Juniper Networks Master of IT, Eric Walters: 7-eleven

February 2nd, 2007 |
Image for FaceBook
Download Audio FileRight click here to download audio | Share The Connected Social Media Player

 

Eric Walters is manager of network services for 7-eleven, focusing on the continental U.S. and Canada, and he is a Juniper Networks Master of IT. The 7-eleven network is provides some big challenges, especially when it comes to the company’s many stores, and the technology those stores are using. Virtual commerce — using enhanced ATM machines — is only one of the many critical deployments of new technology that requires a highly secure, highly dependable network. (Another challenge — the stores are using a wireless system internally. That’s one more thing to maintain, and to keep secure….) Eric speaks with PodTech Founder and CEO John Furrier.

This Juniper Networks podcast is part of the Juniper Networks Master of IT program.

Transcript:

Host: John Furrier – PodTech

Guest: Eric Walters – 7-eleven

John Furrier – PodTech

Welcome to the PodTech.net, Master of IT Podcasts, we are here with Eric Walters the 7-eleven Manager of Network Services, is that your title, what’s your title Eric?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Manager of Network Services.

John Furrier – PodTech

Tell us what’s involved in being the manager of network services for 7-eleven, big corporation, lot of activity, lot of locations?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

It is, I am in charge of the Network for North American Stores including the continental US and Canada as well as, we have 60 yard field sides around the continental US and Canada as well.

John Furrier – PodTech

So, tell us how did you get to where you are as Master of IT, tell us about what led you to being a Master of IT at 7-eleven?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Well, I have always been in IT; I have worked in many areas of IT in the network side specifically, done a lot in the areas of security and networking from large corporations.

John Furrier – PodTech

Eric, tell us something a little about managing the 7-eleven network, I mean it’s not your standard corporate organization, I mean every one knows 7-eleven, who has had to have make quick stops, talk about the security environment over there and a little about the network.

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Well, the challenges are wide spread, depending on if you’re talking about stores or just the general corporate network, but the biggest challenge, we have today is really our stores, where we have a lot of change going on, we’re using a lot of technology in our stores and providing a robust network to support those new requirements as an ongoing challenge.

John Furrier – PodTech

What kind of technologies are we talking about over there?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Well, we are implementing a lot of new technologies for, we have a particular technology called vCom, which is a virtual commerce and that is an ATM machine that does a lot of transactions including check cashing, money orders as well as carrying standard ATM transactions.

John Furrier – PodTech

You must have had a lot of challenges, how many stores do you guys have?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

We’re trying about 53 hundred in the US and 500 stores in Canada.

John Furrier – PodTech

And your network includes all of those?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Yes, correct.

John Furrier – PodTech

Tell us about your security challenge, that you guys face over there at 7-eleven.

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Well, I think with any company doing financial services or financial transactions, PCI certification has to be the largest challenge and we’re currently implementing a lot of different technologies to make sure that our network is highly secure and that we can carry customers transactions without any compromise of their data.

John Furrier – PodTech

Can you give an example of something that happened recently?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Well, one of the things is we are adding into our stores, a wireless network, that we’re using for a running use, not for a wireless hotspot, but we’re using it for carrying a wireless device in a store called MOT and it’s a Mobile Operations Terminal, it’s used to do store ordering and product check-in and the like and obviously implementing a technology like that in our stores we wanted to do it very securely, but also giving some flexibility to expand the capabilities of it.

John Furrier – PodTech

Eric, tell us about some of the access challenges, is wireless a challenge as everyone wireless these days, so talk about that?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

The biggest challenge is making sure that the wireless network in a store is secure against any outside access, obviously wireless Sting what it is, it can be accessed from both inside our location, as well as in outside of our location so we have to be careful in making sure that the level of security is at — what it needs to be to prevent access and not only that to monitor against access by an outside party.

John Furrier – PodTech

Juniper has the Master of IT program and also you’ve been designated as one, talk about a little about what Juniper has brought to the table, what they’ve done with you?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Well they’ve tapped out significantly both internally with our network as well as, all the way down to the stores, where we’re rolling out those wireless access points. The Juniper product is working out very well for us in that area, provides a very robust wireless access point, basically it’s a firewall with wireless access point built on top of it, as to our a lot of the other applications, there’re our other access points that are out there in the industry are really kind of the reverse, but there was an access point first and they kind of bolted some security on top of it.

We’re already very familiar with the platform that Juniper added this wireless capability too, so that was obviously a big benefit to us because we knew the capabilities of the device from a security perspective. So adding wireless on to that was a natural fit and really met the challenges that we had facing is quite well.

John Furrier – PodTech

Eric, you’re a master of IT, which is a great accomplishment, share with the folks out there about some of the things that you’ve learned, share with them something that you could help them way, so someone is out there who may have some of the similar issues that you had, what could you tell them?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Well, I think the key is being flexible. In today’s changing IT world, things are changing very rapidly, being able to be flexible and being able to have a vision towards where you want your organization or where you want your network to go and marrying that up with, what the executives at the organization are looking for is really challenging. It’s quite fun, but there’s a lot of challenge with staying up in IT these days, so really staying intend with the industry and with your peers in the industry is key to understanding the different ways that other organizations are addressing their security and network concerns and being able to carry that in your own organization as well.

John Furrier – PodTech

As you go forward, for the next few years, what do you see out there as the future challenges around the corner and the security and being just a master of IT, what does that outlook look like to you?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Well, I think the future challenges are that we are continuing to become more and more a Webified world and we’re seeing a lot of security challenges, all around the industry and in point security has become a really hot topic and how do you protect the in points in your network, whether it be an individual, whether desktop or a laptop mobile user, or our systems down in our stores, so security is really continuing to be at the fore front of every network manager’s mind.

John Furrier – PodTech

What you’re doing out there to keep on the cutting edge of the security issue, because security is really not going away, it’s always changing in morphing thing, what are the some of the things that you’re doing?

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Well, I think the biggest thing is staying in touch with my vendors and making sure that the manufacturers of the products that I use within our network are really in tune with what my issues are and also identifying whether the issues that I’m looking at are marrying up with where the products are going and making sure that I can address everything that we need to with as fewer vendors as possible and making sure that the security that they provide marries up with what we want to do.

John Furrier – PodTech

Eric, what do you enjoy the most about your job obviously being a Master of IT is a great accomplishment, what do you like the most about what you do?

John Furrier – PodTech

Well I think the thing that’s — the most intriguing is that it’s an ever changing world, there are constantly new challenges, which require you to stretch your thought process and coming up with new and creative ideas and ways of dealing with those challenges, this industry, there’s no way you can know everything there is to know about technology. And so there is always more to learn and more to get to know and that is the thing that enjoy the most about this, the work that I do is that you can never know it all, there’s just way too much that is out there.

We’re here at the Juniper Networks, Master of IT Podcast, talking about all masters of IT across the board.

For more information just see where all the Masters of IT are located, there’s a website www.masterofit.net, we’re here with Eric Walters, Manager of Network Services for 7-eleven, great company, good business, IT is a big part of it, a lot of locations. Eric thanks so much for the Podcast.

Eric Walters – 7-eleven

Thank you very much.

Copyright ©2006 PodTech.net. All rights reserved. Privacy policy

Share

Posted in: Connected Social Media, Corporate, Juniper Networks, Master of IT, Technology
Tags: , , , , ,