Energy Services Company Securely Migrates 50 Terabytes of Data to the Cloud While Saving 90% with Forcepoint

This energy industry service provider goes all cloud, all the time, at all locations in a mammoth move made safe and cost-effective by Forcepoint’s next generation firewall

Industry

Energy

Headquarters

United Arab Emirates

In 2016, this energy services company started its digital transformation by consolidating its core business and back-office applications on Oracle for greater efficiency and collaboration. The next step? Taking it all to the cloud for greater flexibility, including the contents of its 50 TB data center. When every other vendor couldn’t make the grade, the company turned to Forcepoint—and paid only a fraction of its expected migration costs while getting the most advanced, most secure, and most cost-effective firewall and SD-WAN combined solution for its entire multi-linked, multi-location operation.

Challenges

  • Copy 50 TB of critical data to the Oracle Cloud, cost-effectively.
  • Provide secure, reliable connectivity from multiple company locations to the cloud.

Approach

  • Replace costly MPLSs with stable, multi-link DSLs enabled by Forcepoint NGFW with SD-WAN.
  • Deploy Forcepoint NGFW firewalls at each location to enable ongoing secure connectivity via DSL.

Results

  • 50 TB of data transferred to the cloud, on schedule, within a much-lower budget.
  • Firewalls easily and cost-effectively rolled out without an onsite technician.
  • Visibility into each DSL line and bandwidth allocation by application.
Customer Profile

Leading provider of fabrication, engineering and contracting services to the offshore and onshore oil & gas and renewable energy industries.

Based in the United Arab Emirates, this energy services provider is a leading supplier of engineering, procurement, construction, and installation services, or EPC(I). It serves the offshore and onshore oil and gas and renewable energy industries throughout the Middle East. While well known in its home region, the company has larger ambitions—it’s very vocal about its long-term goals to grow geographical reach, expand markets and industries, and move the company higher up the value chain to access larger, more complex projects.

To support these ambitions, the company initiated a project to streamline operations and consolidate data by standardizing on Oracle for both core business and back office applications. The project was so successful the company won CIO magazine’s CIO 100 Award three years in a row, “in recognition of the team’s continued efforts in improving the business using technology.”

Leaping 100% into the cloud

More recently, the company decided it was time to take the ambitious next step in its digital transformation efforts: migrating its entire Oracle infrastructure to the Oracle Cloud. The move would save costs overall while increasing the company’s IT flexibility. Migration would let the company discontinue time-consuming and costly local data center management and transfer the burden of maintaining uptime to the Oracle Cloud provider. In a cloud environment, virtual resources could be dynamically added or dropped to meet IT demand at any given time. In addition, the company would gain the agility to quickly connect new locations, including offshore rigs.

Moving 50 terabytes of data to the cloud

But before the company could move its business to the cloud, it needed to copy all its existing data there—that meant 50 terabytes of data critical to operating the company. It was a monumental task that needed to be done in a limited amount of time, and also at a reasonable cost.

The company’s internet service provider offered the option of using Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), a routing technique designed to speed up traffic flows in service provider and enterprise-wide networks. A single “lease line” could provide enough bandwidth to make the transfer over a five- to six-month period. However, MPLS connections are expensive. The proposal would cost the company about $25,000 to $27,000 per month.

There was another challenge. The company was using pricey firewall appliances at each of its locations. It needed a more cost-effective solution that could handle the demands of secure communications between the company’s multiple locations and its virtual operations in the Oracle Cloud.

A better firewall and a bandwidth solution at one-tenth of the cost

To solve its migration and firewall problems, the company evaluated a number of vendors, but none could meet all of its cost and performance demands. That is, until it worked with Forcepoint.

To circumvent the need for an expensive MPLS line, Forcepoint proposed the use of five concurrent DSL links instead, at 10% of the MPLS’s cost. This allowed the use of a less expensive “pipe” through which data could be uploaded, while also providing necessary redundancy to protect against any disruption to connectivity.

To enable this direct-to-cloud approach, Forcepoint configured nextgeneration firewalls in both the existing data center and in the Oracle Cloud destination. Forcepoint NGFW provides the industry’s premier firewall security along with enterprise-level software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) capabilities, allowing it to deliver the stability the company required via a multi-link connection.

Using Forcepoint NGFW appliances across its branch offices would also deliver the added benefit of a secure direct-to-cloud connectivity architecture that could scale to support all locations, allowing each to benefit from trusted and high-performance connections to the Oracle Cloud once the transition was complete.

The company was impressed and delighted with such an out-of-the-box approach, and began working with Forcepoint to make its cloud-based goal a reality.

Data transfer success plus “zero-touch” firewall deployment, even on offshore rigs

As of now, the first phase of the project is complete with the full transfer of 50 TB of data to the cloud, on schedule and within the much-lower budget enabled by Forcepoint. Also, in addition to the firewalls placed at the data center and in the Oracle Cloud for the transition, the IT infrastructure team added one fabrication location, with plans to replace existing competitor firewalls at 13 more oil rig and fabrication sites. Forcepoint NGFW is now the only firewall solution used by the company, and will soon scale to provide secure direct-to-cloud connectivity for all locations.

Throughout the project, the infrastructure team has appreciated the simplified and centralized management provided by the Forcepoint solution. With “zero-touch deployment,” firewalls can be easily and costeffectively rolled out to multiple locations without the need for an onsite technician—very beneficial when the site is an off-shore oil rig. The team also appreciates the ability to manage all of their firewalls, regardless of deployment type, from a single pane-of-glass. The previous firewall vendor required a different login for each appliance. Forcepoint Security Management Center (SMC) also provides visibility and insights into the performance of each DSL line and how the bandwidth is being allocated by application. This allowed the team to discover shadow IT usage and led to discussions about adding Forcepoint’s cloud access security broker (CASB) to extend security to all cloud applications being used by employees. The company’s IT team has also been very impressed with the doubled throughput for branch-to-branch data transfer that Forcepoint delivers versus the previous firewall solution.

The company is so happy with the results seen so far that it’s thrilled to share the news, and potentially make next year its fourth year in a row as a CIO 100 Award winner.