Organizations face new challenges as they become digital enterprises. IT must become agile to adapt to constantly changing business requirements. Yet operations must stay lean even as they deliver excellent user experiences everywhere. These challenges confound many IT organizations and are precisely the ones Carlo Curato and his team at RingCentral have addressed for several years.
Cloud First, Cloud Native Reduces Time Spent on Mundane Management Tasks
Named a Magic Quadrant leader by Gartner in the Unified Communications as a Service category, RingCentral is no stranger to digital transformation technologies such as mobility and the cloud. Curato considers both keys to RingCentral’s own continual transformation.
“We’re a big proponent of cloud solutions and work from anywhere,” says Curato. “We’re our first and best customer and use our platform heavily.”
RingCentral follows a cloud-first, work anywhere strategy for most other internal solutions as well. “We feel strongly that to stay agile, IT should focus on core capabilities and delivering to the customer and move non-core IT portfolio items to the cloud,” says Curato.
“We feel strongly that to stay agile, IT should focus on core capabilities and delivering to the customer and move non-core IT portfolio items to the cloud.” — Carlo Curato, Director of IT Infrastructure, RingCentral
For Curato, cloud doesn’t mean spinning up a bunch of virtual servers in a cloud infrastructure. It means a complete, cloud-native solution managed fully by the provider, not your IT department. “The idea is that all the bells and whistles are managed and supported 24/7 by the cloud service,” says Curato, so the enterprise doesn’t have to spend time and resources on mundane management tasks. “Functions like failover and patching take many hours off of IT time that could be spent on core competency functions that improve the business.”
Cloud-native also means solutions that scale automatically to support demand and are managed and delivered on a global scale. “It gives us the ability to scale quickly to support the company as it grows or shrinks,” he says
And cloud-native means easy integration. “Anything we can tap into with a REST API is huge,” says Curato. “You no longer need to be masters of CLI. Instead, your DevOps team can modify or support the business using API’s and services that integrate, orchestrate and automate functions easily.”
RingCentral’s Purchase Criteria: SD-WAN and Cloud Native
RingCentral applied its cloud native, integrated, work-from-anywhere strategy to its search for an SD-WAN solution.
“We’re growing fast, building offices, expanding, moving floors, moving people from floor to floor, moving servers from one area to another,” says Curato. “We want simplicity of deployment so we can get things up and running fast. We don’t want to spend a lot of time configuring, reconfiguring, and managing an SD-WAN solution. And with current travel restrictions, we need to take configuration out of the hands of the location or person holding the device.”
That means pre-provisioning in the cloud. “The provider should be able to deliver the solution pre-provisioned in such a way that anyone at a home office, branch office or headquarters can just plug it into the Internet service and watch it light up.”
Automation applies to SD-WAN security functions as well. “When you start managing your own firewalls, you expose a management interface to the Internet, where it becomes vulnerable to scans, hackers, and DDOS attacks,” says Curato. “If there’s a vulnerability that can be exploited, you have lots of hackers out there looking to exploit it.” We wanted a solution that doesn’t expose the interface but just talks directly to the cloud for security and management.”
Cato Delivers A True Cloud-Native SASE Platform
It was those requirements that led Curato and RingCentral to Cato. “We told a partner of our wish list and he introduced us to Cato.” Curato liked the way the Cato edge devices were pre-provisioned just like a RingCentral desk phone.
“With Cato, it takes longer to order your Internet circuit from the provider than to get the Cato Socket up and running for the first time,” says Curato.
“With Cato, it takes longer to order your Internet circuit from the provider than to get the Cato Socket up and running.” — Carlo Curato, Director of IT Infrastructure, RingCentral
Cato’s management was also a big plus. “I don’t want to be in the business of figuring out where to put my firewall management software,” says Curato. “What happens if you need more firewalls? You need to buy more licenses. It’s a scaling nightmare. Cato has a single pane of glass with centralized management, security and seamless scalability.”
Centralized, integrated management also makes it easier for Curato to address WAN performance and other issues. “A central repository lets you resolve issues quickly, so you not only deploy faster, you solve problems faster too.”
Cato Enabled A Quick COVID-19 Ramp Up
RingCentral’s cloud-native strategy and Cato’s integrated mobility and easy scalability were lifesavers as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded. “With a traditional VPN solution, we would have had to figure out how to scale an environment architected for only a small portion of the workforce working at home at any time. With Cato, everyone can work at home right away. I don’t have to think about bandwidth and IP ranges. They’re all there, managed by Cato.”
“With Cato, everyone can work at home right away. I don’t have to think about bandwidth and IP ranges. They’re all there, managed by Cato.” — Carlo Curato, Director of IT Infrastructure, RingCentral
Cato’s cloud-based security functions made it particularly easy for the development team, which has the most robust security requirements, to work from home. “Without Cato we probably would have had to send each team member a small firewall and configure and manage all of them. With Cato we just sent a preconfigured socket device with all the firewall rules pre-provisioned.”
Cloud first, cloud-native, work from anywhere: Those are Curato’s mantra for a smooth digital transformation. And that’s how Cato helps RingCentral deliver on digital transformation.