DDI solutions for retail networks

In the new era of smart retail, modern consumer demands are fundamentally transforming the industry’s core infrastructure, where the lines between digital and physical shopping experiences are not just blurring—they’re disappearing. In today’s dynamic retail landscape, innovation isn’t just an advantage; it’s a necessity. Retailers are evolving into full-fledged tech companies, and those at the forefront like Walmart and Amazon are setting the pace, seamlessly integrating brick-and-mortar presence with online prowess.

As retailers integrate more digital solutions, they become prime targets for cyberattacks. The increase in digital touchpoints—ranging from mobile apps and e-commerce websites to in-store Wi-Fi and connected POS systems—expands the attack surface, making comprehensive cybersecurity measures more critical than ever.

What cybersecurity risks do digital retailers face? 

According to the findings detailed in the 2023 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, intrusion attempts accounted for a significant 35% of cyberthreats in 2022. This underscores their status as the predominant cyberthreat within the retail sector, highlighting the substantial challenges retailers face in safeguarding their network infrastructures from unauthorized access.

How DDI solutions help retail networks

As retailers undergo digital transformations to become customer-centric and incorporate advanced technologies, converging and managing these on a common IP infrastructure remains a challenge. This is where DNS, DHCP, and IPAM (DDI) solutions step in, providing a robust framework for managing network services that are crucial for maintaining reliable connectivity, security, scalability, and manageability across various retail environments, including online stores, brick-and-mortar locations, and hybrid models.

Here’s how a DDI solution can enhance network management and support the innovative use of technology in these retail settings:

Centralized management  

DDI solutions serve as a single point of management across multiple store locations and online platforms. This centralization is crucial for effectively managing the IP network infrastructures of both physical and online stores, as it simplifies the administration of network resources, reduces operational complexity, and ensures process standardization across all store facilities.

With a DDI solution each store or facility is managed as a separate cluster, allowing for tailored configuration and control, provided all these retail environments are connected to the main store network via advanced technologies like SD-WAN, IP/MPLS core via VPN, or even dark fiber cables. This way, the network admin of the retail chain can holistically view and centrally manage the core network services of different remote store setups associated with the main store—all from a single window.

Mergers and acquisitions, which are increasingly prevalent in the retail sector, often result in prolonged and complex integration of disparate IT systems. With a DDI solution, these newly merged chains of stores can be easily managed as separate clusters simplifying the integration of merged IP infrastructures. It optimizes resource use and enhances network transparency, ultimately supporting smoother transitions during mergers and acquisitions.

Scalability and flexibility  

Retailers often need to quickly scale their operations, especially during peak shopping seasons. DDI enables dynamic scaling of network IP resources with the transition to IPv6 address space, as it provides a virtually limitless number of IP addresses.

This capability allows for the assignment of IP addresses to any number of hosts or to almost any device, facilitating the integration of IoT devices such as beacons, cameras, and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. These technologies digitalize the physical shopping experience, accommodating increased traffic demands without service interruptions. This flexibility is crucial not only for online stores, which may experience sudden spikes in web traffic, but also for physical stores looking to expand their digital services.

As retailers expand to new locations, the modular, cluster-based design of DDI solutions like DDI Central facilitates easy extension, providing seamless adaptability and robust connections to support the growth of a retail network.

Reliability and uptime  

DDI enhances network reliability and minimizes downtime through efficient IP address management and automated DNS services. For brick-and-mortar stores incorporating digital displays, CCTV cameras, Wi-Fi access for customers, or IoT devices for inventory management, DDI ensures these connected services remain operational. For online retailers, robust DNS management helps maintain website availability, which is critical for customer access and sales.

DDI enhances network reliability and minimizes downtime through efficient IP address management and automated DNS services. For brick-and-mortar stores that incorporate digital displays, Wi-Fi access for customers, or IoT devices for inventory management, DDI ensures that these connected services remain operational around the clock. For online retailers, robust DNS management is crucial in maintaining website availability, which is essential for customer access and sales.

DDI solutions include built-in automated failover setups for DNS and DHCP services, ensuring business continuity in the event of infrastructure failure. These solutions maintain reliable connectivity for a vast array of networked devices with minimal downtime by conducting regular health checks. Additionally, DDI solutions provide predefined load balancing and failover mechanisms, featuring multiple primary and secondary configurations to deliver high redundancy for critical network services such as DNS and DHCP. This arrangement not only helps distribute critical network traffic efficiently but also maintains network availability even during service disruptions.


Security is paramount for retailers who must protect customer data and maintain trust, necessitating the adoption of robust security frameworks. To defend against evolving cyberthreats, retailers should deploy advanced technologies such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and continuous monitoring. Given that both online and physical retail are high-value targets for cyberattacks, the role of DDI in network security becomes indispensable.

DDI systems play a critical role in mitigating the risk of DNS-based threats like DDoS attacks, DNS hijacking, and phishing. Effective IP address management within DDI helps monitor and control device access, quickly isolating compromised devices and preventing unauthorized entry.

Additionally, DDI solutions enhance network security through DNS firewall functionalities, which include response rate limiting and response policy zones. DNS firewalls help block access to known malicious sites and filter out traffic to and from botnets and command-and-control servers, thus preventing malware distribution and communication. These security features are essential for proactively blocking malicious domains, preventing ongoing DDoS attacks, and protecting against data exfiltration attempts.

Network visibility and monitoring  

The DDI solution provides comprehensive visibility into each domain’s query traffic analytics, essential for detecting anomalies, monitoring network performance, and troubleshooting issues promptly. This visibility is invaluable for retailers operating both online and physical stores, as it enables IT teams to analyze trends in domain query traffic and optimize the network for customer transactions, inventory systems, and other critical retail operations.

Advanced monitoring of DHCP scopes offers network administrators a visual breakdown of IP addresses within each scope, sorted by their availability status and capacity thresholds, to ensure effective capacity planning and resource optimization. Effective segmentation enhances detailed visibility into a DHCP scope, including its inventory, objectives, and policies, in the form of DHCP options. It provides tighter control over configurations and guides network administrators on where to focus in the event of an incident or when the capacity of a scope is exhausted.

Regulatory compliance

Retailers often handle sensitive customer data, including payment information, which requires compliance with regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). DDI helps enforce compliance by ensuring secure, compliant DNS and DHCP practices, reducing the risk of data breaches and the associated penalties.

By leveraging DDI solutions, digital retailers can significantly enhance their network infrastructure to support a myriad of applications and services that are critical for modern retail operations. DDI solutions simplify operational complexities, enhance reliability and security, and boost network visibility. Moreover, DDI solutions empower retailers to rapidly innovate and introduce new digital offerings and services by providing an optimized IP network infrastructure. By adopting DDI solutions, retailers can build a robust network backbone that not only meets current demands but is also poised for future technological advancements.

Download a free, 30-day trial now to explore how DDI Central can transform your network.