McArthurGlen is Europe’s leader in designer outlet shopping, with 25 locations in 10 countries, offering fashion-loving shoppers considerable savings on high street prices. They have 685,000 square metres of retail space, 90 million visitors every year and a £5 billion annual turnover.
The need for more flexibility, control and bandwidth
As an international retail business that build, manage and operate designer outlet shopping villages worldwide, McArthurGlen wanted more control and flexibility over their business communications, and better analytics for enhanced strategic decision-making.
Securus had initially installed a single circuit in one of their UK sites, which was then expanded to more of their sites. Since Securus’ engagement, McArthurGlen’s IT function has developed and grown; with that has come a greater focus on change management, risk mitigation and governance as their IT operations have evolved. The original infrastructure had been appropriate at the time, but in light of the customer’s strategic imperatives, Securus understood that SD-WAN would give McArthurGlen more control, flexibility and scalability.
McArthurGlen identified that they wanted additional bandwidth too, enhancing public Wi-Fi in all the shopping centres with more access points, via the Securus network. They also required Network Access Control (NAC), which supports network visibility and access management through policy enforcement on devices and corporate network users.
A flexible, resilient SD-WAN solution
Securus met with McArthurGlen in early 2022 and roposed a new SD-WAN network. All lines historically terminated in multiple data centres with every call routed back to the UK. The suggested new architecture de-aggregates that: Securus look after all circuits in their core data centre, providing the network capabilities to link all the sites together.
For example, sites in Italy will have an Italian internet connection which breaks out in Italy, not in the UK. Securus planned to deploy the SD-WAN network at seven UK sites and 17 sites in Europe, including France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. Every site has a VPN back to Securus’ core network, for when McArthurGlen need to communicate from site to site across an encrypted VPN, but the majority of traffic will break out locally.
One of Securus’ trusted partners, Fortinet, provided the technology equipment. the legacy infrastructure meant that it was a technically complex process to make changes, accessing old command lines, but now the software is a simple drag and drop control. The new SD-WAN software is orchestrating and changing the network via a virtual appliance which Securus hosts on their private cloud.
The new SD-WAN circuits also enabled McArthurGlen to instantly have ten times more bandwidth, for almost the same cost. With many international travellers out of their host country passing through the shopping centres, quick and easy access to Wi-Fi is particularly important.
Network Access Control (NAC)
The final element of the deployment was providing McArthur Glen with Network Access Control, all part of gaining better control by restricting the availability of network resources to endpoint devices and users that comply with a defined security policy. The NAC can also provide additional endpoint security protection such as antivirus software, firewall, and vulnerability assessment with security enforcement policies and system authentication methods.
Previously, traffic from all the sites came into the UK from a small pipe but now, only traffic that needs to come back to the UK does so, and the rest breaks out locally. McArthurGlen can control and shape their network to their specific needs more quickly and efficiently, with a shorter path to the internet and reduced complexity. The new infrastructure gives McArthurGlen a firewall at the edge as well as the core, for greater security and control.
The simple user interface of the SD-WAN means that people with less technical experience can make changes when necessary, for example, when segregation of certain sites is required. McArthurGlen’s UK IT team can simply and easily change network access without the need to involve Securus.
Securus has provided the infrastructure for McArthurGlen to confidently upgrade their Wi-Fi because they know they have the infrastructure and sufficient broadband capacity to enable a better customer Wi-Fi experience.
A seamless service
Securus provided a responsive, proactive turnkey service for McArthurGlen, trusting them to efficiently project manage the entire deployment, including shipping all the equipment to European sites and using local third-party suppliers when necessary.
John Stewart, Head of Technology at McArthurGlen, said,
“The SD-WAN solution is more complex than an MPLS, but more agile and flexible. Thanks to Securus’ experience and expertise, the migration has been seamless. McArthurGlen’s network is now more segregated, scalable and manipulatable. SD-WAN has given us feature enhancements and more control over the network, bringing many operational benefits.”
Rob Derbyshire, Director at Securus Communications, added,
“The main objective for an SD-WAN solution was to give McArthurGlen more control of their network, enabling them to isolate local traffic and increase network visibility. They can now see in a single pane of glass what’s happening and where the traffic is going, which also helps with governance, PCI compliance and GDPR. They have considerably more control, monitoring and reporting capabilities for enhanced decision-making.”
Support and future plans
Securus aims to complete the rollout across all sites by February 2023. The initial focus has been on the SD-WAN deployment which brings immediate segregation benefits.
Securus supports McArthurGlen’s network with BAU Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm and 24/7 for specific instances. They also help McArthurGlen in a more consultative capacity, leveraging their experience to advise on matters such as change strategy.