STEMCELL Technologies is Canada’s largest biotechnology company. Founded in 1993 and privately owned, STEMCELL provides specialized cell culture media, cell separation technologies, instruments, accessory products, and scientific services to scientists around the world working in stem cell, immunology, cancer, regenerative medicine, and cellular therapy research.
Today, STEMCELL has approximately 1,500 employees worldwide serving customers in over 80 countries. The company has seen steady average annual growth of 20% since inception and currently offers a catalogue of more than 2,500 cell biology research tools. By 2029, STEMCELL plans to attain sales of $1 billion with over 5,000 employees globally, fueled by strong intellectual capital, expanding product portfolio, and collaboration with partners.
Embracing Public Cloud
For almost a decade, STEMCELL Technologies has utilized Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deploy a majority of its applications. This approach has allowed the organization to remain focused on its core Life Sciences business objectives, while leveraging the robust AWS infrastructure. “We are in the science business, not the datacenter business and AWS enables us to optimize our IT resources, while providing great flexibility and scalability when we need it,” said Adam Leggett, STEMCELL’s Manager of Global IT Infrastructure and Operations.
STEMCELL has utilized Cisco ASA firewall solutions on-premises for many years as VPN concentrators and—given its focus on the cloud—decided to explore available Cisco solutions for its latest need. The team decided to deploy Cisco Secure Firewall ASA virtual (ASAv) appliances, which are virtualized versions of Cisco ASA on-premises firewalls. It was an easy decision. “We had successfully deployed Cisco ASA firewalls for many years, so when we moved to Cisco ASAv on AWS a few years ago, it was fast and easy. It has the same management interface, so we had consistent security policies and the transition was very smooth,” said Leggett.
“Moving to Cisco ASAv on AWS reduced our IT management activities by about 75%, freeing the team to work on other projects.”
- Adam Leggett, Manager of Global IT Infrastructure and Operations, STEMCELL
Scalable, Secure Access for Remote Workers
When STEMCELL deployed Cisco ASAv on AWS, the organization updated its architecture to leverage AWS. By creating a standard image for Cisco ASAv that can be utilized globally, the organization benefitted by having a solution that can be deployed in a consistent and repeatable manner, while reducing the risk of human error.
In addition, STEMCELL leveraged AWS Global Accelerator to improve the availability and performance of its applications for globally-based staff and used Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) launch templates to quickly deploy on AWS. Cisco ASAv also provided the ability to quickly scale up or down on AWS to meet the needs of dynamic environments.
When global events caused organizations worldwide to unexpectedly close their local offices, some firms struggled to support employees who were suddenly working from home. However, STEMCELL had been successfully supporting remote workers with Cisco ASAv on AWS for several years. When the company needed to expand its VPN capacity, it took just a matter of minutes to expand on the cloud.
Today, many of STEMCELL’s remote workers securely access corporate applications via Cisco ASAv firewalls and Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility clients, supporting approximately 600 concurrent users during peak times. Remote employees worldwide enjoy secure, reliable access to corporate applications and data, enabling them to remain productive and connected.
Winning with Cisco Security
STEMCELL has benefitted from a strong relationship with Cisco and AWS, collaborating with both for technology solutions, infrastructure, and resources to help the company reach its long-term goals. Deploying Cisco ASAv on AWS provided STEMCELL with almost unlimited flexibility and scalability to meet its employee and customer needs worldwide. In addition, by deploying on AWS, STEMCELL realized significant savings in terms of IT management time and costs.
Having deployed Cisco solutions on AWS for over a decade, STEMCELL has significantly reduced its on-premises hardware, software, and infrastructure costs. At the same time, Cisco’s global presence and portfolio of integrated security solutions have enabled STEMCELL to achieve its existing and planned business objectives.
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Published February 2021