Through a powerful combination of SSL VPN, VAD and SD WAN technologies, Citrix helps Kusum Healthcare keep its confidential data secure while improving uptime and simplifying IT infrastructure manageability.
“For a fast growing pharma company like ours, security and productivity need to go hand in hand. With a comprehensive solution spanning across SSL VPN, VAD and SD WAN, Citrix has delivered the powerful business impact that we were looking for – confidence in our data security complemented with improved productivity and efficiencies built on seamless connectivity and a centralized architecture.”
Kusum Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. is a young and fast growing pharmaceutical company. Founded in 1997, the Delhi headquartered company deals in pharma product manufacturing with two manufacturing units located in Bhiwadi and Indore. The company markets its wide range of pharma products in over 18 countries, including India, CIS and African countries.
With its focus on Research & Development, Kusum healthcare has over the years built a wealth of Intellectual Property (IP) with many formulations under registration and at various stages of development. This has poised the company for a big leap and gain an edge over competition.
With data at the heart of company’s success, it’s security was a key concern for the management. Dalveer Singh, Associate VP & Head – IT, Kusum Healthcare and his team recognized two areas that posed data security risks.
The first was the risk posed by the employees accessing the corporate network remotely considering the company had employees traveling regularly between the different office and plant locations and required access to data for work. According to Singh, this increased multi-fold the chances of potential cyberattacks and threat of corporate and research data getting exposed.
Another area that posed risk to data security was the company’s de-centralized architecture. This made it inherently more prone to risks owing to lesser control over the data and its access on end computing devices. According to Singh, the company realized the need to move to a more secure centralized architecture that would make it simpler to control both data and its access.
“With confidential R&D data at stake, which is the mainstay of our business, it was imperative that we plug any possible cybersecurity risks that come with accessing the corporate data, whether remotely or from within the corporate network. As a pharma company, this was a key requirement from both business and compliance perspective,” explains Singh.
While looking into the security concerns, the company decided it was time also to address the availability issues with its existing MPLS network.
The existing architecture required to manually switch between the primary and secondary links in case one goes down. This resulted in a latency of 15-20 minutes, disrupting user access to critical applications and data for that duration. Lack of real-time data availability, in turn, adversely impacted productivity and user experience.
Poor connectivity at the remote manufacturing sites was further hampering user experience, particularly during the video conferencing sessions. With many instances of video conferencing calls getting disconnected in the middle of the meetings, the IT team was receiving multiple complaints. The connectivity issue also created challenges around conducting backups in a seamless manner.
According to Singh, “We were looking for a solution to help us streamline both our security and connectivity challenges to help us optimize our operations and keep up with the fast growth that we are experiencing.”
With the twin objectives of streamlining both security and connectivity, Singh and his team identified SSL VPN, Virtual Application and Desktop (VAD) and SD WAN as the technologies to meet these objectives.
After evaluating various solutions for each of the three technologies, the team found Citrix to be the right fit with its distinctive edge from a features standpoint. The fact that Citrix had a lot of reference customers from the pharma industry provided a certain comfort factor around the solutions’ success in similar industry environments.
What led Kusum Healthcare to take the final decision in favor of Citrix was the fact that it offered a holistic solution, easing management headache.
“We realized the value proposition of bringing in a single vendor who offered a comprehensive solution for all our requirements under one umbrella. Dealing with one entity not only made the implementation easier but also took away the management complexities with a single console for complete management,” explains Singh.
According to Singh, “For a fast growing pharma company like ours, security and productivity need to go hand in hand. With a comprehensive solution spanning across SSL VPN, VAD and SD WAN Citrix has delivered the powerful business impact that we were looking for – confidence in our data security complemented with improved productivity and efficiencies built on seamless connectivity and a centralized architecture.”
The implementation of Citrix SSL VPN enabled secure access for the workforce connecting to the corporate network remotely. Besides meeting the compliance requirement, it has also given the management peace of mind knowing that the confidential data is secure and not at risk of being exposed to cyber threats.
The secure remote access enabled by Citrix SSL VPN proved to be particularly helpful to enable Work From Home (WFH) during the country-wide lockdown imposed in March 2020 in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. With the SSL VPN already in place there wasn’t even a single day of productivity loss as the employees could access all their work files from Day 1 without compromising on security.
Citrix VAD solution has helped Kusum Healthcare move to an inherently secure architecture by centralizing all its resources in one datacentre. The centralization has strengthened the security by making it simpler to control data and access as the data no longer resides on the endpoint devices.
All the applications now reside on the Citrix server hosted centrally, which employees access over the browser from a thin client. The business risk is considerably reduced with IT defining and enforcing policy based access as per user profiles as well as having visibility and control over the centrally managed apps and desktops.
According to Susanta Goswami, DGM-IT & Head Infrastructure, Kusum Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, “While we have never experienced a data breach so far, now with Citrix VAD there is an added comfort knowing that the employees are working directly on our servers and cannot extract any information or install/configure apps themselves which can pose a potential security risk.”
Moving to a centralized architecture with VAD has also simplified manageability and eased enforcement of compliance requirements, policy and software updates, patch releases, etc. This has reduced the burden on IT team for mundane support tasks, which they can now utilized more productively.
The cost savings that have come with moving to thin clients have been an added benefit for Kusum Healthcare. On an average, the company has been able to save 50-60% by shifting to thin client laptop/desktop infrastructure.
The move to Citrix SD WAN has helped the company seamlessly connect across all three locations (two manufacturing sites in Bhiwadi and Indore and head office in Delhi), which are now connected over leased lines. This has helped improve the user experience while accessing critical applications such as SAP and video conferencing.
According to Singh, one of the biggest benefits of the Citrix solution has been the availability and uptime it offers. The automatic switchover between the two leased line connections makes almost 100% uptime possible. With no disruption in application availability, user productivity and experience has seen a massive boost.
A seamless user experience and optimal utilization of bandwidth is now possible thanks to the ability to do bandwidth prioritization on the SD WAN solution. As per the requirements, the company can prioritize bandwidth allocation for each application as well as between video and data traffic. For instance, allocating a minimum fixed bandwidth for video traffic ensures that VC calls don’t drop even in case of any issues.
By optimizing the bandwidth utilization, the company is now able to utilize the bandwidth at night for taking the backup for both Bhiwadi and Indore locations. Seamless connectivity through SD WAN has made it possible for Kusum Healthcare to take backups on a daily basis as opposed to only the weekends earlier.
We realized the value proposition of bringing in a single vendor who offered a comprehensive solution for all our requirements under one umbrella. Dealing with one entity not only made the implementation easier but also took away the management complexities with a single console for complete management.