Adopting a cloud-first approach with Prisma® Access, the performing rights leader securely reduces data transfer time by 90%
Protecting sensitive data is paramount for SESAC Music Group, which handles the licensing and distribution of copyrighted musical works for some of the entertainment industry’s biggest names. Founded in 1931, just 22 years after the U.S. Copyright Act was enacted, SESAC Music Group was America’s second performing rights organization. Originally named the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, it had a catalog consisting primarily of compositions in European films.
Today, SESAC is a leader and innovator in global music licensing. It administers public performance, mechanical, and other rights through SESAC Performing Rights Organization and its affiliates, including The Harry Fox Agency, Rumblefish, and Mint Digital Services. SESAC licenses the public performances of more than one million songs. Its 30,000 affiliated songwriters, composers, and music publishers include Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Rush, Adele, Zac Brown, R.E.M., Kesha, Mumford & Sons, and many other stars.
The company has also long represented the music on many of TV’s most popular shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Parenthood, and Seinfeld. It’s the performing rights organization of choice for numerous Hollywood film and television composers.
SESAC has offices in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, London, and Munich. The company also has a large development team in India.
SESAC processes an enormous amount of sensitive customer data, including personally identifiable information (PII). The company sought to modernize its network and security infrastructure as part of its shift to a cloud-only environment. To help deliver on its vision of implementing a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) framework and provide Zero Trust Network Access to its applications and sensitive data, SESAC sought a partner to replace its aging virtual private network (VPN), increase segmentation, and help restrict network access.
SESAC’s legacy network required it to backhaul traffic from remote locations. Employees had to connect and disconnect again and again from a traditional VPN. This created a poor experience for SESAC’s workforce, especially its deployment team in India, which struggled with network latency.
The company wanted to provide its employees the ability to access applications without requiring any action on their part, such as connecting to a VPN. In addition, SESAC needed visibility into how its employees access the network.
The company sought a best-in-class, cloud-delivered networking and security solution to secure its artists’ data while also enabling employees to be more productive.
SESAC required an Always On secure connection to provide immediate, uninterrupted access for its workforce, no matter where they’re located.
The company also needed the ability to apply policy-based security to leverage Zero Trust Network Access and establish a SASE framework. Securely accesssing private applications was another important factor: SESAC needed to enable remote users to access resources in its cloud services provider’s data centers.
SESAC worked with CDW Corporation while evaluating vendors. CDW Corporation suggested that SESAC take a look at Palo Alto Networks solutions.
Palo Alto Networks Prisma® Access cloud-delivered security was the clear frontrunner. “Our Zero Trust initiative grew out of the realization of how we can leverage Prisma Access to achieve our goals,” said Eric Crepeau, Director of Shared Services Infrastructure at SESAC.
Prisma Access enables SESAC to closely inspect traffic and pinpoint network access. It also provides superb antivirus protection and Domain Name System (DNS) filtering capabilities that allow SESAC to block access to malicious websites. Moreover, Crepeau said competitors couldn’t match Prisma Access when it came to connection points.
Deployment took less than two months between Proof of Concept (PoC) and pilot to full production in March 2021. Due to the pandemic, SESAC’s entire workforce was working remotely when deployment occurred. Despite the less-than-ideal circumstances, the switchover went smoothly. “We completely swapped out the VPN during the middle of a critical period,” Crepeau said. “The transition went without a hitch.
Because Prisma Access is an Always On solution, employees easily adapted to the new technology.
Implementing Prisma Access has enabled SESAC employees to do their jobs more efficiently. “Prisma Access definitely has increased productivity,” Crepeau said. “Not only does it provide a smoother connection, but I would call it more reliable.”
Day-to-day operations greatly improved for the remote development team. They no longer have to backhaul network traffic from India to the U.S. By deploying Prisma Access, the team now enjoys local connections all over the world, and data transfers that previously took 10 minutes have been reduced to just one minute.
“For our US-based users, they can now wake up in the morning, turn on their computer, and start working without having to worry, ‘I’m not connected to XYZ application,’” Crepeau said.
While SESAC’s traditional VPN was managed by just two IT staff with the specific skillset, Prisma Access enabled SESAC to use resources more efficiently by training additional IT team members who now share the workload.
After deploying Prisma Access, SESAC acquired UK-based Audio Network and MNRK Music Group, headquartered in New York. Prisma Access allows SESAC to operate those businesses independently and isolate each tenant’s data while also facilitating easily spinning up security solutions to those environments. Improved network segmentation blocks attackers, provides better access control, and contains network issues.
SESAC gained all the advantages that cloud-delivered SASE provides, including the ability to restrict access and apply consistent policy enforcement, full visibility into user and device behavior, centralized orchestration with single-pane-of-glass management, and easy scalability.
SESAC is now ahead of many competitors in its cloud-first approach and will soon close down its only remaining traditional data center. The company is looking at taking advantage of new integrations between Palo Alto Networks and its cloud services provider that will enable it to steer traffic directly to the cloud.
Prisma Access protects the hybrid workforce with the superior security of ZTNA 2.0 while providing exceptional user experiences from a simple, unified security product. Purpose-built in the cloud to secure at cloud scale, only Prisma Access protects all application traffic with best-in-class capabilities while securing both access and data to dramatically reduce the risk of a data breach. With a common policy framework and single-pane-of-glass management, Prisma Access secures today’s hybrid workforce without compromising performance, backed by industry-leading service level agreements to ensure exceptional user experiences.
Prisma Access has allowed SESAC to achieve its vision of powering a global workforce in the cloud as it continues to be a leader in the performing rights industry.
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