Safeguarding supermarket
supply-chain continuity
The Problem

America’s leading consumer packaged goods companies may not worry specifically about malware, but they do worry about the relationship between raw ingredient procurement, manufacturing, logistics operations, distributions, and their customers’ success. As a critical partner to American supermarkets, our client was concerned about continuity of its entire supply chain, which can have disastrous effects if a single component fails. Supermarkets cannot afford to not fulfill customer demands if their supply partners have operations disrupted, and so entire contracts can depend on a well-structured resilience program.

If a program that supports their operating system is hacked; if the process that gets raw materials to a plant is derailed; if manufacturing infrastructure needs to be cleaned out or retooled. There are endless factors that can cause an entire production run to be damaged, delayed, or destroyed, with cascading, long-term material costs.

Solution Design

They have enormous databases in their system, and those databases could take multiple days to be fully recovered. They knew exactly the level of risk exposure they had, which creates a huge reputation and economic concern. While it presented an existential risk to their operation, their team had not previously been able to regularly test against such myriad factors.

They had piecemeal traditional backups that left them unable to quickly recover databases or test at scale against complex changes. In order to increase resilience, they were making constant changes on the network and applications that were difficult to validate. CyberVR was a eureka solution, where the team immediately understood its value, but had not previously known such an option was available at all–it offered much-needed recoverability and the ability to test against multiple interconnected changes.

In order to preserve the meticulous micro-segmentation that was critical to their entire operation, they needed a place to test it regularly, at scale, against both expected and unexpected consequences.

Interdisciplinary Practice

Even though the client had deployed established IT technologies with best practices, including advanced VMware components like NSX-T, it could not conduct key changes in production applications because of the risk involved in manipulating such large databases. We worked with infrastructure, networking, database systems, and security teams to prove how CyberVR digital twins could be used for fully realistic application and networking changes without creating risks to production.

The interdisciplinary collaboration also brought new needs to light, and we were able to translate those needs into new product features that made the solution even more powerful and easy to use. Now this highly skilled multi-disciplinary team is comfortable manipulating sophisticated configurations, allowing them to continually test against disruptions and continually improve upon their internal processes.

Solution Results

The client is now continuously testing changes to their technology and application stack while proving their supply chain reliability through recoverability and resilience tests. Their cycle of continuous IT improvement no longer breaks something new with every update: now they have a safe place to conduct iterative testing and discover new problems, without ever impacting production.

What started as a 300 VMs project has since grown to 500 VMs, with regular coordination and testing across infrastructure, networking, database systems, and security. CyberVR is protecting and improving the manufacturing and distribution workloads that support food security and service continuity in supermarkets across the country.

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