PRIMARY EDGE ROUTING ENABLES INTELLIGENT FAILOVER, NETWORK SECURITY & WAN DIVERSITY™
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, a rapidly growing quick-service restaurant chain based in Louisiana with locations in more than 15 states, was looking for ways to solve a number of critical technology challenges. First, its network connectivity solutions needed an upgrade, and then it needed to make sure all of its locations met new PCI DSS 3.0 standards for credit card processing. Along with these requirements, Raising Cane’s also hoped to be able to explore new onsite wireless capabilities, incorporate failover for business continuity, and to manage all of the devices on its distributed network from one central location.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with restaurant locations across the American South, Midwest, and West. Founded in 1996, the restaurant has become famous for its “One Love” — a singular focus on serving the highest quality chicken fingers and a short menu of side dishes. The story of the restaurant’s success — and of the founders’ community involvement — has been the subject of widespread positive media coverage.
Raising Cane’s needed to make sure each of its restaurants was PCI DSS 3.0 compliant, had an efficient primary network for operations, a failover solution for business continuity, and that its network could be centrally managed. Raising Cane’s also wanted to implement a Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) at each location to enable its managers to quickly go online and test a new, iPad-based employee training program.
When Raising Cane’s Vice President of Information Technology Vince Severns and his team first started testing solutions, they soon realized that most of them involved working with more than one vendor. After more than a year of research, however, they discovered that Cradlepoint could meet all of the company’s challenging requirements. The combined solution of Cradlepoint AER2100 devices and Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager (NCM) enables Raising Cane’s to intelligently manage their converged wired and wireless connectivity and utilize advanced security applications like IPS/IDS — all while enabling PCI Compliance. This allows Severns and his team to centrally configure, monitor, and manage the Raising Cane’s network with ease.
"When a location goes down, the network switches automatically to 4G LTE and sends us a notification at central IT. That enables us to take immediate action with the local telecom provider to resolve the problem. Having NCM in place also provides us with the most current intrusion-detection and prevention capability. That's a huge win for us," said Vince Severns, Vice President of Information Technology at Raising Canes.
PCI Compliant Failover: Prior to installing the Cradlepoint devices and NetCloud Manager, Raising Cane’s relied on dial-up phone connectivity as a back-up solution for loss of network access. Not only was this solution very slow, it did not support the newest PCI DSS 3.0 standards for credit card processing. Severns says that installation of the Cradlepoint solution has enabled Raising Cane’s to meet both of these objectives.
"If our primary Internet connection fails, then the network automatically switches over to 4G LTE backup," said Severns. "The store managers typically don’t even notice that they’ve flipped over to 4G. In fact, in some cases the Cradlepoint connection is faster than the existing primary connection. When our auditors tested the Cradlepoint AER2100, they saw for themselves that it meets the new PCI standards."
Cost Savings: Not only was Raising Cane’s dial-up failover slow, it was also expensive. By implementing the Cradlepoint Advanced Edge Routing solutions, Raising Cane’s was able to eliminate two phone lines at each location (one for back-up; one for fax).
"Losing those two phone lines gave us a good cost reduction on a month-to-month basis. My guess is that we should be able to break even on the cost of each Cradlepoint device within eighteen to twenty-four months of installation. We’re seeing full return on the investment in a fairly short amount of time."
Severns also points to emerging trends that promise even more cost savings in the future.
"Cellular providers have become increasingly competitive in their data pricing structures. I think we’re going to see more competition and even lower prices in the future."
Flexibility: With the company’s restaurants dispersed over a very wide geographic area, Severns knew that no single solution would work for every location. He needed something that would give him the flexibility to find the right solution for each location. The Advanced Edge Routing solutions provides ultimate WAN Diversity™ enabling Raising Cane’s to have the required network flexibility.
New WWAN Capabilities: Prior to implementing Cradlepoint’s Advanced Edge solutions, Raising Cane’s was unable to provide WiFi to support office employees as they visited different restaurants. With WWAN now available, it’s easy for managers to check email and perform other network-related activities. WWAN also provides the company with new ways to conduct employee training.
"We’re very focused on providing different avenues for training, and wireless gives us another way of delivering training content. Right now, we’re using our new WiFi capabilities to test the use of iPads in our certified training restaurants."
Problem Solving & Security: With many restaurant locations, it was critical that Raising Cane’s find a solution that would enable the IT team to centrally manage devices, network usage, firmware, and security across all locations. Cradlepoint solutions combined with its best-in-breed cloud services and applications platform has been particularly useful in providing locations with the always-on connectivity they require.
Top-Notch Support: Severns says that the support Cradlepoint has provided throughout the sales and sales engineering process has been “top-notch.”
"We had some questions recently at one of our locations about WiFi configuration — making sure we had the Internet configuration optimized. Without hesitation, Cradlepoint sales engineers came out to the restaurant to make sure that everything was the way it should be.
Future-Proofing: While most of its locations currently use hardwire for primary connectivity, Severns says that Raising Cane’s is beginning to explore the use of 4G LTE instead. With the AER2100’s dual-modem, dual-SIM capabilities for built-in primary and failover networks, it makes it easy to future-proof.
"The only option we have at one new restaurant is a very expensive T1 line. Moving to Cradlepoint 4G LTE would be an enormous cost savings for us. So we are piloting 'Cut-the-Wire' at that location. We're also going to be looking for ways to leverage 4G LTE across the enterprise as we move forward. We're optimistic that it's going to be very helpful for us."
Strong Partnership: Severns knows that there is more to working with vendors than simply buying a piece of technology. For companies to benefit over the long term, vendors must be willing to work closely with the company to solve new challenges as they arise.
"We’ve had a great partnership with Cradlepoint. They’ve been very good to work with. We deal with a lot of vendors, and it’s always nice to have somebody that works really hard to take care of their customers. Cradlepoint does a great job at that."