Case Study - Ministop

 

Ministop Ensures Network Integrity, Safety, and Reliability with WatchGuard

Company Profile

Currently operating 2,000 stores, Ministop Korea is a professional retailer with an advanced franchise system for customers and store owners. Ministop Korea combines the concepts of fast food and convenience store, offering customers a variety of products and services. The company takes pride in prioritizing customer satisfaction and a one-of-a-kind system that delivers high returns for the store owners. Through the partnership between the stores and headquarters, Ministop strives to become the "living space that customers can conveniently visit and enjoy."

Background

As a convenience store retailer, seamless communication between the Ministop headquarters, logistics center, and the 2,000 stores located nationwide is essential. The data generated from stores, such as settlement data, has to be delivered to the headquarters in real-time, and the headquarters should be able to uniformly apply the master information to all the stores in order to maintain service availability. Additionally, Ministop puts a high priority on network availability as downtime can result in a poor customer service experience.

The Challenge

First, Ministop needed to strengthen reliability and security by improving the network of the headquarters and logistics center. Ministop's existing network equipment was getting too old to set the strong security system that is increasingly needed for today's retail environments. Also, monitoring employee Internet usage was important to prevent internal data breaches and to ensure that bandwidth was used only for business purposes.

Choosing WatchGuard

After evaluating other UTM solutions, Ministop chose WatchGuard XTM--assessing that WatchGuard provides the best services and technology support. "WatchGuard is the best partner, providing constant and close support. With WatchGuard, we are always connected and protected," says Seong-Yong Oh, Team Leader, Data Processing Team, System Department, Ministop Korea.

Ministop implemented 11 XTM appliances at the logistics center and operations headquarters. Ministop fully utilized the easy-to use deployment feature provided by WatchGuard and streamlined implementation processes. WatchGuard Korea aggressively supported Ministop to complete the deployment and go live within six months.

Benefits

Ministop implemented WatchGuard XTM at the headquarters and the logistics center, allowing all internal employees to connect to the internet without interruption. Under the previous solution, when abnormal situations arose, action was only possible after receiving notification from the control center.

With the WatchGuard solution, problems can be identified and dealt with right away. WatchGuard delivers real-time monitoring over internal traffic usage, allowing administrators to proactively troubleshoot the network better than ever before.

"The WatchGuard solution allows us to have not just reliable connectivity, but also a centralized network environment to reinforce business efficiency," states Nae-Hyung Kim, Manager, Data Processing Team, System Department, Ministop Korea.

Ministop Korea leverages WatchGuard to block access to Active-X, malicious JavaScript code, and video file downloads in order to further limit malware infection risk and other external security threats. Ministop also restricts use of personal e-mail accounts of portal sites to protect internal data against breach. Such policies strengthen both internal and external security as well as allow employees to focus on their work, resulting in improved productivity.

The WatchGuard solution also provides Ministop with a centralized security policy management system. When new policies are created, Ministop can immediately apply them across the entire network. The security policy change histories are separately managed to preserve visibility.

Another benefit for Ministop is that users can now take advantage of a video conferencing system, which was not able to be used before due to network instability issues.

Following the WatchGuard deployment, Ministop undertook a network security test conducted by a security consulting company--and achieved a perfect score. Moreover, with WatchGuard, costs generated from network problems were reduced by 30% through minimized data loss, strengthened work efficiency, and a stabilized network.

Figure 1: Ministop Logistics Center XTM Diagram
Figure 1: Ministop Logistics Center XTM Diagram

Integrated VPN Network Environment Connects Headquarters & Stores

After deploying WatchGuard at their headquarters, Ministop realized the importance of a reliable network. To improve the management experience between headquarters and stores, as well as to further bolster network security, Ministop decided to replace its existing Cisco ASAs with WatchGuard XTM 25-Ws. Ministop Korea is in the process of deploying 2,000 of these WatchGuard appliances at its nationwide stores.

In the past, when errors occurred in the process of delivering network traffic from stores to the headquarters, the exact location of the error could not be determined. However, with WatchGuard, the exact location of the error can be identified in real-time, allowing an administrator to troubleshoot on-the-spot.

Thanks to the WatchGuard solution, executives can make decisions based on accurate information by monitoring and managing store condition in an easy and convenient way. Ministop Korea also expects that the new network environment will help support high customer satisfaction by providing a seamless and reliable experience.

Figure 2: Ministop Store VPN Diagram
Figure 2: Ministop Store VPN Diagram

WatchGuard Solutions: Scalable and Easy-to-Deploy

As it deploys the XTM 25-Ws in all of its stores, Ministop Korea plans to apply the QoS policy in order to strengthen the protection of network traffic between the stores and headquarters. WatchGuard uniquely supports the QoS configuration in accordance to the different bandwidth, allowing the adoption of appropriate policies for Ministop's environment.

Ministop is also evaluating launch of a virtualization project after complete deployment of the store network environment. Under the proposed virtualization project, the existing Storage Controller (SC) installed in all the stores will be moved to the centralized virtual data server. The costs of SC maintenance, as well as for handling potential failure, are expected to be significantly reduced.

Ministop is considering implementing XTMv, WatchGuard's virtualized firewall solution, as the security solution for the virtualization. XTMv supports the identical best-in-class UTM functions provided by the WatchGuard hardware appliances, but for the virtualized environment. With WatchGuard, it will be easy for Ministop to comprehensively manage the entire company's security system across physical, virtual, wired, and wireless environments.

 

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WatchGuard is the best partner, providing constant and close support. With WatchGuard, we are always connected and protected.

Seong-Yong Oh,
Team Leader, Data Processing Team,
System Department,
Ministop Korea

 

 

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