PizzaExpress puts bouncers on network doors

PizzaExpress has strengthened the security of its high-speed wide area network that links more than 300 restaurants and its...

PizzaExpress has strengthened the security of its high-speed wide area network that links more than 300 restaurants and its headquarters across the UK and Ireland. 

The restaurant chain is currently rolling out hundreds of FortiGate network-based anti-virus firewalls from Fortinet to fend off virus and intrusion attempts. The firewall devices also provide secure virtual private network communications between the company’s restaurants and offices. 

Last year, PizzaExpress upgraded its network from ISDN to ADSL to make communications faster, cheaper and more reliable. This increased employee productivity but also opened up the network to greater security risks as sensitive business information passed through the public internet, according to the firm.

The company chose to secure its ADSL-based Wan using a high-availability cluster of FortiGate-300 Antivirus Firewalls at its head office in Uxbridge. The FortiGate-300 has two 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, and is designed for networks running at, or upgrading to, gigabit speeds, which made it suitable for PizzaExpress’s ADSL Wan.

PizzaExpress has also started to deploy smaller FortiGate-50A systems at each of its 300 restaurants.  

Before opting for Fortinet, PizzaExpress evaluated various products, including a Cisco-based security system, but found them too expensive. 

Phil Fryer, systems manager at PizzaExpress, said, “Our objective as an IT team is to ensure our maximum network performance and enable a smooth operation without network disruption. We chose the FortiGate systems for several reasons. The per-unit, as opposed to per-user, licensing structure made it a highly cost-effective option for us.”

He added that another reason was that the firewall needed little intervention by the IT department.

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