Wendy's Franchisee Safeguards against Data Breaches with Intelligent Firewalls

By Stacy Duncan, Vice President IT, Davco Restaurants | December 12, 2013

Cyber criminals have become smarter and more adept at finding weaknesses in corporate networks so they can steal financial and customer information. Older firewalls cannot adequately protect an organization from the malware and viruses that criminals inflict today ­— and even the most sophisticated companies have had networks hacked.   For DavCo Restaurants (www.wendavco.com), a 153-unit Wendy’s franchisee with a distributed business model housed in multiple locales, a more sophisticated security model was a necessary investment.

Combatting growth of malware
In 2012, Dell SonicWALL (www.sonicwall.com) identified nearly 16 million unique malware samples through its Global Response Intelligent Defense system. In 2013 alone there are around 44,000 new malware samples every day. As restaurants, retail organizations and hotels increasingly deploy Web 2.0 technologies such as social media, ecommerce solutions, video chats, and “bring your own device” (BYOD) where employees can use their own mobile technologies to work on a company’s network, the need for highly sophisticated network security solutions to block unwanted traffic has become more pressing. A recent Verizon report noted that the restaurant industry has been hit the hardest when it comes to data loss, accounting for 54% of all breaches.

As restaurants and hospitality organizations strive to adhere to the stringent Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance rules, many need to take a closer look into their network security to make sure it is up-to-date and capable of warding off attacks.  This might mean some capital output, however, the fact is businesses not only serve the public, but house credit card and other personal information, therefore diligence is a must.

In the mid-2000s, each restaurant had its own private network, which meant it was not exposed to the outside world and each one used web-based email. The MPLS system had a list of “white-listed websites” to add immunity from external security threats.

Times change; bandwidth needs increase
For DavCo restaurants the need to upgrade became more apparent as the non-MPLS network system was tested and, unprotected by a firewall, became infected within 24-hours. With assistance from RedZone (www.redzonetech.net), several next-generation firewalls were installed that allowed the DavCo team to ensure that all data going in and out is safe and secure.  These next-gen firewalls are “intelligent” and can scan and analyze inbound and outbound traffic to identify multiple threats, applications and protocols at wire speed. This is especially helpful as more employees access personal social media and email applications via the company network and can, without intending, inflict a virus or malware.

Dell SonicWALL Network Security Appliance (NSA) 4500 firewalls were deployed at headquarters while the Dell SonicWALL TZ 210 firewalls were installed at all 153 Wendy’s sites.  This gave all restaurants excellent perimeter-based security. A Dell SonicWALL Secure Remote Access (SRA) 4200 appliance was employed at headquarters so it could secure clientless SSL VPN access to files and applications on desktops.

The application’s intelligence, control and visualization capabilities allow DavCo to take advantage of new technologies, such as real-time menu boarding.  The new network security ensures that customers’ credit card data is safeguarded, the organization is compliant with PCI DSS requirements and employees’ application traffic can be analyzed.



What was your first job?
Actually at the Wendy’s restaurant in Crofton, MD.

Who inspires you?
Anyone who teaches me how to be a better person.

What are your hobbies?
I like to bake, ride my Harley, entertain family and friends, and anything outdoors!    

Sage Advice:
In the IT industry you have to be like Play-doh, always willing (and looking) to change and become something different while staying true to what (and who) you are.

What is one other job that you would like to try?   
Working behind the scenes for a TV show or movie.

What is one goal that you would like to achieve in your life?   
To live to be at least 100-years-old.

What three people would you invite to lunch?
Channing Tatum (because he’s gorgeous), Albert Einstein (because he’s a genius) and my grandma (because I miss her).

What is your favorite movie?  
Twilight of course. (Cheesy, I know.) I like lots of movies like The Crow, Crash, 7 Pounds.

What is your favorite vacation spot?   
I haven’t traveled much but I really enjoy Deep Creek Lake, MD in the summer!


Stacy Duncan is the vice president of information technology for Davco Restaurants, with 153 Wendy’s locations in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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