Bill Akerson

-September 24, 2020

PPG’s Remote Access Success Story: Ramping Up to a Full Remote Workforce During a Global Pandemic

As this year comes to an end, it’s important for businesses to evaluate the impact COVID-19 has had on secure remote access, the shift to mobile workforces, and business continuity strategies. There is now a global understanding that nature, like the amorphous perimeter that networks operate in today, has no bounds and at any given moment, anything can happen. Organizations of all sizes, spanning across all industries, were suddenly presented with new challenges overnight and security teams had to rapidly deploy remote access solutions that would lend their business continuity plans a fighting chance.

“Pulse Secure now has awareness from the highest levels within our company. It was part of our success story for COVID, and it’s becoming part of the success story after COVID too.”

                                                            -Dan Connelly, PPG


In a recent report by Cybersecurity Insiders 2020 Remote Work From Home Cybersecurity Report, over 400 security decision makers were asked about WFH cybersecurity challenges, concerns, strategies, and anticipated outcomes. The survey found that 33% of businesses were insufficiently prepared for emergency remote secure access. It also found that 84% of companies anticipate broader and permanent remote work and nearly one-third plan to increase their budget for secure access in the near-term.

PPG Industries, Inc. is a manufacturer of paints, coatings, and specialty materials, operating in 70 countries with nearly 47,000 employees. Prior to COVID-19, PPG was encountering remote access challenges that directly impacted their remote workforce and took up significant amounts of support desk time. Fortunately, PPG was already familiar with Pulse Secure through the Juniper VPN platform they had been using as a complement to their remote access technology. PPG decided to implement a complete switchover to Pulse Secure’s VPN solution, Pulse Connect Secure and their timing, unbeknownst to them, was impeccable.

Although only half of PPG’s employees were remote when they did the complete switchover to Pulse Connect Secure, part of their business continuity plan was to prepare for the unexpected, so they purchased enough remote access capacity to support the possibility of many more employees suddenly shifting to remote work.

That decision proved prescient just a few months later when the COVID-19 pandemic forced a sizable contingent of their worldwide employees to work remotely. Many of those newly remote workers needed access to both legacy on-premise applications as well as cloud services. With Pulse Secure PCS already in place, they were prepared for this sudden surge in remote access and could allocate resources to address other areas impacted by the change. The benefits Pulse Secure is able to deliver to PPG goes beyond the COVID-19 pandemic as users are now able to enjoy easier, faster connections and uninterrupted availability wherever they are, which adds up to greater productivity. With Pulse Connect Secure, employees’ connections are always protected, with no need to log in or out of each remote access session. Workstations are able to receive access policy updates anytime. If a user is locked out of their workstation, IT can unlock them remotely.

Customers like PPG showcase a simple lesson: Think about the “just in case” and “nice to have”, and plan for it. Businesses are operating in a world where the unexpected is expected. Security teams are responsible for assessing this past year, identifying the key takeaways, and implementing those into security strategies and business continuity plans. 2021 is the year to move away from reactive thinking to proactive strategies.

Read the full PPG case study.

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