Telecom giant Vodafone Idea (Vi) faced considerable challenges because SSL/TLS encryption concealed potential security threats within their network. Fortunately, the company’s long-standing partnership with F5 delivered a solution based on F5 BIG-IP SSL Orchestrator.
Vodafone Idea Limited, an Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Group partnership, is among India’s leading telecom service providers. The company provides pan India voice and data services across 4G, 3G, and 2G platforms. The company holds a large spectrum portfolio including mid-band 5G spectrum in 17 circles and mmWave 5G spectrum in 16 circles.
To support the growing demand for data and voice, the company is committed to delivering delightful customer experiences and contributing towards creating a truly “Digital India” by enabling millions of citizens to connect and build a better tomorrow. The company is developing infrastructure to introduce newer and smarter technologies, making both retail and enterprise customers future-ready with innovative offerings conveniently accessible through an ecosystem of digital channels as well as an extensive on-ground presence. The company’s equity shares are listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the BSE in India.
Fueled by its expanding network presence, Vi witnessed a surge in SSL/TLS traffic across its diverse applications. This surge raised concerns about scalability. Managing SSL/TLS traffic across various security platforms gave rise to security blindspots, impeding effective application management and increasing vulnerability to malicious attacks. Moreover, encryption, which is crucial for privacy and security, masked SSL/TLS traffic. Despite proactive safety and privacy measures, managing encrypted packets presented roadblocks. It inadvertently allowed for the infiltration of concealed security threats. This made it possible for malicious actors to obscure their digital footprints, intensifying the company’s ability to monitor its own network activities.
Recognizing the need to fortify its network security posture without compromising cost-efficiency, Vi embarked on a strategic partnership with F5.
Vi's commitment to network security extended beyond merely addressing existing vulnerabilities; it encompassed a proactive approach to fortifying their defenses against emerging threats. Recognizing the growing volume of encrypted traffic and the challenges it posed, Vi partnered with F5 to embark on a comprehensive network optimization initiative.
In a collaborative effort, the partners co-designed a comprehensive tailored solution aimed at offloading the resource intensive SSL/TLS decryption environment. By taking on this computational burden, F5 significantly lightened the load on other security elements within Vi’s infrastructure.
This eliminated the blindspots that were created by encrypted application traffic within Vi’s security ecosystem. Additionally, F5 BIG-IP SSL Orchestrator delivered enhanced traffic visibility through an intuitive, user-friendly dashboard. The SSL/TLS visibility appliance optimized resource utilization in the existing security platforms by an impressive 50%.
“F5 BIG-IP SSL Orchestrator revolutionized SSL traffic management by decrypting 100% of SSL traffic, empowering Vi with unmatched security controls—a pivotal shift towards a more secure digital future,” says Mathan Babu Kasilingam, CTSO and Data Privacy Officer for Vodafone Idea.
To ensure high availability and scalability, F5 implemented the N+1 architecture, a redundancy design that ensures there is always one additional device beyond the minimum requirement for any task to effortlessly manage the growing demands of SSL/TLS traffic while eliminating bottlenecks. This design provided Vi with an extra SSL/TLS decryptor beyond the minimum necessary to decrypt all SSL/TLS traffic, reinforcing their security posture. As a direct result of this approach, Vi realized substantial cost savings and enhanced their operational performance.
“We are incredibly impressed by F5 BIG-IP SSL Orchestrator’s ability to uncover hidden threats within encrypted data,” added Mathan Babu Kasilingam.
“Our advanced threat prevention platform, once resource intensive, now operates seamlessly without requiring additional computational resources.”
By embracing F5’s proactive security solutions, Vi transformed their security posture, empowering themselves to anticipate and neutralize threats before they could materialize. This proactive approach was further strengthened by providing a holistic view of their network and enabling Vi to leverage threat intelligence from diverse sources. With this real-time visibility and continuous security monitoring, Vi established a robust defense perimeter, effectively safeguarding their valuable data and assets from a wide range of threats.
Vi achieved complete traffic decryption, enabling their security devices to effectively identify and mitigate hidden threats such as malware within the encrypted application traffic.
With full visibility into SSL/TLS traffic, Vi’s security teams enhanced security infrastructure performance by leveraging an intuitive dashboard to gain complete insight into the SSL/TLS traffic. This empowered Vi with advanced security controls, enabling them to swiftly detect and efficiently mitigate threats and respond to emerging threats in real time, thereby fortifying their overall security architecture.
F5’s meticulous resource optimization initiatives led to a remarkable 50% reduction in resource utilization within Vi’s existing security platforms, yielding substantial cost savings and overall elevated operational efficiency of the security infrastructure.