Cybersecurity for Business: Q&A With Chris Berry

With a wide range of managed network and cybersecurity offerings now available, we asked Chris Berry, CTO and President of Security & Platform at PDI, to share her thoughts on the latest updates and innovations. Read on to review the key trends impacting the industry.

Q. What are some of the biggest challenges the industry is facing right now?

A: A lot of the challenges today are similar to what we’ve seen over the past couple of years. First, convenience retailers have taken on some of the characteristics of quick service restaurants (QSRs) in that they’ve become more of a destination point. The c-store has to be much more than just a place for consumers to fuel up and grab a coffee. That means retailers need to rethink how they’re delivering convenience to meet constantly changing consumer behaviors.

Second, network and telecom providers are offering a wide variety of new services that potentially add complexity as retailers figure out exactly what their business needs. As a result, retailers are asking for help in terms of simplification, including vendor consolidation. They want easier management and faster troubleshooting where they don’t have to decipher what each vendor or provider is responsible for.

A third challenge is the ongoing labor shortage, which is forcing many businesses to choose which aspects of IT they can handle on their own and which aspects they need to outsource to a managed services provider. We keep hearing that they want experienced partners who can hit the ground running.

Q. How is PDI addressing those challenges from a security perspective?

A: It all starts with having incredibly talented people who are experts at what they do. The fact is, most cyberthreats can be prevented as long as you have the right people, processes, and tools.

As a managed network and security services provider, our approach is focused on increasing data protection by combining state-of-the-art tools with deep industry expertise. And we’re also working hard to simplify our products and provide a common platform to simplify integration across the entire industry ecosystem. It’s all about getting everything to work better together.

Q. What are some of the latest updates in terms of new services or innovations?

A: We have a lot of new solutions that open up some interesting business opportunities for convenience retailers, QSRs, and specialty retailers. We’re concentrating our efforts on solving problems through an as-a-service approach.

For instance, we’ve partnered with Aruba to offer Wi-Fi as a Service to better support the growing requirements of convenience retail. Better Wi-Fi for both guests and employees is necessary to address the longer dwell times for customers and the connectivity needs of employees so they can improve their productivity.

Another new offering is 5G as a Service, where we’re partnering with terrestrial and cellular providers to boost bandwidth, especially at the network edge. That’s important for keeping up with the rapid rollout of IoT devices. And then we keep everything secure with ongoing updates to our fully managed endpoint protection and cybersecurity services.

Q. With all the growth at PDI recently, what has changed for the security business?

A: We’re focused on extending our security capabilities across all the parts of our business. That means integrating security in a more comprehensive way that results in a very robust product suite.

On a broader scale, we’re helping to simplify the industry ecosystem. For such a small physical space, c-stores are extremely complex in terms of all the networks, technologies, and IoT devices. We want to create the platform that simplifies—and hopefully transforms—digital commerce across the entire convenience industry ecosystem.

Q. What key trends do you anticipate for the rest of 2022?

A: We fully expect to see continued increases in ransomware and other advanced threats, especially those developed or sponsored by nation-states. The non-stop growth in the number of connected devices is also broadening the attack surface and the potential points of vulnerability for everyone.

The good news is that many of these threats and risks are preventable. The easiest way to increase security is to start with strong prevention measures like endpoint protection and focus on avoiding threats before they ever have a chance to disrupt your business. And you don’t have to go it alone—there’s a lot of expertise across the industry to help you.

Want to know more? Dive deeper into what’s new at PDI.