Fortinet helps a restaurant chain prepare its network for cutting-edge digital experiences
There are few industries as competitive as fast food. In such a crowded market, standing out means more than just having great food on the menu. One such restaurant with thousands of locations across the United States is doubling down on innovation. Its goal is to create engaging, personalized and digitally driven customer and employee experiences that will enable next-level differentiation.
As the company seeks to expand its digital footprint by leveraging cloud-based resources, network security and resilience have become priorities. With a growing attack surface, its legacy firewall infrastructure was no longer adequate. This required a modern, feature-rich security platform that could tackle the biggest cyber threats facing the business.
It is important to note that any new solution should also improve network performance, which at the time was negatively impacting employee-wide digital training services and other business applications. Bandwidth constraints also threatened to derail the company’s plans around innovative customer experiences and personalized multi-channel loyalty programs.
The restaurant chain has therefore put in place plans for a three-stage secure network evolution in its thousands of restaurants.
A more secure and resilient network
Following a competitive request for proposals (RFP) process and rigorous performance testing of its equipment, the chain selected Fortinet as its security partner for its network transformation. Managed by a managed security service provider (MSSP) on behalf of the customer, Fortinet’s solution has now completed the first two stages of the customer’s network evolution strategy.
Fortinet’s solution centers around its industry-leading FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFW), with security services enabled by the FortiGuard UTP (Unified Threat Protection) Pack. Security services include content security, such as intrusion prevention system (IPS) services and advanced malware protection, and web security, such as DNS filtering, in one consolidated security offering.
The comprehensive security features provided by FortiGate NGFWs protect the edge without affecting the performance of the company’s new high-speed broadband network.
For primary wide area network (WAN) connectivity, the chain uses broadband or satellite links depending on availability. In terms of dismissal, the company benefits from FortiExtender cellular gateways, which provide ultra-fast LTE and 5G wireless connection for failover in the event of a disruption of the main WAN service. Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports on FortiGate devices make it easy to deploy FortiExtenders and future in-store wireless access points. With the LTE/5G cellular capabilities provided by the FortiExtenders, the restaurant chain can leverage high availability, out-of-band management (OBM), and advanced threat protection in a single solution.
All UTP security services are operated through FortiManager, which provides a single operating system for ease of management.
An efficient, resilient and secure network
With Fortinet’s solution in place, the restaurant chain benefits from a much more resilient and reliable network capable of supporting the cloud-based applications and infrastructure that will be so important to its current and future digital experiences. . The most immediate improvement was the improved employee experience, with staff now able to access digital assets in seconds. Going forward, the company plans to take advantage of increased network bandwidth and availability to create new, engaging customer experiences such as facial recognition for loyalty programs, menu optimization, and… payment innovation.
Consolidation was another consideration for the customer and one of the main reasons Fortinet was selected over the competition. With Fortinet, NGFWs and LTE/5G Wireless WAN are managed as a single solution, leveraging the single-screen view provided by FortiManager. With this high degree of consolidation, the customer can leverage OBM to continue to manage branch office policies in the event of branch broadband connection failure. For example, this is an important business continuity feature given the large number of payment card transactions the chain must process securely in stores.
Finally, due to hidden threats in the traffic, the business benefits from the ability to perform the man in the middle Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) inspection on encrypted traffic, with the ability to then cache the data for re-encryption. The company specifically researched this functionality during the vendor selection phase and only Fortinet was able to meet their needs, with the capability already built into the FortiGate NGFWs.
The next step in the evolution of the enterprise network
Now that the chain has a secure, resilient and high-speed network, it is ready to take the next step in its network journey. The company is looking to transform its NGFW network into an SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) by enabling FortiGate’s built-in secure SD-WAN capability, as well as adding switching and wireless access for a complete network upgrade. The opportunity here would be to take advantage of the Fortinet Security Fabric to further consolidate security-focused networking and help the customer get the most out of their existing investments.
Learn more about how Fortinet offers retailers a wide range of networking and security technologies that are seamlessly integrated and automated to help retailers secure digital transformation initiatives and stay abreast of the latest industry trends: Industry Outlook.
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