Theme parks, cinema exhibitions, film production, film distribution and marketing solutions
Media & Entertainment
Village Roadshow was looking to move from legacy MPLS architecture to next-gen network and cybersecurity.
They chose Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) and Prisma SASE (Prisma Access and Prisma SD-WAN) from Palo Alto Networks.
Village Roadshow Limited (Village Roadshow) is a leading entertainment company based in Melbourne, Australia, with well-recognised retail brands. The company entertains millions of people annually through business operations that span theme parks, cinema exhibitions, film production, film distribution, and marketing solutions.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Village Roadshow Limited, Village Roadshow Theme Parks owns and operates several theme parks on the Gold Coast, including Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, Paradise Country, and Australian Outback Spectacular. With 150 rides, slides and attractions, and over 400 hotel rooms, Village Roadshow welcomes between 20–30 million guests annually, either in their cinema sites or across their theme parks.
The security team, however, faced challenges managing their networks. Michael Fagan, Chief Transformation Officer for Village Roadshow, explains, “The speed of technology revolutions has consistently outpaced the technology used within most industries. This held true for Village Roadshow as well. We had a great network designed for an era that does not exist anymore and the time had come to change this scenario.” With his vast experience of 25 years across industry and consulting, Michael and his team were tasked to enact the necessary changes for Village Roadshow to move ahead with the times.
Like most traditional networks, Village Roadshow’s network was based on conventional routers that were never designed for the cloud. This typically requires backhauling of all traffic, including cloud-destined traffic, from branch offices to a hub or data centre where advanced security inspection services can be applied, firewalls can enforce policies, and a demilitarized zone (DMZ) can be implemented. The delay caused by this backhaul impairs application performance, resulting in a poor user experience and lost productivity. Additionally, with the onset of COVID-19, Village Roadshow witnessed societal and structural changes and a shift to a hybrid workforce. “A person working from home is considered a branch office of one; likewise a new theme park ride could be considered a new office and both need access to data securely, and in different ways,” says Michael.
He goes on to add, “An agile, secure, scalable, carrier-agnostic network solution was the need of the hour. Firewalls deployed at Village Roadshow were nearing end of life. Our fixed-line telephone carriage was aging, and there was a growing need to deliver cost savings to the business by moving away from MPLS.” An agile solution with the ability to spin off into newly connected sites quickly was an important consideration in coping with unplanned situations. For instance, on a particularly hot day at one of the many Village Roadshow theme parks, there could be an instantaneous decision to send an ice cream cart that moves from one location to another to cater to the guests. The cart would need to be connected to the network to capture all transactions. Village Roadshow began the search for a solution that could cater to these sudden changes and also work when after-hours events needed to be held.
Village Roadshow was certain that the future of security is in the cloud. They wanted to adopt a solution that met the following requirements:
Under Michael’s guidance, Village Roadshow assessed a myriad of solutions and spent time re-architecting and re-designing their network. When Village Roadshow began the MPLS renewal, they initially considered deploying the SD-WAN layer. However, after exploring the advantages of SASE as a whole and the way the market was heading with convergence and vendor consolidation, Michael decided to expand on this to encompass both a network and security transformation journey. “Cost savings was definitely a driver for us to move from MPLS to SD-WAN. Our partner, Cube Networks broadened our lens from merely considering SD-WAN to looking at a full SASE architecture that could consolidate multiple technologies into a single stack,” says Michael.
Village Roadshow broadened its scope from SD-WAN to a full SASE architecture. “We ran a competitive tender and Palo Alto Networks blew the competition out of the water across every parameter,” says Michael, before adding, “Palo Alto Networks with Prisma Access, Panorama, and GlobalProtect was the only solution that was able to meet all criteria. With their reputation as a market leader in cybersecurity and the most complete SASE solution in the industry, we knew we could trust Palo Alto Networks to deliver the right outcomes for our business.”
After the new solution was deployed, Village Roadshow was extremely satisfied with the outcomes. Michael cites an example where they actually lost connectivity in one of their cinema sites, but because the company had architected the solution from Palo Alto Networks with redundancies that kick in automatically, nobody noticed that the primary network went down for about 30 minutes, which is no mean feat to achieve.
The cloud-delivered security and networking with Prisma SASE provides a secure experience along with a seamless user experience irrespective of the location of staff members.
Village Roadshow has realized cost savings with SD-WAN, consolidation, and improved security and networking features with Prisma SASE.
Michael highlighted how the IT industry is one of the few in the world where new products are shipped incomplete, and no one bats an eye. He explained this succinctly with an analogy: a car manufacturer would never release a new car with parts missing, but software isn’t held to the same standard; new patches are regularly released when the software does not work as intended. By partnering with Palo Alto Networks, Village Roadshow has been able to consolidate to a single vendor with a complete SASE solution while phasing out two incumbent vendors.
The reduction in calls to the service desk team was an unexpected upside. These teams are now able to focus on more value-added or complex tasks. Not having to deal with unexpected outages, manage multiple vendors, and solve interoperability challenges has meant time savings of in excess of 5,000 man-hours every month.
Village Roadshow did its due diligence and is happy with the level of security that Prisma SASE provides, including continuous security inspection and trust assessment based on device posture, user behavior and app behavior for any user connecting to any application.
“As a valued customer for Cube Networks, Village Roadshow has invested their trust in our expertise to achieve groundbreaking results. Michael and his team are not afraid to explore the potential of cutting-edge technology to meet long-term goals, such as the SASE solution we presented—and as a result, have paved the way for other Australian organizations. We’re proud of the value we’ve delivered to Village Roadshow and the partnership we have with both them and Palo Alto Networks, which enables great results,” shares Frank Arena, CEO of Cube Networks.
Michael acknowledges Village Roadshow’s partnership with Cube Networks and how they were integral to this journey of SASE adoption with Palo Alto Networks. “They had a highly capable workforce and boots on the ground across Australia. They helped with troubleshooting and gave us access to skills, knowledge, and capabilities that we needed at the time,” he says. Village Roadshow has experienced a tangible value with SASE adoption from Palo Alto Networks and looks forward to a continued business relationship.
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