Worldwide Medical Corporation Achieves Significant Growth, Advances in Technology and Cost Savings in AWS

Lightstream becomes an extension of the IT team, delivering ongoing support, savings and optimization of its AWS cloud environment

Business Challenge

This medical corporation is a global developer and marketer of medical devices and software solutions that help advance emergency care and save lives, while increasing clinical and operational efficiencies. At the core of the company’s mission is the commitment to grow by remaining focused, building on their technology leadership and providing unique high-quality products through worldwide distribution.

The company’s IT leadership became aware in 2015 that migrating to a cloud environment would give them the agility and innovation they needed to carry out that mission well into the future. So, they partnered with Lightstream to design and implement their first AWS infrastructure. Soon thereafter the company designated Lightstream as its AWS reseller in order to take advantage of additional discounts the provider was able to obtain for them. For the next four years the company relied on Lightstream to perform quarterly analyses of the company’s cloud performance and provide advice on its technical optimization strategy.

By early 2020, the company’s IT team had become overburdened with the day-to-day management of its cloud environment. Their hands-on approach had become cumbersome and was pulling the team’s focus away from their core mission to build on their technology leadership. On top of that, cloud spending had become exorbitant and they lacked the internal resources to uncover and remedy inefficiencies. The IT management team knew it was time for a change, so they once again turned to Lightstream for help finding ways to overcome these challenges.

Solution

Lightstream’s first recommendation was to enter into to an AWS Enterprise Discount Program (EDP) contract to allow the company to take advantage of additional savings. The next step would be to start utilizing Lightstream’s Cloud Managed Services (CMS) to capitalize on the ongoing optimization of the financial, security, technological and operational aspects of its cloud environment. Entrusting Lightstream to procure cloud services on its behalf and relying on the provider to do some of the heavy lifting in terms of engineering and professional services would free up the IT team to focus on its core competencies. And the recommended Platinum service level contract would essentially add a certified Lightstream cloud engineer to the company’s workforce.

Lightstream created and manages the company’s cloud environment using best practices provided by AWS Control Tower. This ensures a well-architected multi-account environment and the tools to govern AWS workloads with rules for security, operations and internal compliance. Lightstream works with AWS to ensure that the company receives the ideal storage performance and cost, which is currently EC2 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud – a level that gives the company the ability to rent virtual computers on which to run apps.

Lightstream’s CMS ensures maintenance of cloud-native security controls and provides guidance on overall security as well as comprehensive visibility across its cloud infrastructure. This enables protection for state and activity monitoring, turning insight to action while meeting compliance demands.

Business Outcomes

Ongoing Cloud Optimization

The company’s procurement of Lightstream CMS has allowed it to return its focus back to advancing the company’s technology leadership. Weekly meetings between the company’s IT professionals and its dedicated Lightstream team provide insight into the ongoing optimization of the financial, technical and operational aspects of its cloud environment.

Cloud Cost Savings and GP3 Migration

By entering into an AWS EDP contract, the company saved nearly $200,000.00 in cloud expenses in 2020. Lightstream is currently working with the company to iron out the terms of its upcoming contract renewal, which promises even greater savings for the medical device company in the coming months and years. Lightstream is also upgrading ZOLL to Amazon’s newly introduced GP3 storage volume in order to take advantage of higher volumes at a 20% lower cost.

Supporting Business Growth

The company has achieved exponential growth in the last several years, most recently expanding into Europe and Asia. As it continues to build on its technology leadership and accomplish worldwide distribution of its life-saving products, Lightstream will be there to support the company every step of the way.

Lightstream Launches the Complification Podcast Series

Salt Lake City, UT, February 10, 2021 – Lightstream, a leader in cloud security, network transformation, and managed services, today announced the launch of its new podcast series: Complification. The series streams on Apple and Spotify and is available on Lightstream’s website.

Complification is defined in the Urban Dictionary as complicating an issue that has a simple solution. The Lightstream Complification Podcast Series sheds light on that notion for Information Technology (IT) professionals. It features experts and thought leaders in cloud, security, and networking and dives into how organizations are adding complexity to their IT, and what to do about it. The first four episodes include:

So Many Tools, So Little Time

  • More than ever, IT departments are being burdened by securing and retaining talent, procuring and maintaining toolsets, and overcoming budgetary constraints. Lightstream’s Mark Feil discusses why IT leaders should be rethinking deployment of best-of-breed management tools and pushing back on Managed Service Providers to deliver better value despite these constraints.

The Top Three Security Mistakes You’re Making in Microsoft Azure

  • With its scalable structure, pay-as-you-go pricing and 99.95% SLAs, it’s no wonder Microsoft Azure is a long-time leader in the IaaS space. With all of this flexibility and reliability comes responsibility, especially around security. Lightstream’s Ty Annen shares three common Azure security mistakes and what to do about them.

Got SD-WAN? Great! Now Let’s Talk About How to Secure It

  • SD-WAN is fueling the customer experience and transforming modern networking. It is also pushing distributed Internet connectivity, which introduces security vulnerabilities if not addressed properly. Lightstream’s Kurt Richter and Rafal Los combine their deep networking and security expertise into a powerful podcast on the intricacies of SD-WAN security and a 360-degree view of how to address it.

Bringing Cloud Security and Application Modernization Together

  • Modernizing your applications has many roadblocks, not least of which is the simple mental roadblock of getting the job done. Lightstream’s Ty Annen offers clear insight on how to break down the task while ensuring that cloud security remains an essential piece of the puzzle. Hint: there’s no need to surf eBay for network cards.

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

Media Contact

cynthia.lawton@lightstream.tech

A Bank Securely Supports a New LOB in Azure

Industry:  Banking

A regional bank holding company is the Western U.S. with just under 3,000 employees offers its clients a wide range of banking products and services, including transaction and savings deposits, commercial, consumer, and real estate loans, and mortgage origination services.

Business Problem:

  • Avoid cost of purchasing additional hardware while integrating a new 3rd-party SaaS application Koney Customer Service Management on Azure SQL Managed Instance
  • Adhere to security and regulatory compliance
  • Improve business continuity and ensure continual compliance

Solution:

  • Lightstream Rapid Risk Profile and guided Cloud Foundation Framework helped securely extend the customer’s on-premise infrastructure into Azure
  • Custom integration that enabled a 3rd-party provider to securely access line-of-business application in Azure
  • Refactored SQL databases in Azure to support a SaaS solution
  • Lightstream Cloud Managed Services for ongoing Azure management and optimization of financial, technical, security and operational aspects of environment.

Business Outcomes:

  • Enabled bank operations to support new customer-facing line-of-business application while providing visibility for operational and security teams
  • Improved overall ability to meet business technology needs while enabling customer recovery capabilities

Lightstream Rescues Fortune 1000 Company from Security Disaster and Facilitates Digital Transformation

Organization is Future-Proofed with Cloud Managed Services to Promote Financial, Security, Operational and Technological Health

 Business Challenge

A Fortune 1000 company sought a digital transformation. A new chief marketing officer was hired, and the first order of business was to have a new website created. In order to save time, this rather large undertaking was outsourced to a third-party development agency instead of having the company’s internal IT department handle it. The multi-location developer expedited the design and construction of a new customer-facing website with a completely transformed customer interface.

Unfortunately, the development shop failed to communicate with the company’s internal IT team during the process of building the website. Two weeks before the site was scheduled to go live, the IT team performed an assessment and determined that live customer data had been transferred to the cloud without any security controls having been installed. The absence of security features made organizational assets and critical customer data vulnerable to attacks and theft. Frustrated and in need of skillful mitigation of this huge risk, the IT department quickly shut the site down and contacted Lightstream for help remedying the security breach.

Solution

The experts at Lightstream brought the two opposing parties together in order to discover exactly what was done. This all-in approach allowed them to devise a plan that everyone was on board with in order to make the application work within the company’s security environment.

Eight months later, the new website went live with strict security measures in place to protect customer and company data. While Lightstream was initially engaged to put out the fire of the unsecure website, the relationship grew and the provider now manages the company’s cloud environment. Their environment is optimized through Lightstream’s partnerships with Microsoft Azure and Palo Alto Networks, delivering consistent, automated protections with a variety of value-added resources. Moreover, the security, financial, technology and operational expertise offered by Lightstream’s Cloud Managed Services (CMS) solution is helping the manufacturer to improve the day-to-day administration and management of its cloud infrastructure.

Business Outcomes

The company now has a modern, customer-friendly website operating within a highly secure cloud environment. When new applications are desired, they can be implemented quickly and safely.

Previously, the company had its own data center which was fully managed by its internal IT department. Several months into the relationship with the web developer, huge inefficiencies were discovered which had caused the company’s invoice to increase by $40,000. With no security or financial controls in place, the company incurred significant budget and resource drains. Lightstream’s CMS now ensures that expensive mistakes like this will be avoided as cost variations will be detected early on.

Ongoing monitoring and monthly reports on the financial, security, operational and technological health of the environment provide full transparency to company executives. By exposing minor but frequently occurring inefficiencies, Lightstream consistently helps to keep costs down.

With its current cloud expenditures being nearly cost neutral, the company is looking to expand into Lightstream’s network services. A continuously growing depth and breadth of business-optimizing solutions ensures that Lightstream will be there to support the organization well into the future.

Customer Quote:

“In my 30 years in the technology industry, Lightstream has been one of the best partners I’ve ever worked with. Their ability to sit on the same side of the desk as us, partnering with us to develop customized solutions to our problems has been a game changer.”

– Director of IT at Fortune 1000 company

Top Security Predictions that WON’T (But Should) Happen in 2021

If you’re scoffing at the predictability of a trend-related blog post in January, we couldn’t agree more. In an effort to be slightly less predictable, we’re taking a different approach by letting you in on what the cyber security community predicts will not happen this year. Industry veteran and Vice President of Security Strategy at Lightstream, Rafal Los recently took to social media to ask, “What’s the thing that probably won’t happen in cyber security in 2021?” Some of the responses from his followers were expected, others, not so much. So, without further ado…let’s take a look at their anti-trends for the coming months.

Tied for #1: Password Elimination & Meaningful Asset Management

Let’s face it, passwords and asset management seem like they’ve been a thorn in the side of the security industry since the invention of the computer. In fact, the first computer password was developed in 1961 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for use with the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS). Yet 60 years later – long after CTSS has given way to the modern Windows and OSx systems in use today – the general consensus is that passwords won’t be going away anytime soon. What is driving this skepticism?

For starters, we still don’t have a better way to protect our personal and enterprise data. Thumb prints and facial recognition are promising, but they still haven’t proven themselves to be ironclad. Adding to that are the security challenges COVID-19 has forced enterprises to overcome. With many companies now operating in work-from-home (WFH) environments and the very real possibility that this will be an ongoing strategy in the post-pandemic economy, remote workers are at a huge risk for identity-related breaches. Corporate IT is struggling to maintain control of computer-related assets, including software, unauthorized devices and loss of security.

Knowing that passwords are here for the foreseeable future and that asset management has never been more challenging, 2021 presents an opportunity for IT leaders. This is a critical time to adopt new ways to improve the identification, tracking and management of employees, applications and devices that access resources.

#2: Widespread Zero Trust Adoption

It’s hard to argue that the adoption of Zero Trust principles is anything but required for cybersecurity to advance. So, despite Zero Trust being at the foundation of Lightstream’s offerings, and what analysts and professionals feel is the future of security, there appears to be a lack of confidence in it being widely adopted in the coming months. It could be that many see Zero Trust as a tool or a widget to be installed – when in fact it’s a rethinking of the way systems interact and behave. Zero Trust goes at the root of security – identity and data – oddly the two things cyber security understands the least. There is something of significance here, but we’ll save that for a future article.

Enterprises should widely embrace a model that shuns the assumption that everything behind the corporate firewall is safe, or that there is such a thing as “behind the corporate firewall” anymore. The security of every organization depends on a new way of thinking, and the Zero Trust model of “never trusting, always verifying” would be hugely beneficial in an environment where remote working is becoming the norm. Lightstream’s Managed Security Services platform incorporates automation, Zero Trust concepts, best practices and industry-specific compliance to help IT leaders manage costs effectively, reduce complexity and improve the efficiency and efficacy of data center, network and cloud security.

#3: Fully Patched Environments/Systems

“Patching. It was a problem in 1999, and the social media responses prove that it continues to be a problem in 2021. What makes this such a difficult task?” ponders Rafal Los. Patching is the process of applying ‘fixes’ to existing deployed software packages, most often from the vendor, when flaws are identified and resolved. Similar to applying a physical patch to a garden hose to prevent water from leaking out, the purpose of the cyber security patch is to cover the vulnerability, keeping attackers from exploiting the flaw. Much like how water usually finds a way to break through that patch in your garden hose, attackers are experts in finding ways to circumvent applied patches when the underlying cause is not fully remediated. Therefore, enterprises must ramp up their vulnerability management strategies in the coming year.

The process of identifying, categorizing, prioritizing, and resolving vulnerabilities in operating systems, enterprise applications (whether in the cloud or on-premises), browsers and end-user applications is no small feat. It’s an ongoing process that requires considerable time and resources, which makes it an initiative that enterprise IT might best consider outsourcing.

#4: Elimination of Phishing

It’s clear that no one expects phishing to go away, nor do we expect people to stop clicking on phishing lures – yes this includes you, security professionals. So, it’s not a huge shock that this is among the anti-trends predicted for 2021. Phishing scams are becoming more sophisticated every day, so it’s imperative that corporate IT do their best to stay one step ahead of attackers. This may involve taking a multi-faceted security approach to lessen the number of phishing attacks and reduce the impact when attacks do occur.

#5: Unification of C-Suite & Security Professionals

There are many cynics in the cyber security industry that see a lack of executive accountability (with the exception of the Chief Information Security Officer). This threatens to further deepen a dangerous rift between security professionals and the companies/boards they support. Therefore, there is a major opportunity for companies to develop strategies to ensure accountability “goes both ways,” as we like to say.

#6: Effective Use of Machine Learning

People are still broadly skeptical of Machine Learning in cyber security. This subset of artificial intelligence has been significantly hyped since its inception, yet it still hasn’t fully come to fruition. Rafal Los considers that while it sounds exciting, perhaps we might be a bit premature in the belief that systems can learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions without human intervention. Besides, we’ve all seen what happens when machines become “artificially intelligent” – and we’re pretty sure we don’t like the ending of that movie.

Other Notable Anti-Predictions

There were several other responses to Raf’s social media posts worth mentioning. While you’d be hard pressed to find someone that expects the number of breaches to go down or malware volume to decrease, they surprisingly didn’t make it into the top six predictions. Could that be due to industry optimism, or perhaps it’s just that we’re all tired of talking about these topics? On the flip side, the elimination of WindowsXP systems made the top 10, which is astonishing since it officially became unsupported way back in 2014 (seriously, what’s it going to take?).

Software-security-related items appear several times, making it obvious that there are some who still have little faith in software security. Rafal Los blames the contentious relationship between security professionals and developers. According to Raf, a typical security professional/developer exchange [still] goes something like this:

Security professional: “You’re doing it wrong.”

Developer: “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Show me.”

Security professional: “It’s not my problem. Fix it.”

Clearly, this is another area where there is major room for unification in 2021.

Contact Lightstream to find out how we can help you unify strategies to build secure, generational capabilities that can help your organization accomplish its goals for 2021 and beyond.

The Evolution of the CIO: The Convergence of Technology and Operations and How Enterprises Must Adapt

In a recent report entitled Gartner Top 10 Strategic Predictions for 2021 and Beyond, a Gartner contributor boldly stated that by 2024, 25% of traditional large-enterprise CIOs will be held accountable for digital business operational results, effectively becoming “COO by proxy.” No one can argue that as enterprise processes have become digitized, today’s CIOs are being challenged to shoulder many tasks that traditionally fell under the operations umbrella. Over the past few decades, technology has helped streamline processes and create efficiencies across the enterprise, making IT support integral to every organizational silo, from marketing to finance to customer support.

How the role of the CIO changed in 2020

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations worldwide to rethink the way they do business. IT teams scrambled to set up remote working capabilities for the majority of staff, which was no small feat from an operational standpoint. As we enter 2021, many are still successfully working from home thanks to operational controls, technology and the support staff that maintain it.

All of this has taught us how important ‘composability’ is in business. According to Gartner, one of the keys to enabling business success in 2021 and beyond, is to engineer your organization for real-time adaptability and resilience in the face of uncertainty. That means accelerating digital business initiatives so that you’re able to quickly and smartly react to external circumstances and optimize business processes accordingly.

Companies that are cloud natives already have an advantage. However, as CIOs are increasingly being called on to enhance operations and help make their organizations more nimble, they have less time to focus on important initiatives such as cloud management and security.

The impact of digital transformation in the enterprise

External pressures are forcing the C-suite to evolve, and new roles keep popping up in response to this digital transformation. The organizational silos that have always existed are now becoming somewhat obsolete. Enterprises that were once vertical in nature are being flattened by digitization. As they become more horizontal, they’re increasingly resistant to the vertical roles that once governed them.

So how are business leaders supposed to overcome these challenges and equip their organizations with the composability they need to accomplish future goals? In the wake of such a drastic digital conversion in 2020, how do you build a C-suite that works with this new model? Who should report to whom? And finally, how should CIOs think differently in the coming year? Future-proofing the enterprise won’t be easy, and it will likely require significant changes.

Closing the gaps in what technology can do and what your business wants to do

Since people are often opposed to such change, it is not recommended that an internal leader conduct such a drastic shakeup. Instead, it is recommended that you engage a project management organization or other third-party consultant to analyze your business and technical processes. It’s also wise to partner with a culture consultant who can bring an outside view and help facilitate a smooth transition. You may find that outsourcing some of your IT services will free up your CIO and support staff so that they can focus on their core business which is now heavily centered on enhancing operations.

When outsourcing, it’s best to find a partner with multiple views of the environment in order to address any gaps in service. Keep in mind that what you knew yesterday about the tech stack is not necessarily what you’ll need to know in the future. IT professionals should no longer consider themselves purely technologists but rather business optimization professionals, and outsourcing the baseline technology set will allow for that shift. The ideal partner can expertly manage your cloud environment and provide value through technical and operational best practices, cost optimization and a specific focus on security and compliance.

While Gartner’s view is that the roles of CIO and COO will merge in the coming years, it is unlikely that internal IT teams are ready for a total transformation. The breaking down of operations and IT silos has been a very slow process that may never be complete. Some CIOs don’t believe it would be entirely appropriate, as there are still many COO responsibilities that do not quite fit into the CIO’s business model. So, we may see a new title taking over this role in the future. As with everything, there will be early adopters such as cloud-native businesses and others where the bulk of operations are already in the digital environment, as well as organizations such as those operating with legacy systems that may never adopt it.

The bottom line is that a CIO’s role, and that of its support staff, is no longer just about technology. Holistic thinkers know that as we move forward, the focus should be more about the overall business and culture of an organization. COVID-19 forced the operational model to change overnight, and it’s impossible to go back to the way it was before. The past year highlighted how CIOs can drive digitalization across the organization — and how their shift in focus from purely IT to contributing to overall business operations is integral to future success.

To learn about how Lightstream can help your organization overcome complex technology convergence challenges through a flexible mix of consulting, integration and managed services, visit www.lightstream.tech.

Lightstream Helps Major Software Provider Achieve Business Growth with AWS Even During Pandemic

Industry:  Technology

Cloud Managed Services Empower MasterControl through Business Optimization, Cost Control and Enhanced Security within AWS

Business Challenge

As a leading provider of Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS), MasterControl prides itself on maintaining the highest standards of quality and operational excellence. In fact, the organization’s cloud-based QMS system is titled MasterControl Quality Excellence™. With some of the largest regulatory agencies and life-science companies in the world depending on MasterControl to help them expedite the process of providing people with life-changing products, they can’t afford to leave quality and compliance to chance.

MasterControl is an innovator in the use of cloud technology and started down the path of public cloud with AWS in 2010. They eventually became overwhelmed with the day-to-day contractual management of AWS and sought out a technology provider that could help them streamline processes, fine-tune security and contain costs. They found that partner in Lightstream, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner that offers a variety of services to assist organizations in assessing, designing and managing their AWS environment.

Over the years, Lightstream has helped MasterControl to find better ways to grow their business with AWS while controlling costs. Lightstream’s assistance with onboarding new accounts and achieving savings discounts has enabled the company to overcome obstacles as they bolstered software development initiatives. AWS and Lightstream supported MasterControl as the company expanded into Europe and Asia Pacific, which expansion was made much faster and more seamless due to the cloud.

As most business leaders know, this magnitude of expansion is almost always accompanied by growing pains. MasterControl’s IT team found that it was being stretched thin and no longer had time or sufficient resources for the ongoing monitoring needed to detect potential cloud security issues. They had to find ways to manage security and reduce cloud spending as they worked to establish a strong global presence. Travis Ruiz, Director of Cloud Services at MasterControl, once again collaborated with long-time partner Lightstream to come up with a solution.

Solution

Lightstream knew that its Cloud Managed Services offering could provide MasterControl with enhanced financial optimization along with the security oversight that is critical in order for the company to prosper even during times of crisis. Cloud Managed Services helps companies to improve the day-to-day administration and management of their cloud infrastructure through a flexible mix of consulting, integration and managed services. Lightstream’s gold level service package identifies changes that must be made in MasterControl’s cloud environment for security, technical and financial optimization. Lightstream then implements the changes necessary to remediate the financial aspects of those optimizations, while MasterControl’s in-house team is able to remediate any security and technical issues Lightstream detects.

Lightstream negotiated an Enterprise Discount Plan (EDP) with AWS on behalf of MasterControl in order to achieve a considerable expense reduction. Cost optimization measures have been amped up with additional savings plans and in-depth reviews and revisions to its Reserved Instances contracts. Extensive tagging features and Lightstream Connect customized reporting were established to help the company save time and gain greater visibility while analyzing expenditures and appropriately allocating costs.

Business Outcomes

Since Lightstream began providing Cloud Managed Services to the company in 2017, MasterControl has been able to meet their stringent budget constraints, even during the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Like most organizations, MasterControl faced many challenges in 2020 as customers weren’t as active as they once were, which was negatively impacting the company’s revenue stream.

Financial Optimization

Despite this, they’ve managed to stay on track with the help of an eight percent discount on AWS costs along with additional savings. A dedicated team at Lightstream has ongoing interaction with MasterControl’s executive officers, regularly delivering detailed reports and savings summaries that demonstrate how Lightstream is helping the company reduce expenses.

Enhanced Security

MasterControl’s internal IT team is able to focus on keeping its cloud environment safe and secure with the help of Lightstream’s ongoing monitoring, analysis and reports that give insight into potential technical and security threats and concerns that must be remediated.

Business Growth

While MasterControl’s cloud journey with AWS propelled the company’s international growth, Lightstream has ensured business optimization and significant ROI along the way. Lightstream has helped MasterControl to scale down spending without lowering their high standards for quality, compliance and security. The company has managed not only to remain viable during this tumultuous time, but it’s starting to grow again even in the face of an economic downturn.

As MasterControl continues its steady expansion, Lightstream is unwavering in its promise to add value and foster growth within the AWS cloud environment. Lightstream stands ready to support MasterControl well into the future, with ever-broadening service offerings that can continue to help it succeed in its quest to maintain the highest standards of quality, safety and operational excellence.

What MasterConrol had to say:

“We appreciate that Lightstream goes above and beyond to enrich our AWS cloud environment. Our long-term partnership with them has allowed us to keep customer success and innovation at the core of our operating philosophy without compromising on the cost and efficiency of our cloud infrastructure. We’re on track for continued growth with cloud technology firmly at the center of our product and services map.”

-Travis Ruiz, director of cloud services at MasterControl