Children’s apparel retailer embraces managed VPN network from Hughes nationwide.
When it comes to broadband connectivity and applications, national retailers are faced with choosing among numerous providers and technology options. The challenge is to find a trusted managed service provider who can deliver the right balance of performance, reliability, security, and cost
This particular retailer, a mall-based national children’s apparel chain, faced a variety of challenges. Their national retail network consisted of two-thirds frame relay installations and one-third DSL. New Web-based applications, as well as growing point-of-sale (POS), credit/debit, store polling, inventory, and back-office applications were quickly outgrowing the capacity of their existing network.
In addition to more bandwidth, the retailer needed to meet new PCI-compliant requirements to ensure the security of their customers’ data.
The company also was continuing to open stores, more than 20 each year—even in the sluggish economy. They needed a better way to quickly provision new circuits during tight store launch deadlines. Their previous service provider would install permanent dial backup for new store launches, but the performance was poor—definitely not the kind of impression a retailer wants to make when dealing with new customers. They needed a much bigger pipe to handle large file transfers during store provisioning.
The company was looking for a trusted managed service provider that could help them deal with these critical issues. Interestingly, one of the clothing companies they had recently acquired had been a long-time, satisfied Hughes customer.
Although most often associated with broadband satellite, Hughes employs a diverse range of technologies including EVDO cellular, DSL, cable, T1, and satellite under the Hughes Managed Services umbrella, providing the most comprehensive national VPN coverage in the industry.
The retailer decided to go with Hughes for a variety of reasons. Flexibility, reliability, a fully-managed solution, and attention to customer service were key factors in their decision-making. Proven experience in the retail vertical market was an additional critical element. Hughes had been providing managed services to some of the top retailers in the world. The fact that Hughes was able to deliver a solution that met their tight budgetary parameters was no less important.
In addition, the relationship with the acquired company proved to be a compelling factor. The Hughes reputation and service history were well earned, and the high level of trust carried over.
Hughes was able to deliver quality DSL service to more than 400 retail locations nationwide, with flexible options for ADSL, SDSL, and IDSL depending upon each local situation. If no DSL service was available in a particular location, Hughes offered private line T1, cable, or EVDO.
The additional bandwidth the Hughes solution offered over the customer’s previous frame relay service, allowed the customer to deploy a new Point-of-Sale (POS) solution that helped them better meet the ever changing credit card security standard—the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Hughes is one of only a handful of managed network service providers with PCI DSS certification and can achieve compliance across multiple network architectures
Hughes installed appropriate routers and network interface appliances throughout the retail chain. The equipment manages DSL, T1, cable, and EVDO technology and establishes AES-encrypted tunnels to each router in the network for PCI compliance. Built-in WAN optimization features, such as acceleration and data compression, provide enhanced performance. The network includes traffic prioritization, which allows the company to set authorizations for specific types of high-priority traffic such as credit processing. Robust, secure dial backup capabilities are also deployed at every location. The Hughes managed service includes sophisticated firewall and application whitelist features that allow the customer to quickly roll-out new solutions, ensuring that store operations are protected and only connect to trusted partners.
New store roll-out issues were solved by deploying EVDO connections prior to store launches. This low-cost alternative allowed the company to “light up” stores prior to openings, even if DSL circuits were not immediately available. In some cases, DSL was not an option due to the distance from the central office.
As a result, new store provisioning ceased to be an issue, and last-minute delays and frustration were eliminated.
As part of the Hughes Managed Network Services offering, Hughes proactively monitors the customer’s network and reports directly to their help desk. For example, if the Hughes system detects a store router that’s no longer replying to queries, the Hughes team runs tests, and if the problem is related to the underlying network access, Hughes proactively notifies the customer’s help desk. As troubleshooting is taking place, store communications automatically switches to dial back up so that the critical POS traffic continues uninterrupted. Trouble tickets are tracked on the Hughes Customer Gateway Portal, which individual stores and the company help desk can monitor as they choose.
The customer now enjoys low-latency, high-bandwidth landline broadband connectivity that’s backed up with an automatic dial backup solution. The solution has more than enough throughput to handle their POS, transactional systems, business applications, and general user needs. Most importantly, it’s a fully-managed service from one trusted provider employing a consistent, reliable set of technologies, as opposed to mixing vendors and technologies.
Hughes has been managing enterprise networks for more than 20 years, serving many Fortune 500 enterprises and delivering fully-managed services to more than 250,000 locations in the U.S.
Nothing beats experience when it comes to meeting complex communications challenges. For over 30 years, Hughes has led the market in satellite technology, innovation, and service. Now, with combined landline and wireless platforms and single-source management, Hughes Managed Services takes networking to the highest level and empowers companies to achieve seamless connectivity, extend their reach, and expand their competitive horizons.