Located in Tokyo, Waseda University is one of Japan’s top private institutions of academic research and higher learning. Classes were once conducted primarily in-person; the teacher’s whiteboard was one of the most useful learning aids. Network downtime had almost no impact on the students’ quality of study, but Waseda University had already noticed the benefits of next-generational educational infrastructure. Plans were previously in place to begin implementing a number of initiatives throughout the university’s research, education, and administration departments.
And then Covid hit. On the 16th of April 2020, Japan declared a state of national emergency. Across the globe, students and teachers alike were suddenly expected to shift all classes to online only. As lecture halls were swapped for remote classes, the university saw the true importance of its IT infrastructure. Previously, the security of online student interaction was handled outright by a single VPN hardware. Upon all 3,000 faculty members and students making the jump to at-home study, the university’s once-accessible security hardware became a major bottleneck. The ballooning network meant that Waseda’ students struggled not only with the demands of at-home studying, but also had to battle VPN traffic jams and disconnection.
Waseda’s online communications were no longer an optional upgrade: they were indispensable, and a major, future-proof update was required. The goal was to ensure the secure connectivity of every student and staff member, at all times.
How GlobalDots Guided Waseda in the Cloud
Like most organizations, Waseda’s team faced the tricky task of balancing budget against suitability, reliability and performance. While Waseda had started to research a handful of options, their eventual choice almost slipped right through their fingers. Hitoshi Kusunoki, of Waseda’s Information Planning department, initially thought of their eventual partner as just an alternate VPN provider.
When GlobalDots heard of Waseda’s plight, our hands-on experts immediately began scouring the cutting-edge solutions provided by our breadth of partners.
On paper, this partnership seemed promising – their single network service could fulfill all the demands placed upon Waseda’s network, further supporting branch locations, mobile users, and preexisting data centers.
But GlobalDots recognizes the importance of proving a solution’s suitability. Our collaboration on the Proof of Concept (POC) was a major step toward the university making its IT network’s next evolutionary step. GlobalDots aided in the POC process, allowing for the swift consolidation of all the university’s traffic onto one cloud backbone. Following an ethos of simple yet powerful, the GlobalDots solution allows for rapid location connection to the divide’s closest Point of Presence (PoP). This local PoP connects the device to the organization’s overarching global network and security services.
Though the bottlenecked VPN had ignited the search for a network upgrade, the Proof of Concept helped to display the sheer range of GlobalDots’ partnership. Cato Networks’ initial offering was their Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution. This architecture describes a dedication to simplicity: SASE converges networking and security domains into one overarching, global cloud service. This transformational approach shifts an organization’s network from a rigid, patchwork mess of solutions into a fluid, scalable tech stack. This didn’t just replace Waseda’s old VPN software: their entire security suite was transformed, with anti-malware and next-generation firewall providing adaptable, powerful traffic protection.
Once GlobalDots had seamlessly introduced Waseda’s upper management to Cato Networks, the decision was made to begin implementing the solution alongside online at-home learning. This allowed for their new solution to be stress-tested not just by the management, but also by the students themselves. The ease of this initial implementation was greatly aided by GlobalDots’ work on the Proof of Concept.
Cato’s capabilities proved a success: the eventual choice of partner was greatly influenced by their capacity to replace and consolidate Waseda University’s preexisting firewalls and security solutions. This not only simplified the education provider’s foundational IT systems, but also drastically cut network and security costs overall.
A Solution for The Future
Once implemented, Waseda University’s IT team was quick to realize the true capabilities of the GlobalDots partnership. Their solution’s adaptability was immediately obvious in the old issue of bandwidth allocation: traditionally, in order to upgrade bandwidth, their on-premises hardware would require replacing. With the new cloud-based network, however, bandwidth upgrades are almost instantaneous. The possibility for rapid adaptation allowed the university’s students to thrive, even in the difficult conditions of at-home study. Network reliability benefited hugely, and the IT team enjoys the capacity to be better equipped for future changes.
In terms of security, it is now far easier to visualize the traffic flowing throughout the university’s networks. This visibility allows for users to surf safer, as identity authentication measures are now minutely fine-tuned. For every single user – no matter where they are – user and resource identification measures allow for a true zero-trust network, controlled by a single organization policy. This central control mechanism empowers Waseda University to take the initiative with their new solution provider. An organization dedicated to the safety and experience of its students, they are continuing to adapt the solution that GlobalDots provided. For instance, the digital transformation possibilities are endless: complete reorganization of their security portfolio is on the horizon, in order to further unify their security outlook.
They noticed that the ability for students and colleagues to work productively, securely and consistently from their place of choice is vital to engagement. At the same time, the demands of this new global network must be managed by a single team. The role of a skilled technology partner is to not only facilitate this balance, but also to empower an organization in its future digital transformation initiatives.
Waseda University is only one out of the thousands of success stories that GlobalDots is proud of. A world-leader in cloud innovation, our ever-expanding portfolio includes over 80 ground-breaking partners across Security, Performance, Cloud Management, DevOps and more. Holistically leading each organization through their own transformation is GlobalDots’ end-to-end adoption ethos; our work has maintained the trailblazing tech stacks of brands such as Lufthansa, AppsFlyer, and Playtika.
To discuss your organization’s own possibilities in cost reduction, global scalability and acceleration, contact us today.