Legendary south-eastern food chain uses advanced secure network to maintain old-fashioned prices. K&W Cafeterias Keeps Costs Down With Managed Security Services from Secure Designs.
K&W Cafeterias, a food chain originating in Winston-Salem, NC, has been serving fresh, made-from-scratch foods for over 70 years and today operates more than 30 outlets in four South Eastern states. Faced with increasing food and staffing costs, regulatory compliance obligations and concerns about physical and IT security, K&W asked managed security services provider Secure Designs, Inc. (SDI) to develop an outsourced solution.
K&W had three main concerns: secure their network without overwhelming internal IT resources; free up valuable man-hours spent on manual and repetitive processes such as time-keeping, inventory and order entry; and create a flexible platform supporting closed-circuit TV monitoring from headquarters to remote locations, guest wireless and future upgrades.
Tom Hutchens, Senior PC Network Technician at K&W, said, “The SDI solution has three foundational functions: to encrypt data traveling from remote stores back into the home office and ensure PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards compliance; to allow suppliers to connect securely to the main site; and to enable security monitoring. The total solution adds up to substantial cost savings and huge improvement in productivity.”
To achieve this, SDI replaced K&W’s existing WatchGuard equipment with NSA and TZ Series firewalls from SonicWALL. By utilizing their proprietary firewall management tools and procedures, SDI was able to effect a seamless transition from the WatchGuard to the SonicWALL solution. Firewalls at all sites are enabled with the SonicWALL Comprehensive Gateway Security Services suite, providing continuous deep packet inspection of all network traffic to prevent malware from entering the network as well as limiting outbound access to external permitted sites and content only. GMS is used to deliver weekly reporting on key data points for all sites.
Secure VPN tunneling to K&W’s central server allows managers to enter inventory and order management directly onto the main system, while suppliers can access the system securely to retrieve orders – all without third party intervention. The SDI network allowed K&W to begin moving from punch card timekeeping to a computer-based system, and enables the company to comply with PCI standards in conducting payment transactions over its network.
“Our business was built on the principle that good food at a reasonable price is never out of style,” added Hutchens. “All K&W meals are made from scratch – even our sauces. This approach is the secret to our success, but it’s also labor-intensive. We therefore need to seize every opportunity to save time and costs elsewhere. The SDI system has made an enormous contribution to this goal.”
In about one third of its locations, K&W has installed closed circuit security cameras which district managers monitor over the secure VPN network either at headquarters, or at home or on the road via the Web. If necessary, they can download video segments and burn to CDs. “Our restaurants are staffed from 6.30 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. If we had to hire security personnel in each location to undertake this function, the staffing costs would be prohibitive,” said Hutchens.
As K&W’s managed security services provider, SDI monitors and manages the entire network, provides updates and new firewall installations, trouble-shoots, and delivers detailed management reports. Hutchens says that the SonicWALL network runs so smoothly he hardly knows it’s there – a bonus when he’s dealing with cable or other outages. “Before we switched to SonicWALL, one of our busiest locations lost connectivity for days so we weren’t able to process credit cards or view sales data. The equipment supplier failed to send the replacement unit and problems were mounting. Eventually I drove the four hours to Myrtle Beach, bought a Bluetooth kit and used my cell phone as a modem. It was slow, but it worked. Three weeks later, we called in SDI to put in a SonicWALL.”
Hutchens said, “The SonicWALL systems provide us with much better reporting, fine detail, and more options and insight into the network than the previous equipment. We share control of our network with SDI and see everything they see, but in reality we look to them for all our security needs,” commented Hutchens. “They take care of everything from equipment installation to cleaning up an email issue. This is very important to us: we need to maintain a very tight level of security to process credit card and financial transactions. “
Hutchens added, “SDI is a great company to work with. Their service is impeccable – they are watching out for us all the time. We plan on working with them for a long time to come.”