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Cyber Security
16 January 2012

Firewall Cutover at a 24×7 Live Network

An inventory scanning company leases handheld scanners and provides inventory solutions for their customers. Customers perform inventory scans 24 hours a day across the country. These scanners communicate with internal servers and update SQL databases. Internet downtime of more than 5 minutes would be catastrophic to the company’s business.

Their biggest customer had a huge upcoming inventory. The IT staff ran a test simulation of this job one week in advance, and ran into major connectivity issues with the excessive scanning traffic. Since their existing Sonicwall firewall had a single core processor, it was unable to inspect the amount of TCP connections coming from one IP address and therefore dropped packets. This firewall issue caused the test inventory to fail.

They needed a more robust firewall that could handle the appropriate amount of TCP connections per second and network throughput for this job. And they need it quickly for this live inventory job to be successful. If they cancelled this scheduled inventory job, the company was in jeopardy of losing their best customer.

Flexible researched all viable firewall options and recommended upgrading to the Sonicwall NSA 4500 firewall. Since downtime was critical and the company already had a Sonicwall firewall, the easiest migration path was upgrading to a higher end Sonicwall firewall. Management requested for Flexible to perform this migration at their least busy time of day, which was a Wednesday morning at 4:30am.

The migration was successful. We were able to resolve some issues with the new firewall’s DPI and IP Spoofing settings. All Internet communications were quickly restored, and the IT staff was able to run a successful test inventory simulation.

Later that week, their customer’s live inventory was a success. The company did not have to reschedule this inventory job and risk losing their best customer. The IT staff looked good in front of management for implementing the correct solution at an affordable price. Since this customer means too much to the business, management was willing to spend close to $100k on a solution to work properly. Flexible’s solution cost approximately $9k, and indirectly saved the company over $90k.