Case Study - Refuge

Visual Effects Studio Animates Their Security with WatchGuard


From character animation and visual effects to compositing, Refuge specializes in bringing those magical movie and TV scenes to life. Refuge, located in Portland, Oregon, U.S., is an animation and visual effects shop that specializes in characters and creatures. Refuge has worked with large animation productions spanning from Netflix, Amazon Studios, Marvel, to FX Networks. Their visual effects can range anywhere from taking somebody out or creating a creature and bringing it to life.

Due to the nature of the entertainment industry, Refuge is constantly making changes through editing, rendering and creating video files and animations. Inevitably, this workflow requires large data transfers between servers, especially for the Ultra HD files – which are 4x larger than HD files. There was a specific situation where Refuge had to deliver files to the clients but ran into issues transferring data from network to network and speed was limited because of their previous firewall. Because of this, Refuge was looking for a new network security solution that both addressed the concerns of speed of file transfers and overall security capabilities.

“We started to run into limitations on how fast and secure we can move the files across the network. We needed the highest security protocols, where we can isolate the networks between the production artist and producers communicating with the client. We found that with WatchGuard, it checked all of our boxes in both speed and security,” remarks Fred Ruff, VFX supervisor.


To address the speed and security concerns, Refuge worked with their partner to install WatchGuard Firebox M470, equipped with WatchGuard’s full bundle of security capabilities – Total Security Suite. With the M470 and built-in VPN capabilities, Refuge can easily connect from outside the office and segment out their networks without sacrificing speed. The addition of Total Security Suite allows for DNS filtering, network and endpoint threat correlation to give Refuge the ability to block and prevent against the latest security threats. “Apart from the added security features on Total Security Suite, the VPN option provided on the Firebox M470 is critical for our business, especially during these times. This allowed our employees to connect from home securely and still be able to transfer files, no matter where they are located,” explains Fred.


With the new Firebox M470 installed, Refuge has both the speed and security requirements that their business needs. With the addition of VPN on the Firebox, there continues to be an increase in productivity at the company, even when not physically in the office. Fred concludes, “WatchGuard allows us to have a firewall that lets us sleep at night. We never worry about losing content when transferring across the network. We also never worry about a new virus or data breach. WatchGuard keeps itself up to date and allows full visibility into the network, so you know exactly what’s going on in real time.”

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