Customer Stories

Fortinet Secure SD-WAN Provides Simplified Compliance for More Than 1,000 Retail Locations

By Courtney Radke | March 08, 2021

Customer Perspectives

For retailers, high-speed “always-on” network connectivity is key to the customer experience. Likewise, performance delays and an unreliable network infrastructure can also have significant impact on an organization’s revenue stream. Bottom line, many retailers are looking to address these challenges by deploying a SD-WAN solution, with the parallel goals of preventing network bottlenecks and accelerating application performance. Those were also key drivers of the transition to SD-WAN for a large North American retailer.

This retailer’s technology infrastructure is spread across two data centers and the cloud to support customer demand and the needs of more than 1,000 stores. With such a vast geographic footprint and disparate technologies, this organization struggled to ensure complete visibility and control over the network. 

Until recently, this retailer utilized MPLS to connect each store to the WAN, backhauling all internet traffic through one of its two data centers. This approach had several drawbacks, not the least of which being frequent outages of their dedicated MPLS connections, causing intermittent access loss and impact to business-critical operations. Another issue; backhauling internet traffic through the data center introduced latency to the company’s cloud applications which threatened to undermine their ability to meet customer SLAs.

To make matters worse, the IT team lacked adequate visibility and control of network and security configurations while many years of accumulating an array of legacy point products made centralized management impossible. Efficiency suffered and the company risked taking longer to identify and remedy potential threats. It was time for an infrastructure overhaul.

SD-WAN: Secure Connectivity Without the High Cost

The company began shopping for a WAN solution that would simultaneously allow for dedicated internet access (DIA) without the data-center backhauling, and effectively secure its new POS system. The security-driven networking of Fortinet Secure SD-WAN fit the bill. 

Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution includes advanced routing capabilities, offering complete fully-meshed connectivity for branches, data centers, and cloud environments. By making the switch, this retailer significantly reduced network costs by completely replacing its expensive MPLS connections with SD-WAN connectivity – without sacrificing performance or security.

As the retailer transitioned to this ISP-dependent WAN, they made sure to build redundancy into the network by deploying cellular connectivity, via FortiExtender, for high-availability in each branch. This approach provides consistent and dependable business-continuity in the event that a store loses primary ISP connectivity. And since Fortinet Secure SD-WAN is dynamically managing the network, failover is quick and seamless.

It wouldn’t be Fortinet Secure SD-WAN without, you guessed it, enterprise-class integrated security which helps protects the retailer’s 1,000-plus sites from cyberthreats. The organization benefits from integrated, industry-leading, security features including web filtering, intrusion prevention system (IPS), and SSL inspection (including deep-packet inspection). The company also leverages the granular segmentation capabilities in Fortinet Secure SD-WAN to separate its payment systems from network segments serving guest users, in-store Wi-Fi, and other applications. Fortinet Secure SD-WAN provides this retailer the highest levels of security and performance for each solution, helping ensure POS and payment traffic is secure and PCI compliance requirements are met.

Streamlined Management, Better User Experience With Secure SD-WAN

This company was further able to improve IT efficiency by deploying the Fortinet Fabric Management Center, which consists of FortiManager for network and security management and FortiAnalyzer for robust reporting and analysis. FortiManager enables centralized orchestration, configuration & policy management and streamlined zero-touch deployment capabilities, while FortiAnalyzer dramatically increases visibility and reporting capabilities while reducing time to identify and remedy network and security events. These robust and comprehensive capabilities provided by the Fortinet Fabric Management Center make it possible for the corporate infrastructure team to centralized visibility and control over the entire network.

To put it simply, Fortinet Secure SD-WAN provides superior performance and cost-effectiveness compared with the legacy MPLS infrastructure. Additionally, the Fortinet solution allows the retailer to take advantage of dynamic routing protocols such as BGP to provide faster route convergence and better network performance within the data center. The performance gained by Fortinet’s SOC4 architecture also accelerates cloud connectivity, improves payment transactions, and creates a better overall experience for customers and employees.

In the future, the retailer expects to further converge network and security by consolidating switching and wireless access across its many locations and deploying Fortinet’s secure wired and wireless access solutions; FortiSwitch and FortiAP. This transition to a full SD-Branch solution will allow for single-pane management across the business’s WAN edge, LAN edge, and cloud instances. 

With Fortinet Secure SD-WAN, this retailer was able to lower costs, decrease complexity, and provide a better customer experience without sacrificing performance or security.

Take a security-driven approach to networking to improve user experience and simplify operations at the WAN edge with Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution.

Find out more about how Fortinet offers retailers a broad set of network and security technologies that are seamlessly integrated and automated to help retailers secure digital transformation initiatives.