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Customer Story | Enterprise Networks

Korea Zinc’s Journey to Secure Service Edge Assurance With ThousandEyes

Company Overview

Korea Zinc focuses on the production of zinc and other non-ferrous metals and is actively involved in mining, smelting, refining, and manufacturing various zinc-related products.

Industry: Mining and Metallurgy

Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

Use Cases: SSE Monitoring, SaaS Monitoring

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Company Overview

Korea Zinc focuses on the production of zinc and other non-ferrous metals and is actively involved in mining, smelting, refining, and manufacturing various zinc-related products.

Industry: Mining and Metallurgy

Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

Use Cases: SSE Monitoring, SaaS Monitoring

Company Overview

Korea Zinc focuses on the production of zinc and other non-ferrous metals and is actively involved in mining, smelting, refining, and manufacturing various zinc-related products.

Industry: Mining and Metallurgy

Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea

Use Cases: SSE Monitoring, SaaS Monitoring

Forging the Future of Non-Ferrous Metals

Korea Zinc is a leading global player in non-ferrous metals production, mainly zinc. The company’s comprehensive portfolio of business segments encompasses mining, smelting, refining, and manufacturing zinc-related products. With operations spanning many countries, Korea Zinc has become a reliable source for products such as zinc ingots, zinc alloy die-casting, rolled zinc, sulfuric acid, and more.

Korea Zinc stands out for its unwavering commitment to sustainable practices. The company recognizes the significance of responsible industry operations and has taken significant measures to minimize its environmental impact. Last year, it commenced a transformative journey called the “Troika Drive,” where it began leveraging its expertise in smelting to broaden its horizons into renewable energy, secondary battery materials, and resource circulation businesses. By embracing these new growth engines, the company aims to contribute to a more sustainable future, further establishing its position as an industry pioneer.

Harnessing SSE Solutions for Fortified Network Security

Korea Zinc’s operations span multiple sites, often in remote locations. This decentralized nature necessitates a distributed network infrastructure for business to run smoothly.

Recognizing the importance of maintaining a secure network environment across so many sites, Korea Zinc turned to Secure Service Edge (SSE) solutions. These solutions provide advanced security capabilities such as secure web gateways, cloud firewalls, and threat intelligence, enabling the company to protect its network against cyber threats, data breaches, and unauthorized access attempts.

“We needed an innovative digital infrastructure that could ensure increased work productivity and improved business operation efficiency through a closer and safer collaborative environment,” said Hyunjin Lee, Senior Engineer at Korea Zinc.

One of the advantages of adopting SSE solutions is the utilization of cloud-based infrastructure and services. By leveraging the cloud, Korea Zinc eliminates the need for on-premises hardware, reducing maintenance costs and enhancing scalability. Moreover, with the ever-evolving landscape of industry regulations, privacy laws, and data protection requirements, SSE assists Korea Zinc in maintaining compliance with country regulations.

In addition to network security, Korea Zinc, like many enterprises today, relies heavily on Software- as-a-Service (SaaS) applications such as Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365, and ServiceNow. These applications introduce complexities in monitoring performance and reachability, especially for a distributed workforce.

“Regardless of their sector, most companies adopt security product solutions when they reach a specific scale,” said Lee. “Nowadays, the preference is shifted towards SaaS or subscription-based approaches.”

By embracing SaaS, Korea Zinc can replace critical business applications like groupware, crucial to its business operations, with more flexible and scalable options. This approach allows the company to adapt and expand its usage as needed without the burden of excessive initial cost investments.

Korea Zinc engineers monitoring a work site

Overcoming Latency Challenges With an SSE Provider

To maintain a secure network environment, Korea Zinc implemented SSE with a well-known cloud- based cybersecurity provider. However, the company encountered a persistent issue of frequent latency, negatively affecting its operations over an extended period.

Unfortunately, without definitive evidence, communicating the probable source of issues to their provider was difficult. As a result, Korea Zinc operators and employees experienced significant delays in resolving the latency issues, leading to compromised productivity.

“We needed to improve the network monitoring system in place,” said Lee. “Before the implementation [of ThousandEyes], it took a lot of time and a lot of contact points to identify problems, and external management was especially complicated.”

It became evident that establishing a common operating language between Korea Zinc and its SSE provider was crucial to address the existing issues and ensure a more seamless and secure network environment.

Proactive Insights Through SSE Testing and Dashboard Innovations

To address the persistent latency issues experienced with their SSE provider, operators at Korea Zinc took proactive measures to conduct tests using ThousandEyes Enterprise Agents and Endpoint Agents. These tests aimed to compare the service performance when traffic passed through the SSE provider’s network versus bypassing it. The test results showed that passing through the provider’s infrastructure resulted in increased latency for end users.

With these findings in hand, the operators at Korea Zinc could pinpoint the source of the latency issues and share their test results with their cybersecurity provider. This proactive approach proved to be instrumental in driving improvements in the services from its SSE provider. By highlighting the specific challenges faced during traffic routing through the SSE provider’s network, Korea Zinc facilitated a constructive dialogue that led to targeted optimizations and enhancements.

In addition to problem-solving, operators at Korea Zinc have also used dashboards to gain insights into network phenomena and statuses. By using ThousandEyes dashboards, IT operators could quickly identify that significant service packet drops were not occurring within the company’s network or an adjacent ISP. Instead, they could see when a problem originated at a specific SaaS provider, a level of visibility that enabled them to promptly identify and address issues while minimizing the impact on network performance and user experience. Another example of the usefulness of ThousandEyes is when Microsoft 365 experienced a massive outage. The team used the data provided by the platform to show it was not associated with the network.

“By analyzing [past performance], we can predict our future direction,” said Lee. “Moreover, we can quickly capture any signs of anomalies, even slight ones, to minimize disruptions.”

“ We needed to improve the network monitoring system in place, before the implementation [of ThousandEyes], it took a lot of time and a lot of contact points to identify problems, and external management was especially complicated.”
Hyunjin Lee
Senior Engineer
Korea Zinc

Accelerating Insight and Expansion

At the time of publication, Korea Zinc has primarily implemented ThousandEyes agents in its Seoul office. However, the company’s IT operators express optimism about expanding the use of ThousandEyes to other branches and factories within the company’s network infrastructure. By extending ThousandEyes monitoring to additional sites, the company can also assure the stability and performance of VPN connections across its entire network.

“In the past, when an issue occurred, we had to go through [our troubleshooting checklist] one by one, slowly,” said Lee. “But now, with the introduction of ThousandEyes, we can shorten the time it takes to address issues in half, which is a significant benefit.”

As Korea Zinc moves forward, adopting ThousandEyes and exploring its various use cases signify the company’s move to a more proactive approach to network assurance and optimization. By harnessing the power of ThousandEyes, Korea Zinc is well-positioned to streamline operations and provide seamless and reliable network experience for employees and stakeholders alike.

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