With over 100 million users in more than 150 countries, Sophos provides a full range of market-leading security solutions to businesses around the world. For the last ten years, the Internet has been the delivery hub for the company’s software products and updates to customers globally. Via its website, Sophos offers thousands of electronic files – some of which are hundreds of MB in size – and as many as eight security and hundreds of antispam updates per day. The company sees an average of over 350 million hits per day and handles 200 TB worth of traffic each month.
At one point, Sophos was delivering all antivirus updates out of its London data center. The company’s monitoring showed that the London facility was overwhelmed by Internet traffic spikes during monthly release cycles. While Sophos put a number of measures in place to try to alleviate the load on its web servers, it realized this approach wasn’t viable over the long term. “We could not tolerate the London data center being unavailable to deliver updates. But as our customer base grew, we knew we had to solve this issue in a smarter way,” explains Andy Smith, Senior Systems Engineer for Sophos.
Sophos needed to meet three key requirements to support its objectives:
Sophos chose Akamai’s Download Delivery, Premium Service & Support and Professional Services offerings because they best suited its requirements. On top of Akamai’s global capacity and proven content delivery network (CDN) reliability, Sophos liked the fact that Akamai’s technical personnel were committed to putting the best possible media delivery solution in place. “Akamai was responsive to our needs, which was very reassuring,” says Smith.
Because Akamai consultants are familiar with Sophos’ business and technology environment, they can offer timely, relevant insight when needed. “Akamai’s technical personnel have a deep knowledge not just of Akamai’s technology, but also about the global Internet and how it can best be used to help us develop our products and services. They rapidly grasp what we are trying to accomplish and are enthusiastic about helping us find ways to use Akamai’s technology to develop our solutions and grow our business. We don’t just see Akamai as a vendor; we see it as a strong partner who works alongside us to help us achieve our goals,” says Smith.
With Akamai's Download Delivery in place, and as a result of Professional Services’ recommendations, Sophos’ was able to optimize its configuration to attain average software delivery success rates of over 99.9%, with a nearly 85% bandwidth offload from its London data center. Now Sophos can distribute monthly releases without having to worry about bandwidth and overloading its servers.
To support Sophos’ business and process requirements, Sophos leveraged Akamai’s Premium Service & Support solution to access priority response SLA’s, custom escalation procedures, and a named support team. According to Smith, “Akamai have a support group with a detailed understanding of how Sophos use their systems and how we need them to work. We can be confident that any support calls we raise will be picked up by somebody who fully understands our needs and who is able to take whatever corrective actions are needed to resolve problems.”
Continues Smith: “The last time I placed a priority 1 support call (via the portal) I had a response within 20 minutes and was talking with someone who immediately grasped our problem and worked with me to devise ways to resolve it. In all my time with Sophos I’ve never encountered such a good response from a supplier’s support team.”
From a business relationship perspective, Sophos also relies on his account management team to understand his business requirements and recommend Akamai resources appropriately. “Having an Engagement Manager works brilliantly. One call to David and I know I’m talking to somebody who fully understands Akamai’s technologies, but crucially also understands our business and is keen to work with us to develop new solutions.”
This team also helps him streamline administrative processes and manage support activities across his enterprise. Says Smith: “Another key aspect of our successful relationship with Akamai is our Account Manager. Every time I’ve needed to add services to our contract, or negotiate changes to our commitment levels Stuart has always gone the extra mile to help out. It’s not something we need to do that often, but his willingness to negotiate and build a mutually beneficial arrangement has given us a great deal of confidence in Akamai as a partner rather than just another supplier,” concludes Smith.
Trusted by 100 million users and endorsed by industry analysts as a leader, Sophos provides a full range of endpoint, encryption, email, web and NAC solutions that are simple to deploy, manage and use. Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.