Rethinking Wide Area Networking

There is a shift in how businesses use technology. New applications, including Voice over IP VoIP phone systems, Cloud Based Email, File Sync & Sharing all require solid network infrastructure. According to a recent report from the Enterprise Strategy Group, Demonstrating SD-WAN Business Value: Rethinking WAN for a Modern Age, distributed organizations with multiple Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) locations may need to reduce unnecessary deployment and management of network infrastructure. Elements of infrastructure, such as head-end devices or appliances at branches, can be replaced with simple appliances supported by Cloud-based services. Here is a highlight of ESG’s findings: Simplify your Wide Area Network Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology can act as an enabler for Hybrid WAN technology by combining multiple transports, such as MPLS networks and business-class broadband networking. Managing your network can be streamlined by centralizing policy management, monitoring, and systems for troubleshooting. What’s more, reducing dependency on specific network suppliers and transport mechanisms results in the flexibility to find lower-cost alternates without compromising service levels. Minimize Operational Expense By using a zero-touch deployment model, companies can reduce truck rolls by remotely managing installation, configuration updates, and troubleshooting. Like Software as a Service (SaaS) works for application deployment, SD-WAN can remove the complexity of managing a Wide Area Network (WAN) for Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) environments. Reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of Your Wide Area Network Implementing SD-WAN technology is expected to save costs related to bandwidth by providing more flexible networking options. In addition, by reducing the operating expense of service delivery related to installation, configuration, operations, and management additional costs will be...

Considerations for Cloud Migration

The market for Cloud Computing is maturing. According to Trends in Cloud Computing, a recent research report by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), 90 percent claim using some form of Cloud Computing. In fact, the report provides insights that 43 percent of the Companies using Cloud Computing are migrating from one Public Cloud Provider to another for a variety of reasons including security, cost and open standards. Here are a few considerations for Cloud migration gleaned from the report. Cloud Application Usage Many companies turn to the Cloud for applications including business productivity, Email, Analytics/BI, and Collaboration Applications. Other applications of Cloud technology include Virtual Desktop, CRM, Call Center and Voice Applications. When you migrate to Cloud from “on- premise” applications your business will gain a variety of benefits, provided you consider network security and performance in your planning. Without these migration considerations you may not achieve the full benefit of your Cloud Migration.   Benefiting from Cloud Computing Cloud Services offer a range of benefits. Cloud Computing may offer the ability to cut costs, reducing capital expenditures and operating complexity. In some cases, cloud offers simplicity or speed of deployment. You may also benefit from modernizing your legacy IT environments. Some companies turn to the Cloud for new software licensing and upgrade models, favoring the predictable pricing of Cloud subscription models over the up-front costs of a “on-premise” deployment. Cloud Computing can also offer your business new capabilities and features not available in on-premise versions of your favorite applications. Many companies report that Cloud solutions are simply a better option. Challenges of Cloud Migration The majority of...

Technology Trends for 2017

It’s that time of year when many businesses are setting goals and budgets for next year. This is a good time to reflect on the impact technology can have on your business. While Cloud Computing adoption remains strong, companies will increase migration from Public to Private Cloud and even migrate back “on premise.” Cloud adoption, digital transformation and streaming media will increase the demand for bulletproof networking. New technologies including SD-WAN will hit mainstream in 2017 to improve network performance in support of business requirements. Cyber threats will continue to keep business owners up at night with increased intrusions from ransomware and unplanned downtime from DDoS attacks. Here are a few takeaways to consider for your 2017 plan. More Choices for Cloud Computing In a recent study by the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA), 43% of those using Public Cloud are expected to migrate to another Public Cloud Provider. For example, companies using Hosted Exchange may find themselves adopting Office 365 or Google for Work to keep current on the latest version of these communications and collaborations applications. The CompTIA “Trends in Cloud Computing” research also revealed 21% of Cloud usage will move from Public Cloud to Private Clouds. This scenario is driven by the need for compliance with industry regulations, including HIPAA regulations for health care and SOX compliance for Financial Services, among other business requirements. Digital Transformation Will Emerge as Competitive Advantage for Business of All Sizes Businesses will adopt new strategies for reaching new customers and servicing existing customers in 2017. These new strategies will fuel the need for digital transformation. Reaching new buyers through digital...

Proactive Networking Monitoring: What & Why

Your business relies more and more on healthy network infrastructure. Migration to Cloud, Compliance and IT Security all fuel the case to proactively monitor your network health. By proactively scanning your network, you can identify bottlenecks and other irregularities that could impact your network performance and network security. Identifying network compromise in advance will save your business time and money in the long run. Here are some considerations of what to proactively monitor on your network and why: Monitor Your Network Performance Network performance monitoring may identify a number of issues impacting your employee productivity. In some cases it may be a hardware failure (network switch or router) that is causing intermittent outage. Data-intensive applications (e.g. remote backup, call center or VoIP) may need optimization to improve overall network performance. Regular proactive network monitoring will identify these issues that can easily be remediated to avoid any unnecessary downtime, loss of employee productivity, or other failures such as dropped calls and failed backups. Monitor Your Network Access A periodic scan of devices attached to your network will identify any unauthorized access to your network. You may identify devices including desktop, laptop and mobile access from terminated employees, unauthorized access on your wireless network, and other potential compromises to your network. A regular scan of your network helps you stay in compliance and avoid any security compromise. Monitor Your Network Utilization By monitoring your network utilization, you may identify usage patterns impacting your overall network performance. Social media and streaming technologies can chew up your company bandwidth. By monitoring your utilization you may need to implement internal policies on use of...

Are Public Cloud Services Right for Your Business?

Every day more companies realize the cloud offers them brand new ways to solve their business problems. Public Cloud services are available for a wide range of solutions, including Communications and Collaboration, CRM, Contact Center, Email, File Sharing, Network Management, Cloud Storage, and more. What to Expect from Public Cloud Services According to a 2015 Whitepaper on Cloud Definitions by IDC, “Public Cloud services are shared among unrelated enterprises and consumers; open to a largely unrestricted universe of potential users; and designed for a market, not a single enterprise.” Public Cloud Services offer an affordable alternative to Private Cloud Services dedicated to a single company or extended enterprise. According to the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Cloud Services include the following characteristics:   Shared, Standard Services – Build for Multitenancy, among or within the enterprise Solutions Packaged – A “turnkey” offering, pre-integrates required resources Self-service – Provisioning and management typically via a Web portal Elastic, Resource Scaling – Dynamic, rapid and fine-grained Ubiquitous (authorized) Network Access – Typically accessible via the Internet Standard UI Technologies – Browser, RIA clients, underlying technologies Published Service Interface/API – Web services other common internet APIs Considerations for Public vs. Private Cloud Private Cloud Solutions provide a company dedicated resources and additional access to the Cloud Infrastructure. This capability could be important for regulatory compliance or high availability solutions. Private Cloud tradeoff includes Cost versus Control over Public Cloud Services. Data residency may also be a factor in your decision for Public Cloud Services versus Private Cloud Services. With all these variables that will likely change over time, it is important to...