Forty years have passed since Anna and Bob Williams opened the first Lizard’s Thicket restaurant in Columbia, South Carolina, with a goal of serving quick and delicious real-country cooking. Today, the Williams family is proud to operate 15 locations with 700 employees throughout the Columbia and Florence metro areas.
Clayton Tapp is the Controller for Lizard’s Thicket, and he has spent more than two decades managing the technology that keeps each of the restaurant chain’s sites up and running. As the chain grew, however, Tapp faced challenges such as keeping point-of-sale (POS) systems operating when Internet connections failed; implementing and managing secure guest Wi-Fi; and maintaining network efficiencies at each location.
“Our restaurant operation was becoming increasingly difficult to manage, because I was still trying to do it all myself,” said Tapp. “In late 2014, I realized that a managed services partnership could help me with the necessary technology and manpower to keep things running more securely and smoothly.”
ControlScan eases the burden of everyday security and compliance challenges by combining deep-seated expertise, superior technologies and high-touch support services into a single-source deliverable. Lizard’s Thicket chose ControlScan as its managed security service provider (MSSP) because of its ability to streamline the company’s payments chain while strengthening its network security posture.
A key component of the chosen ControlScan solution, the PaySafe UTM Firewall Service ensures that network environments containing sensitive information and payment card data are well protected. This critical security technology is coupled with valuable manpower so that it is configured correctly, continually monitored and in compliance with standards such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
The PaySafe solution also includes several important networking features, including dynamic failover capabilities that detect primary access outage and dynamically revert to 3G/4G cellular or secondary Internet. Each store has a top-of-the-line firewall for a secure POS infrastructure, plus dynamic failover capabilities through cellular back-up, meaning their POS is always up and running.
“I was very happy to learn about cellular back-up as a key feature of the PaySafe solution, because it keeps us processing our customers’ payments,” Tapp said. “When landline based internet connectivity is down, we can lose Internet access for a full day. Being able to continue processing credit card transactions over the cellular Internet connection keeps customers happy and makes sure every transaction is approved, so we don’t get stuck with an unauthorized transaction.”
To begin, all Lizard’s Thicket locations were outfitted with the PaySafe UTM Firewall Service in early 2015. Alongside PaySafe UTM Firewall, Lizard’s Thicket implemented PaySafe Wi-Fi, a managed service that enables stable, secure Wi-Fi for both customers and employees. According to Tapp, “the ability to establish blacklisted web sites for our Wi-Fi users has made it possible to control excess use, avoid employee misuse and keep overall bandwidth under control.”
In 2017, Lizard’s Thicket also began utilizing ControlScan PCI 1-2-3, a managed compliance service that makes it easier for multi-location and other complex organizations to achieve and attest their compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
“We were able to add ControlScan’s compliance services through our payment processor, and it has been a great experience,” said Tapp. “The customer support team is extremely helpful and validating our compliance has never been easier.”
With secure technologies, compliance controls, back-up connectivity, and managed Wi-Fi in place, ControlScan has lifted much of the day-to-day burden of managing the Lizard’s thicket store network. For his part, Tapp now has more time to focus on finding new technologies and applications to help grow the business.
“The managed, secure Internet connection and cellular backup services are a great value, but it is the exceptional support from the network operations center, based in the U.S., available 24 hours a day that cinches the deal for us and sets ControlScan apart from other providers,” Tapp said.