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    Allsup's Tackles PCI Compliance

    Reliant Security helps 320-store convenience chain protect customer data cost-effectively and securely.

    CLOVIS, N.M. -- Allsup's Convenience Stores, the 320-store Southwest retailer based here in New Mexico, has made great strides in improving the security of its store network and making it compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards.

    This February, the convenience store chain began working with Reliant Security, a leading provider of data security software and hardware, to help the retailer save both time and money in keeping its network safe and secure from fraudulent activity.

    "Reliant Security was a clear choice for our PCI Remediation Project," said Gary Holmes, Allsup's CIO. "We had two goals for this project: we needed a more secure store network that is PCI compliant and we also wanted to remove our older POS system from PCI scope. The MPS Redbox appliance gives our stores a platform that accomplishes both of these key objectives. As an added benefit, the Redbox will provide seamless integration to deliver aggregated reporting from other disparate store systems."

    Holmes was an outside consultant until company founders Lonnie and Barbara Allsup asked him to take over the company's efforts to stay on top of being PCI compliant earlier this year. PCI compliance was "monopolizing our time and resources," Holmes told CSNews Online. An innovative retailer, Allsup's had developed its own POS system 15 years ago, according to Holmes, and it was getting more and more difficult to bring the older software into compliance.

    "PCI is complex, expensive and time-consuming, as well as a moving target," said Holmes, noting the need to stay up to date with continuously changing mandates from the PCI Council.

    The key to success of the Reliant solution -- its Redbox appliance -- is that it basically builds a brick wall between the retailer's POS system and cardholder data. "Because of Redbox, at no point is cardholder data exposed to the network," Holmes explained.

    Holmes also likes the fact that Redbox has its own intelligence, and continuously monitors and reports on any attempts to break into the network.

    "PCI compliance is, without a doubt, the No. 1 issue for us and most other retailers," Holmes said. "It's been pulling resources away from other projects that could help our bottom line."

    Reliant Security, which recently moved its headquarters to new offices in New York City, has seen strong sales in the first half of 2011, after triple-digit growth in 2010. In 2011, Reliant has contracted with multi-site retail merchants representing more than 4,000 locations, including such brands as On the Border Restaurants, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants and Whataburger.

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