Helping Retail Keep their Lights On this Holiday Season with SD-WAN

The way retailers conduct business has transformed! Newer technologies, including more connected devices and cloud-based SaaS applications, are being added to better engage with customers, streamline operations, and drive profits. With the recent pandemic, every retailer has significantly increased their online footprint along with their brick-and-mortar environments to retain customers. In addition, they are expanding their capabilities like Wi-Fi connectivity, ATM/kiosks, interactive systems to inventory, virtual reality, and next-generation Point of Sale (POS) systems to improve the customer experience. These have significantly strained the retailer’s infrastructure and bandwidth consumption. Their traditional network architecture has failed them from multiple outages, bandwidth restrictions to limited security, and zero visibility leading to poor user experience. Moreover, it simply cannot support these newer technologies without adding high costs, IT resources, and complexity. During their busiest months of the year - the holiday season - these challenges amplify, causing millions in lost business and customer satisfaction.

Retailers need to stay connected effectively with HQ, distribution centers, and supply chains across their retail locations. In addition, the ever-increasing threat landscape demands them to secure customer data and prevent any leaks at all costs. With these in mind, retailers understand they require an agile, cost-effective, and secure solution to enable digital transformation and provide efficient connections to applications and workloads in the cloud or their data centers.

Next-Generation Technologies Demand Next-Generation Solution

At Palo Alto Networks, we believe our strong global presence across retailers like Chipotle, AutoNation, Aarons, and more comes from the fact that our Prisma SASE solution combines the functionality of Prisma Access and Prisma SD-WAN to provide an integrated offering that delivers consistent protection with a high-performance experience for all users. Prisma SD-WAN is the industry’s first next-generation SD-WAN that is application-defined, autonomous, and cloud-delivered capable of solving any unique use cases for the retail industry.

This Holiday Season, Prisma SD-WAN Checks off Retails 5 Wish lists

1. Enable Consistent Connectivity with 5G

5G offers the flexibility of wireless at comparable costs, higher bandwidth, and higher speeds. This allows businesses to leverage them as primary WAN connectivity that can replace traditional Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and in most cases augment broadband as a backup WAN. Retailers with minimum real estate at their branch offices can leverage Palo Alto Networks ION 1200 available in a desktop form factor with integrated 5G and backup LTE to reduce their hardware footprint. The flexibility of configuring wired and wireless in an active-active fashion from a centrally managed interface along with deep insights into 5G signal strength and utilization ensures better uptime and zero network blackouts across all retail locations.

2. Secure Payment Methods

Identifying the POS applications accurately is critical to secure the right traffic, customer data and prevent damaging data leaks while blocking any rogue applications trying to access the environment. Prisma SD-WAN application intelligence, along with the zero trust model and right segmentation policies based on networks and application traffic, ensures the “never trust, always verify” is implemented. In addition, with this visibility, the expected traffic can be forwarded to Prisma Access to inspect and optimize forwarding decisions in the cloud.

3. Improve Application Performance

The retail industry relies on multiple critical applications to ensure its supply chain, inventory, transactions, and collaboration happen in real-time with minimum delays. Prisma SD-WAN’s app-defined approach allows IT teams to prioritize, steer, and remediate these applications across the board to improve application performance significantly. In addition, our CloudBlades API-based architecture provides seamless integration to the cloud services like AWS, Google for a direct branch to cloud connectivity and collaboration applications like Zoom to monitor, steer traffic, and remediate them to improve user experience.

4. Gain End-to-End Visibility

With customers, in-store and online, retail businesses’ IT staff has little evidence before responding to digital experience problems that require operations teams to troubleshoot and remediate, increasing support efforts and cost manually. With Palo Alto Networks Autonomous Digital Experience Management (ADEM) for branch offices and users anywhere, network administrators can now expedite troubleshooting by gaining access to granular hop-by-hop performance impact per application, per user, and per network segment. They can deep dive into SD-WAN traffic engineering decisions in the WAN to root cause application performance issues based on utilization, jitter, latency, and packet loss. This intelligence enables businesses to fine-tune their policies while taking full advantage of automated remediation techniques to provide application resiliency.

5. Manage incident Impacts with AIOps

Reducing the meantime to innocence is crucial to retailers, given they have a global infrastructure with multiple vendor products and distributed IT staff. The digital IT workflows in place to manage support tickets still pose their own challenges of identifying the right teams for identification, resolution, and escalation of incidents. With its ServiceNow integration, Prisma SD-WAN automates incident updates based on criticality, impacted entities, and correlated or suppressed events to the ServiceNow platform in real-time. In addition, it enables timely notifications through various mediums, including email and texts, to the right IT teams that help them deliver network SLAs with service providers and third-party vendors to improve performance and customer confidence.

This holiday season, retailers can enjoy key benefits with Prisma SD-WAN including; consistent branch uptime, faster incident resolution, and better application resiliency while delivering improved customer experience securely at the best ROI.

Learn more about how Prisma SD-WAN can help any retailer in their digital transformation journey