Service Provider Elevates Customer Experience with Cisco

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Updated:January 26, 2021

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Table of Contents


Rackspace strengthens security for thousands of companies with Cisco Next-Generation Firewalls

Executive Summary

Customer Name: Rackspace

Industry: Service Provider

Location: Global (headquartered in Texas)

Number of Employees: 6,000+


  Need to seamlessly manage and secure tens of thousands of customer devices
  Desire to continuously deliver operational excellence and Fanatical Experience™ that is core to Rackspace’s business
  Having to meet evolving customer needs, including:

      ◦    Protecting against advanced threats

      ◦    Leveraging multi-cloud environments

      ◦    Maintaining increasingly stringent compliance standards



  Able to significantly enhance security for customers without added complexity
  Ability to conduct proactive versus reactive problem-solving
  Able to help customers:

      ◦    Maintain high availability

      ◦    Focus on their core business

      ◦    Preserve the integrity of their business operations


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For over twenty years, Rackspace has been a leader in professional and managed services for public cloud infrastructure. Rackspace operates in more than 150 countries, offering a broad portfolio of applications, data, security, and multiple clouds worldwide. Industries served by Rackspace include healthcare, government, financial services, energy, retail, eCommerce, and media.

Rackspace has over 6,000 employees and more than 125,000 customers worldwide. It currently supports more than 22,000 Cisco firewalls, making it one of the largest Cisco firewall deployments in the world.

A key component of Rackspace’s offerings is providing top-notch security and service to its customers. The company aims to always deliver Fanatical Experience™ to customers. Despite constant innovation in the security industry, the firewall is still the cornerstone of any solid security strategy. But it can’t just be any firewall. It has to be a firewall built to keep up with today’s sophisticated attackers, modernized network infrastructures, and increasing compliance requirements.

Wanting to protect its customers from what’s now and what’s next, Rackspace – a long-time Cisco customer – recently turned to the Cisco® Next-Generation Firewall. According to Mike Schofield, vice president of network and cybersecurity operations at Rackspace, “The Cisco Next-Generation Firewall enables us to provide our customers with advanced features and functionality for defending against evolving threats, all through a single, unified platform.”


Beyond Just a Firewall

For a service provider like Rackspace, having a flexible, scalable, and automated security platform is critcal to its success. The company is managing tens of thousands of firewalls for customers ranging from mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 50 corporations. Additionally, its customers are increasingly leveraging a multi-cloud environment with workloads spread across private clouds, external data centers, and public clouds such as AWS and Azure.

Cisco enables Rackspace to seamlessly manage and defend its customers’ vast and complex environments through the use of several key technologies. These technologies work together as a system and integrate with third-party offerings to provide stronger, more streamlined security.

They include:

·       Cisco Next-Generation Firewalls

·       Cisco Defense Orchestrator

·       Cisco Threat Response


Cisco Next-Generation Firewalls

“When managing so many devices, we can’t get the job done with people sitting at keyboards trying to have eyes on everything and take action manually,” said Aaron Hackney, principal architect for network and cybersecurity at Rackspace. “Instead, we need to embrace an API-first strategy that fosters high levels of scalability and automation. That’s what we get with the Cisco Next-Generation Firewall.”

The Cisco Next-Generation Firewall also allows Rackspace to offer its customers a suite of threat defense technologies integrated into one product, including built-in intrusion prevention, URL filtering, advanced malware protection, and more. “Cisco has delivered a purpose-built platform that addresses the ever-changing threat landscape, but that is also customizable and extensible,” said Schofield. “Customers can easily plug in additional modules and services to meet their individual security objectives, wherever they may be in their journey.”


Cisco Defense Orchestrator

Cisco Defense Orchestrator leverages the power of the cloud, enabling security teams to manage policies for a multitude of devices through a single portal – whether it’s dozens or thousands of systems. This greatly strengthens security and can reduce time spent on repetitive security management tasks by up to 90 percent.

Cisco Defense Orchestrator allows Rackspace to easily migrate its customers from legacy firewalls to the next-generation firewall, and also swiftly troubleshoot and update systems when needed. “Together, the Cisco Next-Generation Firewall and Cisco Defense Orchestrator allow us to reduce the turnaround time from customer request to service fulfillment,” said Schofield.

With Cisco Defense Orchestrator, Rackspace customers can also access, view, and configure their own devices through a customized portal. That way, they can see how their security is performing, obtain statistics on the number of threats blocked, and so on.


Cisco Threat Response

Working alongside these technologies, Cisco Threat Response automates product integrations across the Cisco Security portfolio to improve threat detection, investigation, and remediation. As a free add-on to many Cisco security products, it greatly enhances visibility and analytics so that security teams can more quickly get to the root of a problem.

“Cisco Threat Response helps us distill data from many different sources into just the most important information we need to pinpoint and investigate specific incidents,” said Hackney. 


Cisco Talos

A major differentiator for Cisco is the Talos Group, one of the largest commercial threat intelligence teams in the world. Talos intelligence is incorporated into each and every Cisco Security product to ensure that customers are shielded from the latest attacks.

According to Schofield, “Cisco Talos brings another dimension of enrichment to threat data that doesn’t exist in other platforms. It helps organizations completely understand the potential attacks against their infrastructure. Not only are we a trusted provider to our customers, but Cisco is a trusted provider to us.”

By incorporating these key technologies and intelligence into its security strategy, Rackspace is taking advantage Cisco Defense Orchestrator can reduce time spent on repetitive security management tasks by up to 90 percent. of Cisco’s platform approach to security – through which various components work together for stronger, more holistic protection. 


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