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Pathmark Addresses Disaster Recovery, VPNs, and SPAM with 7-year IT Services Contract

CARTERET, N.J. -- To safeguard its information systems in the event of a disaster and continue a partnership that has been growing since 1991, Pathmark Stores, Inc. recently inked a 7-year IT services contract with IBM that includes disaster recovery, fast data communications, and anti-spam technology.

"As a result of some of the homeland security issues, we were interested in developing a system that would provide us with business continuity in the event of a disaster," said Pathmark's c.i.o., Bob Schoening, in an interview with Progressive Grocer. "We have it set up so that with the flip of a switch, data will be directed toward a facility in upstate New York, and 50 of our critical business users will have the tools they needed to keep operations running smoothly."

In addition, many of the company's operations executives are now provided with laptops and will be able to work from a remote area in the event of a disaster.

Under the new contract, IBM will also provide anti-spam email security management services to re-route the company's email traffic through filtering centers that intercept and store unwanted emails. "Running the service this way means that the spam is stopped before it ever gets into our environment," said Schoening. "The messages are held offsite for 14 days, giving users an opportunity to go examine them."

IBM, through a partnership with AT&T will also deliver under the services contract a high-speed Virtual Private Network that will enable Pathmark to handle the increased flow of data between stores and corporate headquarters. Pathmark expects that store managers will be able to use the ultra-fast network to view snapshots of real-time data and perform other tasks. "We expect to be able to share information at least four times faster than on our previous system, which consisted of dial-up and satellite systems," said Schoening. "This will enable us to perform more online operations -- such as reporting and financials -- from a centrally hosted location."

Operating 142 supermarkets in the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, Pathmark has for the past 14 years worked with IBM to support its in-store and back-office infrastructure, server complex, help desk, network, disaster recovery operations, and software applications. IBM also supports and maintains Pathmark's 1,760 desktop computers. "It's a true partnership we've developed," said Schoening. "Aside from the fact that their badges and pay stubs read 'IBM,' you couldn't tell the difference between their employees and ours."
-- Joseph Tarnowski
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