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Case Study: Blue Coat Serves and Protects Networx Australia With WAN Optimization

Networx Australia, an innovative managed service provider for Australian enterprises and organizations, provides Internet access, WAN connectivity and security solutions to business customers of all sizes across Australia. The managed service market in Australia is extremely competitive, and retaining customers is difficult, as there traditionally has been very little to differentiate providers and achieve loyalty. This creates enormous pricing pressure and significant expenses in acquiring customers and coping with churn.

The Challenge
Networx Australia saw the opportunity to improve service to customers by providing WAN optimization to accelerate delivery of applications and content while, at the same time, reducing bandwidth consumption. The right WAN optimization solution could reduce the effects of network latency that are exacerbated through inefficient protocols used in transferring files or in Web applications. In addition, by reducing bandwidth consumption, WAN connections would be able to provide more capacity and be able to accommodate media-rich applications, including VoIP.

Many Networx Australia customers have consolidated servers and applications in a headquarters data center for benefits in cost, security and operational efficiency. WAN links from Networx Australia connect these servers and applications to users in branch offices. As with many companies, they are faced with the challenge of how to offer LAN-like performance over the distances between the servers in their data center and all of their branch offices. Many were finding that latency problems made some applications impractical or agonizingly slow. Simply increasing bandwidth would not help address these kinds of problems.

In addition to speed concerns, Networx Australia customers faced security issues and looked to the service provider to keep them safe from malware, inappropriate content and applications that are either illegal, prohibited by policy or consumptive of far too much bandwidth.

The Solution
Networx sought a solution that could provide both WAN optimization and security in a single appliance. They wanted to be able to accelerate and control a wide range of applications and have a solution that could be deployed in large numbers but still centrally managed.

Blue Coat Systems ProxySG appliances with MACH5 application acceleration technology provided the solution they needed. Networx Australia selected Blue Coat ProxySG appliances for its operations center and to deploy at customer locations to provide application acceleration integrated with Web security and control. Blue Coat ProxySG appliances apply multiple techniques to reduce latency and bandwidth usage for Networx Australia customers’ distributed applications and file services. Blue Coat ProxySG appliances enable these companies to manage all of their user/application interactions — to stop undesirable applications, throttle less important ones and accelerate critical applications.

The Results
Using Blue Coat ProxySG appliances, Networx Australia significantly is improving network and Internet performance for customers. It also enables Networx Australia to cut its own operational costs and increase customer retention. Their customers have accelerated file transfers of important Excel spreadsheets and other files utilizing the CIFS protocol up to 200 times faster. FTP file transfers now can run 20 times faster and require less bandwidth. Even Web-based applications, on average, run seconds faster per click. One customer reported that it took employees more than 20 minutes to obtain the computer login and personal profiles remotely each day. After implementing Blue Coat ProxySG, the customer saw the average time drop to 20 seconds.

Networx Australia pays its upstream Internet provider for bandwidth usage. Because they can reduce their bandwidth consumption by as much as 80 percent with the Blue Coat solution, they can significantly reduce their own costs, while offering improved performance to customers.

In addition, the same Blue Coat ProxySG appliances also protect the Networx Australia operations center as well as the networks and resources of its customers. The Blue Coat appliances prevent spyware, viruses and other threats by providing Web filtering and security at the Internet gateway connection. The appliances enable customers to comply with various regulations and requirements and manage or curtail the use of unauthorized or bandwidth-consuming applications, including peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing and IM.

Blue Coat ProxySG appliances act as the point of control for Networx Australia. Based on an understanding of users, applications and the interactions between them, the appliances control application traffic and Web communications based on the policy Networx Australia has created for its customers. The result is a substantial increase in customer retention and lowering of overhead in bandwidth costs and the expense of customer turnover. Networx Australia reports that they are not only seeing customers stick with them but also referring other businesses to them. New customers due to referrals have climbed sharply since introducing the Blue Coat solution. The combination of new business, customer retention and satisfaction and lower bandwidth costs has proven extremely valuable to Networx Australia.

“The Internet Service Provider business in Australia is sharply competitive, but with the Blue Coat solution we have been able to differentiate our service through accelerated delivery of content and applications and also offer comprehensive Web filtering,” said Mikael Haidar, CIO of Networx Australia. “Blue Coat ProxySG appliances can simultaneously solve application latency issues, reduce bandwidth consumption and deliver security and control. The result is significantly faster and more reliable service for customers, important differentiation in a competitive market, increased customer retention and lower costs due to bandwidth reductions.”


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