Carl Udler, senior marketing director at Hughes, joined Nancy Friedman, a customer service expert known as the “Telephone Doctor,” for an interview to discuss how franchisors and franchisees can keep their networks safe. As a Certified Franchise Executive with more than 15 years’ experience in the franchise industry, Mr. Udler works with franchisors to design and develop their networks, and promote solution benefits, services and return on investment to their franchisees. Since the network/Internet function as a lifeline for franchise locations, he offered these tips to keep them healthy.
- Connectivity – Connectivity is what enables each store to process transactions and credit card authorizations, deploy loyalty programs, collect data, conduct inventory controls, and utilize all sorts of applications to run the business. Most businesses can’t operate without connectivity. That’s why, Mr. Udler said, “Hughes usually provides customers with a primary network connection that’s fast and reliable, but also a backup connection that’s equally fast and reliable.” The backup kicks in when or if the primary connection fails, with an automatic “fail over” to the backup connection at any sign of interruption or disruption.
- Security – There are two ways to secure connectivity to a store. The first is to have a router and firewall at each location to protect data going in and out of the store (allowing only what you want). The other way is what’s known as SASE, or Secure Access Service Edge, which bundles security technologies in the cloud, and runs them from there to the network edge (access points and devices for example). Regardless of which approach is used, Mr. Udler said that franchisors and franchisees must make sure to hold regular security reviews with their network operator and keep all computers and firewalls up to date with software patches and bug fix releases.
- Support – The reliability of the network is in direct relation to the support received from a service provider. “If your network is down, your connectivity is down. If it’s down at 10 p.m. on Thursday night, it’s not likely you’ll get an answer if you call your service provider. And what happens late on a Saturday night or on a Federal Holiday?” he said. “When choosing a provider, find out if they have 24x7x365 support that you can rely on, so you can keep franchise operations up and running during business hours – regardless of when those hours might be.”
Addressing these areas of concern collectively and consistently is how franchisors and franchisees can protect their brands and their reputations, as well as protect their customers. In the simplest terms, he said, “It ensures you can continue to do business the way you want.”
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