Fortinet helps restaurant chain prepare its network for cutting-edge digital experiences

Fortinet helps restaurant chain prepare its network for cutting-edge digital experiences

There are few industries as competitive as the fast food restaurant sector. In such a crowded marketplace, standing out means more than just offering great menu items. One such restaurant with thousands of locations across the US is doubling down on innovation. Their goal is to create compelling, personalized, digital customer and employee experiences that enable next-level differentiation.

As the company looks to expand its digital footprint by leveraging cloud-based resources, network security and resiliency have become top priorities. With a growing attack surface, their legacy firewall infrastructure was no longer adequate. It required a modern, capability-rich security platform capable of addressing the biggest cyber threats facing the business.

Importantly, any new solution would also have to improve network performance, which at the time was having an adverse impact on digital employee training services and other business applications. Bandwidth restrictions also threatened to derail the company’s plans around innovative customer experiences and personalized multi-channel loyalty programs.

Therefore, the restaurant chain implemented plans for a three-step secure network evolution across its thousands of restaurant locations.

A more secure and resilient network

Following a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process, and after rigorous performance testing of its team, 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, the Fortinet solution has now fulfilled the first two steps of the customer’s network evolution strategy.

Fortinet’s solution focuses on its industry-leading FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFW), with security services enabled by the FortiGuard UTP (Unified Threat Protection) Package. Security services include content security, such as intrusion prevention system (IPS) services and advanced malware protection, and web security, such as DNS filtering, in a consolidated security offering.

Comprehensive security features provided by FortiGate NGFWs protect the perimeter without impacting the performance of the company’s new high-speed broadband network.

For primary wide area network (WAN) connectivity, the chain uses satellite or broadband links, as available. When it comes to redundancy, the company benefits from FortiExtender cellular gateways, which provide ultra-fast LTE and wireless 5G for failover in the event of a primary WAN service outage. Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports on FortiGate devices support easy deployment of FortiExtenders and future in-store wireless access points. With the LTE/5G cellular capabilities provided by the FortiExtenders, the restaurant chain can take advantage of high availability, out-of-band management (OBM), and advanced threat protection in a single solution.

The entire UTP suite of security services is operated through FortiManager, which provides a single operating system for easy management.

A resilient and secure high-performance network

With the Fortinet solution in place, the restaurant chain benefits from a much more resilient and reliable network that is 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 has been the improvement of the employee experience, as staff can now access digital resources in seconds. Looking ahead, the company plans to harness increased bandwidth and network availability to drive compelling new 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 key reasons Fortinet was selected over the competition. With Fortinet, NGFWs and LTE/5G wireless WAN are managed as a single solution, leveraging the single-pane-of-glass view it offers Manager of Fort. Because of this high degree of consolidation, the customer can leverage OBM to continue managing branch policies if the branch’s broadband connection fails. For example, this is an important business continuity feature given the large number of payment card transactions that the chain needs to process securely in stores.

Finally, due to the hidden threats in the traffic, the company benefits by being able to perform man in the middle SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) inspection in encrypted traffic, with the ability to cache data for re-encryption. The company specifically looked for this feature during the vendor selection stage and only Fortinet was able to meet their needs, with the capability already built into FortiGate NGFWs.

The next stage 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 convert 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 seize the Fortinet Security Fabric to further consolidate security-driven networks and help customers make the most of their existing investments.

Learn more about how Fortinet offers retailers a broad set of network and security technologies that seamlessly integrate and automate to help retailers secure digital transformation initiatives and stay current on the latest industry trends: Industry Outlook.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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