Advantages and Benefits of Running PDI/Enterprise on an Acumera Managed Network

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1 Advantages and Benefits of Running PDI/Enterprise on an Acumera Managed Network Overview This white paper, based on a technology interview with PDI, presents some of the key technical and operation advantages and benefits of running PDI/ Enterprise software over a wide area network (WAN) managed by Acumera. PDI and Acumera began a business alliance in 2010, and PDI recognizes Acumera as a preferred provider of cost-effective managed network solutions for their customers. The steady migration to PDI/Enterprise has increased the importance and value of a reliable WAN with a minimum need for internal IT support. With more than half of PDI s new customers using its hosting services, the need for a reliable, managed WAN is even more critical. The steady migration to PDI/Enterprise has increased the importance and value of a reliable WAN with a minimum need for internal IT support. PDI/Enterprise and Acumera Trusted Connection Services a Great Combination PDI s Technical Services team is responsible for the installation and support of PDI/Enterprise software. Working with a network-centric architecture like PDI/Enterprise gives them a keen perspective on the capabilities of the underlying networks at customers stores. They value good system design and implementation, as well as the long-term maintenance and upgrades required to deliver an enterprise-grade software solution. During a recent interview with the Technical Services team, they identified several technical and operational advantages of using Acumera s Trusted Connection Services. By: Tom Yemington, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Acumera VPN Support An important Acumera technical capability is VPN configuration support. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, allows secure, encrypted communication between a c-store home office and the stores over a public broadband (Internet) connection. Acumera s Merchant Gateway and web-based AcuVigil web portal provide an interface to easily assign and update VPN information for the stores. This VPN support is important for PDI s hosted services customers without it, the network administrator must manually configure each store site and update them when any With Acumera s VPN support, the changes can be pushed to all the stores from the home office in one step. Big time savings = reduced IT support costs.

2 changes occur. With Acumera s VPN support, the changes can be pushed to all the stores from the home office in one step. Big time savings = reduced IT support costs. Acumera s VPN services also support a disaster recovery (DR) configuration. This is important to larger and growing c-store businesses that risk significant losses if their primary host systems fail and they don t have backups. With Acumera s VPN tools, the VPN configuration can be quickly updated to point to a backup host system, minimizing network downtime. Operational Advantages At a recent c-store industry conference, an informal poll of attendees revealed that shifting to third-party WAN management has made a big impact on overall store operations. The resources and training required to manage a store WAN are significant. The pain increases as the number of stores grows, and traditional network providers really just provide Internet connectivity and POS processing, not network management support down to the store LAN. To get a good feel for how well your current store network is managed, ask yourself (or your IT manager) the following questions: When the network is down at one or more of your stores, how does your network provider react? Do you have the tools to quickly identify, report, track and resolve the problem? How much time and effort is required to identify and resolve the problem? With Acumera s AcuVigil dashboard, the problem could have been traced to the VPN server and the system reset within minutes. When a network outage occurs at an Acumera customer site, the AcuVigil dashboard immediately reports the problem, and the Acumera Network Operating Center (NOC) investigates the problem without any intervention required from the store. The Acumera NOC works the problem and contacts the store, home office, or ISP as required to fix it. In the process, the AcuVigil dashboard provides complete visibility to the store LAN and connected devices, allowing quick identification of the root cause of the outage. AcuVigil dashboard includes an integrated trouble ticket system, so the customer can track the status of the problem and get and text alerts. Say goodbye to several off-the-shelf boxes lashed together. The Acumera Merchant Gateway integrates multiple store systems and connection types onto a single, secure broadband link. Installation can be easily accomplished by a customer field technician, or professional installation can be arranged anywhere in the United States. The value of a third-party network management provider is made clear in an example from one of PDI s Enterprise customers that reported all of its stores were disconnected from the corporate network for more than two hours. PDI technical support suspected a VPN server problem, but the network provider couldn t quickly

3 identify the system causing the problem, leading to an extended outage. With Acumera s AcuVigil dashboard, the problem could have been traced to the VPN server and the system reset within minutes. Dynamic DNS Support Acumera s dynamic DNS support allows the customer to assign a logical name, versus a static numerical identifier (in this case, a network address), to network client systems in their stores. A network engineer or IT administrator can then access the client systems from the home office using the logical name. Good examples of client systems are back office PCs or security video servers. With dynamic DNS support, the customer can use DHCP at the stores, which in layman s terms means they can plug client systems into the store network and allow them to pick up a network address automatically. Acumera s Merchant Gateway, a small but powerful network module installed at each store, recognizes any client IP address changes in the store and updates the network directory automatically. Without dynamic DNS support, the network administrator needs to purchase and assign a static IP address to each client system. Since each static IP address costs $5-$10/month, the cost can be significant as the number of client systems in each store increases, and the total cost grows with the number of stores. For example, if a c-store operator needs access to a security video server and back office PC in 20 stores, the total cost per month could be $200 or more. Beyond the cost of the IP addresses, the IT staff is burdened with the job of assigning and maintaining the IP schemes for all their stores. Acumera s Merchant Gateway, a small but powerful network module installed at each store, recognizes any client IP address changes in the store and updates the network directory automatically. The AcuVigil dashboard provides complete visibility to the store LAN and connected devices, allowing quick identification of the root cause of the outage. The other problem a c-store operator may face is a local ISP that doesn t have any static IP addresses available for assignment to their customers. In this case, without dynamic DNS, the operator can t easily access systems at the stores without first doing some technical detective work to identify the IP addresses. More work for the IT department, and less time to work on that new software that will improve store sales. Conclusion If you are considering developing an internal network management system, are you ready to spend the time and money to develop, maintain and support a homegrown system? And if you do, and you lose key IT staff responsible for running the homegrown system, can you transfer the knowledge and processes Acumera, Inc

4 Acumera s Trusted Connection Services, including the AcuVigil dashboard, Merchant Gateway, and proactive support, are truly unique in the c-store industry. required to support your store WAN? If you want to find an expert to manage your network, look for a solution designed specifically for your business needs. Acumera s Trusted Connection Services, including the AcuVigil dashboard, Merchant Gateway, and proactive support, are truly unique in the c-store industry. Beyond just Internet and POS, Acumera delivers dynamic DNS, a PCI compliant network and tools, the AcuVigil dashboard, and integrated ATG monitoring, temperature monitoring, and ticketing. Running PDI/Enterprise on an Acumera Managed Network could reveal many more advantages for your business. About Acumera Founded in 2002, Acumera provides Trusted Connection Services to multisite merchants, specializing in the reduction of headaches caused by network management and security issues. Customers are free to focus on running their businesses because Acumera actively manages their networks and provides unparalleled visibility and remote management capability. Acumera gets customers stores, network clients and devices securely connected and keeps them connected. In addition to network status, merchants have real-time insight into key operational measures, such as fuel inventory levels and environmental and food safety temperatures. As a result, Acumera customers say they love their network.

5 Critical Services for Convenience Stores Broadband Qualification, Provisioning & Support Secure Network Development & Management Network/Device Monitoring & Alert Messaging Apps for C-store Operations (ATG, Temperature Monitoring, etc.) Virtual Private Network Management PCI Tools & Support Whitepapers Available from Acumera Improving C-Store Operations with Network Automation A New Era of Security in Convenience Stores Advantages and Benefits of Running PDI/Enterprise on an Acumera Managed Network Improving Store Support and Revenue with Proactive Support Methodology Business Considerations for Leveraging Wi-Fi at C-Stores Technicial Considerations for Implementing Wi-Fi in C-Stores Getting Your C-Store Connected Improving Network Uptime PCI-DSS Compliance Support Our goal is to reduce the headaches our customers experience maintaining their Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance. To that end, we are constantly improving our systems and services to provide the most secure networks and to support our customers compliance audits. Acumera is a fully PCI compliant service provider, which means we have taken the steps to complete our own PCI compliance assessment and obtain an annual Report on Compliance (ROC). Acumera is fully compliant with ALL applicable requirements and controls. Uniquely, we won t promote that our compliance will ensure our customers compliance because it can t. There is no 3rd party service that completely removes merchant responsibility for PCI DSS compliance. Tom Yemington Vice President of Sales and Marketing Nick Franco Senior Director of Sales (512) Dennis Jensen Senior Director of Sales (952)

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