Signpost develops the leading cloud-based CRM and marketing automation solution for contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other home service businesses. It helps business owners manage their customer communications using text, live chat, email, and social media. Signpost also encourages happy customers to share reviews on Google, Facebook, and other sites. The company quickly grew since it was founded in 2010 and now has 130 employees in New York, Texas, and Colorado.
Like many other technology startups launched in the 2010s—before the cloud networking took off—Signpost had purchased the best equipment for building an on-premises network. But after 5-7 years of use, a lot of gear was end-of-life and needed to be replaced at considerable expense.
“Most of our employees were working from home due to Covid, and our networking equipment was on-prem and end-of-life,” says Alex Shtilkind, the Head of Corporate IT at Signpost. “The performance wasn’t great before Covid, but once the whole company was working from home, the VPN became painfully slow.”
Since all company employees—even those in Texas and Colorado—had to access the VPN through the NY headquarters, their connection speeds were limited by both available bandwidth and latency issues. But replacing networking equipment at the height of the Covid pandemic seemed like a luxury.
Business growth resumed after a few months, and Shtilkind was ready to upgrade his VPN equipment with the previous vendor. However, before making a final decision, he decided to scope out some cloud-based firewall solutions and discovered Perimeter 81’s cloud-based VPN online.
The day after a successful product demo with Perimeter 81, Signpost’s VPN suddenly died—and replacing the VPN became business-critical.
“There was no way our existing vendor could meet our schedule, so it was a no-brainer to go with Perimeter 81,” says Shtilkind. “I quickly contacted the company, and within 24 hours, we were fully operational.”
Signpost initially bought 60 licenses and selected Perimeter 81’s Enterprise Plan, which provided unlimited policies for Firewall as a Service and high-performance 1000 Mbps gateways. Latency issues were solved by having each remote employee connect to the network via Perimeter 81 data centers in New York, Dallas, or Chicago—rather than through the New York HQ. Additionally, Perimeter 81’s secure edge connection solved Signpost’s bandwidth issues since each employee had their own high-speed connection.
Not only was the performance much better, but Signpost saved more than $100,000. “While the cost of the Perimeter 81 software licenses was about the same as our previous VPN vendor, we saved us $50-60,000 on hardware. In addition, they offered a much less expensive alternative to dual high-availability VPNs and included cloud-based monitoring and configuration as standard features.”
Cloud-based networking with Perimeter 81 gave Signpost the business agility to handle just about any challenge. While the company was in the midst of plans to relocate the corporate headquarters from New York to Denver, the Covid Delta wave hit the USA. It shelved hopes of a return to normalcy and demonstrated that Covid had permanently changed the world of work.
“Our CEO lives in Denver, so it seemed only natural that our headquarters would be there. But when we realized that our new office would be empty because of another wave of Covid, it no longer made sense,” says Shtilkind.
“Perimeter 81’s network as a service had already given us the flexibility to become hybrid, and we just took it to the next level by becoming officeless. As a result, we saved both moving costs and millions of dollars annually in rent. It was a fantastic business decision that would have been impossible with our legacy VPN.”