Store of the Future Presents More Networking Challenges, Opportunities

Store of the future

IT Teams Save Time, Money With 4G LTE Networking

As IT professionals at distributed enterprises can attest, the explosive growth of wireless WAN (WWAN) is revolutionizing the retail industry.

The Store of the Future is here now — and with it comes more of everything. More cost flexibility. Improved connectivity. Additional applications. Better agility and scalability.

At the same time, the Store of the Future comes with more security challenges than ever before. To leverage all the benefits of emerging technologies while also mitigating constantly evolving security challenges, network administrators are looking to simplify security and PCI Compliance, lessen human error, and maximize IT resources.

With 4G LTE, converged and completely wireless network architectures are helping distributed enterprises embrace the Store of the Future and the opportunities it presents.

Remote Cloud Management — With pivot attacks to the network at an all-time high, along with the proliferation of devices at the Network’s Edge, there’s a vital need for carefully constructed security at branch stores and offices.

Because the typical branch store does not employ IT staff, the larger enterprise must be able to centrally configure, monitor, and manage devices across hundreds or thousands of similar branch offices.

Remote cloud management is the most time-efficient, cost-effective way for IT teams at company headquarters to manage new digital services at all branches, most of which don’t employ an onsite IT professional. Truck rolls to each site simply aren’t a viable option.

Another benefit of fewer truck rolls and centralized cloud management is that it significantly reduces the Store of the Future’s carbon footprint.

Agile, Scalable Networking — The rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) is an integral component of the Store of the Future. Managers expect quick implementation of new digital applications such as in-store social media marketing, support for hand-held Point-of-Sale (POS) devices, and support for pop-up retail locations.

This wide array of application opportunities calls for agile networking in response to fluctuating factors such as bandwidth demands and budget limitations.

For additional all-in-one security, Cradlepoint provides Advanced Edge Routing solutions that support cloud-based Unified Threat Management applications such as Zscaler, Trend Micro, and CP Secure Threat Management.

Intelligent Failover for Business Continuity — Constant connectivity is mission-critical in the Store of the Future. One of the challenges associated with heavy reliance on network applications is the potential for major financial losses when downtime inevitably occurs.

Even one hour without the ability to run credit card transactions or VoIP phone systems is a significant problem. Network downtime costs the average retail location nearly $5,000 per minute.

At some stores, Cradlepoint failover solutions provide backup connectivity to wired-line primary connections. At others, dual-SIM modems allow stores to failover to a second cellular carrier if the primary carrier is experiencing downtime.

Simplified Security — At many stores, employees can use personal devices anytime and anywhere to check work schedules, read and send email, and complete training courses. In the same vein, modern-day customers expect to be able to use their devices inside the store to check for sales, use coupons, access location-specific media, and browse competitor web sites.

With every new device or service added to the network comes increased risk. Gartner Research predicts that one-third of new network attacks will take place at the Edge. As seen from recent high-visibility attacks within monolithic network architectures, hackers have become proficient at “pivoting” from less-secure access points to network segments containing valuable POS data.

Parallel Networking addresses risk by physically separating, or “air-gapping,” public-facing applications including guest WiFi and inventory services from sensitive areas such as customer credit card information.

Reduced CapEx, OpEx — Few IT teams operate with unlimited budgets. Quite the opposite, in fact. With the network’s reach expanding further and further, and with budgets constantly under the microscope, IT managers at distributed enterprises are looking for cost-efficiencies wherever possible.

Intelligent routing through 4G LTE solutions yields valuable Store of the Future cost savings. From remote cloud management and high-end scalability to intelligent failover and strong, simplified security, IT managers are getting the most out of 4G LTE and the Store of the Future.