Dizzion offers enterprises cloud-based desktop access to applications and data from a variety of locations and devices. A customer with a transnational workforce needed a secure, agile, high-performance work environment. To meet these requirements, Dizzion delivered an integrated solution comprising access policy and centralized management from F5, and virtualization technology from VMware.
Dizzion offers enterprise customers a fully managed, virtual desktop infrastructure. The company’s comprehensive end-user computing platform offers enterprise-grade security, application delivery, and HIPAA HITECH/PCI DSS compliance—perfect for customers managing remote working programs, employee mobility challenges, or bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives.
The way people work is changing, and as an enterprise Desktop as a Service (DaaS) provider, Dizzion helps companies handle those changes while providing secure employee access to an effective global work environment.
A major Dizzion global enterprise customer wanted to launch both a work-at-home and a BYOD program for their local and international employees. It was critical that this company’s own customers be confident that employees would comply with PCI standards (the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCI DSS).
Dizzion required a solution to verify that home and mobile users were authorized—using up-to-date, officially approved operating systems and antivirus tools, and properly functioning firewall protection. The solution would also require strong and reliable identity verification before allowing end users to enter the customer’s enterprise network.
Dizzion delivered a comprehensive solution featuring F5 technology for client-side checks, access policy enforcement, multifactor authentication, and intelligent traffic management. Components included F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager(LTM) and BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM), along with VMware Horizon virtual desktop infrastructure. F5 BIG-IQ Centralized Management provided unified and highly scalable management for devices and services.
“We thoroughly examined offerings from nine different companies, but it came down to functionality and support, and F5 was the clear winner,” says Brady Ranum, Vice President of Product and Strategy for Dizzion.
Ranum further explains that he found VMware Horizon to be superior technology for Dizzion’s DaaS offering—and that the VMware alliance with F5 made the solution package particularly attractive. “The compelling business motivation for Dizzion to invest was the fact that F5 and VMware technology interoperability was well established,” he says. “We didn’t have to figure out how to make the offerings work together—F5 and VMware already did. We didn’t have to conduct testing or develop middleware. It was done. The solution worked.”
By choosing F5, Dizzion could offer their customer a single unified and much simpler solution, and avoid complexities introduced by multiple vendor technologies. As he designed his customer’s solution, Ranum realized, “We weren’t just getting a traffic manager, a ready-made DMZ, and an authentication checker for device compatibility. The solution also became a security gateway, a place where we could integrate it into the multifactor authentication system. By deploying F5, we got many different networking components in one, which made it a perfect business choice.”
Dizzion met its customer’s requirements with a fully managed solution offering state-of-the-art, end-user authentication and device management; application and data protection; centralized endpoint management; and rich reporting capabilities for a global workforce.
Ranum notes, “The one thing I’ve absolutely got to call out is that the straightforwardness of F5 technology has been a critical factor in making us able to serve customers with endpoint security better than was ever possible before.” Ranum says that what he values most about the F5 solution in this context is the ability to make secure access possible across the public Internet, and to do so without authentication beyond the same measures that would be used internally. “Before permitting employees inside our customers’ four walls, so to speak, we’re able to do a security check to make sure that they’re allowed to be there.” Ranum adds, “Customers appreciate that employees remain on the other side of the firewall, and we don’t let them into the ‘kingdom’ until after we have checked them out.”
A critical concern of Dizzion customers is employee devices passing the antivirus check, the Windows firewall check, or a similarly basic criterion. And if a device doesn’t pass, the employee makes an immediate help desk call that falls to Dizzion to resolve. Ranum says, “Having the reporting ability to retrieve information from our F5 solution and immediately identify the problem is a huge driver for our success. We can get that employee up and running and back to work in minutes, sparing them from a myriad ‘hunt and search’ attempts to identify the problem.”
Ranum likens the visibility into the operation and reporting capabilities provided by F5 to a window pane. “It’s a major advantage for us to have a single pane of glass for multiple technologies that we used to have to implement and manage separately. Instead of independently supporting traffic management, validation, and security of a server, now we can do it all in one platform.”
In terms of business value as a service provider, Dizzion appreciates how F5 unifies troubleshooting on behalf of customers across many types of endpoints and applications. “Having to support multiple antivirus solutions, multiple operating systems, and multiple devices—all while trying to solve a particular problem—used to be a real headache,” recalls Ranum. “F5 was the cure.”
To measure its problem-solving success, Dizzion looks at time to resolution. “We definitely take advantage of the F5 muscle to quickly handle lots of needs, such as changing configurations,” says Ranum. “Using just one solution from F5 is so much easier and faster than taking a multivendor approach.”
BIG-IQ Centralized Management access policy capabilities have proved especially valuable in helping Dizzion manage its global portfolio of customers.
To make centralized management possible for so many customers and across national boundaries requires seamless scalability, which F5 readily provides. Says Ranum, “Our business is already incredibly capital intensive. So, we find it extremely important to be able to scale in a centralized way, without adding new vendor technologies. With BIG-IQ Centralized Management and BIG-IP Access Policy Manager, we are able to serve customers with endpoint security better than was ever possible before.”
“Supporting a customer’s location in Amsterdam and another in the United States by using the single pane of glass to monitor security and support for, say, four types of devices—that’s a huge operational efficiency for us,” says Ranum. “We’re able to make changes and provide reports to the customer holistically instead of trying to piece parts together as we would have had to do in the past.”
Crediting F5, he explains that cloud service providers such as Dizzion deal with a lot of infrastructure behind the scenes that must scale on demand. “We see a huge business advantage in our ability both to scale as our company grows, and to provide comprehensive access capabilities without pausing operations to redesign and revamp our infrastructure.”
The F5 BIG-IP system is key to successful VMware Horizon View deployments, providing a dynamic and agile infrastructure that can adapt to planned and unplanned events. Centrally managing application delivery using role-based access control (RBAC) simplifies Dizzion’s operations. It boosts efficiency and frees them from the requirement to set individual application delivery policies for their customers’ end users.
Ranum concludes, “The ability to provide diverse application capabilities down to the endpoint level—securely and worldwide—is something that, in our opinion, nobody else has been able to adequately accomplish. However, F5 has made that possible for us.”