How WeTransfer upgraded existing VPN to a cloud-native solution for enhanced security application and experience

WeTransfer and NordLayer Case study

In the bustling canals of Amsterdam, a vibrant Dutch company, WeTransfer, emerged in 2009, becoming a haven for creatives worldwide. Known for its ingenious solutions to share large files easily and collaborate with teams, the WeTransfer platform not only caters to creative minds seeking a hassle-free way to distribute their work but also integrates an advertising model that transforms time spent on the site into a visual feast.

Profile of WeTransfer

WeTransfer takes a unique approach in having a viral product complemented by a full-screen advertising space used by hundreds of major brands around the world. The platform supports creative professionals, as well as creative communities facing the world’s most pressing issues. 

As a platform serving tens of millions of people around the world, cybersecurity and operational efficiency are top priorities. 

In this interview, Director Enterprise IT Adam O'Toole shares why and how WeTransfer embarked on using NordLayer.

The challenge

Legacy VPN and the need for reliability

Key pain points

VPN is used at WeTransfer not only for the engineering team to connect to several development APIs. It’s also necessary to validate global ad displays in over 130 countries. Ensuring continuity demanded a more flexible and robust solution. 

“Moving to a new HQ, we were faced with a fresh challenge: our VPN was physically hosted on-site so our engineering teams could connect to systems that were inside our network. We needed a cloud alternative for changing places”

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The impending office move only accelerated the search for a cloud-based VPN that could offer uninterrupted service and global reach.

The solution

Strategic transition to a hassle-free tool 

Main criteria choosing the solution

At WeTransfer, the team used two VPNs in total. One was dedicated to product development in the engineering department. The other was established due to a hybrid work model for remote employees to connect to the network and ad team for localization. 

NordLayer stood out for several reasons. First, it’s a fully cloud-native solution. Also, it provides an extensive network of global gateways and static IP addresses, which is excellent for a global company like WeTransfer, present in different countries. 

“Our ISO certification demands rigorous checks and balances, a standard that NordLayer meets with its comprehensive access policies, ensuring every connection is secure and aligned with our high standards.”

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What is more, it seamlessly integrates with the company's security framework. And finally, it ensures compliance, a requirement for WeTransfer to follow ISO 27001 standards.

“We are a small team supporting a company of 340+. We need our tools to work for us, not against us. With automation, we've been able to spend less time on manual tasks and more on what matters, proving that a lean team can go a long way.” 

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The transition marked a pivotal shift towards a cloud-based model, offering a seamless, maintenance-free experience that contrasted with the upkeep of the previous system.

Why choose NordLayer

The journey to NordLayer began with a collaborative effort to understand the specific needs across departments.

  1. We gathered a list of different departments to see how they use a VPN.

  2. The survey format helped us understand the needs and the demand for a VPN tool.

  3. We crystalized the use cases and how many gateways we needed.

  4. Some of the criteria were simple integration into the infrastructure, hassle-free usage, and static IP setup.

  5. Simplicity in using and maintaining the tool was equally important to security.

The integration with the existing security framework simplified access control, ensuring a smooth onboarding and offboarding process that resonated with the company's lean IT team ethos. 

“Okta integration was a big push from a security perspective for us to have better access control and automation when people come and leave.”

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With the Okta integration supported by NordLayer, the company can leverage stronger authentication mechanisms. Biometric authentication via Okta FastPass provides an additional level of security, allowing it to better protect against common attacks.

The intuitive dashboard and the provision for fixed IP addresses further streamlined operations, making NordLayer an obvious choice.

Rethinking the VPN strategy when transitioning to a cloud-based tool from a physical VPN

Legacy VPN vs Cloud VPN

NordLayer's appeal lies in its ability to meet the company's unique demands. Its vast network of gateways enabled the advertising team to accurately preview campaigns across different regions, a critical feature for a global player in the advertising space. 

The outcome

Seamless operations and enhanced productivity

The benefits of implementing NordLayer

The switch to NordLayer translated into tangible benefits. The IT team was liberated from the monthly maintenance rituals that had previously hindered productivity and could focus on strategic initiatives. 

“With NordLayer, it's simple: if you're in, you get access; if you're out, you lose it. The dashboard is clear, making setup quick and getting results easy.”

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Thanks to NordLayer's dedicated gateways, WeTransfer improved developer experience for engineers located outside of the Netherlands, with quicker feedback loops during development cycles.

Pro cybersecurity tips

Cybersecurity hygiene is very personal yet important to follow, just as taking care of yourself. It can be achieved differently but for the same result—secure digital environments. This interview was no exception to asking how IT professionals prioritize cybersecurity in their daily lives. Thus,  Adam O'Toole, Director Enterprise IT at WeTransfer, shares his favorite and most important tips on what matters first.

Adam O'Toole, Director Enterprise IT, WeTransfer, about cybersecurity

WeTransfer adoption of NordLayer showcases how cybersecurity posture was improved by underscoring the importance of adaptability, collaboration, and strategic tool selection in the digital age. 

The journey from a physical VPN system to a streamlined, cloud-based solution not only enhanced operational efficiency but also fortified the company's cybersecurity defenses. As a result, the company can continue its mission of supporting the global creative community with trust and confidence.

Want your team to feel secure? Contact us today to learn more about our secure network access solution for your business.

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