Help at Home Centralizes and Boosts Security, Eliminates Network Outages with Cato SASE Cloud


Help at Home Centralizes and Boosts Security, Eliminates Network Outages with Cato SASE Cloud

Secure and Optimized SD-WAN
Regional SASE

Help At Home Needed a Simpler and More Reliable Network to Serve its Clients

Few industries have undergone a faster, more dramatic digital transformation than healthcare. Today about every aspect of patient care depends on timely access to fast, secure systems and networks for the information and collaboration critical to achieving optimum results.

Chris Lockery, Chief Information Security Officer and Head of IT Infrastructure for Help at Home, the nation’s largest provider of personal home care services, knows this reality extremely well. Based in Chicago, Help at Home delivers home care for more than 70,000 elderly and disabled clients in 12 states via 63,000 caregivers and 3,000 knowledge workers.

“Many of our clients rely on our caregivers just to have a normal day,” says Lockery. “If they can’t call into the office or their caregivers can’t access our networks and systems to schedule appointments, it means a client can’t even get out of bed, take a shower, or have a home-cooked meal. All those day-to-day things most of us take for granted are critical for our clients’ wellbeing.”

Until Lockery deployed Cato, the complexity and unreliability of Help at Home’s network made delivering that personal care difficult.

“Before Cato, we had more than 40 different telecom carriers across 150 branch offices in 12 states with legacy, on-premises technology that took lots of IT time to support and maintain,” said Lockery.

Having to deal with all that billing complexity and maintain all that disjointed, often poorly integrated, legacy equipment often led to outages, which made it challenging for Help at Home to take care of its caregivers and their clients.

Lockery said, “In one year, Help at Home had an average of 40 outages per month affecting the phone systems, Internet, or both. Those outages had an impact on both client services and employee morale.”

Help At Home’s CISO Evaluates SASE Solutions, Chooses Cato

Lockery knew he had to overhaul Help at Home’s infrastructure to deliver a standardized, simplified network that was more secure, reliable, and easy to maintain. “In evaluating alternative network solutions our top three priorities were making sure that our network was always on and available to service clients; that it was secure to protect our clients’ most sensitive information; and that it delivered a good customer support experience,” says Lockery.

Immediately Lockery turned to SASE and SD-WAN solutions. Unfortunately, with the notable exception of Cato SASE Cloud, most of the solutions Lockery investigated were anything but simple.

“Many of the other vendors claimed to have an all-in-one SASE and SD-WAN solution, but in reality, they strung together multiple different products that had been acquired and not fully integrated. Only Cato delivered a true all-in-one network and security solution.”

Cato SASE Cloud optimally connects all enterprise network resources, including branch locations, the hybrid workforce, and physical and cloud data centers, into a secure global, cloud-native service. Connecting a location to Cato is a matter of installing a simple Cato Socket appliance that links automatically to one of Cato’s 80+ Points of Presence (PoPs) and its fast, global private backbone. The Cato Socket, Cato’s edge SD-WAN device, extends the Cato SASE Cloud to locations, providing prioritized and resilient connectivity over multiple last-mile links. At the same time, Cato Client and Clientless access enables secure and optimized application access for users everywhere, including at home and on the road.

Cato’s cloud-native security service edge, Cato SSE 360, converges a Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Remote Browser Isolation (RBI), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA/SDP), and Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) with Advanced Threat Protection. It fully enforces granular corporate access policies on all applications on-premises and in the cloud, protecting users against threats and preventing sensitive data loss.

150 Offices Upgraded in 6 Months

Lockery worked with Cato and technology solutions provider Windstream Enterprise to deploy and manage Cato SASE Cloud across all of Help at Home’s branch offices and cloud AWS and Azure datacenter links. His ambitious goals included not just replacing his complex infrastructure with a single SASE but rebuilding the entire network, including cabling, switches, and access points. “With Windstream and Cato’s partnership we were able to deliver that all-in-one solution in all 150 offices in less than six months,” says Lockery.

Lockery credits Cato’s support for his smooth, rapid deployment. “One thing I really liked about the support from Cato and Windstream was our direct access to their leadership teams and sponsorship from their CEOs and heads of engineering,” says Lockery. “This allowed them to really tailor the solution to meet our needs and cause minimal disruption to our branch offices during installation.”

Cato also invited Lockery to join its customer advisory board. “They show a keen interest in our input and feedback to help them provide a better product,” said Lockery.

Unmatched Reliability and Robust Security to Serve Clients Better

Almost immediately Lockery noticed the simplicity and robust security and reliability the Cato solution delivered. “It quickly brought our network security and availability up to speed with a firewall, data loss protection, network intrusion prevention, and a cloud access security broker,” says Lockery. “And Cato centralized it all so we could deploy new cybersecurity capabilities and consistent policies across our more than 150 branch offices.”

Lockery no longer has to manage all those different legacy on-premises firewalls, switches, and access points.

“We now have 24-by-7 monitoring on all our network and security infrastructure, so we are notified immediately of any issues and can respond rapidly.”

Perhaps best of all, however, the Cato solution has eliminated outages. “Thanks to Cato, our network is always on and available. You just can’t put a price on that benefit when it comes to serving clients.”

Prior to the Cato solution, Lockery was fielding a lot of complaints and “noise” from the branch offices. “The best thing an IT person can hear from the field is quiet,” says Lockery, “and quiet is what we’ve achieved with the Cato SASE solution.”

Lockery urges other organizations to consider the Cato solution. “Cato offers flexibility and a level of partnership that I haven’t seen with other vendors,” says Lockery. “Cato SASE gave us an all-in-one network availability and security operations center that removed the unnecessary cost and positioned our network better for next-generation capabilities and rapid growth.”