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Creating an Environment for Work Reform Starting from 10,000 Simultaneously Connected Users.
“continually taking on customer-driven, lofty goals while demonstrating teamwork and inspiring innovation.”
Introduction

Ricoh provides a wide range of services and solutions across the globe, including products, commercial equipment, digital cameras, etc., with a focus on imaging equipment for office use, such as multifunction printers, scanners, and copiers.

Leveraging a global network, it is engaged in the creation of new customer value and the realization of a sustainable society.



Safe network connectivity for 100,000 global employees

Ricoh Group provides numerous products and services with a focus on imaging equipment. It has a business presence in approximately 200 countries and regions and has approximately 100,000 employees around the world. Ricoh’s Tokyo-based head office serves as the control tower for the company. IT plays a key role in implementing the company’s management philosophy of “continually taking on customer-driven, lofty goals while demonstrating teamwork and inspiring innovation.”

There was an urgent need at Ricoh for security measures to further strengthen network control amidst a series of incidents that was eroding public confidence in businesses due to leaks and disclosures of personal information through unauthorized access to networks. Hiroyuki Suzuki, Director of Security Operations and leader of network management for the whole group, said that “sales operations and engineers often visit the customers, and they would need to access company servers remotely more and more often. We also anticipate a rapid increase in demand for access via telework and home offices in the form of ‘work reform’.”

In order to provide safe network connectivity for employees, the security operations division first moved forward with sweeping changes to its firewall and a review of VPNs. According to Tomotake Wakuri in that division, “there are also firewall products with built-in VPN features, but when we took the increase in the number of simultaneous connections into consideration, we decided it was better to separate them. As a result, we reached the conclusion that as a leader of the industry, Pulse Secure was appropriate in terms of both performance and capacity.”


Visualization that impacts both administration and management

At the same time that this was deployed, a trial was launched to handle VPN management in-house. “For almost 20 years, all of the equipment installation sites and technical support has been outsourced, so we questioned whether it could be handled by staff within the company,” said Tomotake Wakuri. However, now that it is handled in-house, besides the cost of personnel and equipment, areas that were previously gray are now clear, and we achieved a 50-60% reduction in the overall budget. The security operations division currently has 15 employees, and they serve as the foundation of Ricoh’s security.

Another effect of the in-house handling is being able to visualize the VPN connections. Previously, management wouldn’t be aware of issues within the company until they received the monthly report. Now, they are able to see everything in real time on the management console, from the number of connections in use, to the OS being used, etc. Mr. Wakuri said “Until that point, VPN had been deployed in terms of a connection service. However, with the host checker feature activated for checking the status of client terminals connected to the network, you can clearly see security violations that do not follow the rules. So even in terms of compliance, it is extremely beneficial.”


VPN applications critical for the promotion of work reform

The feedback we get about Pusle Secure is good. The ease of use, regardless of IT literacy, is very appealing .The installation of the necessary certificates and applications, VPN setup, and network settings are all done automatically. “Changing the authentication method to a single login credential was a good decision. By dropping the previous annoying way of inputing a PIN code and a different password each time, we now have almost eliminated the complaints about being unable to log in due to forgetting the passwords.”

There are currently 2 VPNs installed in Tokyo and 2 in Osaka, and there are also 2 license servers in operation. The number of simultaneous connections per location has increased to 2.5 times from 2,000 to 5,000, and the bandwidth of 200 Mbps was consolidated for Ricoh Group as a whole to ensure plenty of bandwidth. Ricoh started with 10,000 licenses for simultaneous access, and they are in the process of further expansion. For example, Ricoh Japan, a member of the group, has approximately 10,000 business employees and 3000-4000 support engineers. They said that the inability to connect or a poor response upon connection when accessing the company from outside has already disappeared. Also, for the general affairs department, precisely because the low bandwidth and the delayed response were matters of concern for promoting work reforms, the effects of the current sweeping network overhaul are huge.

One of the “work reforms” that Ricoh is promoting is to provide an environment in which employees can work anywhere at any time. To that end, building an IT environment in which smartphone devices, not just PCs, can be used had become a big challenge. Through these environmental improvements using Pulse Secure’s products, it became possible for employees to access the information they need whether inside or outside the company. Use of cloud is also being actively promoted within the Ricoh Group, where they have already begun using Office 365. They plan to have all employees in the Ricoh Group in Japan begin using it during the current fiscal year. In addition, taking advantage of SaaS services and platforms in the cloud are also being considered. At that time, “it will be very important not only that access is easy but also that it is possible to connect to the corporate network safely and smoothly. By providing Pulse Secure’s host checker and a flexible authentication method, we believe that this can be accomplished for the first time.”

It appears that in Ricoh’s management principle of demonstrating teamwork and inspiring innovation, the role of IT is becoming more and more important day by day.


Company

Ricoh

Industry

Technology

Challenges

  • Increase in the number of connections and a lack of bandwidth associated with the increase in the number of VPN users
  • Support when problems arise
  • Different levels of IT literacy among employees
  • Support for a variety of devices and OSs

Solutions

  • Deployment of Pulse Secure’s products and 10,000 licenses for SSL-VPN
  • Allowing connections from personal devices
  • Visibility into the end user experience
  • Changing from outsourcing to in-house operations
  • Review of the authentication method

Advantages

  • Realization of “visualization” during network connections
  • Flexible licensing operations that allow changing the distribution between Tokyo/Osaka
  • Improved convenience by changing the authentication method

Applicable Network Solutions

  • PSA Series
  • Pulse Connect Secure

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Hiroyuki Suzuki
Digital Promotion Headquarters
Director of Security Operations

Global cyberattacks typified by WannaCry also occur in Japan, and Ricoh’s company network was also a victim. With the deployment of Pulse Secure’s products this time, I believe that the biggest benefit of deployment has been that we are now able to create standard criteria for security requirements so that we can reject unsafe connections.






Tomotake Wakuri
Digital Promotion Headquarters
Security Operations Division

Conventional VPNs took the form of installers that had to be launched individually for deployment. Now that we use Pulse Secure’s products, we are extremely pleased that we are at the point where a simple and secure connection can be achieved just by downloading a client from the web.
Why was Pulse Secure chosen?

  • Confidence in Pulse Secure as a leader in the secure access market
  • Ability to support an increase in the quantity of simultaneous access
  • Ease of use regardless of tvhe IT literacyof the user

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