Global Law Firm Ensures Attorney Billings and Revenue Streams with Hybrid Cloud and On-Prem DDI Infrastructure from Infoblox
“We are in a competitive environment in a quickly changing world and our business needs to be ready to meet those demands. Our aim is to build a strong and flexible strategy with a high-quality portfolio and the ability to adapt quickly as the pace and path becomes clearer.” — Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive, 29 Mar 2018
One of the world’s largest legal concerns, this global law firm has more than 2,500 partners and staff attorneys employed at 33 locations across Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The company had long used Microsoft for DNS and DHCP, but after experiencing massive DNS stability issues, internal IT decision makers initiated a project to replace its domain controllers. They invited Infoblox to propose a more reliable and comprehensive solution. Stakeholders from every aspect of the business chose to migrate DNS and DHCP services to Infoblox. They moved forward with a plan to install Trinzic 1400 series appliances in its data centers, TE 800 series in its main offshore offices and TE-100s in global branch offices to provide local survivability.
Challenge: Justifying Upgrade Costs
With an average attorney billing rate of $3,000 per hour, a network outage could result in a revenue loss of $7. 5 million per hour for the firm. Therefore, uptime and resilience for its branches are paramount. After five years on the Microsoft DNS platform, technology lifecycle management best practices indicated that the firm needed to reevaluate its network service infrastructure. After consulting with the Infoblox technical sales team, it estimated that an upgrade would cost about $1 million—approximately 50 percent more than the initial installation six years prior. Skepticism for such an expensive outlay resulted in pushback from the executive level.
Initiatives: Stabilize unreliable DNS operations and infrastructure, Ensure continuous network uptime to prevent revenue loss, Begin moving branch office to cloud-oriented networking technology to align with company’s cloud-first strategy
Outcomes: Upgraded to powerful new DNS and DHCP infrastructure via a hybrid on-premises and cloud-based solution, Implemented category-leading DDI capabilities while adhering to strict cost-containment objectives, Put in place data traffic control and network security solutions to close security and performance gaps that could interrupt business operations
Upon closer scrutiny of the firm’s network infrastructure, it became clear that the firm had added several features and functions to its Microsoft implementation along the way, such as a data traffic control system for global load balancing. With a clearer picture of the full scope of the infrastructure and support costs the firm had incurred for its existing installation, the cost gap for an upgrade was actually closer to 30 percent. That figure was more palatable to the firm’s leadership, who decided to move forward with Infoblox. Key to this decision was the additional business value the firm would derive from cutting-edge Infoblox technology, which aligned closely with the firm’s business initiatives.
Solution: The Business Value of a State-of-the-Art Solution
Ultimately, the law firm’s IT team worked with Infoblox’s solution architects to craft a unique hybrid on-premises and cloud solution for integrated DNS, DHCP and IPAM (collectively known as DDI). The major difference from the original road map was that Infoblox proposed deploying the BloxOne DDI cloud solution at the firm’s branch office locations. Doing so would eliminate the need for TE-100s appliances, lowering costs and advancing the firm’s digital transformation initiative, which envisioned moving the company’s network infrastructure to the cloud incrementally.
BloxOne DDI is the industry’s first DDI solution that makes it possible to centrally manage and automate DDI from the cloud to any and all locations with unprecedented cost efficiency. Built using cloud-native principles and available on a software as a service (SaaS) basis, BloxOne DDI greatly simplifies network management by eliminating the complexity, bottlenecks and scalability limitations of traditional DDI implementations. The BloxOne DDI value proposition aligned perfectly with the firm’s desire to move to the cloud, although IT decision makers were not ready to migrate the entire data center to the cloud at once. They chose to upgrade step by step and began by migrating their branch offices first. Cloud-based management and local survivability were crucial in arriving at this decision.
A More Reliable and More Responsive Network
Other key elements within the overall Infoblox solution that the law firm implemented were Infoblox DNS Traffic Control (DTC) and Infoblox Advanced DNS Protection (ADP). An intelligent solution for managing network traffic, DTC consolidates DNS capabilities and global server load balancing (GSLB) onto a single platform. It uses the DNS query/response mechanism to return the IP address of the ideal server based on client and server locations and server availability. As one of the first Infoblox customers to adopt DTC, the firm not only realized the value of using DNS for GSLB early on, but also implemented it as a resiliency mechanism for its internal and cloud-hosted applications. In this implementation, since DNS is in their control, the IT team used DTC to load balance users across cloud applications.
Additionally, because DTC uses the DNS query/response mechanism to return the IP address of the ideal server based on client and server locations and server availability, network responsiveness for the end user is dramatically increased. For instance, users in Asia no longer have their connection return to a server in the United States to access an application. They can now hit the Asia data center through DTC, which can significantly improve performance, especially when users are accessing bandwidth-intensive SaaS applications such as Salesforce or Office 365.
With its ease of support and single point of management for all things DNS, the DTC solution yielded a significant operational improvement over the load balancing system the firm previously had. Further, the DTC intelligent load-balancing solution has delivered significant business value by improving the firm’s disaster recovery capabilities. In the event of an outage in the active data center, the IT team can use Infoblox DTC to send the workload to an IP address at a disaster-recovery site and quickly bring service back online.
A Stronger Security Posture
DNS security was always part of the proposed solution for the company, and its decision makers chose ADP to protect Internet-facing devices against DDoS attacks; they also added BloxOne Threat Defense to fill any remaining DNS security gaps. Infoblox ADP empowers the law firm to eliminate DNS service disruption with automated defense against DNS-based volumetric attacks and exploits. It automatically updates defenses, using programmable threat protection rules and intelligence drawn from more than two dozen curated threat intelligence feeds. As a result, the firm can take remedial action faster with single-pane-of-glass visibility into DNS attacks and its sources.
BloxOne Threat Defense maximizes brand protection by working with existing defenses to protect network resources and automatically extend security to SD-WAN infrastructure, IoT appliances and the cloud. For the law firm, BloxOne Threat Defense optimized the performance of its security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) solution, enabling it to slash the time necessary to investigate and remediate cyberthreats while also reducing the total cost of enterprise threat defense. The solution turns the core network services that organizations rely on to run their business into valuable security assets. For the law firm, its new Infoblox DDI solution became the foundational common denominator that enables the entire security stack to work in unison and at Internet scale to detect and anticipate threats sooner and stop them faster.
Results: Aligning Core Network Infrastructure with Business Priorities
Infoblox uniquely offered the firm a technology upgrade that aligns with its business initiatives and also ensures business continuity. Infoblox helped in ensuring that the global law firm doesn’t miss the network security transformation ship and closed potential security gaps for uninterrupted business operations. Infoblox network product experts engaged both the technology staff and business staff. Understanding the importance of business continuity and transformation needs for the firm, Infoblox offered BloxOne Threat Defense and BloxOne DDI as main upgrades. It also helped to ensure immediate return on investment, and value over the long-term upgrade by providing end-to-end training on the new solutions for the firm’s global networks and architecture teams. This training helped in the seamless adoption of the technology upgrades, ensuring optimum uptime of the global IT infrastructure.