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    Unified Grocers Wields VPN to Support Secure Remote Access for 220-plus Stores

    Managed VPN and security services will enable the coop wholesaler's members to meet PCI compliance requirements

    Unified Grocers said it is installing secure virtual private network (VPN) services to allow approximately 220 independent member-grocers to securely access their in-store systems from a remote location.

    Unified is working with Costa Mesa, Calif.-based MegaPath Inc., a provider of managed IP data, voice, and security services, and will use the vendor's Retail Site SSL and Managed Security solutions.

    "Unified Grocers is a longtime broadband VPN customer of MegaPath, and its Retail Site SSL and Managed Security Services are providing [new services] to our members," said Dan Swofford, retail technology products manager, Unified Grocers. "By combining high-speed broadband and remote access with leading edge security services, MegaPath is helping our members improve how they manage their retail stores, while also helping to ensure that systems are secure and credit card transactions that run on our retail network are PCI-compliant. This is essential for our business and it is a primary reason why we trust and rely on MegaPath as a business partner."

    Unified plans to add another 105 supported sites as it integrates locations from its fall 2007 acquisition of Seattle-based Associated Grocers.

    According to MegaPath, the solution allows retail members and customers of Unified Grocers to manage operations remotely, such as accessing point of sale (POS) systems, servers, and back office PCs, as well as performing routine application maintenance and troubleshooting activities. The Retail Site SSL service provides members with a Web portal that is integrated with MegaPaths Operational Support Systems, which authenticates and grants users access to their specific stores, preventing unauthorized users from accessing these locations.

    In addition, the MegaPath Managed Security service protects Unified Grocers' members' credit card data, business information and systems, and includes managed firewall, anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, Web filtering, and security certificates.

    Unified is a retailer-owned wholesale grocery cooperative that provides grocery products and services to independent retailers throughout the Western United States.

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