Achieving customer and employee convenience with SD-WAN

The very essence of convenience stores is that they have something for everyone—from essential grocery items to quick-serve food and beverages, lottery tickets, clothing, fuel and more. For Rotten Robbie, securely serving customers who primarily use credit cards and digital wallets is their top priority. Loss of connectivity to credit card processors directly translates to no commercial business. That’s why Rotten Robbie leverages modern-day IP solutions from Windstream Enterprise to fuel their connectivity, security and communications. 

Industry: Convenience retail
Customer: 36 locations across California, 4th generation family business
Challenges: Inconsistent security readiness, Complex PCI compliance process, Frequent network outages, Lacked employee and customer WiFi
Windstream Enterprise Solutions: SD-WAN Concierge™, Premium Managed Network Security, DDoS Mitigation, Secure WiFi & Analytics, Cloud-Managed Switches, OfficeSuite HD Meeting® , Cellular Broadband
Results: Increased security, Improved uptime, Greater protection from DDoS attacks, Reduced network outages, Reliable WiFi and connectivity, Enhanced customer experience

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Out of order network solutions

As an independent, private marketer of fueling stations and convenience stores, Rotten Robbie prides themselves on delivering a high-quality customer experience. With 36 locations throughout Northern California, Rotten Robbie’s mission is simply to be a good company as measured by their employees, customers, vendors and community.

For IT Manager David Watson, upholding this vision started with a strong network. Yet as Rotten Robbie’s one-man IT department, the burden of managing the company’s existing network and resolving issues kept him busy fighting fires. Given that very few people carry cash around these days, the rise in credit card paying and loyalty card shoppers means that virtually every customer interaction requires a reliable network. On top of that, everything from training, to payroll, to store maintenance, to security depends on cloud-based connectivity. For all of these reasons, Watson knew it was time to migrate to IP-based solutions that would keep their stores up-and-running.

The first and foremost issue Rotten Robbie hoped to address with modern solutions was security. As a retailer, they have to prove PCI compliance, and all applications and systems demand high levels of security. Rotten Robbie’s existing technology lacked the logging and reporting to simplify their PCI validation process.

Another challenge for Rotten Robbie was dependable business continuity and uptime. They were single threaded on a variety of local broadband providers with no reliable failover in place. This could result in up to three outages per week and each outage could cost up to thousands of dollars per hour in lost revenue.

Other business impacts included a lack of WiFi for employees or customers. Not to mention their existing web meeting service proved to be both expensive and cumbersome to use. That’s when Rotten Robbie called upon Windstream Enterprise to implement SD-WAN services at all locations, in addition to a list of IP-based solutions that would enhance connectivity, reliability and security. 

“Windstream Enterprise provides Rotten Robbie with a highly integrated security solution that protects our data and our customers and helps us achieve PCI compliance.”

David Watson, IT Manager, Rotten Robbie

Filling the tank with premium SD-WAN

Windstream Enterprise addressed Rotten Robbie’s challenges by installing SD-WAN and Premium Managed Network Security (MNS) to enable reliable, optimized connectivity and a full suite of managed security services. Premium MNS included advanced unified threat management features, as well as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), to provide essential logging and reporting capabilities. Together, these products would ensure a PCI compliant solution and that all traffic could be encrypted for the security of their data and applications. They went one step further to implement Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Mitigation, which prevents against cyberattacks that have the power to take down essential online services.

Up next, Windstream Enterprise added Cellular Broadband to all locations in automated failover configurations so that critical applications, like credit card processing, would remain connected—even if the primary connection was down. Rotten Robbie upgraded their primary connection to higher bandwidths for improved application performance and better support for ever-increasing traffic to their cloud service providers.

Rotten Robbie also set up Secure WiFi & Analytics from Windstream Enterprise to support essential connectivity and communication needs for employees and customers. They established a separate virtual local area networks (VLAN) for guests to keep employee traffic private and secure. They deployed Cloud-Managed Switches to connect all of their wireless access points and other IP devices on their local area network (LAN) to provide deeper visibility and control across their entire network.

Finally, Rotten Robbie installed OfficeSuite HD Meeting, 100% cloud-based video conferencing, as a cost-effective, easy-to-use collaboration platform.

Everything you need

Since partnering with Windstream Enterprise, Rotten Robbie feels confident that SD-WAN and MNS provides them with the services needed to meet their PCI compliance requirements, and to enable resilient connectivity for their employees and customers. They also know they’re protected from the mounting reality of malicious and complex DDoS attacks.

Complete outages are now a rarity and are unrelated to network issues—helping them attain their goal of business continuity. Employees have WiFi to stay connected to corporate applications, and guests have access to the Internet so they can seamlessly connect to Rotten Robbie’s loyalty program and access special offers.

Using HD Meeting makes it possible to host “how to” videos for commercial customers and create a better customer experience. David benefits from the video conferencing tool as a way to provide remote tech support, making it easier to fix issues from afar. It also helps corporate employees remain connected and informed. 

Lastly, Watson admits to being an avid user of Windstream Enterprise’s WE Connect customer portal for a multitude of reasons: to monitor traffic patterns, review invoices and to manage trouble tickets—all in real time. Their previous solution lacked these capabilities.

Windstream Enterprise conducted a 30-day proof of concept at one location to convince Rotten Robbie that they were the right partner. Today, Watson still feels confident they made the right choice.

“WE Connect provides the visibility and control to help me best manage my services from Windstream Enterprise.”

David Watson, IT Manager, Rotten Robbie

Cloud-enabled connectivity, communications and security—guaranteed.


About the Author

Windstream Enterprise

Windstream Enterprise believes people should expect more from their service provider. Our mission: as network, security and application performance become continuously more critical, WE will be the partner that responds to unique customer needs—a pathfinder to help lead them through technology transformation. A trusted advisor to help them connect, transform and elevate their businesses.

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