O-I Taps Augmented Reality and Cato SASE Cloud to Realize “Impossible-to-Count” Savings
O-I Needed a Quick Digital Transformation
For many organizations, digital transformation can be a painful experience that consumes lots of time and resources. If you’re a small IT department at a large enterprise, a single solution that can transform and simplify several functions at once can be a big transformation enabler. Such was the case with O-I, formerly Owens Illinois, one of the world’s leading glass bottle and jar manufacturers. In just a few months, O-I deployed the Cato SASE to 200 locations, boosting cloud and internal application performance, enabling work-at-home for its 24,000 employees, and beefing up security across 70 plants in 19 countries.
Before Cato, O-I’s carrier-based MPLS network was showing signs of age in a cloud-enabled, hybrid work environment. “We were a long-term traditional MPLS customer with the typical routers on the edge, network-based firewall appliances, and legacy VPN concentrators,” says CIO Rodney Masney. “As we reached the end of our agreements, we felt the time had come to rethink our approach to networking and security.”
O-I had been transitioning applications to the cloud, with a broad implementation of Microsoft 365 and plans for other SaaS and cloud services. “There simply wasn’t enough bandwidth for all we had to do, whether it was SharePoint access, Microsoft Teams video conferencing, or working with our other cloud and internal applications,” says Masney. “We needed a cost-effective way to increase bandwidth to our locations and to the cloud.”
Security had always been a top priority of Masney’s relatively small IT team and maintaining and refreshing multiple legacy firewall appliances took time and resources away from transformation initiatives.
Perhaps the final straw was the sudden explosion of the COVID-19 epidemic. “We had to send thousands of employees home where it was challenging for our legacy VPN to provide the bandwidth and utility executives and other staff needed every day to get their work done,” says Masney.
In summary, OI faced a lot of challenges all at once. “Swizzle all that together and you come to the sudden realization that you need to do something transformational,” says Masney.
O-I Crafts an RFP, Chooses Cato SASE
O-I put out an RFP to find solutions for its various issues. “We sent RFPs to several suppliers, including our incumbent, and looked at a range of alternatives, from continuing with our current provider at lower cost to solutions that could provide a total transformation.
After some research, Masney’s team narrowed the choices down to two principal contenders, a major security solution provider and the Cato SASE. “I liked the other provider’s technology from a security perspective, and it worked well,” says Masney, “but it was a lot more complex and time consuming to deploy than the Cato SASE.”
After doing proofs of concept for both, Masney’s team felt strongly that Cato was the best solution for O-I in terms of technology, cost, ease of deployment, and support. Masney knew that with a team so committed to the Cato solution, he would get the best results.
Cato SASE Cloud optimally connects all enterprise network resources, including branch locations, the hybrid workforce, and physical and cloud datacenters, into a secure global, cloud-native service. Connecting a location to Cato is just a matter of installing a simple Cato Socket appliance that links automatically to one of Cato’s 75+ Points of Presence (PoPs) and its fast, global private backbone. Cato Edge SD-WAN extends the Cato SASE Cloud to provide prioritized and resilient connectivity over multiple last-mile links in physical locations. At the same time, Cato SDP Client and Clientless access enable secure and optimized application access for users everywhere, including at home and on the road.
Cato’s cloud-native security edge, Cato SSE 360, converges a Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), 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.
O-I’s deployment of the Cato solution to almost 200 locations and thousands of home users was quick and easy. “We’ve installed Cato to internal locations, the cloud, and home and hybrid work users at a much faster pace than we ever thought possible,” says Masney. “We don’t have to wait weeks or months for circuits to be upgraded or changed like we did with traditional MPLS. The Cato Sockets just show up at our plants, we connect them, and off we go.”
Cato Delivers Transformation with Cost Savings
The business benefits of the switch to Cato have been dramatic. “Cato has transformed our ability to connect to our network in a very different, meaningful way,” says Masney. “People working at home and the office get much better throughput for both internal and cloud application performance with much higher levels of security. The Cato solution has improved our ability to service our plants, including those in obscure locations, by collaborating using MS Team’s video and audio, which didn’t work very well before. MPLS circuits are expensive in some areas but with Cato we can get tens or hundreds of megabits at a very favorable cost.”
Hybrid work has also been a big success thanks to Cato. “The VPN client is a real treat,” says Masney. “It’s easy to deploy, works very well, and we haven’t seen any service issues. I’m really pleased with it.” Cato has since enabled O-I to move to a connected work policy that encourages employees to work at home but also provides the option to work at the office.
Since the Cato transition, O-I has started taking advantage of Microsoft HoloLens, an augmented reality application that allows engineers to troubleshoot plant manufacturing issues from afar. “If someone has a problem at a plant, an engineering expert at another location can just slip on a HoloLens headset, see for themselves exactly what’s happening, and give relevant, specific advice without having to hop on a plane. You can’t use HoloLens if your bandwidth is always getting tapped out. The savings we get with Cato and HoloLens are almost impossible to count.”
Masney estimates that with Cato alone he’s saving somewhere around 20 % in communications costs compared to the previous solution, even though he’s still running MPLS to some locations, while getting the security bonus Cato provides for both locations and home and mobile users.
He feels that the strong security services the Cato solution provides fit the purpose for his company. “It has improved our security posture immensely,” he says. “Cato is much simpler to deploy and quicker to value than other systems we evaluated,” says Masney.
He adds, “With Cato we have a good, solid sedan with the speed of a Porsche that got us exactly where we needed to go fast.”