Menlo Security: shielding business in the cloud
Mike East is an IT veteran who jokes that at some point over the past 30 years he’s held every job in the sector, barring marketing (though being married to a marketeer, he feels he can tick that box, too). As Vice President EMEA at Menlo Security, he now leverages his considerable experience of the full IT ecosystem to steer businesses through the crucial security aspects of their digital transformation.
Menlo Security specialists work with companies to overcome common security sticking points and dispel misconceptions associated with the safety of cloud computing, which Mike “always felt was a mindset issue and not a technology issue.”
Menlo’s solution is clear and concise: “Menlo was born in the cloud and provides users with a 100% safe email and browsing experience by moving the fetch and execute functions of web browsing away from the network and back into the Menlo cloud.”
Web browsing and electronic documents are isolated on Menlo’s cloud, instantly tested for malicious content, before being rendered and returned safely to users’ devices. During a pandemic situation, such capabilities enable organisations to secure employee activity outside the confines of the corporate network, which in turn brings enormous value. By sidestepping the need for a VPN, businesses also often save money and can offer their employees a more seamless experience.
To power its own digital transformation and support hundreds of employees working from home, law firm Howard Kennedy’s Head of Technology and Security, Jonathan Freedman, sought out Menlo.
“Jonathan was looking to isolate documents and protect their users from weaponised attachments,” East says. “Now when lawyers click on that document, essentially the execution of that document is happening in the Menlo cloud. If it's malicious, what we send back is a rendered view, which is completely harmless, on the user device. If it’s completely harmless, that also gets rendered back on the user's device.”
East’s view is that collaboration is key - working in harmony with partners “whether you're buying a car, or whether you're buying software as a service.”
“Howard Kennedy as a company was very easy to work with and understood exactly what it wanted and needed. That's actually a rare thing in my experience,” he says. “Its process for evaluating and testing was very detailed and very thorough, and if someone knows what they want it’s much easier to make that journey together.”
As industries accelerate their digital transformation, East says “the convergence of software defined networks and security is only going to accelerate. This is not just because of COVID - it was going that way anyway - but COVID has been a bit of a wake up call for organisations on how they should organise themselves.”
East says the Menlo team will be standing by: “Organisations should spend more time doing what they do, not building infrastructure to support what they do.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”