The Challenge: Improve the Networking Infrastructure for Latin American Offices
CIAL Dun & Bradstreet faced an all too familiar networking problem: integrating disparate operations. “When the acquisition closed, we were aware that some of the offices were in need of an upgrade of networking infrastructure,” says Yoni Cohen, Chief Technology Officer for CIAL Dun & Bradstreet. “In some places, the internet wasn’t fast enough, and this was a real impediment to business.”
Centro de Información América Latin (CIAL) Dun & Bradstreet was launched when CB Alliance became the WWN Partner of Dun & Bradstreet International in Latin America’. CIAL Dun & Bradstreet is the premier provider of commercial trade credit and supplier risk management data and solutions across Latin America. Offices are based in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and South Florida, with additional personnel in countries throughout the region.
CIAL was charged with creating a new network to unify this new company, and link it to its existing offices, including teams in Zagreb, Israel, and New York. “We wanted everything to be on one unified but secure network,” says Cohen.
SD-WAN Reduced Network Access Costs, Increased Cross-Site Access to Applications
Cohen began looking at an SD-WAN approach for several reasons. “I wanted a flexible, virtual network because I knew we would be adding offices and making other changes in the near future,” he says. “We weren’t locked into long-term contracts for the MPLS circuits, and this gave us the ability to lower our costs by installing broadband circuits in their place.”
The cost of bandwidth – either MPLS or broadband – is considerably higher in Latin America than in other places. Anything CIAL could do to reduce costs would be helpful. “Having one major datacenter in the middle of Latin America didn’t seem like a particularly good approach. That’s why we started thinking about SD-WAN.”
CIAL Alliance Tests Cato
Soon after Cohen began his research on SD-WAN solutions, he read an article about Cato Networks and reached out to learn more. He liked what he heard and signed CIAL on as a Cato Networks customer.
“It was a successful rollout, We worked with a network engineer from Cato who was critical to our ability to build the connections we needed,”
And while he’s been able to reduce costs, cost reductions have not been the only benefit with Cato:
“We’re getting far more for the money. Connecting our locations and the cloud, having the TLS inspection, having the antivirus at the network level — there’s a lot of value,”
CIAL Dun & Bradstreet ended up with connections to the Dun & Bradstreet global data supply chain via VPN tunnels to various enterprise datacenters, tunnels to instances in Amazon AWS, along with the individual sites.
Cato’s ability to prioritize WAN and Internet traffic has been particularly helpful. “Because Internet connectivity is expensive in Latin America, it’s prohibitively expensive to give people very high Internet connections. When you have 80 to 100 people sharing a connection, you need to prioritize the traffic.”
Cato also gives CIAL Dun & Bradstreet the ability to segment traffic to prevent the spread of malware. “We use the WAN rules to segment traffic much more carefully,” Cohen says. “We use a TLS inspection service to prevent any viruses from spreading across our network. We added security rules around the type of traffic and type of pass-through, so it would be much harder for any malware to get from site to site.”
CIAL Dun & Bradstreet Looks Ahead with Cato
Cohen is looking for ways to get more out of CIAL Dun & Bradstreet’s use of the Cato Cloud. “One thing I’m considering is to have the Cato Client on all our devices to force them to come through the Cato Cloud. This is probably my next move with Cato,” says Cohen.
The Cato Client connects mobile users to the Cato Cloud and provides secure and optimized access to the enterprise SD-WAN. All of the resources accessible from the locations, whether they’re in physical datacenters or in the cloud and Internet, can be made accessible to mobile users. And by connecting directly to those resources through the closest Cato PoP, mobile users performance if far better than traditional mobile VPN solutions. This has allowed the team to expand in new regions rapidly and organically.
“I love what Cato is doing. They take an area that is complicated and make it easy,” says Cohen. “What we have done with them so far has made a meaningful impact on our ability to have a smooth transition to a unified company network and allowed this to be one thing that we’re not worried about.”