Customer Case Study

Northgate Market Goes Cloud-Firstwith the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange

Zero Trust App Access Stop Cyberattacks Zero Trust SD-WAN Zero Trust for IoT/OT Optimize Digital Experiences

Profile

  • Company: Northgate Market
  • Industry: Retail & Wholesale
  • HQ: Anaheim, California, USA
  • Size: 7,000 employees in 40+ locations

Background

Northgate Market provides fresh and prepared foods as well as domestic and imported Latin American groceries to 500,000 customers each week, all while fostering a workplace where workers are treated like family. The company also manages two data centers and a 384,000 square foot distribution center.

Challenge

Move beyond aging network and security infrastructure to meet modern speed and availability needs amid ambitious growth

Outcomes

  • Saves 40% in expenses, even with higher bandwidth consumption

  • Simplifies issue identification and remediation with network visibility

  • Eliminates network outages with high availability configuration

  • Enables traffic prioritization and segmentation—PCI, web browsing

  • Simplifies and speeds up deployment with a combined solution

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Seeking the flexibility to support future growth

Northgate Market expanded to 40 supermarkets through market growth and strategic acquisitions. Its ambitious expansion goals included additional services and capabilities intended to deliver exceptional service to its customers. These ambitions could not be served by its aging infrastructure, with limited and failing network and security capabilities that had been stretched to the limits of their usefulness.

Northgate Market was operating on an MPLS network with two T-1 network connections and limited 3 Mbps capacity at each location. A wireless network served as a backup when the primary terrestrial network failed. Unfortunately, the network was slow and experienced frequent outages due to flooding of the wiring cabinets and other challenges.

“The network was very expensive, provided little value, and was problematic given the bandwidth-intensive software applications,” said Harrison Lewis, CIO of Northgate Market.

Further intensifying an already challenging user experience, all internet-bound traffic was backhauled from the individual supermarkets to the two corporate data centers and secured through web content filtering appliances before going out to the internet. This created bottlenecks and negatively impacted user experience as well as the ability for Northgate Market’s associates to deliver excellent service to its customers.

“If we were starting over today, what would we do? We would be leveraging tablets, handheld devices and personal devices,” said Lewis. “That would require a wireless network that was powerful and accessible in the entire facility.”

To achieve its goals, Northgate Market had to eliminate network outages and securely deliver the user experience that is foundational to the company’s core principles. It also had to manage high network costs and increasing bandwidth requirements while strengthening the security of its network, its store locations, and its data.

Stronger together

Northgate Market deployed VMware SD-WAN to address these challenges for its stores, and it employed Zscaler Internet Access to secure traffic from those locations.

“When we began looking at Zscaler, we liked the integration between VMware SD-WAN and Zscaler,” said Lewis. “Zscaler was completely architected in a way that was about the cloud. It wasn’t trying to carry over hardware or make something fit, and it didn’t require us to implement technologies that weren’t pertinent to us.”

Zscaler and VMware SD-WAN work together to optimize and secure local internet breakouts. Together, they enable fast and secure access to websites and business-critical cloud applications from Northgate’s supermarket locations without the cost and complexity of traditional network and security appliances.

“Zscaler was the perfect solution given our business strategy, leveraging priority at the specific application level, unlike what was possible previously,” said Lewis.

Zscaler offers a very concentrated set of tools within its security arsenal, and that is something others aren’t doing.

Harrison Lewis, CIO, Northgate Market

The path to secure SD-WAN

Zscaler and VMware SD-WAN made it easy for Northgate Market to migrate from its legacy hub-and-spoke architecture to a secure SD-WAN infrastructure and securely route traffic from its multiple locations to the internet.

Previously, the Northgate Market information security team had to deploy and maintain firewall appliances at a number of its supermarket locations or project sites. The Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange platform streamlined delivery of the entire security stack, helping Northgate Market reduce its overall expenses and realize a 40% savings. The solution also enabled Northgate Market to increase its bandwidth capabilities to support constantly expanding traffic requirements while improving its security posture.

With Zscaler securing its SD-WAN deployment, Northgate Market’s employees are better protected from web-based threats regardless of their location and can be confident that the appropriate protections are in place at all times, providing identical protection for users wherever they connect.

“It’s great to have visibility on what we’re protected against,” said Lewis. “Zscaler offers a very concentrated set of tools within its security arsenal, and that is something others aren’t doing.”

Seeing is believing

The powerful combination of Zscaler and VMware SD-WAN helped simplify branch operations by using software-defined policies to route traffic via the most efficient path.

The improved visibility into its network enabled Northgate Market’s IT team to identify and solve problems much more quickly and efficiently than ever before. The high availability configuration, including traffic prioritization and segmentation, eliminated network outages.

ZPA … is a very critical component of our security architecture that’s necessary in this new environment.

Harrison Lewis, CIO, Northgate Market

Protecting road warriors

Northgate Market also recognized the need to protect the more than 250 employees that regularly travel from site to site, opting to replace its Cisco AnyConnect VPN with Zscaler Private Access.

“ZPA effectively serves a certificate on a device. It is a very critical component of our security architecture that’s necessary in this new environment,” Lewis said.

Innovation for today and beyond

While currently benefiting from the Zero Trust Exchange, the Northgate Market team is also excited about what is yet to come.

“As they continue to streamline, so many things that are now one-off point solutions, Zscaler is well positioned to be able to bring in some of those other solutions, to go beyond what is available now,” Lewis said. “A lot more innovation is taking place on the Zscaler side. I think of Zscaler a little differently. Zscaler is really highly differentiated.”

A lot more innovation is taking place on the Zscaler side. … Zscaler is really highly differentiated.

Harrison Lewis, CIO, Northgate Market

More than a solution

Aside from technology, Lewis noted that Zscaler differentiates itself in another way—going the extra mile to ensure that customers fully benefit from the Zscaler platform.

“It kind of blows me away. I’ve met a number of people at Zscaler, and a common thing is this attitude or culture where they’re almost unhappy if you’re not fully utilizing the solution,” said Lewis. “They’re interested in more than just selling you a product. That doesn’t exist these days. I’m not sure where that comes from, but it’s crazy good.”