Offering managed WAN services: A case study

One VAR offers retail clients managed WAN services that include high-performance nationwide networks, VPN, PCI compliance and hosted cloud security.

For over 15 years, Blue Ridge Networks developed security products to protect high-value targets in the government and private sector from state-sponsored cyber organizations in China, Russia and North Korea. Today, the computer and network security product and services firm offers the retail sector managed WAN services, including its Military Grade VPN, delivering Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard compliance and more.

“Our value is that retailers can turn to us for the best broadband speed and performance at a given site, [as well as] secure connectivity and network management for a bundled monthly price,” said Paul Jacoby, vice president sales at Blue Ridge Networks.

Multi-location retailers with between 100 and 800 locations are prime candidates for Blue Ridge Networks’ managed WAN services, given their need for regional or nationwide networks that are fast, secure, high performing and reasonably priced.. The reseller works with more than 2,000 broadband providers nationwide to put together a WAN transport for the best price/performance.

Retail data networks often must transport point-of-sale (POS) data, company intranet data for administrative functions such as human resources, data from special pricing or inventory sites, application data from gift card and customer loyalty programs and more.

Two anchor customers of Blue Ridge are Anna’s Linens, with 280 stores nationwide, and Big M Inc., the privately held operating company of Mandee & Annie Sez Stores, with 180 retail locations, primarily in the Northeast. The retail organizations get a bundled WAN service including a Military Grade VPN, broadband Internet access, cloud-based security and access control, and lockdown and protection of POS devices via the Blue Ridge EdgeGuard Security software. All of these services are fully managed.

When the stores go with managed WAN services, they stand to get the benefits of flat-rate pricing; no capital expense; constantly updated PCI compliance; high-speed, secure support of multiple environments; protection of POS devices from cyber threats and less stress on internal IT resources, according to Jacoby.

Security protection also includes centralized firewall whitelisting and network intrusion, segmenting PCI devices from non-PCI devices and wireless inventory system, and lockdown and protection of POS machines and PCs.

“Then we manage the end-to-end retail data network for our clients from our central management console,” said Jacoby, noting that what many retailers are looking for is one-stop shopping, not the distraction of worrying about PCI compliance and WAN management.

This was first published in January 2011

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