GPS Hospitality owns hundreds of Burger King, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, and Pizza
Hut franchises, mostly in the southeastern United States.
The company’s expansion strategy called for an outsourced approach to IT, in order to efficiently support restaurants’ technology environment across a broad geographic area. GPS Hospitality chose to work with HonorBuilt to develop a secure networking infrastructure. Now, each restaurant relies on two FortiSwitch devices, a FortiGate next-generation firewall (NGFW), and two FortiAP access points. Centralized management of the dispersed network and security infrastructure enables rapid resolution with HonorBuilt’s helpdesk, and the smooth rollout of the Fortinet platform in each new location supports ongoing growth for GPS Hospitality.
- Deployed new secure network architecture to 200 restaurants in just two months
- Provided strong security and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance
- Enabled 1,000%+ growth in business’s first seven years n Increased global network management efficiency
Challenges of a Disparate Technology Infrastructure
Early on, GPS Hospitality and HonorBuilt realized that IT standardization would be crucial to continued growth. “Anytime you’re running a variety of technologies in your different locations, management is very difficult,” Barlow says. “As an example, if we had 50 sites with one firewall, 60 sites with another firewall, and so on, HonorBuilt would have to do the same thing over and over again on all the different platforms every time we needed to change anything.”
This scenario could have become reality. Over the years, the company’s acquisition targets have utilized a variety of different brands of firewall, and some have had no firewall at all. However, under GPS Hospitality’s standardization policy, every newly acquired restaurant is migrated to the company’s chosen technology architecture within 90 days.
The standardized networking infrastructure that HonorBuilt initially rolled out hit some snags as GPS Hospitality grew. “We had chosen a vendor whose firewalls were challenging to manage across so many locations,” says Andy Patterson, senior technology consultant for HonorBuilt. “The management suite was not cutting it for us, especially when it came to PCI [Payment Card Industry] compliance. We needed to control which websites the point-of-sale system in each restaurant could reach, but centrally managing the GPS Hospitality whitelist was difficult.”
When HonorBuilt discovered the Fortinet Fabric Management Center
(FortiManager/FortiAnalyzer) centralized management platform for Fortinet security solutions, Patterson and his colleagues immediately recognized the benefits for both management efficiency and compliance. The HonorBuilt team also liked the tight integration among Fortinet solutions. And Barlow’s team was already familiar with Fortinet from using the solutions at previous employers. “When I joined GPS Hospitality, they were in the process of converting to Fortinet, and I applauded that move to standardize,” Barlow says.