Case Study: Hydro Tasmania undergoes infrastructure modernisation program

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State government utility Hydro Tasmania embarked on a three-year infrastructure modernisation program and overhauled its cybersecurity assets.

Digital Nation Australia spoke to Fletcher Davidson, IT Operations manager at Hydro Tasmania about the organisation’s cybersecurity transformation journey.

According to Davidson, “We had a very eclectic composition of our networks and cyber security platforms. We had a lot of different platforms, a lot of aging platforms, and we had a fair bit of risks to deal with. The risks that we wanted to mitigate were mostly around the age of equipment and so we were ready for a technical refresh.”

Davidson told Digital Nation that the business went to market for a hybrid cloud infrastructure that would support a more collaborative and mobile workforce.

Hydro Tasmania assessed and considered multiple providers, including cloud-based and traditional hardware service providers, and ultimately settled on Palo Alto Networks for the deployment.

“Palo Alto was successful among others in that refresh and we've since deployed their core infrastructure, and core firewalls into our data centres as well as the Global Protect platform across all of our work devices and user computing,” he said.

Hydro Tasmania’s cybersecurity solution needed to support flexible working, as well as to simplify and standardise the data centre said Davidson.

“The IT solution and the architecture was all based around that fundamental premise that we needed to enable people to access all the solutions and data from wherever they needed to work. Given that we've got a broad spread of people across the world, the main thing that we were looking for was that capability to bring everyone together under the one secure banner.”

Hydro Tasmania also implemented a Cisco SD-WAN platform across its physical locations, including offices, tenancies and power stations. He said the combination of Cisco and Palo Alto Networks provided a defensive model for the business.

“[Palo Alto Networks and Cisco are] playing different parts to the solution. They work really well together and we’re really happy with the results that we've got with using Palo and with Cisco in the SD-WAN space,” he said.

“The key thing that Palo gave us was that ability to, connect into the cloud directly from the customer's perspective, rather than backhauling everything all the way back to a data centre in Tasmania. We are using the Prisma Access platform and access for staff as they move throughout the world to get a high-performance connection back into our network.”

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