Superior guest experiences through a strong and secure network

Better guest experiences from the network up

From supporting in-demand services in hotels to enabling innovations like online ordering and payment processing, the enterprise WAN plays a vital role in today’s dynamic hospitality ecosystem. Hospitality IT leaders face increasing complexity, demand and cyber risk, and must shift their network thinking to future-proof their businesses and keep delivering the superior experiences guests expect.

Windstream Enterprise commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate driving factors and results for organizations transitioning from legacy networks to next-generation SD-WAN. The study confirms that hospitality IT leaders are prioritizing security, reliability and remote access to enable seamless guest experiences and build brand affinity. And for that, they choose high-performing solutions backed by trusted technology partners.

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Mounting pressure on the WAN

From offering amenities like secure wireless coverage and touchless payments to equipping staff to be more responsive to guest and customer needs with real-time connectivity, hospitality has never been more connected. Or more complex.

Today’s hospitality IT leaders see their network as a critical component of their organization’s success. Their teams rely on the WAN to direct guests to the appropriate agent, improve booking ratios and complete pickup/takeout orders—all while keeping sensitive guest information secure.


Legacy networks are holding back guest experiences

Digital transformation requires a strong and healthy network, and yesterday’s technology can’t support the growing demands of guests and staff or protect against malicious distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. WAN architectures like MPLS struggle to keep pace with traffic and access demands, creating bottlenecks and network outages.

Top 3 issues with current WANs, according to hospitality IT leaders1


Developing, implementing or managing user service-level agreements (SLAs)



Increasing security on the WAN, WAN traffic or remote sites and users
 


Securing remote sites with Internet connectivity


Securing the WAN remains a challenge

As virtual perimeters expand beyond the boundaries of the physical enterprise network, IT leaders in hospitality are challenged with effectively securing and controlling network edges.

With a greater number of touchless transactions and the need to maintain Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance, both hotels and restaurant chains are challenged to extend security beyond the traditional network edge.


SD-WAN drivers and roadblocks to change

Many hospitality organizations are moving away from legacy networks in favor of secure, high-performing solutions like SD-WAN. According to hospitality IT and business leaders, the leading motivator for shifting to SD-WAN is the need to improve security for rapidly expanding remote locations.1

Interestingly, the industry’s number one barrier to SD-WAN implementation is also location-related: the challenges associated with designing and dispersing firewalls are proving to complicate the transition to SD-WAN. Thankfully, a trusted managed technology partner can make the transition from legacy to leading-edge smooth and sustainable.

#1 driver
Improving security for remote locations1

#1 barrier to implementation
Designing, deploying and managing dispersed firewalls, IDS/IPS and other security services to protect all Internet traffic1


What hospitality IT leaders look for in an SD-WAN partner

Hospitality organizations seek network solutions that are secure, compliant and reliable—delivered by providers with integrated and cost-effective solution offerings.

1. Connects WAN traffic with cloud access security brokers, secure web gateways, and Zero Trust
2. Integrated WAN and network security
3. Cost-effective provider
4. Consistent SLAs and service availability
5. Service certification (PCI, SOC, SOC2, FedRAMP)

Accelerate your WAN transformation with Windstream Enterprise

Windstream Enterprise offers network and security solutions that meet the needs of today’s hospitality organizations.


Leading network and security solutions

Optimize your network for cloud-based applications and leverage unified, secure connectivity anywhere.

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Award-winning digital experience

Customize and configure your services with centralized management and real-time visibility through our single pane of glass, WE Connect portal.

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Unrivaled experience and service guarantees*

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Hospitality customer spotlight

An iconic casual dining brand decided to make significant changes to its digital experience due to network outages and concerns about data security.

Windstream Enterprise implemented SD-WAN with dual access, MPLS and broadband at each location, with cloud-based firewalls to protect both WAN connections. SD-WAN also supports Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Secure WiFi, providing a complete voice solution.

Since implementing SD-WAN, the restaurant has seen network performance uptime improve dramatically. Upgrades to their WiFi system improved the guest experience and enabled them to collect important information about guest preferences by leveraging marketing analytics technology—which they can use to offer future rewards programs and other perks. Finally, the implementation has enabled the restaurant to increase its adoption of state-of-the-industry cloud-based dining solutions.

Industry: U.S. corporation/global franchise, 300+ U.S. locations
Challenges: Frequent network outages, multiple vendors, WiFi not meeting CX needs
Solutions: SD-WAN, UCaaS
Results: Single-source provider; increased network reliability & productivity; improved performance, visibility & reporting

‘‘SD-WAN has outperformed our expectations. Since implementing SD-WAN, we’ve seen network performance uptime improve dramatically, and we estimate that repair tickets have been reduced by about 90%.”

- IT, Casual Dining Restaurant

 


Cloud-enabled connectivity, communications and security. Guaranteed.

Windstream Enterprise drives business transformation through the convergence of our proprietary software solutions and cloud-optimized network to unlock our hospitality clients’ revenue and profitability potential. Our managed services enable a seamless guest experience by streamlining operations to make our clients’ properties an ideal destination, enhancing their brand reputation. Analysts certify Windstream Enterprise as a market leader for our product innovation, and clients rely on our unrivaled service guarantees and best-in-class management portal. Owners trust Windstream Enterprise as their single source for a high-performance network and award-winning suite of connectivity, collaboration and security solutions—delivered by a team of technology experts whose success is directly tied to our clients’ complete satisfaction.

To learn more about Windstream Enterprise network and security solutions, visit windstreamenterprise.com

1. “Shift Your Network Thinking to SD-WAN and Security.” A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper. Commissioned by Windstream Enterprise, March 2022.

* Required services include OfficeSuite UC® and SD-WAN Concierge™ for all Windstream Enterprise guarantees.

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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