Knowing your place is an important attribute in business. Trying to be everywhere, even in a cutthroat market, won't take you too far. At least, that is what Chennai-based Secure Network Solutions (SNS) firmly believes in and has been following for many years.
The company has never altered from its core focus—security. If you thought such strategy is old-fashioned, think again.
SNS has not only won many multi-core deals, but has been paid a premium by most of its customers for remaining an exclusive security partner for them. The SI's recent project for Shriram Group is a perfect case-in- point.
Fair share of the pie
The Rs 60,000 crore Shriram Group had a fairly complex IT scenario. With more than 500 remote locations that are situated across multiple tier-3 and smaller towns across India, the company had thousands of users logged into its core finance applications in the datacenter throughout the day.
What made the scenario a lot more complex is the infeasibility of setting up MPLS networks in many of these locations. As a result, a lot of its remote employees were accessing the applications through the Internet. "There were a lot of security concerns in branch offices. Internet access restriction at many of these branch offices was impossible. We wanted to take control of the remote locations by deploying entry-level firewalls. At the same time, throughput and heavy utilization of firewall was becoming a concern at the datacenter level," says V. Sendil Kumar, assistant vice president-IT, Shriram Group.
To start with, Kumar and his IT team decided to deploy UTM boxes at 200 remote locations and also to take additional measures at the datacenter level. This meant that the partner who would get the project would have to implement the boxes in Shriram's numerous small-town locations, where they didn't have even a single engineer for technical help.
While SNS was Shriram's existing security vendor, the sheer magnitude of the project prompted Kumar to consider larger SIs. As expected, the project had many aspiring takers—right from tier-2 SIs, to tier-1 players, vendors, and even a large ISP. The team at SNS knew that they were going to face an uphill task.
Amidst a bunch of aggressive aspirers, SNS knew that it had to be different from others. Most importantly, SNS decided to focus on coming up with a security-only solution, though there were requirements around networking and other datacenter components. "We realized that all the other contenders were offering security as part of a lot of other technologies they sell. But we do only security, and the customer's most important requirement was around security. We knew this would give us an upper-hand over others in terms of understanding the requirements correctly and coming up with the right solution," says N.K. Mehta, MD and CEO, SNS.
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