Did your Network Fail the 'Black Friday Test?'

Black Friday Retail Network

How LTE Failover Can Help Retail Network Admins Rest Easier During Holidays

On the retail industry’s biggest weekend of the year, IT teams face big-time pressure to keep stores online and functioning seamlessly. If your company has ever experienced a serious network outage, whether at a single location or across a swath of stores, you know that can spell chaos even on a normal day: managers may not be able to contact anyone at headquarters; IT personnel must be deployed to the store to troubleshoot; and staff are unable to make sales, meaning that customers take their dollars elsewhere.

Black Friday is like a sprint at the beginning of the marathon that is the holiday retail season. For most retailers, 20-30 percent of their revenue comes in during the holiday season. If you encountered challenges on Black Friday, they’re likely to keep plaguing you, with dire consequences for the company’s bottom line.

It’s time to evaluate whether your connectivity solutions did the job they needed to on the most important day of your year — and whether you can depend on them over the coming month.

Today’s Network Requirements

Can your network meet these basic needs?

  • Achieve 99.999% reliability. Your stores must be able to stay online, all the time. If your primary network fails, failover should be seamless.
  • Augment bandwidth at a moment’s notice. When every store register is being used, customers are flooding the guest WiFi network, and all your IoT systems are running full-tilt, you’re going to need extra bandwidth. Can you provision additional bandwidth quickly? Can you just as easily reduce your bandwidth expenditures when you don’t need it?
  • Enable remote troubleshooting and configuration. During the busiest time of the year, you need your IT team at headquarters, not out troubleshooting and doing configuration truck rolls. Can you manage, configure, update, and troubleshoot your network without setting foot on site?  Does your failover router have secure Out-of-Band Management capability, so you can get the primary device back online when it fails?
  • Simplify PCI Compliance. Of course, hackers know that IT teams and store-level staff are stretched thin this time of year, and they take advantage of that. Your failover solution needs to be just as secure as your primary network, and in fact, any network solutions you use ought to help simplify PCI Compliance by keeping credit-card processing applications entirely separate from the rest of the network.

If your network doesn’t meet these basic qualifications, it doesn’t pass the “Black Friday Test.” Maybe your organization was lucky and survived this time. Still, it’s critical to be proactive so you can rest easier next year. If you did experience problems, it’s time to find a solution that enables your network to meet these thresholds — and quickly.

Cradlepoint’s overlay failover solutions integrate with existing network infrastructure, offering IP pass-through with the ability to convert the LTE broadband signal to Ethernet. With that Ethernet cable plugged in as a WAN at the Edge, minor configuration changes (or none) on the branch router allow that new WAN source to be used as failover. In short, failover using IP pass-through is extremely fast to deploy and doesn’t meaningfully alter your network architecture.

When you need more bandwidth during peak usage times, it’s simple to modify traffic rules across the entire network or at a single location to take advantage of available LTE data. Also, in combination with NetCloud Manager, a service of the Cradlepoint NetCloud platform, it’s possible to see and manage the entire network (including multiple WAN sources) from a single pane of glass, while keeping PCI-subject devices and applications separate from the rest of the network.

Learn About Failover & OOBM Solutions

Learn more about Cradlepoint solutions to Utilize overlay, primary router multi-WAN or router plus LTE failover solutions for 24/7 network uptime.