“To protect our virtualized data center infrastructure from emerging threats, ESDS invested in Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Virtualized Next-Generation Firewall with Threat Prevention, and it has delivered beyond our expectations. ESDS customers trust Palo Alto Networks to secure their applications and data.
- Piyush Somani, Founder, Managing Director & CEO, ESDS
Ensure top-notch security and compliance for customers’ data and applications housed in ESDS data centers. Maintain greater stability, better insights, and visualization into security to improve service levels.
Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Virtualized Next-Generation Firewall with Threat Prevention
ESDS Software Solution Pvt. Ltd. is one of India’s leading managed data center service and auto-scalable cloud solution providers. Founded in 2005 by first-generation entrepreneur Piyush Somani, ESDS began as an outsourced web hosting support provider that supported companies in the US and UK.
Over the next few years, ESDS made some strategic acquisitions that helped the company achieve phenomenal growth. By the end of 2009, ESDS had grown from 200 customers to 35,000 within just 36 months.
As the company set its sights on India’s market, it forayed into the managed data center space, building its first data center in the country and creating a world-class R&D team tasked with resolving customers’ scaling-related issues. Alongside that, the R&D team created eNlight Cloud, the world's first cloud that scales vertically, for which ESDS holds dual patents in the US and UK.
Since then, the company has been growing steadily on the back of enduring relationships with customers. In India, ESDS hosts about 310 banks—mostly small cooperative banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), and payment banks—on its Banking Community cloud. It also has a Government Community cloud that adheres to stringent compliance requirements and is audited by the Indian government.
“Today, close to 32% of India’s population connects to ESDS’ servers at least every 15 days through loan disbursal schemes or initiatives, such as Mudra Yojana, Startup India, Public Distribution Systems, smart metering, etc. In the next four years, we expect this to grow to 70%,” says Somani. “We’re proud to play a significant role in the digital transformation of India.”
Ensuring a Secure Network for Clients Is Top Priority
ESDS believes in providing end-to-end services to clients and takes on the responsibility for the safety of its clients’ data. This is not easy, given that the infrastructure is exposed to potent threats, both from nation-states and unscrupulous competitors.
“With great growth comes great responsibility,” says Somani. “As the company grew, we felt even more compelled to evaluate our security and compliance and ensure that it was up to the mark. We wanted to give our customers the assurance that their data and applications are in safe hands.”
Given the sensitive nature of client data, ESDS takes security very seriously. It offers multi-layered security, which makes the network more secure but increases complexity. Also, while customers understand the importance of security, there is some resistance to investing time and resources to reinforce it. To counter this, ESDS was looking for a cutting-edge firewall product to secure the virtual environment, especially between the network and the web interface.
“We needed a product that could handle the complex architecture requirements and offer the kind of support that we needed for our clients,” says Somani.
ESDS decided to go with Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Virtualized Next-Generation Firewall with Threat Prevention based on its R&D team’s thorough technical analysis as well as an extensive study of market and industry reports. The engagement started with a detailed Proof of Concept (POC).
According to ESDS, about 20% of its clients have now moved to the VM-Series Firewalls with Threat Prevention as of this writing. In the near future, ESDS hopes to bring this number to 100%. The company is also in the process of evaluating other products from Palo Alto Networks to bolster its security infrastructure.
Greater Stability, Simpler Troubleshooting
With its previous firewalls, ESDS often faced resource-related issues, such as the firewalls hanging during production and certain rules not taking effect. This could translate to various challenges, such as loading issues for public customer websites. In turn, this hampered customers’ business. Such issues have been eliminated since ESDS switched to the VM-Series.
“Palo Alto Networks is much more advanced [than the competition] and offers a thorough visualization of the activity. With detailed logs, troubleshooting is simplified. ” says Somani.
Another big advantage is that management and service are hosted on different infrastructures. With the previous firewall, even if there was a service-related issue, the ESDS team could not access the firewall. The VM-Series allows the team to access the firewall, see the logs, and take necessary action, even in the event of a service issue.
“Given the evolving threat landscape, we are very happy with the Palo Alto Networks VM-Series firewall product, which has worked very well. In fact, it has delivered beyond expectations. The product is very stable, and we have also been getting very positive feedback from our customers. Overall, we would rate the Palo Alto Networks products very highly,”says Somani.
ESDS is currently using Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Virtualized Next-Generation Firewalls with Threat Prevention in its data centers in Nashik and Mumbai in India. Soon, ESDS is planning to expand into other regions in India as well as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). “We plan to use Palo Alto Networks products in our upcoming data centers, too,” says Somani. “Palo Alto Networks has helped us build greater credibility with our customers and deliver a superior experience.”