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Should Retailers Be Concerned About The Security Of Their Technology?

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Last updated on December 5th, 2022 at 05:59 pm

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Out of sight, out of mind – How concerned should independent retailers be about the security of their in-store networks, technology and data?

“I didn’t know I needed it – but I am thrilled I have it! With all the store operations we handle daily, having a Managed Network Services option offers peace of mind. It is a fantastic service offering – Because now I know our customer and store’s data are proactively protected!”

 ~ Mike Hennigan, owner, Nichols Supermarket

In today’s digitally transformative environment, businesses need high-speed networks to support a growing number of connected devices and ever-evolving technologies, all while maintaining data security. At the same time, network systems and components quite often fail due to multiple factors like cyber threats, hardware problems and software misconfigurations, to name a few. 

Network management is vital to the grocery industry – particularly to independent grocers who tend to wear many hats throughout their day-to-day store operations and management.  

With the continued stress and strains independent grocers face post pandemic – labor challenges, supply chain issues, inventory management – DUMAC realized independent grocers needed additional support with proactive network maintenance services.

What is Managed Network Services and why is it important to independent grocers?

Network management refers to all aspects involved in the deployment, optimization, and maintenance of a business’ technology and network infrastructure. It includes all the various devices and processes, from servers to bandwidth allocation to network monitoring and data security.

To provide optimal performance of a network, the devices, software, and connectivity must be maintained by either an onsite I.T. system administrator or outsourced to a technology services provider.

Independent grocers have dozens of devices as part of their growing network. They typically operate without an onsite I.T. staff, making it impractical to manage network issues manually with the ever-increasing operational demands on these systems.

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What possible – or probable – network disruptions should grocers be most concerned about?

With the accelerated digital transformation over the past year, multiple platforms have been added to existing networks quickly to maintain a competitive edge. These initiatives must be executed with network and data security in mind to deliver a high-quality, consistent user experience. 

The most predominant network issues for grocers may face continue to be:

  • Network infrastructure and complexity;
  • Network performance and data security;
  • Outdated or End of Life Hardware and Software with security and compliance risks;
  • “DIY IT” bandwidth (or lack thereof) to create a stable network; and
  • And, most critical – Downtime caused by network disruptions or device failures.

Don’t forget – downtime is very costly. According to a study done by Gartner, the average cost of network downtime is $5,600 per minute. That’s over $300,000 per hour!

Beyond the monetary costs, technology downtime can wear on your business’s productivity levels, further eroding your bottom line. Relying on a proven technology partner for network management operations eliminates the need to worry and can proactively help manage issues to reduce downtime and the high costs associated with it.

What are the benefits of Managed Network Services for independent retailers?

Managed network service can benefit independent grocers in many ways and here are a few of the most imperative:

Simplified network management through a single source technology integrator – Removing responsibility for onsite monitoring of your network removes time and costs from your day-to-day operations. Remote monitoring and repairs provide insurance and peace of mind. Your technology partner’s team can quickly monitor everything related to your networks in one place, which enhances efficiency.

Maximize performance and increase flexibility – Managed Network services can help with network modifications or troubleshooting, allowing your technology partner to identify performance issues, track down the sources and be able to eliminate the problem delivering maximum network performance.

Cost control – Opting for a managed network services partner to augment your internal efforts often results in significant cost savings versus tackling DIY IT and the growing complexities of today’s connected world.

Reduce downtime – Our team will be able to monitor the health of your network and associated hardware more quickly and adjust to outages and failures to ensure maximum uptime. When a device goes offline, steps will be taken to proactively investigate the outage. This will happen automatically and replace the time to create a support ticket to investigate an issue.

Many companies offer managed or monitored network services. Why is DUMAC’s Managed Network Services different?

DUMAC has designed our Proactive Managed Network service specifically around the industries we serve – independent grocers and the convenience store/fuel retail space. It is a service we have designed, deployed, and tested in partnership with our existing customers at several sites that have either enhanced network systems and hardware and a few with legacy software and systems. 

We now offer the service as an extension of our support and service agreement. Our Technology Services group remotely deploys it. Once installed and setup, the store network is proactively monitored and managed by our Help Desk support team of technology specialists.

The monitoring thresholds and alerts are specifically set up for the grocery or convenience store where it is deployed. The managed network platform monitors the network devices specific to each site such as the RORC POS platform, switches, CPU/memory/disk space, wireless/access points, and other network devices critical to maintaining optimal store network and data performance.

With a Managed Network Service deployed, DUMAC’s technology experts proactively manage these systems more effectively, including:

  • Monitor network hardware devices (routers, switches, wireless) to ensure proper operation;
  • Early detection of performance issues, device degradation or failure and system capacity with proactive response to avoid any impact on your business;
  • Analyze the performance of the network devices to ensure that they are online and working optimally;
  • Manage multiple network devices from a single source and support location, fix issues-based alerts triggered versus the store taking the time to complete support tickets;
  • Reroute traffic and make automatic adjustments when a system or piece of hardware fails; and
  • Wireless Network Performance and Experience – monitor each wireless access point, speed, and signal strength.

How are issues detected? Does DUMAC have a ‘real world’ example?

You bet! Monitoring parameters, alerts and reporting will help determine optimal performance or, in this case, if a device is overused. With Proactive Managed Network Services, DUMAC will investigate what is occurring with the device, then determine the best course of action to improve operation. MNS will prevent issues before they happen and prevent unexpected interruptions in service at the store!

A device may be reaching a point of failure without any obvious outward symptoms. As this continues, this will cause a device or lane to go down. 

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For example, in an active deployment to a single store location, the below metrics show that the available disk space on the network device had been gradually decreasing over time until it was depleted. This would have caused the lane to fail while still being powered on. The store would have to contact service through a support ticket or call, adding time to determine the root cause and then time to resolve the issue. Without DUMAC’s proactive Managed Network Services, the attendant’s lane would render inoperable, ultimately causing downtime and possible loss of transactions.

With DUMAC’s Proactive Network Services, once the hard drive space fell below acceptable levels set in the remote monitoring environment, an alert was triggered and sent to our support team to act immediately to free-up space on the hard drive. The store – and the customers – never experienced anything other than continued service operation!

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Solving tomorrow’s network issues today

Independent grocers and convenience stores are the heart of our local communities. Each store’s size, technology needs, and budget are vastly different. Implementing the right-sized technology plan for each store ensures success now and into the future.

DUMAC’s professional services team partners with our customers to help simplify store technology solutions, upgrades or changes, and investments based on the store’s requirements, technology budget, and timeline while considering customer experience and expectations.

Point-of-Sale technology remains the backbone and IS the center of our customer’s business operations. Considerations for implementing technology services are unique, and it becomes critical for retailers to work with a trusted technology partner.

DUMAC works with customers to determine and deliver the best software and hardware solutions based on store size, volume, and technology through ROI calculations and data-driven facts. Protecting consumer and store data collected by a store’s POS technology and network system is critical. Developing and deploying a proactive managed network program became a significant extension and technology solution for DUMAC to continue to provide the unsurpassed support and service levels our customer partners expect.

Read about DUMAC Business Systems here.

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