FordHarrison LLP

Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform helps leading labor and employment law firm improve productivity and client service

  • Customer Profile

    FordHarrison is a labor and employment law with nearly 200 lawyers in 29 offices across the U.S. With a client promise to provide sound legal advice, practical counseling, and excellent client service, FordHarrison helps employers minimize legal risks involved in employment decisions without compromising business needs.
    • Vertical: Services
    • Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    • Customer size: 200 lawyers in 29 offices across the U.S.

    Use Case

    Replace single-carrier MPLS network with all-broadband SD-WAN for more reliable access to cloud and data center applications, improving staff productivity and elevating quality of client services.

    Requirements

    • Assure reliable, high-performance network services across 25 offices and cloud
    • Enable local breakout to cloud applications
    • Provide centralized management with granular visibility and control

    Outcomes

    • Improves quality of experience for users thanks to higher levels of application performance and network reliability
    • Enables attorneys and staff to work more productively and serve clients more efficiently
    • Assures access to vital communications such as VoIP while working remotely from home during the global pandemic
    • Eliminates downtime due to circuit outages, building attorneys' trust in IT services
    • Provides centralized, highly granular visibility and control to simplify network management and accelerate troubleshooting

    Navigating complex labor and employment law is challenging under the best circumstances. In a global pandemic, the challenges mount as businesses try to keep operations running and workers safe. It takes extra care and attention—plus the expertise of a top-shelf law firm. That's why companies turn to FordHarrison LLP.

    Scott Shaw, chief technology officer with FordHarrison, says, "What sets FordHarrison apart is our ability to deliver personal, high-quality legal services to clients." However, inconsistent network performance threatened the ability of both IT and the firm as a whole to live up to their quality-of-service commitments.

    Network Problems Impair Client Services

    A reliable WAN the keystone of the business, essential for FordHarrison attorneys and staff to access communication systems like voice and email, or document management and litigation support systems running in the firm's central data center. If any of these applications are slow or unresponsive, the legal team simply can't service clients effectively or efficiently.

    Historically, FordHarrison relied on a single-provider MPLS network to connect its 25 nationwide offices with applications and resources in its Atlanta data center. If the carrier was performing maintenance or suffered a fiber cut, the nearby FordHarrison office would go down, leaving attorneys and staff unable to do their jobs properly.

    Larry Cross, information systems manager for FordHarrison, says, "We had no visibility into the network, so if there was a problem it could take us all day working with the carrier to figure it out. This happened so often, everyone was worn out from frustration."

    The turning point was when the firm's MPLS contract came up for renewal and the IT team faced the prospect of upgrading its Cisco routers in each office. Shaw notes, "We realized there had to be a better way. For a business like ours with offices spread across the country, SD-WAN quickly rose to the top as the best solution."

    SD-WAN That Works Out of the Box

    After evaluating Aruba (formerly Silver Peak), Cisco, Fortinet, and Windstream, Shaw says the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform proved to be the best solution. "I was impressed with the simplicity in design and ease of implementation that Aruba offered. We wanted a solution that would work out of the box and not require a full-time Cisco engineer to manage a whole fleet of routers."

    By deploying the Aruba EdgeConnect platform at all 25 offices and in its corporate data center, FordHarrison retired its routers at every office and decommissioned MPLS entirely. Today, the firm relies on dual links at each location—one dedicated internet access (DIA) circuit bonded with a commercial broadband link, each from different providers.

    With the SD-WAN deployment, FordHarrison also embarked on its cloud journey, deploying a virtualized EdgeConnect appliance in Microsoft Azure and implementing a cloud-based voice-over-IP (VoIP) solution from Nextiva. Now each office can connect directly to applications running in Azure and its VoIP system instead of backhauling this cloud-destined traffic through the central data center like before.

    Elevates Quality of Experience

    The timing of the new cloud-based VoIP system deployment proved important. Within weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic forced FordHarrison employees to work from home. Shaw says, "Practically overnight we were able to switch everyone to working remotely from home. People could use their VoIP phones immediately with no performance impact and minimal disruption to client services."

    FordHarrison has realized additional ongoing benefits from SD-WAN. For example, Shaw reports that day-to-day application performance has improved, providing a higher quality of experience for attorneys and staff. "The application experience for our people is now extremely stable and reliable. We no longer have to endure those peaks and valleys that we used to get with MPLS."

    Moreover, with redundant links from two different providers at each office, downtime due to circuit outages has been completely eliminated. Cross reports, "This year we didn't have any unscheduled downtime, and that's even with multiple instances where a carrier had a complete fiber cut. Applications, the phone system, everything stayed up and the employees saw zero impact."

    Reliable Network Service Builds Trust

    The IT team has also benefited directly from SD-WAN. The Aruba Orchestrator management console provides granular network visibility and control that the team never had before. Cross says, "Using Aruba Orchestrator to make a change centrally and have it replicate to all our offices in minutes is really amazing."

    Cross adds, "One of the biggest things is having detailed dashboards where I can zero in on an issue in less than a minute. If someone is streaming too much and affecting other applications, I can see who it is and just give them a call. That is huge to me."

    Most important is the high level of quality network service the IT team can now deliver for the firm. Cross concludes, "I can't emphasize enough how big a deal it is that our attorneys and staff can do their work without worrying about the network going down. I'm very proud of the level of trust and confidence we've instilled in our people as a result of having SD-WAN."

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    I can’t emphasize enough how big a deal it is that our attorneys and staff can do their work without worrying about the network going down. I’m very proud of the level of trust and confidence we’ve instilled in our people as a result of having SD-WAN.
    Larry Cross, Information Systems Manager, FordHarrison, LLP
  • Customer Profile

    FordHarrison is a labor and employment law with nearly 200 lawyers in 29 offices across the U.S. With a client promise to provide sound legal advice, practical counseling, and excellent client service, FordHarrison helps employers minimize legal risks involved in employment decisions without compromising business needs.
    • Vertical: Services
    • Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    • Customer size: 200 lawyers in 29 offices across the U.S.

    Use Case

    Replace single-carrier MPLS network with all-broadband SD-WAN for more reliable access to cloud and data center applications, improving staff productivity and elevating quality of client services.

    Requirements

    • Assure reliable, high-performance network services across 25 offices and cloud
    • Enable local breakout to cloud applications
    • Provide centralized management with granular visibility and control

    Outcomes

    • Improves quality of experience for users thanks to higher levels of application performance and network reliability
    • Enables attorneys and staff to work more productively and serve clients more efficiently
    • Assures access to vital communications such as VoIP while working remotely from home during the global pandemic
    • Eliminates downtime due to circuit outages, building attorneys' trust in IT services
    • Provides centralized, highly granular visibility and control to simplify network management and accelerate troubleshooting

    Navigating complex labor and employment law is challenging under the best circumstances. In a global pandemic, the challenges mount as businesses try to keep operations running and workers safe. It takes extra care and attention—plus the expertise of a top-shelf law firm. That's why companies turn to FordHarrison LLP.

    Scott Shaw, chief technology officer with FordHarrison, says, "What sets FordHarrison apart is our ability to deliver personal, high-quality legal services to clients." However, inconsistent network performance threatened the ability of both IT and the firm as a whole to live up to their quality-of-service commitments.

    Network Problems Impair Client Services

    A reliable WAN the keystone of the business, essential for FordHarrison attorneys and staff to access communication systems like voice and email, or document management and litigation support systems running in the firm's central data center. If any of these applications are slow or unresponsive, the legal team simply can't service clients effectively or efficiently.

    Historically, FordHarrison relied on a single-provider MPLS network to connect its 25 nationwide offices with applications and resources in its Atlanta data center. If the carrier was performing maintenance or suffered a fiber cut, the nearby FordHarrison office would go down, leaving attorneys and staff unable to do their jobs properly.

    Larry Cross, information systems manager for FordHarrison, says, "We had no visibility into the network, so if there was a problem it could take us all day working with the carrier to figure it out. This happened so often, everyone was worn out from frustration."

    The turning point was when the firm's MPLS contract came up for renewal and the IT team faced the prospect of upgrading its Cisco routers in each office. Shaw notes, "We realized there had to be a better way. For a business like ours with offices spread across the country, SD-WAN quickly rose to the top as the best solution."

    SD-WAN That Works Out of the Box

    After evaluating Aruba (formerly Silver Peak), Cisco, Fortinet, and Windstream, Shaw says the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform proved to be the best solution. "I was impressed with the simplicity in design and ease of implementation that Aruba offered. We wanted a solution that would work out of the box and not require a full-time Cisco engineer to manage a whole fleet of routers."

    By deploying the Aruba EdgeConnect platform at all 25 offices and in its corporate data center, FordHarrison retired its routers at every office and decommissioned MPLS entirely. Today, the firm relies on dual links at each location—one dedicated internet access (DIA) circuit bonded with a commercial broadband link, each from different providers.

    With the SD-WAN deployment, FordHarrison also embarked on its cloud journey, deploying a virtualized EdgeConnect appliance in Microsoft Azure and implementing a cloud-based voice-over-IP (VoIP) solution from Nextiva. Now each office can connect directly to applications running in Azure and its VoIP system instead of backhauling this cloud-destined traffic through the central data center like before.

    Elevates Quality of Experience

    The timing of the new cloud-based VoIP system deployment proved important. Within weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic forced FordHarrison employees to work from home. Shaw says, "Practically overnight we were able to switch everyone to working remotely from home. People could use their VoIP phones immediately with no performance impact and minimal disruption to client services."

    FordHarrison has realized additional ongoing benefits from SD-WAN. For example, Shaw reports that day-to-day application performance has improved, providing a higher quality of experience for attorneys and staff. "The application experience for our people is now extremely stable and reliable. We no longer have to endure those peaks and valleys that we used to get with MPLS."

    Moreover, with redundant links from two different providers at each office, downtime due to circuit outages has been completely eliminated. Cross reports, "This year we didn't have any unscheduled downtime, and that's even with multiple instances where a carrier had a complete fiber cut. Applications, the phone system, everything stayed up and the employees saw zero impact."

    Reliable Network Service Builds Trust

    The IT team has also benefited directly from SD-WAN. The Aruba Orchestrator management console provides granular network visibility and control that the team never had before. Cross says, "Using Aruba Orchestrator to make a change centrally and have it replicate to all our offices in minutes is really amazing."

    Cross adds, "One of the biggest things is having detailed dashboards where I can zero in on an issue in less than a minute. If someone is streaming too much and affecting other applications, I can see who it is and just give them a call. That is huge to me."

    Most important is the high level of quality network service the IT team can now deliver for the firm. Cross concludes, "I can't emphasize enough how big a deal it is that our attorneys and staff can do their work without worrying about the network going down. I'm very proud of the level of trust and confidence we've instilled in our people as a result of having SD-WAN."

    I can’t emphasize enough how big a deal it is that our attorneys and staff can do their work without worrying about the network going down. I’m very proud of the level of trust and confidence we’ve instilled in our people as a result of having SD-WAN.
    Larry Cross, Information Systems Manager, FordHarrison, LLP
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