Enabling a secure and flexible workforce to keep communities connected

A new challenge presented by changing times

An Australian organisation operating in the energy infrastructure industry faces a number of challenges every day—from bringing together thousands of employees across multiple branches nationwide to ensuring that their interconnected gas network runs in perfect order to deliver a high-quality service to their customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, posed an extra-tough challenge for the energy company. As thousands of organisations across Australia—including this company—shifted to remote working arrangements for their people, there was an increase in remote-access requirements. The energy company’s existing remote-access infrastructure was hardware-based and oversubscribed at 700 users, putting them up to the task of radically rethinking their infrastructure for both availability and security.

Key Issues

There were several issues that the energy company faced in providing secure remote access for their teams working from home, including:

  • Existing Virtual Private Network (VPN) was not scalable. The VPN, which allowed the energy company to protect their enterprise network on a hardware-based environment, made it difficult for them to scale and accommodate increasing remote-access demands.
  • Capacity increase due to COVID-19 and work-from-home restrictions. The energy company needed a secure way to increase capacity by 500 users—and they needed it to be done in weeks, not months. However, deploying more hardware would mean considerable delays and disruption to their business.
  • Network environment security. Operating in the energy industry meant that the business had much to protect—compromised devices can let in malicious actors into their network, which can pose a significant risk and impact confidential information, operations, and reputation. With most of their workforce working from home, providing them with easy, simple access to do their jobs without compromising network security is a top priority.

The Solution

A cloud-based security platform for enabling secure anytime, anywhere access to applications

Telstra Purple was initially engaged to deliver an SD-WAN transformation solution for their branches, but the pandemic refocused their attention to ensuring that the access needs of employees working from home were met. With their deep domain expertise and experience, Telstra Purple partnered with the energy company to help them find a solution that met their security and availability requirements while addressing their need to deploy quickly.

Telstra Purple helped the energy company zero in on a solution that would leverage the existing secure web gateway agent to discover, define, and deliver a cloud-based zero-trust network access solution.

Together, Telstra Purple experts worked closely with the company’s network and security teams to understand the applications in scope to help design and deploy the relevant virtual infrastructure. The deployment integrated the necessary authentication components to establish secure, remote connectivity between users and applications over the internet. The solution comprised of multi-factor authentication, client-side security posture checking and granular policies to enable seamless authentication of users to applications.

Within four weeks, the energy company had deployed ZTNA, a cloud-based security solution which augmented their existing cloud-based Secure Web Gateway, extending their SASE footprint further into the cloud. Their entire gateway security was delivered as a service, helping to create a better user experience for employees.


Outcome

The solution enabled the business to modernise their remote-access infrastructure to provide their employees with anywhere, anytime access—reducing the need for the more complex authentication process of VPNs. Working closely with the company’s own teams, Telstra Purple was able to help deliver and pilot the solution within two weeks.

The full solution was then rolled to 500 users and 200 applications within four weeks—a significant step in the energy company’s zero-trust journey. Beyond technology, Telstra Purple has helped the business ensure that their workforce can go remote within four weeks instead of four months, and with a more seamless experience for users.

Not only were employees able to stay safe without the risk to their health and welfare from working outside of their homes, but they were able to continue to deliver on the needs of their customers through keeping the energy networks running. The business was able to honour its commitment of continuous, uninterrupted service to their customers—with the help of an innovative security solution and Telstra Purple.

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