For most retailers, effective networking must meet the three Ps: protection, performance and price.
A large retailer with over 1,700 stores found that their legacy network didn’t meet any of these touchstones. For one thing, it was forced to manage its security and network devices separately, which added cost and complexity. Additionally, given the negative effect it had on network performance, the retailer could not fully utilize its IPS (intrusion prevention system). Other challenges included poor performance optimization and limited visibility into network traffic.
Overall, the retailer ended up with an expensive system that hurt business performance and profitability.
Sustain the network
The company realized it was time for a new approach, especially given its plans around the cloud. Historically, its network centered around two on-premises data centers, but it was moving forward with a new cloud-focused model hosted on AWS. So they wanted a network and security infrastructure that would increase agility and performance both today and in their future cloud.
As the retailer set out to build a new network, it had three clear business goals in mind:
- Empower IT teams to manage and control infrastructure with a consolidated solution
- Ensure the security of its stores with an advanced security stack and automated configuration
- Ensure a transparent path to the cloud and reduce its connectivity costs by leveraging the public internet instead of its legacy MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) lines
A complete solution from Fortinet
The retailer issued an RFP (request for proposal) to initiate the search for its new channel partner. Having already established a solid relationship with Fortinet, he was invited to participate. Following the tender, the retailer asked Fortinet to provide a three-month POC (proof of concept), which then led to a six-month pilot program. Based on Fortinet’s superior product catalog and the results of the POC and pilot, the retailer awarded Fortinet the contract to begin the deployment of the Fortinet Secure SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) over its entire footprint.
Retailer’s Fortinet Secure SD-WAN consists of NGFW FortiGate (Next Generation Firewall) to provide industry-leading security for its data centers and branch offices; and FortiManager and FortiAnalyzer for centralized device management and network analysis. As the retailer accelerates its cloud journey, the company will leverage virtual instances of FortiGate devices to secure its AWS-based data center. Its store connectivity consists of active-active MPLS and cable/DSL for PALE link 1 and 2 followed by cellular LTE for WAN link 3 as failover.
The benefits of converged networks and security systems
With its Fortinet platform in place, the retailer now benefits from a fully consolidated and converged network and security stack, with a single appliance supporting all of the retailer’s SD-WAN, advanced routing, and NGFW needs. all managed through a single cloud-based pane. glass.
The approach has greatly simplified network and security management for the retailer, as it can scale and manage security for all 1,700 stores from a single location. Plus, with flexible scripting options, retailer IT teams can quickly automate configurations and security policies to meet the diverse needs of different sites.
The company’s network security has also increased significantly as a result of the deployment. As a key part of the Fortinet Secure SD-WAN solution, Tissue Management Center, including FortiManager and FortiAnalyzer, enable the retailer to benefit from complete network visibility, analytics, reporting and management capabilities. As a result, its IT teams are better able to monitor the network and respond quickly to potential issues as they arise. Other security benefits resulted from centralized and automated configurations and policy management, which eliminated errors that can occur with manual alternatives. This reduces security risks for the retailer. Beyond security, SD-WAN application steering and advanced WAN remediation deliver an enhanced user experience.
With Fortinet Secure SD-WAN, the retailer also significantly reduces costs. Cost benefits stem in part from consolidating its network and security systems. Further cost savings arise from reduced maintenance overhead with the consolidated appliance. Finally, because the Fortinet Secure SD-WAN operates over the public Internet as its primary connection, the retailer was able to reduce its reliance on its expensive MPLS lines.
With deployment well underway, assisted by Fortinet’s Professional Services team helping to design and deploy deployments to corporate stores, the retailer has taken a big step forward in its journey to the cloud. Fortinet provides a comprehensive solution that addresses multiple use cases and provides a unified security policy for data centers, stores, and SD-WAN implementation. The solution was designed to enable the retailer to quickly reduce their reliance on physical systems when migrating to the cloud.
In terms of price, protection and performance, the retailer has achieved a network suited to today’s threat landscape and able to deliver the scale it needs. It has also built a partnership that it can grow with to realize its cloud-focused future.
Learn more about how Fortinet offers retailers a wide range of network and security technologies that are seamlessly integrated and automated to help retailers secure digital transformation initiatives.
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