Customer Case Study

Carlsberg Group Achieves Digital Transformationwith the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange

Stop Cyberattacks Optimize Digital Experiences

Profile

  • Company: Carlsberg Group
  • Industry: Food, Beverage & Tobacco
  • HQ: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Size: 41,000 employees

Background

Carlsberg is a global brewer that owns 140 brands distributed to 150 markets worldwide. In addition to beer, it sells ciders, soft drinks, and bottled water. Carlsberg was founded in 1847 by J.C. Jacobsen and, in 1973, coined its famous tagline, “Probably the best beer in the world.”

Challenge

Carlsberg aimed to modernize IT infrastructure, embrace Microsoft 365, move legacy apps to the cloud, and strengthen security

Outcomes

  • Reduces the number of applications from 873 to 350 and their on-premises servers from 1,300 to 700

  • Introduces SD-WAN to run ~90% of traffic over secure internet connections

  • Simplifies Microsoft 365 deployment, moving legacy apps to the cloud

  • Significantly improves user experiences and security

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Brewing increased operational efficiency

The Carlsberg Beer Group defines its purpose as “Brewing for a better today and tomorrow.” Over the past few years, Carlsberg has undergone a company-wide transformation with the aim of moving closer to that purpose.

In 2016, Carlsberg’s executive leadership team defined a strategic initiative called “Sail ’22,” and identified its objectives as strengthening its core business, positioning the company for growth, and enhancing value for its shareholders.

“Carlsberg wants to be the most successful, professional, and attractive company to its consumers, its partners, and its employees,” says Jonathan Sheldrake, Director of Carlsberg’s Global Network Services. “And we’re committed to delivering on that with our Sail ’22 initiative.”

To support Sail ’22 from an IT perspective, Sheldrake and team needed to undertake a complete system overhaul, including:

  • Modernizing the IT infrastructure
  • Embracing Microsoft 365 and moving legacy applications to the cloud
  • Taking control of operational costs
  • Strengthening security

Overhauling a slow, inefficient, costly network

Carlsberg had been operating a traditional centralized network that was not set up to accommodate the needs of today’s businesses and users. “We had the same challenges as any other company with legacy networks,” said Sheldrake.

“Our network consisted of a hub-and-spoke architecture, MPLS with central internet breakouts, and centralized security controls. Our employees had to suffer through a poor user experience.” He recalled the day his CIO planned to do a global town hall meeting over Skype. This required Sheldrake to shut down Facebook, YouTube, and all social media sites just to guarantee enough bandwidth.

In addition to performance issues—including slow connectivity for users—administrators lacked visibility into threats and the sources of traffic. The company required a new approach to security to protect and optimize connectivity for all users, regardless of location.

To remedy these issues, Sheldrake and team planned to ultimately migrate almost all of Carlsberg’s traffic to the cloud using Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365. The goal was to improve security, performance, and visibility, while simplifying management and delivering a better user experience.

We wanted security perimeters around people, not networks.

Jonathan Sheldrake, Director of Global Network Services, Carlsberg Group

Upgrading equipment while reducing the number of applications

The company initiated the project by upgrading all its laptops and desktops to Microsoft Windows 10, supplying employees with next-generation machines. They also introduced a new and improved service desk, along with self-service tools and chatbots.

The Carlsberg team then took measures to simplify operations in preparation for moving to the cloud. They reduced the number of applications from 873 to 350 and their on-premises servers from 1,300 to 700. Of the remaining servers, 600 were moved to the cloud as part of a full SAP migration to Azure.

In terms of traffic, the company had previously processed 70% on its internal network, and 30% was to and from the internet. After migrating its servers, Carlsberg was sending about 70% of its traffic over the internet, with about 30% traversing its MPLS network, which, in addition to being slow, was expensive.

Zscaler steps in to eliminate the perimeter

Carlsberg and team introduced SD-WAN to enable local breakouts and optimize the use of MPLS. And it traded its traditional network perimeter security for Zscaler Internet Access, which offers a complete security stack delivered as a cloud service. Zscaler protects today’s mobile users, who are no longer operating behind traditional network appliance security stacks but are instead connecting straight to the cloud, where their applications live. And the company is now running about 90% of its traffic over secure internet connections.

“We wanted security perimeters around people, not networks,” says Sheldrake.

We have great transparency. We understand where the consumption is coming from and what the needs of the business are.

Jonathan Sheldrake, Director of Global Network Services, Carlsberg Group

Spearheading a critical Microsoft 365 integration

Sheldrake explained that Carlsberg has enjoyed a beneficial strategic relationship with Microsoft for quite some time. For this reason, it was important to choose a security solution that integrated smoothly with Microsoft 365.

Zscaler fit the bill, with one-click deployment, which automatically configures Microsoft 365 connection requirements and provides automated updates to save the team time and simplify management. Zscaler optimizes connectivity through local DNS and, because Zscaler peers with Microsoft 365 around the world, it helps to provide users with a fast Microsoft 365 experience.

“We chose Zscaler because Microsoft 365 performance was really key to what we were doing,” Sheldrake explained. “Thanks to Zscaler’s interoperability with Microsoft, I eliminated a huge headache. I no longer have to maintain ACLs, IP addresses, and new DNS addresses. Zscaler takes care of it all through its one-click deployment feature.”

Delivering full visibility and control

Zscaler’s centralized controls help Carlsberg simplify policy management and improve visibility into traffic across their local breakouts and Microsoft 365.

“We have great transparency. We understand where the consumption is coming from and what the needs of the business are,” Sheldrake explained. “The business might turn around to us and say, ‘SAP is important,’ or ‘Skype’s important,’ but when you look at the data, it actually says something different at times. The point is we have control and we have visibility now—something we never had before.”

Carlsberg Group’s IT team was also able to optimize connectivity by providing each of its sites with secure local internet access, so offices can connect directly to the internet and cloud apps using inexpensive broadband connections. Using Zscaler Bandwidth Control, the team can keep Microsoft 365 and other traffic moving smoothly and if the circuits become full, it can prioritize the most important traffic.

“Skype, SharePoint, OneDrive—all the things the business needs on the internet—get prioritized, and we have no more congestion. This is a big thing for us,” said Sheldrake.

…all the things the business needs on the internet—get prioritized, and we have no more congestion. This is a big thing for us.

Jonathan Sheldrake, Director of Global Network Services, Carlsberg Group

Making downtime a thing of the past

In spite of the many moving parts of this migration, Sheldrake and team had to ensure the network remained up and running throughout the endeavor.

“Our CIO said to me, ‘You cannot have downtime. You cannot impact the business. But you’ve got to transform the network,’” Sheldrake recalled. “We had to deliver 240 CPEs and 240 new circuits and push our security edge with Zscaler without having any impact to the business. Our target was tough, but we achieved it.”

In the end, Sheldrake said the team began the whole network modernization process about a year ago, with the cloud transformation taking five months. “We still have work to do, but the bulk of the journey’s done, and we’ll just continue on that path,” he says.

How Zscaler is helping Carlsberg expand in Asia

This year the IT team will take its journey to Asia, adding another 80 sites for Carlsberg. “We’re looking at the same program of consolidation on the hosting, while improving the end-user experience and the network infrastructure,” says Sheldrake.

As with the previous phase of the journey, Zscaler will serve to protect and optimize Carlsberg’s Asian networks, providing the improved security, faster performance, and optimal user experience that the company demands.