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Protect your SD-WAN network with cloud-enabled security

Business networks are getting smarter and more efficient every day. New transport methods, organizational strategies, and continually improving cloud computing capabilities are allowing modern enterprises to automate and optimize their processes like never before.

However, these modern network infrastructures, as powerful as they are, must still be protected from a wide range of external threats, from phishers and scammers to bots and viruses. Just as your organization’s networking environment is evolving, potential intruders are likewise developing new tools to take advantage of any opening in your network. Contemporary threats require a contemporary security solution.

Completing the package

Many organizations have embraced Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) to manage and improve connectivity from a single dashboard, while the adoption of Networking as a Service (NaaS) is also on the rise. These solutions are paving the way for future-focused enterprises to simplify their connections, shed unnecessary network upkeep functions, and concentrate on their bottom line.

Embracing SD-WAN and NaaS is only one piece of the puzzle—a robust, cloud-enabled security approach is needed to create a comprehensive and fully functional modern networking infrastructure. To be truly complementary to your SD-WAN and NaaS solutions, this security solution should meet a series of criteria:

  • Offer next-generation threat prevention as a cloud service.
  • Enable public cloud security and compliance measures.
  • Increase protection and threat assessment across all applicable virtual networks.

These features are broadly considered to be a bare minimum for any modern, cloud-capable security solution. Additionally, your organization may prioritize other functions you need from a managed threat assessment package that go beyond basic bot and virus protection.

What to look for in next-gen security

Threat emulation functionality is a cutting-edge feature that prevents infections from new malware and targeted attacks, delivering the best possible catch rate for threats to your network. With the right threat emulation program in place, attackers will have a much more difficult time navigating your defenses.

URL filtering is another valuable tool that maintains categorized lists of problematic URLs and automatically flags any attempts by end-users to access them. This can be used to prevent users from accessing inappropriate, unsafe, or irrelevant websites that you don’t want users to access.

Continuous intrusion protection, when properly automated, can form a nearly impenetrable barrier around your network environment that constantly monitors your network to identify, track, and shut down potential threats. As it stops external attacks, your intrusion protection program can also learn and compile actionable data and analytics about threats to your network.

Application controlis a crucial component of any full-spectrum security program that restricts unauthorized applications from executing in ways that put proprietary data at risk.

Why Check Point CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS?

If harnessing the power of cloud computing to secure your SD-WAN environment and managed network is your goal, CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS bring everything you need to the table.

“Given today’s advanced cyber threats, it is critical to protect enterprise branch offices connected to the cloud with SD-WAN. Check Point CloudGuard Connect is integrated with leading SD-WAN vendors in the cloud to secure branches in minutes,” says Erez Yarkoni, head of the Telco Division at Check Point Software Technologies. “We’re excited to partner with CBTS to help drive enterprise digital transformation, with a special emphasis on branch office SD-WAN security.”

“CBTS has leveraged SD-WAN technologies to help our customers along their journey to the cloud and their path to digital transformation,” Adds Jon Lloyd, director of cloud networking for CBTS. “Organizations are now facing the challenge of how to secure this new, flexible, always-on network where an application can live anywhere in the world, and employees can work from anywhere in the world. Check Point’s CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS enable our customers to make the network decisions and application decisions that are best for their organization without the added difficulty of securing a malleable, distributed network. We are delivering peace of mind now, along with our flexibility and convenience.”

Contact the experts at CBTS for more information on how Check Point CloudGuard Connect can protect and enhance your cloud-enabled network environment.


Learn about Check Point CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS from CBTS.

Read about CBTS launching Check Point CloudGuard Connect.

Efficiency, security, and savings are in reach with managed database services

Cloud deployments are increasing steadily as new cloud products become more available and standardized. By 2021, revenues from cloud-based database management system (DBMS) solutions are expected to account for 50% of the total DBMS market revenue. By 2023, 75% of all databases are expected to be hosted on the cloud.

The availability and data protection offered by DBMS solutions can improve compliance and regulatory standards while also allowing enterprises to reduce the risk associated with managing critical systems and databases in-house. This can all be done by migrating to a dedicated or cloud-enabled DBMS platform aligned with the company’s existing technology and business goals.

CBTS offers a wide range of cloud-based managed database services, including in-depth review and assessment of a client’s existing database environment, migration and configuration assistance, and 24×7 monitoring and management.

Fully-managed database expertise

By partnering with CBTS, clients will gain access to 24×7 ongoing support from certified database administrators (DBAs) to ensure databases remain secure and accessible. CBTS will also configure each client environment to implement monitoring and management tools that will integrate with existing service management environments and that are built to meet guaranteed service level agreements.

Capabilities provided by a custom DBMS

A managed and purpose-built database platform can expand an enterprise’s functionality in several crucial sectors.

  • Review and assessment: CBTS offers in-depth surveys of your database environment and assistance with establishing both technical and business objectives, as well as recommendations and expert guidance.
  • Migrations and configurations: DBMS services come with project management to enable smooth migration away from legacy platforms, as well as design and deployment of the new database environment.
  • Monitoring and management: Clients will benefit from 24×7, hands-on operational support for their entire database environment, as well as backup, security, patch management, and data recovery services.

Additionally, clients will have access to highly skilled and experienced DBAs who can help guide the planning and execution of critical database development in a CBTS data center, public cloud, or remote third-party facility.

Efficiency, security, and savings with managed databases

Making a decision on your DBMS

Organizations considering cloud-based solutions should clearly define the events or circumstances motivating the decision to migrate. These factors include the expiration of a legacy database license, the obsolescence of previous database architecture, or simply a desire to automate database patch management.

The potential outcomes of transitioning to a managed cloud database solution should also be examined closely. This could involve carefully considering which parts of the business would benefit most from automation and increased data analysis speed, assessing how the new database would function within the business, or determining how much control and customization of the database that the company will need to maintain.

Lastly, enterprises will need to decide between an all-inclusive database hosted in the public cloud, which would automate infrastructure scalability but may have customization trade-offs, or a dedicated private instance that offers a suite of dedicated products and greater control of the custom database environment, but may incur higher licensing and management costs with little automation.

Why Managed Database by CBTS?

The skilled experts at CBTS offer the expertise and flexibility to build and deploy world-class database environments. We’re able to provide managed database solutions in a wide variety of models to best suit your objectives while offloading the day-to-day management workload and future-proofing your ability to respond to urgent data incidents.

A customized DBMS gives your organization no more or less than it needs while allowing your staff to mitigate risk. Our ongoing database management also supports a broad range of platforms—our experts will recommend what’s best for your use case.

The landscape of cloud-native database features and functions is changing rapidly. By partnering with CBTS for your managed database needs, you can worry less about navigating the chaos and focus more on your business objectives.

Contact us for more information on managed database solutions by CBTS.

Advantages of moving your IBM iSeries to the cloud

More than 100,000 organizations still depend on the IBM iSeries platform introduced over 30 years ago. iSeries has been a staple in industries like banking and manufacturing, for example, and continues to run business-critical applications like advanced ERP systems. As a mainstay for so many organizations, business leaders are reluctant to consider transitioning to other solutions because they fear significant capital expense and the time and cost of retraining their IT personnel.

Despite the longevity of the IBM iSeries, the continued use of legacy on-premises platforms poses challenges, including:

  • Difficulty of finding talent when an iSeries-focused staff member leaves of retires.
  • Cost of maintaining current iSeries systems does not align with company objectives.
  • Replacement iSeries models are more robust than your organization needs.
  • Change to an always-on, 24x7x365 business model requires continuous operation without downtime for backups or upgrades.
  • Inadequate data protection, security, and disaster recovery plans fail to meet regulatory and compliance requirements.

By partnering with an iSeries hosting and managed services provider, your organization can move your iSeries systems to the cloud where they can be proactively monitored, managed, and backed up. The service provider will also help you develop a comprehensive disaster recovery and high availability/continuous operation program.

CBTS has extensive iSeries cloud migration experience and certified experts who have helped many companies make the transition and reduce IT expenditures by matching processing power with their precise needs.

Also, CBTS eliminates planned downtime associated with backups and upgrades by implementing a continuous operation strategy, including a tested disaster recovery operations plan to avoid unforeseen crises and ensure application availability.

Eliminate the need to find and retain iSeries talent

The IBM iSeries has supported successful organizations for more than 30 years. The success of the platform is monumental, considering the rapid pace of change within the technology industry. While your organization can replace hardware and software, many IT specialists trained to service the iSeries are approaching retirement age or have already retired. And because most colleges and universities no longer offer iSeries training, it has become increasingly difficult to find people who know how to manage the platform. 

Eliminate downtime

iSeries-based businesses often relied on tape backups for recovery after an outage, data loss, or another disaster. But the reality is recovery from a tape backup today is unlikely, and even if successful, it would involve significant downtime that might imperil your business.

Also, most disaster recovery plans are untested, and there is a strong chance they will fail in an emergency. Even if the disaster plan does work, your business might be crippled by the downtime.

A properly functioning backup plan should be drawn up far ahead of time and should be tested. The plan can then be adjusted to reflect the knowledge gained from the backup recovery test. In a continuous use environment, you must have a robust backup and recovery plan. To do that, you need a technology partner with substantial expertise to handle this complex, nuanced process.

Meet contemporary data protection and recovery standards

Many organizations must meet high data protection and recovery standards. They make significant investments in IT to protect sensitive information and must prove to regulators that they have taken the steps necessary to avoid damage or loss of personal data. By working with an iSeries managed services provider, your organization no longer bears the full responsibility for compliance, and your IT staff can talk to people who have completed hundreds of individual audits and hold a wide range of certifications.

CBTS high-availability data recovery programs feature in-depth testing with a Letter of Test Performance to meet audit and regulatory needs, runbooks, and business continuity planning. Burstable disaster recovery technologies are also available for any reason and length of time. Offload iSeries management, support, and updates confidently by migrating these platforms to an experienced third-party cloud provider with certified professionals with years of iSeries managed services expertise.  

CBTS managed services include:

  • 24x7x365 monitoring, response, and management of systems at a fraction of the cost.
  • Recruiting, hiring, training, and assigning experts in a diverse assortment of technologies.
  • Designing, configuring, and implementing cloud and hybrid environments.
  • 24x7x365 IT security services that identify unusual activity and work with cyber experts to minimize the chances of a breach.

Support of business resilience and operations through the use of high-availability and continuous use strategies, and backup and recovery testing to eliminate downtime for routine maintenance or in the event of a crisis.

Move to a CBTS Managed IT Services model

The IBM iSeries has delivered decades of service, security, and reliability, but its time is drawing to an end. Companies now face the increased pressure of a 24x7x365 business model, difficulties with finding qualified IT talent, and uncertainties about what would happen to their operations during a disaster. Organizations can overcome these challenges by working with a managed services provider to create a customized cloud-based solution that eliminates risk and lowers the cost continuing to run on the iSeries platform.

CBTS has more than 30 years of experience in designing, building, and managing data centers and cloud environments in nearly every industry. Our highly trained and certified iSeries experts can help you make a seamless transition to a managed cloud solution. CBTS will help you optimize application workload needs and maintain infrastructure operations within a remote-managed model. And the effectiveness of your IT team will dramatically increase when they can partner with technology peers to deliver on high-value, move-the-needle competitive advantage solutions.

To learn more about migrating IBM iSeries to the cloud, download our free e-book.

VoIP vs UCaaS: What is right for your business?

It seems when it comes to technology, enterprise organizations and SMBs alike find themselves in the same situation as consumers: the moment you purchase a device or solution, newer technology comes along with advantages that nearly render the previous technology obsolete.

Take traditional landlines, for instance, also known as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). Over the past decade, businesses of all sorts have made the transition from POTS to a newer, better alternative: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The decision to move to VoIP is an easy one since businesses realize significant cost savings and gain access to advanced calling features, such as a virtual assistant and call routing to different departments. With that process nearly complete, and with the Internet established as its base, businesses can begin to look at their communications more holistically. Companies looking for the next level of collaboration are turning to a technology that can handle a customized suite of applications and communications services delivered on a single platform: Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS.

But should you transition?

Think VoIP and UCaaS technologies are mutually exclusive?

The fact is, they are not, but to make the right decision, it helps to have a clear understanding of what each technology is, what role they play in a modern communications ecosystem, and the differences in managing and monitoring each.

VoIP

VoIP is pretty much exactly as it sounds: spoken words on a call transmitted as data over the Internet. This technology requires some changes in the way data is handled in transit. The blocky, bursty nature of text delivery, for one, is replaced with a smoother, more continuous data stream that reduces interruptions. VoIP also incorporates a more dynamic, two-way data connection to accommodate the conversational style of the speech better.

VoIP benefits

  • Centralized IP PBX architecture which reduces costs.
  • 99.9% guaranteed uptime.
  • Enhanced QoS & Core SLAs. 
  • E911, caller ID, and directory listings.
  • Automatic disaster recovery failover.
  • Unlimited expanded local calling—no per-minute charges. 
  • Web portal access and web-based administrative control available with bolt-ons.
  • U.S. and Canada voice network availability.
  • Reporting tools to manage network performance efficiently. 

One of the more compelling use-cases for VoIP is the cost-savings derived from switching voice communications from standard line service to more efficient digital communications. In most cases, this is done in conjunction with an existing Internet service provider and implemented with upgrades to an IP-PBX phone system. Most VoIP services provide call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, voicemail, and other functions. One of the most crucial aspects of VoIP, however, is that it places traditional desktop telephone service on the same digital foundation as data infrastructure, effectively reducing the recurring cost of separate voice and data circuits. These innovative voice services drive better collaboration and mobility for your business.

UCaaS

Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS, is a catchall term for bundling a wide range of communications services, including VoIP, under a common framework. In this way, organizations more closely integrate voice communications with file sharing, instant messaging, collaboration, phones, and other applications to streamline workflows and make better use of available information.

UCaaS benefits

  • Offers greater flexibility when integrating applications, such as messaging, video meetings, whiteboarding, IVR, call recording, reporting, and screen sharing.
  • Integrates with third-party solutions.
  • Tailors app consumption toward actual usage rather than as fixed overhead costs.
  • Provides exceptional ability to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices.
  • Allows for personalized customization of user settings to enable workers to engage and interact with others on their teams.

Because of its broader scope, UCaaS is slightly more complex in its setup and management than VoIP. Both are very different in their implementation model, so having an experienced vendor is critical.

While UCaaS is a broader solution, depending on the business model, legacy architecture, internal processes, and many other factors, some organizations may determine that standalone VoIP meets all their needs. Others may conclude that partial or full UCaaS is the way to go, particularly those involved in highly-collaborative, security-focused organizations, such as banking and finance, healthcare and education, professional services, retail, and others.

Adopting UCaaS as a complete cloud solution

For the most part, organizations are adopting UCaaS as a complete cloud solution. Still, there are some cases where on-premises infrastructure is required, usually under the auspices of a private cloud. The reasons for this vary, but in general, it comes from a desire to maintain tighter control over the environment, albeit at the expense of higher maintenance and monitoring costs.

The good thing for enterprise organizations is that VoIP and UCaaS are not mutually exclusive. For businesses starting with a traditional voice infrastructure, a logical upgrade path is to implement VoIP first. As the need arises, launch into UCaaS functionality later depending on the age of your equipment and what other features and functionality you plan to need in the future. Once all forms of communication have been elevated to the cloud, selecting the right systems becomes a matter of what your business needs at any point in time, not what your internal infrastructure can support.

Know your options

Several different types of Hosted Unified Communications solutions are available:

  • Service Providers: Traditional telecom services that offer fully-featured Hosted UC as an integrated part of their offering to business customers.
  • IT-centric cloud app providers: Software vendors with a background in productivity applications and have incorporated communications functionality into their IT suites.
  • Over-the-top (OTT) service providers: Providers that offer communications solutions that operate over the Internet. 
  • Traditional network Centrex providers: First generation of hosted telephony service providers, delivering PBX-type functionality as a hosted service.

Making the best choice for your business

The industry has drastically changed, and the options of providers are endless. While all Hosted Communications solutions generally perform the same essential functions, they do vary significantly in their cost, functionality, flexibility, scalability, and support. No matter if you are looking for private or public deployment, it’s critical to land on a solution that ensures the quality of experience for your voice traffic and meets the future business needs. The success of the new technology is entirely dependent on choosing a partner who offers design, implementation, training, and support.

At CBTS, we are capable of accommodating any request. The roots of our organization are deep with a rich history of delivering on-premises, hybrid, and cloud private or public unified communications solutions.

Critical Steps to Starting your Communication Journey

From cloud discovery, assessment, strategy, and design, to migration, implementation, and monitoring your environments, discover how CBTS has you covered.

Speak to a Communications Expert today


Accelerate time to value with a Red Hat containerized approach

Winning the race against your competition is no longer about being the best at running a physical data center, it’s about outpacing the leading, most agile organizations in your industry. It means releasing new products, functionality, and software updates quickly, acquiring unique insights from data, and being able to change direction as markets demand.

If your company is still running a traditional ops environment, with developers and operations functioning in silos, your time to market will be anything but speedy. Bottlenecks, delays, and quality issues are common hurdles set in place by the conflicting goals between the development and operations teams.

To overcome the issues inherent in a traditional siloed approach, companies have begun merging developers and operations into a single team headed toward common goals. Through this alignment, companies can scale their applications rapidly to millions of users, provide global availability, manage enormous amounts of data, and respond in near milliseconds. 

Additionally, the maintenance and management of these modern applications running across complex hybrid cloud environments can be fully automated and scale on demand. This approach puts organizations on the fast track to getting the most from innovative technologies like containers and micro-services, and other game-changing DevOps practices.  DevOps is proven to greatly accelerate the process from idea to development to deployment. But to do this, DevOps must rely on automating routine operational tasks and standardizing environments across an app’s lifecycle.

Containers establish standardized environments

Containers deliver stable, standardized environments to ensure software runs reliably when moved from one computing environment to another. Containers package an application, plus all of its dependencies (libraries, configuration files), into one portable image. 

Net-new applications, or apps that have been refactored to be cloud-native, are designed for resiliency and scale. They can be deployed easily on the public cloud, allowing developers to deliver releases or update functionality in nearly half the time.

Application refactoring is ideal for companies in need of technology upgrades, businesses that have “lifted and shifted” legacy apps to the cloud with little results, or IT leaders who continually buy new servers and storage to handle growth of line-of-business applications.

Red Hat® OpenShift® Container Environment

Containerized environments, also referred to as Kubernetes, were first developed by a team at Google, and later donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Kubernetes is a true open-source platform, with engineers from Google, Red Hat, and many other companies actively contributing to the system and the community.

Kubernetes eliminates many of the manual processes involved in deploying and scaling containerized applications. It clusters groups of hosts running Linux containers and helps you easily and efficiently manage those clusters.

CBTS is your trusted partner to help you get to the next generation of cloud-native application and infrastructure delivery so that you can vastly improve your time to market, eliminate downtime, and leverage automation for ease of ongoing management.
 

CBTS is a Premier Plus Partner, the highest level of technology partnership with Red Hat, and collectively we hold over 97 individual certifications ranging from advanced cloud, infrastructure, platform, automation, virtualization and storage to name a few. Over our eight-year relationship we have built an extensive level of experience helping clients choose the right Red Hat platform to meet their complex business objectives and create disruptive opportunities.

Red Hat® OpenShift® is a hybrid cloud, enterprise, Kubernetes application platform and offers plenty of benefits:

  • Supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux for worker nodes and supports standard Docker and CRI-O runtimes.
  • Incorporates hundreds of fixes to defect, security, and performance issues for upstream Kubernetes in every release.
  • Includes software-defined networking and validates additional common networking solutions.
  • Validates numerous storage and third-party plug-ins for every release.
  • Includes an integrated, private container registry; teams with more significant requirements can also use Red Hat Quay.
  • Offers streamlined workflows to help teams get to production faster, with built-in Jenkins pipelines and source-to-image technology to go straight from application code to container.
  • Helps administrators and support application teams, with service brokers (including direct access to AWS services), validated third-party solutions, and Kubernetes operators.

CBTS can help with your application modernization and Red Hat containerization

CBTS understands the importance of balancing continuous application development with innovation for improvement and a rapid development approach. Our team of Red Hat experts has a proven track record in implementing next-generation, cloud-native application and infrastructure delivery so you can concentrate on improving your time to market, eliminating downtime, and leveraging automation to ease your management burdens.

How it works

CBTS employs a rigorous, rapid development approach that:

  • Aligns your business objectives with a technology application plan and schedule.
  • Nurtures constant feedback loops on performance, functionality, and user behavior.
  • Establishes a transparent roadmap detailing how applications migrate, when services go live, and which features become available.
  • Delivers reliable code at a rapid pace, resulting from our well-defined agile-development process.
  • Supports monitoring and managing apps in the cloud on any platform, derived from many years of application support experience.

Learn more

Download our Red Hat Buyer’s Guide to learn how CBTS can help your organization embrace a digital transformation.

Discover more about Cloud Consulting services from CBTS.

The value of the cloud in our new reality

Now, more than ever, enterprises are recognizing the value of cloud networking and the benefit of connecting people safely as we work through the COVID-19 crisis.

In the past, networking was a relatively straightforward matter of linking users in one (usually fixed) location to data and applications located in another. Today, however, the task is to build and maintain dynamic, reliable connections between users in all our various locations and data/apps that can be housed in multiple sites across town, across the country, or around the world.

To effectively do this, enterprises must look to the cloud. This means converting legacy data structure into a distributed cloud that provides significant improvements in scale, flexibility, and cost. However, this transition is not without its challenges.

The cloud represents more than a simple technology upgrade, but whole shifts in the way organizations connect people to data and applications. And nowhere is this change more profound than in networking. 

For a networking professional, of course, this is easier said than done. Not only does this potentially encompass multiple cloud providers, each with their own networking anomalies, but it can also incorporate all manner of pathways. And, none of these are under the direct control of the person responsible for maintaining high availability and data accessibility.

Our new reality

Given our emerging state, network teams must create the kinds of architectures needed to maintain the level of connectivity that the working-world needs more than ever right now. Calls for improvements will swiftly come from users directly, all of whom need reliable connectivity to work and are accustomed to getting this level of service from their consumer applications.

Networking is no longer the gatekeeper to what is possible. Networking can no longer say, “This is the bandwidth that is available, so everything has to fit within that envelope.” Instead, the user will demand, “This is the bandwidth I require, so make it happen.”

A friend in need

This adjustment can be difficult for networking teams that have become entrenched in the established order. Change is difficult. However, organizations can turn to experienced consultants like CBTS to help guide them through this challenging transition. Rather than simply continuing the old paradigm of installing leading vendor X’s platform as a matter of course, a top-notch consultant can bring best-of-breed solutions to address specific goals. Today’s OEM market is becoming overly crowded with niche vendors and open solutions, which makes it difficult for internal networking teams to gauge the proper solution. At CBTS, we maintain partnerships with key vendors while also designing an array of customized solutions, so we are not just pushing one specific product or technology.

The importance of a trusted technology consultant like CBTS

At the same time, we remain up-to-date on all of the key technology developments, design criteria, standards, and other elements so that our solutions not only serve the needs of today but can seamlessly transition to the requirements of tomorrow. Combined with our ability to establish long-standing relationships with clients and drill down to their specific needs, we provide the kind of customized solutions that will differentiate applications and services as the digital economy transitions into the world of 5G and the Internet of Things.

This level of customization is not possible under the fixed network architectures of today. SD-WAN is proving to be of immense benefit to our customers because it unshackles the enterprise from the traditional telco conglomerates and allows transport to be consumed as a commodity. SD-WAN provides unprecedented flexibility when tailoring networks to specific sites and workloads and puts the enterprise in charge of charting its own network footprint rather than tailoring their needs to the provider’s constraints.

For every network engineer going forward, the primary goal will no longer be to build the best network or deliver the fastest throughput but to enable the best customer experience. As the world becomes more digitized, organizations that maintain high satisfaction ratings and high customer loyalty will find themselves at a distinct competitive advantage against those who are still struggling to support legacy, vendor-centric architectures.

With an experienced partner like CBTS on your side, you can navigate this transition.

The future of networking is wide open. Learn more about CBTS Networking Solutions.

CBTS and public cloud: The on-ramp to the digital economy

“Digital modernization” is the catch-all phrase representing the change from the product-focused business model of the last century to the more digital services-facing world of today. Network infrastructure plays a key role in this transition, turning from a static, fixed resource to a more flexible entity capable of serving a wide variety of needs at a moment’s notice.

Recently, a large national services provider managing more than 50 million loans from its headquarters in Cincinnati found that its aging infrastructure was no longer able to keep up with the demands of modern finance. In addition, the burdens of maintenance and upkeep for legacy systems were becoming too much to bear, both financially and in terms of time and effort.

A guiding hand

The company has an AWS public cloud-first strategy but taking advantage of all of the services and features can be a challenge for a busy IT team. With CBTS’ help, however, the firm was able to implement a state-of-the-art cloud environment capable of handling even the most complex workloads at extreme scale, all while reducing operating budgets, improving security, and delivering on a wide range of additional goals and objectives. CBTS began by conducting an in-depth analysis to document existing application dependencies, as well as identify the company’s unique system requirements and operational procedures. One of the key advantages of cloud services, powered on AWS, is that they can be easily configured to the client’s business objectives, providing a smooth transition from legacy infrastructure to a more streamlined, forward-leaning ecosystem.

Within three months, CBTS had developed a roadmap and communications plan to coordinate the phasing out of old infrastructure and migration to the new environment. This included the development of a cloud-based disaster recovery environment, as well as a full suite of security precautions to mitigate risk to critical data.

With this in place, CBTS then oversaw the transition to the new environment. Ultimately, nearly 600 end-of-life servers were decommissioned, along with 468 databases and 164 applications. More than 30 applications were migrated to AWS within the first year, averaging one app every two weeks, and more than 25 OS versions were consolidated down to two standard AWS versions. Overall, more than 14,000 lines of code had to be written to pull the environment together.

Ready for the future

The end result is a streamlined, modernized ecosystem that reduced the client’s data center footprint by 50 percent and vastly cut the cost of IT and the management burden on existing staff. Significant savings were realized through the elimination of underutilized hardware and reductions in application licensing costs.

Meanwhile, the firm benefits from a dramatically improved security posture based on a Well-Architected Framework design featuring the latest in both threat detection and damage reduction, all of which is incorporated into the overall operating cost of the environment with little to no direct responsibility for patches and upgrades on the client.

In terms of normal operations, the environment is designed for an Infrastructure-as-Code model in which virtualized resources are made available through an automated process that masks the normal provisioning and mapping procedures under layers of abstraction. In this way, the client is able to define the business objectives of their IT needs while CBTS takes on the responsibility of matching the right technology, which ultimately provides a repeatable and auditable infrastructure that is less prone to errors and delivers consistent and measurable outcomes.

Many organizations—particularly those that have established their own private clouds—no doubt feel that migrating to AWS is a simple procedure, and in many ways it is. But the challenge going forward is not simply to outsource to the cloud but to devise a cloud environment that leverages the vast services and automation capabilities within the public cloud.

For that, the assistance of an Advanced AWS provider with a Well-Architected program can be essential in achieving success. Through careful planning and coordinated execution, modern enterprises can leverage CBTS and AWS to support their existing tools and skillsets even as longer-term plans are being developed to address the challenges inherent in the next-generation digital economy.

To learn how CBTS can help with your digital transition, visit the Cloud Solutions on AWS resource.

Case Study: Safer travels with CBTS on-premises private cloud

Read this article to find out how CBTS-managed on-premises private cloud helped improve a world-leading aviation manufacturer and service provider’s flight safety.


In the modern business environment, speed is of the essence. Whether you are in high finance, medical research, or industrial manufacturing, being first to market is a huge competitive advantage.

This need for speed extends all the way down the business chain, of course: from the primary business to the most mundane support services. Everything needs to move fast—otherwise, lost business could be the price.

The challenge: Improve flight safety through accelerated engine analytics

Recently, CBTS was contacted by a world-leading aviation manufacturer and service provider that services some of the most powerful commercial jet engines in the world. They needed to accelerate their analysis of engine flight health and safety data in order to respond more quickly to mechanical incidents and enhance their proactive preventative maintenance capabilities. At the same time, they needed to cut costs by reducing the number of workstations on the factory floor and centralize data management under a single repository that would support a general-purpose analytics engine.

Ideally, the company was looking for improved timing of analytics of each engine it serviced upon landing. This could translate into thousands of health checks every day, coupled with rapid response procedures, should any mechanical maintenance issues be detected.

The solution: A CBTS-managed on-premises private cloud

In its initial assessment of the project, CBTS determined that two key factors were the massive amount of data involved and the need for stringent security.

The solution was to deploy an on-premises private cloud featuring Kubernetes-based clustered microservices. This, in turn, supported a full DevOps environment that dramatically reduced the time needed to run complex analytics while also providing the agility to implement continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) of new services.

CBTS does more than simply design and implement solutions, however. We provide long-term, end-to-end management and monitoring in the infrastructure, as well as a 24×7 incident response program. Additionally, we implement an automated failover process in the event of, say, a Master or Worker node impairment. In such a case, the environment will kill the node and rebuild it from scratch utilizing the automation capabilities of the Kubernetes control plane. This process, along with a redundant network and computer infrastructure, eliminates the single point of failure that hampers most analytics architectures. At the same time, the system’s AI-based monitoring and predictive analysis tools provide deep insight and forecasting of maintenance issues and strive to continuously reduce costs, streamline processes and resource consumption, and improve operations.

The result: A state-of-the-art next-gen analytics ecosystem

Today, the client is outfitted with a state-of-the-art analytics ecosystem that supports next-generation agile workflows and processes. After some application refactoring, the company’s predictive analytics on engine flight data are now being delivered in a fraction of the time compared to the previous infrastructure. In addition, a digital twin of the flight engine is created within the CBTS managed private cloud, allowing engineers to rapidly assess engine health before take-off to improve safety and lessen ground time.

Meanwhile, CBTS provides full-time monitoring, management, and maintenance of the entire system, allowing the client to offload daily responsibilities to our expert management team. In addition to cutting down the time it takes to identify problems with the system from 24 plus hours down to three, it allows internal IT staff to focus more on strategic, mission-critical initiatives that produce a direct benefit to the company’s bottom line.

Summary: Implementing a private cloud improves business processes

Improving the speed of core business processes is a priority in the digital age, but this must not come at the expense of reliability and availability. Through a private cloud equipped with advanced automation, organizations are finding that they can become better, faster, and more flexible, all at a lower cost point than under existing infrastructure.

To find out how CBTS can help you with your digital transformation, contact us.

CBTS Managed Public Cloud: Powered by AWS

Time is growing short for the enterprise to begin the process of transforming traditional data infrastructure and business models to more flexible constructs tailored to the delivery of digital services. The service economy is preparing to kick into high gear in 2020 with the introduction of 5G wireless and advanced technologies like machine learning, which means organizations that cling to legacy static infrastructure and processes will find it difficult, if not impossible, to compete for new digital-savvy customers.

A key element in this transition is the cloud. By implementing public and private architectures quickly and thoroughly, the enterprise gains a huge advantage when it comes to tailoring environments to key applications and workloads. In both the development stage and during ongoing production environments, the cloud provides broad flexibility needed to push new product functionality to market faster, while at the same time controlling overall IT costs through dynamic scaling, automated management and other orchestration capabilities.

CBTS Managed Public Cloud Powered by AWS

The best way to go about this, of course, is to partner with leaders in the field. While it is important to select a top cloud platform, it is also crucial to align with a leading technology consultant with expertise in other mission critical applications that support voice, data, networking, managed services, and the plethora of other elements that make up a well-rounded digital enterprise.

Forward-looking cloud

In this light, more and more enterprises are coming to the conclusion that a managed public cloud powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the best way forward. Not only does Amazon serve more businesses than any other provider, it offers a wide range of architectures for small, mid-sized and large enterprises, and it has a proven track-record of providing cutting edge technologies.

For organizations that lack the in-house expertise in cloud infrastructure, engaging with a cloud provider with a myriad of optional services can be daunting. This is why a solid partner like CBTS is vital, both during and after the crucial transition phase. With CBTS, enterprise executives gain instant access to years of experience designing, developing, and managing complex cloud architectures, including the ability to tailor this new environment to the unique legacy infrastructure and forward-looking business objectives. As a certified partner in AWS’ Well-Architected Framework program, CBTS has devoted significant effort and resources to mastering the five pillars of cloud development:

  • Operational excellence. The ability to run and monitor systems to deliver business value and continually improve supporting processes and procedures
  • Security. The ability to protect information, systems, and assets while delivering business value through risk assessments and mitigation strategies
  • Reliability. The ability of a system to recover from infrastructure or service disruptions, dynamically acquire computing resources to meet demand, and mitigate disruptions caused by misconfigurations, transient network issues, or other causes.
  • Performance efficiency. The ability to use computing resources efficiently to meet system requirements, and to maintain that efficiency as demand changes and technologies evolve.
  • Cost optimization. The ability to run systems to deliver business value at the lowest price point.

Experience, Skills, and Certifications

A successful Well-Architected Framework environment requires more than just good design and execution; it also requires experienced management on an ongoing basis. Again, CBTS has invested substantial time and effort to ensure our customers are not left high and dry once the data and application migrations are complete. We provide a fully managed service across public and private architectures, employing the latest in intelligent management and automation systems, to ensure the cloud functions at peak performance and efficiency at all times.

By partnering with CBTS as managed cloud provider and a leading specialist in application digital transformation, enterprise executives can rest assured that the transition to a digital business model will take place in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

To learn more about CBTS cloud solutions powered by AWS, download the e-book.

Serverless Example: Greater Cleveland RTA Case Study

This article provides a brief synopsis of how serverless technology transformed the Greater Cleveland RTA’s Short Message Service system. To learn more about this real-world serverless example, download the full case study.

Mass transit authorities are facing a wealth of challenges as they head into a new decade.

From the cost of maintaining infrastructure to keep up with growing populations to ensuring public safety and security, transportation officials find themselves caught between the rock of municipal budget limitations and the hard place of increasingly demanding consumers.

A prime example is the Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). The Greater Cleveland RTA serves upwards of 44 million people in the city of Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs.

Primary problem – antiquated Engagement System unable to sustain growth

The organization employs a state-of-the-art emergency communications system. Its antiquated Engagement System was used to relay general safety messages to riders and to report their concerns. This system was struggling to keep up with expanding workloads.

One of the problems was an inability to quickly develop, and ultimately support, cloud-native applications. This is crucial in the transition from traditional IT architectures toward a more service-driven strategy.

In the digital economy, applications require far less latency than what is available from traditional on-premises infrastructure, particularly when the data environment scales to multiple geographically distributed data centers.

Clearly, Cleveland RTA needed a next-generation solution to solve a next-generation problem.

Solution – a serverless cloud architecture

Ultimately, the organization chose to deploy a serverless cloud architecture backed by CBTS cloud management and support. This change opened a wealth of new tools to create a modern communications framework, including:

  • AI from IBM Watson
  • Text messaging technology from Twilio
  • AWS Lambda services
  • LiveChat capabilities

Even at this early stage of the deployment, the results have been impressive.

Safety improved with direct to dispatch short message service application

The RTA has been able to field a state-of-the-art Short Message Service (SMS) texting application. This application allows riders to transmit safety concerns and other issues directly to dispatchers from their cell phones.

This service is designed for non-emergency issues such as helping a lost child, reporting vandalism, or alerting officials to potential safety concerns. And as with any text, these messages can contain photos, videos, and other attachments. These attachments provide transit officials with more information about the concern. They also assist the rider with maps, instructions, or other tools.

Improved service and lowered costs with AI

In addition, the service provides a real-time dashboard that combines current and historical data with IBM Watson and other Big Data tools to improve service and lower costs.

This gives transit officials valuable information to direct equipment, personnel, and other resources to where they are needed most at any given moment. At the same time, the impact of various solutions over time are gauged to ensure a steadily improving transportation experience for employees and riders alike.

AI can also be used to automate many routine queries from riders, directing them to the proper knowledge stores or otherwise resolving issues much faster than a human operator.

The overall benefit of implementing serverless architectures

The overall benefit of the solution has been to streamline communications between transit operators and the traveling public.

Gone are the days when complaints or concerns were submitted manually, on paper, and then dealt with at the slow pace of the bureaucratic process. Today’s rider can submit a query or make a comment to the authority through a simple text. Just as quickly, they can get an accurate, informative response that is appropriate to the nature of the concern.

And best of all, the system gets better over time as both riders and operators become more familiar with its capabilities.

Conclusion

In this digital age, even public authorities must keep up with the demands of the public.

As new generations of commuters enter the workforce, they expect the same kind of functionality in their transportation as they receive on social platforms, productivity solutions, and shopping sites. Serverless architectures allow organizations to quickly create these environments, even when budgets are tight and there is no guarantee that the new services they support will contribute to additional revenues.

To learn more about how a serverless cloud architecture transformed the Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority’s new texting platform, download the full case study.

 

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