us at http://www.lightstream.tech or LinkedIn.

Media Contact

cynthia.lawton@lightstream.tech

843-300-8445

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Lightstream Ranks 3892 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 List of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America

Salt Lake City, UT, August 17, 2021– Lightstream, an innovative Utah-based provider of full-service cloud, connectivity, and security solutions to enterprises worldwide with emphasis on managed services, has been named one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. by Inc. Today the publication announced its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, where Lightstream ranks 3892 with three-year revenue growth of 81%.

Since its inception in 2003, Lightstream has been a leader in pairing fanatical customer service with technology solutions and services, while creating strategic, financial, and security wins for customers. The company has also been recognized year-after-year by industry-leading partners through global awards and high-level certifications. Lightstream was named Palo Alto Networks Public Cloud Partner of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and is an AWS Security Competency Partner, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, and a Microsoft Cloud Platform Gold Partner with Security Competency.

“We are extremely grateful for this honor and the trust our clients put in us to help them achieve their desired business outcomes by managing costs, reducing unnecessary complexity, and improving efficacy,” said Co-CEO Jim Cassell. Co-CEO Rod Stout added, “We credit our extremely high customer-retention rate to the care and quality of work our employees put in every day. We service customers across a variety of industries and our lifecycle approach ensures we continually innovate and optimize with market-leading technology services that demonstrate return-on-investment.”

The annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, Patagonia, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

“The 2021 Inc. 5000 list feels like one of the most important rosters of companies ever compiled,” says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. “Building one of the fastest-growing companies in America in any year is a remarkable achievement. Building one in the crisis we’ve lived through is just plain amazing. This kind of accomplishment comes with hard work, smart pivots, great leadership, and the help of a whole lot of people.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000. The top 500 companies are featured in the September issue of Inc., which will be available on newsstands on August 20.

About Lightstream

Lightstream provides full-service cloud, connectivity, and security solutions to enterprises worldwide with emphasis on managed services for all three, as well as cloud infrastructure implementation, security, and support.

Lightstream was named Palo Alto Networks Public Cloud Partner of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and is an AWS Security Competency Partner, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, and a Microsoft Cloud Platform Gold Partner with Security Competency. Visit us at http://www.lightstream.tech or LinkedIn.

Media Contact

Cynthia Lawton

cynthia.lawton@lightstream.tech

843-300-8445

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