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Panasonic Avionics Uses Amazon GuardDuty and AWS Security Hub for Security and Compliance

2021

Panasonic Avionics is a leading supplier of in-flight entertainment and communications solutions for airlines. When demand increased for more digitized solutions, the company faced a major obstacle: it wasn’t in the cloud. The company was hardware centric, working with infrastructure in on-premises data centers. More challenging, it had no means of analyzing that data, and storage capacity limits meant the company had to delete it every 3 months, leaving no opportunity for long-term analytics.

“We needed a digital transformation,” says Anand Desikan, head of platform services at Panasonic Avionics. “We needed to transform ourselves from a hardware vendor to a digital solutions provider.” The transformation would require migrating all the company’s sensitive data—on passengers, manufacturers, airline partners, ground systems, and more—to the cloud, so meeting strict security and compliance requirements would be vital.

Panasonic Avionics needed a solution that could help it execute the transformation and keep the new cloud data infrastructure secure and compliant. So it approached Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premier Partner SecureKloud Technologies, which specializes in enterprise cloud transformation in highly regulated industries, to assist.

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On the whole, we are saving 86% on infrastructure by running on AWS compared to physical data centers.”

Anand Desikan
Head of Platform Services, Panasonic Avionics

Teaming Up on a Solution to Address Digitization in Avionics

For nearly 40 years, Panasonic Avionics has made flight more enjoyable for travelers by bringing customized in-flight entertainment and communications solutions to market, from initial design to final installation. The company, operating in over 150 countries and with a workforce of 3,500 employees, long enjoyed a strong position in the market. However, industry-wide digitization began to threaten that position.
 
In early meetings with SecureKloud Technologies, Panasonic Avionics indicated that it wanted to store data without capacity constraints, unlock insights from data to drive value, and use automation and managed services to save developers time without sacrificing security and compliance. The two companies determined that AWS was the right cloud provider to meet Panasonic Avionics’ current and long-term objectives at a low total cost. AWS offered an array of managed services and fast innovation across those services. Most importantly, using AWS services would help Panasonic Avionics meet core security and compliance requirements, such as data locality, protection, and confidentiality.

Building a Secure Cloud Data System on AWS

Panasonic Avionics began its phased digital transformation journey in late 2017, aided by SecureKloud Technologies. To store virtually unlimited data, the Panasonic Avionics team built an elastically scalable data lake in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. To introduce analytical functionality to the system, the team used, among other AWS services, Amazon EMR, a cloud big data solution for processing vast amounts of data using open-source analytics engines. To help automate the system, the team used AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service that lets developers run code without provisioning or managing servers. And, finally, to orchestrate ingestion workflows, the team used AWS Step Functions, a low-code visual workflow service used to orchestrate AWS services, automate business processes, and build serverless applications.
 
Throughout the process, the Panasonic Avionics team pursued the principal objective of making the transformed cloud data system fully secure and compliant. “We take security absolutely seriously. We made sure that every step we took met all the necessary requirements and checked all the boxes,” says Anand Desikan. At the heart of security on the new cloud data system lies Amazon GuardDuty, a threat detection service that continuously monitors for malicious activity and unauthorized behavior to protect AWS accounts, workloads, and data stored in Amazon S3. “Amazon GuardDuty is our trusted friend,” says Anand Desikan. “It does all the heavy lifting, even monitoring for anomalies while we sleep.” The backbone of the company’s security monitoring is AWS Security Hub, which provides a comprehensive view of security alerts from across AWS accounts so that the cybersecurity operations team at Panasonic Avionics can organize and prioritize response actions in one place.
 
A broad palette of AWS security services works alongside Amazon GuardDuty and AWS Security Hub. These include Amazon Macie, a fully managed data security and privacy service that uses machine learning and pattern matching to discover and protect sensitive data; Amazon CloudWatch, which provides data and actionable insights to monitor applications, respond to system-wide performance changes, and optimize resource use; and AWS Firewall Manager, a security management service that enables developers to centrally configure and manage firewall rules across AWS accounts and applications. Using these services combined, Panasonic Avionics gains the robust security it needs in the cloud to remain fully secure and compliant with strict industry regulations.
 
With the new cloud data system complete, Panasonic Avionics can collect and store as much data as it wants in a cost-efficient data lake. “On the whole, we are saving 86 percent on infrastructure by running on AWS compared to physical data centers,” says Anand Desikan. Before, Panasonic Avionics was spending a high monthly cost per terabyte on storage in its on-premises data centers, but now it is saving 78 percent monthly on data storage. The company can quickly analyze its data to derive insights and create virtually endless value for the business, and developers don’t have to do extra work to manage and secure the system. As a result, Panasonic Avionics has seen an increase in staff productivity and can focus its efforts on business outcomes for customers. “We’re saving a lot of time. Tasks that once took us weeks or months to finish now take us hours or days,” says Anand Desikan.

Writing the Next Chapter for Panasonic Avionics

Looking ahead, Panasonic Avionics plans to make its infrastructure as reliable and resilient as possible. It wants to migrate remaining legacy systems to the cloud and plans to develop and deploy applications on the cloud. Developers can now innovate much faster because the architectural design and underlying infrastructure of the company’s data centers no longer limit them. On AWS, developers can pivot and change applications on the fly, creating a seamless progression for the solutions they build. “The efficiencies and flexibility we have achieved on AWS are game changing. We can more clearly look ahead to see what’s possible—and even what’s beyond possible—for finding solutions to new challenges,” Anand Desikan says.
 
Panasonic Avionics has established itself as a true digital solutions player. “We’ve been able to churn out more software and features—all built on and powered by AWS—faster than ever before. And our customers have noticed. They’re excited about working with us,” says Anand Desikan. The company largely attributes this success to the support from AWS and its AWS Consulting Partner program.

About Panasonic Avionics

For more than 40 years, Panasonic Avionics has brought value and enjoyment to airline passengers around the world by bringing cutting-edge in-flight entertainment and communications solutions to market.

Benefits of AWS

  • Reduced costs on data storage by 78%
  • Reduced costs on infrastructure by 86%
  • Improved security and compliance
  • Optimized time for developers
  • Increased performance

AWS Services Used

Amazon GuardDuty

Amazon GuardDuty is a threat detection service that continuously monitors for malicious activity and unauthorized behavior to protect your AWS accounts, workloads, and data stored in Amazon S3.

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AWS Security Hub

AWS Security Hub is a cloud security posture management service that performs security best practice checks, aggregates alerts, and enables automated remediation.

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Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.

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