SA Recycling Accelerates Digital Transformation with Prisma SD-WAN

Recycle today for a better tomorrow! This is no longer just a trend, but an absolute necessity for energy conservation and environmental sustainability. The growing demand for waste reduction requires recycling industries to ensure uninterrupted operations, expand locations at scale, and improve network performance. Building a robust IT infrastructure that is easy to manage can be challenging and expensive with a legacy WAN architecture. SA Recycling, an industry leader in metal recycling, struggled with these challenges that disrupted their business functions and operational process, resulting in financial losses. Palo Alto Networks Prisma SD-WAN enabled SA Recycling to build robust, agile and secure networking, delivering uninterrupted connectivity while reducing trouble tickets by 97% for a digital transformation.

Challenges with Connecting Remote Branches with Poor Connectivity

SA Recycling has 125 locations distributed across remote sites and growing. They struggled with frequent network outages that brought their business to a crawl. They realized that relying on low bandwidth T1 connections wasn't cutting it. Simple upgrades, like adding broadband connections to improve bandwidth, didn’t help. These WAN links couldn’t be used to control, prioritize or shape critical application traffic. Moreover, the administrative overhead of managing legacy routing, quality of service (QoS) and security was overwhelming to the IT team.

Most importantly, SA Recycling recently made multiple acquisitions and faced the challenge of integrating different systems into a single network. “When IT is working well, it’s in the background and almost invisible. When there are problems, it becomes visible because then it impacts the business,” said Victor Ludick, director of IT Infrastructure and Cybersecurity, SA Recycling.

The Need to Build Business Agility

As the first priority, SA Recycling needed to reduce IT staff hours by simplifying operations while replacing multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) links with broadband to decrease costs and improve WAN redundancy.

The team also needed to improve network reliability and reduce downtime while increasing bandwidth to accommodate rising traffic demands. Gaining complete visibility into application and network performance, along with visibility into physical facilities through video surveillance applications, was yet another priority. With more applications accessible from the cloud, the team needed the ease of cloud management, granular metrics and application performance based on service level agreements (SLAs). They were also determined to protect their infrastructure – branches, applications and users – to maintain system integrity and ensure customer confidence.

With these requirements in mind, SA Recycling evaluated several possible solutions based on the ability to support complete visibility, improve app performance, and provide consistent connectivity. During the process, they learned that Prisma SD-WAN was the only solution that did what all previous products had promised.

Next-Generation SD-WAN to Ensure Network Resiliency

“I saw what it could do with a single pane of glass and point-and-click configuration that was so intuitively seamless that I could jump in on day one and start making changes,” Ludick claimed. Prisma SD-WAN is a next-generation SD-WAN solution that offered SA Recycling numerous benefits:

Simplified Operations: “Prisma SD-WAN is a force multiplier for administration and management, enabling the IT team to do a lot more work in the same amount of time,” Ludick observed. SA Recycling entirely changed the dynamic and effort needed to deploy, configure and tweak new installations for their branch offices with Prisma SD-WAN. Deployments that would have taken months using the legacy systems now take just minutes, with far fewer operational errors.

Reduced Support Costs and Greater Uptime: “The obvious advantage of Prisma SD-WAN is to leverage multiple connections to provide intelligent traffic engineering based on performance SLAs for all apps,” Ludick observed. This, combined with the simplicity of defining business policies at a global level that are easily provisioned across branches, SA Recycling reduced outages and increased network uptime. With fewer network disruptions and automated application remediation, the IT team drastically reduced the time to deal with urgent problems. “By reducing trouble tickets by 97%, we could shift more resources into long-term strategic projects,” claimed Ludick.

Better User Experience: Prisma SD-WAN also provides an exceptional user experience. With efficient dashboards, it’s easy for administrators to understand the state of the system and update policies quickly. Prisma SD-WAN offers intuitive visibility of the entire network, as well as end-to-end analytics to ensure that SA Recycling can improve performance and comply with app SLAs. Video monitoring applications now run uninterrupted to provide enhanced safety and security across the company’s facilities.

Improved Security Outcomes: Security is a high priority for SA Recycling, and Prisma SD-WAN has improved the organization’s security posture and outcomes. Prisma SD-WAN fabric gave SA Recycling an overlay fabric that’s simpler to use and easier to customize than the legacy dynamic multipoint virtual private network (DMVPN) it had been using. SA Recycling is also moving toward a single-vendor SASE solution with Palo Alto Networks Prisma Access to protect all applications, users and devices with best-of-breed security.

SA Recycling plans to deploy Prisma SD-WAN to its newly acquired branches, as well. They plan to extend the benefits the company has already been realized at the initial upgraded sites to the entire company. As a trusted partner, Palo Alto Networks Prisma SD-WAN has enabled SA Recycling to build robust, seamless and secure networking across 125+ sites. Prisma SD-WAN eliminated operational disruption while simultaneously reducing administrative overhead to deliver on Ludick’s objective: “We don’t want to have to work so hard to do the simple stuff.”

Learn more about SA Recycling’s networking journey.

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