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Keefe Commissary Network

Afaria is a critical technology for us to manage the essential processes so our applications can function consistently. Afaria is easy to configure, invisible to customers, and very reliable.

John Vitale
Vice President of Technical Services, Keefe Commissary Network

Keefe Commissary Network provides food items, personal care products, clothing and electronics to inmates at correctional agencies. Keefe also provides technology solutions that automate commissary processes allowing the facilities to place and receive orders, receive product updates, backup data and process payments. To manage the data and ensure the security of information exchanges, Keefe turned to Sybase Afaria. Afaria allows Keefe to automate the data-exchange processes and comply with PCI standards for exchanges involving credit card payments. Keefe can also automatically update and inventory its systems on a scheduled or triggered basis without having to manually attend the sessions.

Business Advantage

Afaria allows Keefe to automate the data-exchange processes and comply with PCI standards for exchanges involving credit card payments.

Key Benefits

Sybase Technology

Industry

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Managing and Ensuring Security of Data Exchanges with Sybase Afaria
To manage KeepTrak data-transfer exchanges, Keefe relies on Sybase Afaria, a mobile device management and security solution that provides a single administrative console to centrally manage, secure and deploy mobile and remote data, applications and devices. Afaria helps Keefe manage order placement exchanges as well as new pricing or product information uploads. Afaria also manages connections when systems are backed-up to an off-site server.

"In a particular instance, Afaria played a key role as we switched from analog connections to IP connections," says John Vitale, Vice President of Technical Services for Keefe. "We needed to change to IP as we grew and the data-exchange activity outgrew the number of analog lines we had. We also wanted to match the ability of our clients that use IP connections for the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) feature."

As clients began using outbound IP connections more often, the need for Afaria and its ability to ensure secure connections became more critical. "We considered managing the data exchange with our own FTP solution," Vitale says. "FTP transfers open many ports during information transfers, so they are not as safe as IP transfers managed by Afaria. Afaria also offers stronger restart capabilities in the event a connection is lost during the middle of an order. With Afaria, our customers can easily pick-up where they left off when the transfer is restarted."

Afaria Also Verifies PCI Compliance
Afaria worked very well in managing data transfers, so Keefe also decided to rely on Afaria to manage a recently-launched kiosk application. 

"We rely on Afaria to make sure our application works properly in a kiosk environment,” Vitale says. "Our kiosks must also comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards, and Afaria helps us verify we are compliant at the host level as well as the client level. The business management needs are also more urgent since data is stored at kiosks in the visitation areas that take cash and credit cards from family members."

Facilitating Software Distribution and Asset Management
In addition to PCI compliance, Afaria has also helped Keefe with scheduled software distribution. "With the prior distribution tool, we had to monitor updates and manage them individually," Vitale says. "But with Afaria, we can deploy updates on a staged basis or on a triggered basis. Afaria lets us push scheduled updates through channels rather than attending updates individually."

Other Afaria features that Keefe relies on include software updates, and Keefe will occasionally use Afaria to confirm software and hardware assets. "We expect to use more of Afaira’s feature set as we deploy our second-generation kiosks," Vitale says. "The module will become part of our logging and compliance processes to verify that the PCI-security we establish is working properly, and we will want to look at changes to log files and file sizes."

Simplicity of Afaria Reduces Need for Technical Support and Cost-of-Ownership
Vitale has not needed to work with Sybase technical support often, but when he does, Sybase has always responded promptly. Sybase also proactively alerts Vitale about product issues, such as license model changes and patches. "Sybase communicates with us consistently, and Afaria works so well that we don't need a lot of hand-holding, which helps keep the cost-of-ownership down," Vitale says. "Because Afaria is simple to deploy and support, we have never needed Sybase professional services for assistance. The online Sybase knowledge base usually provides us with all the support we need."

"Afaria is a critical technology for us to manage the essential processes so our applications can function consistently," Vitale adds. "Afaria is easy to configure, invisible to customers, and very reliable."

 



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