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Shear Protection

Regis Corporation cuts credit-card exposure risks with nuBridges Protect


IT Security Officer Bernie Rominski says adopting the PCI DSS model helps Regis Corporation safeguard customer data.

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CUSTOMER: Regis Corporation
HEADQUARTERS: Minneapolis
BUSINESS: Owner and franchiser of hair-care storefronts
HARDWARE: Two IBM System i 570s
SOFTWARE: nuBridges Protect, Oracle JD Edwards World for financials, JDA’s Merchandise Operations, Manhattan Associates’ Logistics PRO for inventory management, Infinium Human Resources, and homegrown solutions for sales reporting, data warehousing and business intelligence
CHALLENGE: Ensuring the safe transit and storage of customer credit-card data
SOLUTION: Using nuBridges Protect to encrypt credit-card data from point of sale to back-end processing

Most people choose a hair stylist by how they look and feel when they leave the salon. Regis Corporation and its many branded owned or franchised hair-care specialists give their customers an added reason to feel comfortable. Regis takes the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and encrypts customer credit-card information from point of sale (POS) to processing to storage. The company realizes credit-card and other sensitive personal data should be kept private and safe, not just to satisfy PCI DSS requirements, but to ensure that its customers’ information is hidden from prying eyes—even if those customers are blissfully unaware of it.

A Lock on the Market

Paul and Florence Kunin opened the Kunin Beauty Salon in 1922, and shortly thereafter expanded their market by establishing a chain of value-priced salons located in department stores. In 1958, their son Myron bought the chain, changed its name to Regis and started growing.

After acquiring Supercuts in 1996, Regis’ reach expanded to strip-mall and street locations. The company has continued its acquisition approach to growing its customer base, opening additional stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. With the acquisitions of the higher-end Vidal Sassoon, Jean Louis David and Saint Algue, as well as a merger in 2008 with the Frank Provost Salon Group, Regis cemented its presence in continental Europe.

Regis also operates beauty schools, and a merger with the Empire Education Group gave Regis the largest network of beauty schools in North America. With the 2005 acquisition of the Hair Club for Men and Women, which specializes in hair-loss solutions, Regis now has a lock on the hair-care industry, annually servicing millions of customers. “It’s a pretty staggering statistic,” says Bernie Rominski, Regis’ IT security officer.

Now on the Fortune 1000 list, Regis owns, franchises or holds ownership interest in more than 12,800 locations throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Some of these hair-care shops include Supercuts, Sassoon Salon, Regis Salons, MasterCuts, Cost Cutters and Cool Cuts 4 Kids.

The company relies heavily on two IBM System i* 570s. One, at the Regis headquarters in Minneapolis, acts as the primary production box running several mission-critical applications, including Oracle JD Edwards World for financials, JDA’s Merchandise Operations, Manhattan Associates’ Logistics PRO for inventory management, Infinium Human Resources, and homegrown solutions for sales reporting, data warehousing and business intelligence. The other 570 acts as a backup box for the production server and a development and testing environment.

The company also has two IBM System p* servers, which Rominski says fulfill a very specific purpose. “They operate big pools of Cisco modems, and their main purpose is to keep track of all of the stores, to call the modems on the POS units, pull the data back, and keep track of which units we received information from and those we didn’t. Once they pull the data, it’s pushed from the System p servers to the System i server for use by our back-end systems.”

“We have around 450 Windows and Linux servers, but the i is simply a more trustworthy platform.” ­—Bernie Rominski, IT security officer, Regis Corporation

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.



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