If you were to think back to your early understanding of how a manufacturing company operates, you would likely envision a production facility filled with bulky equipment, hundreds of workers, and a conveyor belt moving products down assembly lines. Maybe somewhere down the interstate would sit a headquarters where people in suits push buttons on their computers and the sound of keyboards clacking fills the air.
Flash forward to the present day and you will find that some things never change.
While that age-old adage may be true, the reality of the modern manufacturing environment includes cloud computing, interconnected IoT devices, and AI-powered systems that are shaping what is known as Industry 4.0.
For the global pharmaceutical manufacturer, STADA Arzneimittel, that reality is driving their company’s vision for a full-scale digital transformation. STADA’s vision for digital transformation was brought to life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but their need for a cloud-first single vendor approach began long ago. While the initial goal for STADA was to enable a hybrid-work approach for over 12,500 employees, the company realized the need for a secure cloud network powered by a Cisco SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) solution.
Secure Access Service Edge for All
Cisco has worked alongside STADA’s technology partner, MDS, to provide a unique single-vendor architecture that unlocks the full SASE potential. Through a mix of Cisco SD-WAN, Cisco Secure Access by DUO, and Cisco Umbrella – along with Cisco Firepower and FlexVPN, STADA has been able to align their ‘One STADA’ principles to their network operations.
“At STADA, our core values are integrity, entrepreneurship, agility, and One STADA unified across all locations. We were divided when I came to this company, but now we are unified under one infrastructure. By partnering with Cisco and integrating their solutions, STADA has put our values into action and simultaneously created a modern hybrid work model in the manufacturing industry.”
Marinel Boksan, Head of Global Network at STADA
During their transition, STADA decided to migrate a majority of its services from on-premises to Microsoft Azure cloud. The company knew the importance of providing efficient and effective access to services hosted in Azure. With the help of Cisco SD-WAN Cloud On-Ramp for SaaS, all the traffic to cloud applications such as Microsoft 365 would be optimized and provide a better user experience for employees. Aside from the migration from on-premises to the cloud, STADA chose Cisco SD-WAN for several reasons, including:
- Optimal usage of internet and SP links and services
- Centralized, simplified, and efficient management and operations of WAN network
- Simple and efficient support and maintenance
- Ability to implement different network topologies for different types of services and applications
- Unique SLA (Service Level Agreement) and QoS (quality of service) for different applications using app-aware routing
- Ability to optimize SaaS traffic (e.g., Microsoft 365)
- Integration with other Cisco security portfolio solutions
Cisco Secure Access by DUO
As STADA navigated the changes from their new hybrid work model, they knew building user and device trust was key to a properly secured network. In conjunction with the rest of their security bundle, STADA decided to implement a Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution with Secure Access by DUO. The switch from on-prem to the cloud also brought a need for multi-factor authentication to ensure that employees can securely access applications and services from home, Cisco DUO ensured that was the case for all 12,000+ STADA employees.
To enable safe browsing for their remote employees, STADA implemented Cisco Umbrella to secure internet access and control cloud application usage across networks, branch offices, and roaming users. The company also uses both the Umbrella DNS layer protection as well as Umbrella Secure Internet Gateway (SIG). Together with Secure Web (formerly known as WSA), all users can securely browse the web and use internet services, and Umbrella protects roaming users and users in locations without WSA and where SD-WAN branch routers can be integrated with Umbrella-SIG.
The goal was to provide complete web proxy security protection for users, no matter where they’re located. Given that STADA chose a single-vendor approach with Cisco, they have seen improved security and collaboration, simplified management and operations, instant scalability, and improved end-user experience and productivity. Not to mention a reduced total cost of ownership through flexible licensing.
‘Cisco Umbrella SASE Solution – DNS-layer security, Secure web gateway, Cloud-delivered firewall (w/IPS), Cloud access security broker, interactive intelligence, Remote browser isolation, Data loss prevention, Cloud malware detection’
The Future is Now
For STADA, their focus is built on delivering high-quality pharmaceutical products to customers around the globe, while remaining innovative and agile along the way. STADA’s manufacturing process is monitored and automated with IoT sensors that feed real-time data to operations and management, and the company has also started to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to build the production around predicted medication sales. To prepare for all scenarios, STADA has begun to explore various SAP modules that infuse AI technologies into the enterprise. These technologies help uncover operational insights and improvements, reduce operational costs, make better business decisions, and enable new revenue streams.
Through their broad portfolio of IoT, AI, smart devices, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, they can better manage when they need to ramp up production and determine who needs to be in the production facilities at any given time. These advancements in STADA’s processes highlight the innovation that has pushed the company along for the past 125 years – and the ‘behind the scenes’ power of Cisco SD-WAN, Umbrella, and DUO is what keeps it up and running today.