Expert Electrical is Ireland’s largest electrical retailer, specialising in computers, smart devices and home appliances. Since launching in Ireland Expert has undergone rapid expansion and now boasts a network of 67 stores nationwide.
Every Expert Electrical store houses many hundreds of Internet of Things (IoT) capable devices such as smart TVs, games consoles and other connected appliances, which need to remain connected to the internet to download the latest updates.
This left the retailer’s systems vulnerable to intrusion from cybercriminals. Further exposing Expert to the risk of a data breach was the fact that it had not upgraded its IT infrastructure in a number of years.
To reduce its risk profile, Expert chose to work with a managed service provider to upgrade its infrastructure and WiFi networks. Having consulted with a number of providers, Expert selected Novi to conduct an assessment of its IT infrastructure. Novi found that Expert’s systems were based on legacy architecture and opted to combine these systems and move them to a virtualised environment.
Novi then implemented AirGap, its off-site data recovery service. This provides Expert with business continuity back-up and ensures against data compromise or loss in the event of a cyber incident or data breach.
Following this, Novi installed separate Wi-Fi networks to maximise security. IoT-enabled smart devices now remain connected to one network, while Expert’s employees and point of sale systems use a distinct network. This setup makes it much more difficult for cybercriminals to access Expert’s systems. Expert’s new Wi-Fi networks also facilitated the implementation of an advanced retail analytics platform that will provide an overview of store footfall, allowing the retailer to assess the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns.
Further security measures included the installation of a high-performance Fortinet Firewall cluster to facilitate network segmentation. In the event of a cyber-attack or data breach this will enable Expert to isolate its core systems from any affected devices.
Finally, Novi implemented sophisticated monitoring platforms to protect Expert Electrical from threats going forward. Novi CyberView will present Expert’s team with cybersecurity activity in a user friendly format, while its vulnerability management solution will monitor and report on known vulnerabilities and provide a mechanism for the application of security patches and updates
Kate Tierney, financial controller, Expert Electrical, said: “Prior to working with Novi we were concerned about the reliability of our IT infrastructure and our vulnerability to an attack by cybercriminals. However, this project has eased all of our concerns. We now have a secure, reliable and high-performance setup that ensures that we remain up and running at all times and which will serve our needs for years to come.
“Novi’s AirGap platform will keep our data secure in the event of a cyber-attack, and its monitoring services will protect us from emerging threats. As well as this, our new Wi-Fi network and the implementation of advanced retail analytics will measure changes in store traffic following the roll-out of marketing campaigns, helping us to see what works, and what doesn’t. This will allow us to tailor campaigns for maximum effectiveness going forward, giving us the edge on our competitors.”
George O’Dowd, managing director, Novi, said: “As Ireland’s leading electrical retailer, Expert Electrical wanted to lead by example when it came to its own IT systems and processes. However, the company was reliant on an outdated IT infrastructure that put it at risk of experiencing a data breach or significant downtime.
“Novi designed and implemented an all-new IT infrastructure for Expert, providing it with a reliable and secure framework on which to do business. Expert also now receives a scheduled weekly site visit from one of our engineers to monitor any potential issues and help the company to maintain a high-performance infrastructure. With over 15 years’ experience in helping companies to avail of the most advanced IT solutions, Novi was uniquely placed to steer Expert Electrical through this complex project and install an IT foundation that will enable it to continue to grow and develop its business.”