SDN Use Case: Automotive Components

Use Case: Manufacturing

Manufacturer of automotive components

Use Case 1

Implementing access control linked to personnel data and security policies enables the creation of a secure and flexible network in a short time.

Business Type
Manufacturer of automotive components
Enhance setting and management of access rights when personnel are transferred, enter or leave the company
NEC's Solution
NEC Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Solutions - Access Authentication Solution

In this case study, we will show how NEC SDN Solutions helped a car parts manufacturer that was experiencing frequent organizational changes at its offices and plants nationwide. The company's access rights management operations for its internal network had become inefficient due to frequent personnel transfers and sudden changes in the number of temporary staff according to the season. The firm also had issues with data management security in its development projects and required robust network security. NEC implemented the Access Authentication Solution to resolve these issues.

Increasingly complex access rights management caused by frequent personnel transfers and sudden changes in temporary staff numbers

Every year, the internal network access rights of close to 300 transferring or relocating staff members had to be manually modified. In addition, being a car parts manufacturer, the company experienced seasonal changes in business volume. The number of temporary staff therefore increased and decreased considerably, a phenomenon that is peculiar to the industry. When the company anticipated high demand for its products, such as when a new model was released or during a marketing campaign, it injected large numbers of temporary staff into production lines and delivery centers.

In addition to frequent personnel transfers, seasonal fluctuations in the number of temporary staff exacerbated the workload of the people responsible for access rights management.

Manager Quote
System engineer of the
information systems department

"Every year during the personnel transfer and organizational change seasons, in addition to our routine operations, we were inundated by requests to modify access rights to the intranet for staff who were being transferred or relocated. In many cases, the total number of temporary staff exceeds 400 at different office locations, including administrative support staff, temporary manufacturing staff, and warehousing staff. The seasonal nature of personnel management is a feature of our company."

In addition, because access rights were set manually, many mistakes occurred.

Manager Quote
"Needless to say, development projects for new products are top secret and need to be shielded from our competitors. Design data and measured data must not be leaked to outsiders. But we have had cases where staff who were no longer members of a development project could still access their previous project's servers, while others were unable to access the servers of their newly assigned project. In other words, we made many mistakes when setting access rights."

In addition to wanting to mitigate internal risks, the company was also considering how to address targeted attacks originating from outside and improve the overall defense capability of the network.

A distinctive feature of car parts manufacturers is that they have a number of fluctuating development projects. New projects are frequently launched, while new departments and project teams are set up often due to advances in parts technology. On top of that, car parts manufacturers are likely to have a large number of items in their product lineup. All of these factors contribute to the growing complexity of access rights management.

In addition to the security issues mentioned above, many sales staff at the company had also requested that secure access to the intranet be granted from their mobile phones, smartphones and tablets, as these devices are much more convenient to use. This is known as 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) where employee-owned information devices are used for work. BYOD, whereby secure access control can be administered for devices wherever and whenever they are used, and individually for each device.

How could the company establish a secure network and improve the efficiency of management operations at the same time?

Manager Quote

"We decided to implement NEC's Access Authentication Solutions because it enables us to automate the setting access rights by linking the personnel information system with the access rights settings for each staff member. We were impressed with the solution's robust security features."

NEC's Access Authentication Solution enabled the company to fully automate access rights control for each location, each device, and each staff member through an integrated authentication database. The system spontaneously reconfigures settings in response to personnel transfers and increases and decreases in staff numbers, allowing only authorized personnel access to the intranet from a variety of devices at different offices and departments. In other words, the Access Authentication Solution accurately identifies each member of the staff and provides a highly secure network environment.

Access Authentication
Simultaneously achieving robust security and more efficient operations for both users and administrators

Manager Quote

"Previously we had to manually set access rights for each staff member whenever staff were transferred or organizational changes occurred. With NEC's Access Authentication Solution, we now have much more freedom because the solution automates access rights setting operations, which reduces our workload. On top of that, we no longer have to worry about making setting mistakes. Before we started using the solution, setting modeifications took about four days for a staff transfer, and about a week for the seasonal temporary staff increase. But now we can use that time to concentrate on our routine operations."

The company has successfully prevented information leakages from its intranet, as well as achieving robust security at the network level. The firm has subsequently been able to create a robust system to defend against unauthorized access and targeted attacks originating from outside.

How can a company achieve the mobility to quickly provide secure ICT resources on demand?

NEC's SDN Access Authentication Solution is ideal for cases where ICT resources need to be provisioned quickly, such as when building a new intranet for a newly launched project or constructing a secure network for a short-term project such as the development of a new product. This solution can smoothly handle operation systems that encompass multiple departments and projects, as well as relocations of staff and assignment changes among different offices. The Access Authentication Solution enables flexible and mobile network construction that was not previously possible.

Rapid Network
Rapid construction of a flexible network that can be controlled in project units.

Manager Quote

"Our young employees and new recruits, who go out often to do market research for product development, are not in the habit of carrying a laptop computer. They prefer to do business using their smartphonnes, which are much more convenient. They belong to a generation that prefers to access data with their smartphones. For that reason, we plan to actively work on BYOD in the near future."

The company's access control needs are representative of a car parts manufacturer that respects young employees' feelings and values. NEC's Access Authentication Solution not only solves urgent security issues, but it also enables the construction of a robust network that can be adapted to meet future system needs while providing a secure network environment.


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