How AI Company Datagen Revolutionized Remote Access for Its Global Team With Perimeter 81

“Onboarding our users was an absolutely seamless process. Virtually no users needed any instruction whatsoever.”
Noah Guttman
Head of DevOps

The Company: 

Datagen supports advanced computer vision projects, one of the fastest growing fields within AI.  The company works with many Fortune 500 companies that are integrating artificial intelligence into their products. Industries it supports include automotive, IoT, home and office security, and health and fitness.

Artificial Intelligence
Cloud and on-prem

Ensuring Secure Access, Maintaining Productivity

Our wonderfully networked world makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to employ contractors and regular employees regardless of location. But that also comes with the significant downside of increased cybersecurity risk and performance impact. After all, how do you ensure that workers can connect to your corporate network securely, without impacting their user experience and productivity?

These are the problems that faced Noah Guttman, Head of DevOps for Datagen–a company specializing in generating training data for computer vision projects. In addition to supporting the company’s software development processes, Datagen’s DevOps team was also responsible for security directives and managing various IT tools and processes. That included finding access solutions for Datagen’s remote teams.

“We had a huge number of artists working for us in India. We needed them to be able to access our network, ”Guttman said.

These artists helped Datagen create key aspects of its video generation platform including physical models of people and accessories like glasses, hats, and clothing. There were also teams working on animations, and others on textures. These teams were creating large files that had to be moved from the workers’ computers to Datagen’s public cloud storage, hence the need for network access. 

But like many other companies before them, Datagen discovered the limitations of using a VPN for a distributed workforce. Connecting from India to Datagen’s HQ in Israel before heading off to cloud resources based in Europe and the United States meant increased latency for remote workers and slow upload times. “They would connect to the Israel office VPN and then transfer files to AWS. As you can imagine that was very inefficient,” Guttman said.

At this point the search was on for a better solution, but Guttman wasn’t sure where to turn at first and even considered a homegrown solution. “We had OpenVPN as an instance running in AWS. We looked into handing that to the India team. But of course, that’s a nightmare to manage because it supports no integrations. We also looked at a couple of other products, but basically nobody had a comprehensive solution that would integrate with our SSO [JumpCloud].”

That’s when Guttman turned to Perimeter 81, which he said, “met all of our requirements right out of the gate. Its price point was also spot on so there was no reason to go anywhere else.”

For the India team, Perimeter 81 meant faster connections and easy onboarding. “The ability to put gateways much closer to our workers in India was a huge advantage,” Guttman said. Connecting via a local gateway, and then connecting directly to AWS over Perimeter 81’s Global Backbone Network produced a far more efficient and productive solution for DataGen’s team.

“It was also very easy to just hand it over to our workers. Just give them a tool with no configuration whatsoever. Slap in their email address, put in the JumpCloud password, and away they go. It was an absolutely seamless process. Virtually no users needed any instruction whatsoever,” Guttman said. “Artists are not technical individuals and it was such a simple solution for them. Install the Premier 81 agent and just get online and get access to the system without having to understand anything about the underlying technology, that’s not a common thing for VPN solutions. They often are problematic. They often require extra support.”

Solid connection and seamless onboarding were only part of the advantages DataGen was able to extract from its Perimeter 81 network. The company also deployed Device Posture Check to ensure that user devices were running the JumpCloud agent before permitting network access. “Using Perimeter 81 to enforce JumpCloud is very handy because it ensures that nobody can connect to the network unless they have the agent running. We also get visibility into which devices failed the posture check while trying to connect. In fact, we wish we could do this on the physical network.”

Malware Protection Saves the Day

Turning to Perimeter 81 also saved DataGen from a ton of potential headaches after the company deployed our Secure Internet service, which includes malware protection. “Once we turned that on, it detected that a bunch of the artists unfortunately had malware infections, which we had no visibility into otherwise. We were then able to go clean-up those machines.”

Undetected malware infections can be a major security hole that lead to data breaches, data theft, and further infections.

The AWS Highway

It didn’t take long for DataGen to turn its Perimeter 81 network from a tool for remote workers to a tool for anyone in the company looking for a solid connection to AWS.

As Guttman explains, “Our office network has never been great, and so having people connect into the office VPN and then from there go to AWS when they’re working with large data sets never gives high speeds. So for the Algo [algorithm] team to be able to connect directly to AWS was much, much faster for them.”

Ease of Use and Service Seals the Deal

Perimeter 81’s primary goal is to make networking and network security as easy as possible to deploy and manage. Nevertheless, there are times when a customer will need to ask questions or get direct help with a particularly gnarly problem. When that happened to Datagen, Guttman found we were always there for him.

“Support has been absolutely fantastic. Chat support always directed us to the documentation that we needed, the documentation was really good, and when we had specific issues we could happily just set up a meeting time. I can honestly say I’ve never had onboarding support this good anywhere else all the years I’ve been working with companies. Not just in the security space, I mean just in general, Perimeter 81 has gone above and beyond consistently.”

But how is the day-to-day management? For Guttman and his team it’s nonexistent, which is a good thing for them. “My whole goal as head of DevOps is that when we build things properly and integrate things properly, we shouldn’t have to manage them because they just work at that point. Then you go on to build the next thing. When we built tunnels, we didn’t have to think about them. It was a nice feature.”

Perimeter 81 does exactly what Guttman needs for Datagen. It connects teams to AWS resources quickly and easily, with little onboarding, and dependable secure tunnels. Guttman and his team don’t need to manage the network very much since it just works, and that’s just the way they like it.

About Perimeter 81 

Perimeter 81 is a robust, yet easy-to-use, converged networking and network security platform that connects all users, in the office or remote, to all resources, located on-prem, or clouds. It is a cloud-native service that includes advanced capabilities such as Zero Trust remote access, Internet access control, malware protection and firewall as a service. It enables any business to build a secure corporate network over a private global backbone, without hardware and within minutes. The entire service is managed from a unified console and is backed by an award-winning global support team that has you covered 24/7.

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