Business & Technology

Waste Management, Inc. Adopts Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN All-in-One Solution

By Fortinet | May 13, 2020

We recently spoke with Tim Stuart, Senior Manager of Enterprise Voice and Network at Waste Management, to discuss how Waste Management was able to address their evolving business requirements by implementing Fortinet Secure SD-WAN. Stuart also shared best practices and lessons learned for deploying on such a large scale. 

Waste Management, Inc., the largest waste management and environmental services company in the US, provides services that range from collection and disposal to recycling and renewable energy generation. As their organization continued to expand, and they began to integrate digital innovation into their business processes, it was imperative to Waste Management that they could expand and contract network communications as needed. This was even more important as they needed to rapidly transition their workforce to remote work as a result of COVID-19.

By converting their router-based WAN infrastructure to Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution, Waste Management was able to leverage the Fortinet Security Fabric to tie their security and networking elements together. They were also able to easily support their employee’s transition to telework with their existing Secure SD-WAN deployment.

Waste Management’s Objectives

Today’s branch offices have complex requirements that legacy routers, and even most SD-WAN solutions have simply not been designed to address. The goal of Waste Management was to reduce costs and centralize security management across their distributed organization, and they were looking for a high-performance security solution that would meet both their business and employee needs. They began by looking for a cybersecurity solution that could:

  • Reduce overall costs and operating expenses by migrating from static MPLS to multi-broadband.
  • Improve user experience and the performance of applications by prioritizing business-critical applications and enabling branches to directly communicate with the internet.
  • Increase visibility to reduce the time needed to remediate user-impacting issues.
  • Eliminate expensive 3rd-party services through a single interface, and unify the management of SD-WAN, including optimization and security.

Replacing Complexity with Improved Operations

In an attempt to gain full visibility, control, and decision-making capabilities through enhanced data correlation and integration between its various security elements, Waste Management had employed a WAN infrastructure that relied on routers and expensive MPLS circuits to connect their remote locations. This solution also included a variety of point products to provide both connectivity and security. 

However, not only did they not function as an integrated system, they had also introduced application performance and limited visibility challenges. And they still needed to rationalize their security product inventory and centralize security management to more efficiently and securely interconnect their recycling facilities, landfills, and transfer stations. 

“We were looking for something that we could go to improve that service so we started looking at the different industries and SD-WAN caught our attention and we started looking at what solutions were out there. We needed to get into modern speeds to be able to handle modern applications and a solution that would provide us the speed, security and ease of deployment and that's what really drove us towards the Fortinet solution and got us to where we're at today.” 

- Tim Stuart, Senior Manager of Enterprise Voice and Network at Waste Management

After an internal analysis of different solutions, they found that the Fortinet Secure SD-WAN solution enabled them to meet all of their objectives. Its Security-Driven Networking approach, powered by the Fortinet Security Fabric, enabled them to combine their security and networking solutions into a single, integrated system. This enabled them to successfully manage all 1200 locations while reducing WAN costs, improving business application SLA, and simplifying overall management with best-of-breed security and performance. 

The addition of the Fortinet SD-Branch solution then enabled them to seamlessly extend that security functionality deep into each local branch network by combining Secure SD-WAN with LAN switching, wireless access, and LTE (3G/4G) extensions.

The Advantages of Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch

Fortinet Secure SD-WAN delivers vastly improved application performance by routing traffic over the most efficient WAN connection. Since resource allocation and dynamic connectivity are automated, once basic connection, security, and minimum bandwidth policies are set, the process of maintaining and managing an adaptable software-defined network is now simple and easier than ever. This is a significant benefit for organizations, since they often have multiple locations and thousands of employees with limited security resources and must accomplish all network administration from a centralized location. 

As a result of implementing Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch solutions, Tim and his team had access to the powerful security tools included in the FortiGate NGFW security appliance – including firewall, IPS, antivirus, web filtering, and sandboxing – combined with a full suite of essential connectivity, bandwidth management, and application recognition tools. 

Because these tools and services are integrated into a single, holistic solution, Waste Management was able to ensure the reliable delivery of even their most latency-sensitive business applications. And in addition to immediately seeing a significant difference in their application performance, they also saw enhanced security, increased visibility, and simplified management ­– all while reducing their WAN overhead.

“We took the Fortinet solution because it has a centralized operation in zero-touch deployment that worked perfect and it was a very easy platform to troubleshoot on and it also had great visibility force, along with security in the price for the performance. I mean, that's really why we drove it down. We were looking for price stability and speed of deployment because the telco vendor that we were dealing with did not meet our needs. If we needed to make a change within our network, Fortinet made it possible.”

- Tim Stuart, Senior Manager of Enterprise Voice and Network at Waste Management

Business Impact

By selecting and deploying the Fortinet Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch solutions, Waste Management immediately received the following benefits:

  • Reduced WAN costs by converting from expensive MPLS circuits to broadband connectivity and Direct Internet Access over the public network.
  • Improved application user experience through granular application identification and steering to ensure that business critical applications maintain optimal performance.
  • Enhanced protections by deploying Secure SD-WAN’s full stack of integrated security solutions at every location. 
  • Scalable and simplified management through integrated SD-WAN optimization, branch access, and switching functionality, all seamlessly integrated with comprehensive security capabilities.
  • Increased visibility due to Secure SD-WAN’s ability to integrate connectivity, traffic management, access control, and security into a single, centralized administration platform.

“It was important to find a device that fit all of our needs, not only our network but also security and that's what drove us to Fortinet, not to mention the 20 million dollars a year that we saved in doing.”

- Tim Stuart, Senior Manager of Enterprise Voice and Network at Waste Management

Hear the full discussion and learn how Waste Management transformed their network to reduce cost by 65% and improve the application experience.

Take a security-driven approach to networking to improve user experience and simplify operations at the WAN edge with Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution.

Read these customer case studies to see how De Heus and Burger King Brazil implemented Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN to alleviate network complexity, increase bandwidth, and reduce security costs.

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