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Carlsberg turns tap on massive global SASE deployment

Global brewer addresses strategic IT challenges at scale, improving application delivery, modernising network security capabilities and standardising IT service delivery across more than 200 locations and 25,000 remote users

The Carlsberg Group is the world’s third largest brewer, but having cheered massive growth and reach, the company is suffering the hangover of a legacy network, leading to security risks and application disruptions. To address these issues, the company has turned to Cato Networks for a single-supplier security access service edge (SASE) deployment.

Established in 1847 in a brewery just outside Copenhagen, on top of a hill where water was flowing, Carlsberg Group has a portfolio spanning over 140 brands currently generating $10.6bn in revenue. In addition to the core Carlsberg brand, it also owns 1664, Asfana, Birrifico, Brooklyn and Chongqing labels, among many.

To support its activities, the group runs a network connecting over 200 sites across western and central Europe and the Asia regions. Yet the legacy network, built from different regional point solutions and technologies, proved to be challenging to manage for Carlsberg. Opening new locations took too long. VPN performance into China was a problem. And across regions, the internet-based software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) connecting locations was found to be unsuitable for the company’s VoIP infrastructure and for fully utilising all of the features its Microsoft Office 365 solution offered.

The mix of appliances also created security problems. With multiple firewall appliances, visibility was fragmented. Multiple sets of security policies had to be maintained, which increased complexity and risk. Carlsberg’s Cyber Security Group wanted zero trust to be implemented consistently, which also wasn’t possible with the legacy network.  

“We were looking to move from several regional service providers with fragmented technical solutions to one integrated network and security stack with an end-to-end managed service,” said Laurent Gaertner, global director of networks at the Carlsberg Group. “We had to retain MPLS just to ensure proper voice quality. And with Microsoft Teams, it doesn’t take a lot of latency for the application collaboration features to become unusable.”

From a strategic perspective, building the legacy network from different providers and technologies prevented IT from delivering consistent service levels worldwide. “Some users would receive higher availability and others better capabilities, but we couldn’t bring it all together to create an à la carte set of services that could apply to any office, anywhere, and facilitate our global IT development,” Gaertner recalled.

Day-to-day management was also compromised. Change requests took too long, in part because of the different management interfaces, which complicated problem identification and resolution. Coordinating the different layers of the solution with different service providers became a real challenge.

Gaertner noted that the Cato SASE Cloud and service offering perfectly matched the company’s requirements. The single-supplier SASE platform Cato SASE network will span more than 200 locations and 25,000 remote users worldwide. Instead of security appliances, Carlsberg will rely on Cato’s cloud-native security capabilities, including SWG, CASB, DLP, ZTNA, FWaaS, IPS and NGAM.

The new SASE setup gives Carlberg one platform and one security policy worldwide, protecting all edges – sites with SD-WAN devices, the cloud with native cloud connectivity, and mobile users running the Cato Client.

“The Cato security features are a significant step ahead in our zero-trust implementation strategy, and the future innovation will bring us even further,” observed Tal Arad, vice-president of global security and technology at Carlsberg.  

The new global private backbone underlying Cato SASE Cloud also met Carlsberg’s performance requirements globally. As such, Carlsberg expects to eliminate the remaining MPLS, relying on the SASE infrastructure for VoIP, ERP and the rest of its enterprise applications.

With the new deployment, Carlsberg Group has become Cato’s latest enterprise customer. “The same challenges faced by Carlsberg – optimal security posture, improved global performance and enhanced business agility everywhere – confront enterprises worldwide every day,” said Shlomo Kramer, co-founder and CEO of Cato Networks. “We’re excited to work with Carlsberg and see their adoption of Cato as just the latest evidence that large enterprises can best meet today’s security and networking challenges with a single-vendor SASE cloud platform.” 

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