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How to move your network security strategy forward with automation

Network security remains a vital issue for CEOs, especially considering that 32% of organizations have experienced major cyber attacks in the past two years, according to the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey.

The cost of security breaches continues to grow as well. According to data from IBM Security, the average cost of a data breach rose to $3.92 million in 2019, a figure that should concern anyone keeping a close eye on today’s rapidly evolving IT landscape. To keep ahead of malicious digital threats that seem to grow more sophisticated every day, a truly modern cyber security strategy is called for.

As speed, time, and security are watchwords for any unified automation platform, CBTS is simplifying security environments for modern enterprises by leveraging the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. This technology provides role-based access control, security, auditing, and delegation, utilizing both the REST API and the traditional command line interface (CLI).

The platform oversees a wide array of functions, including security, networking, line of business, operations, and development.

Read our infosheet on the automation potential of Red Hat Ansible

And, discover more about the Advanced Automation Platform and the advantages it can bring your organization.

Components for effective security

While there are many automation solutions available, not all have the capabilities needed for effective security automation, which involves automating the manual tasks associated with enterprise security. Organizations looking to modernize their cybersecurity strategy should seek out automation platforms offering:

  • A universal automation language that allows simple documentation of information between security team members
  • Integration with your security infrastructure and vendor ecosystem
  • A modular and extensible design for trouble-free deployment, which will help you accommodate new security tools in the future

How Red Hat Ansible enables network security

The Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform from CBTS delivers features necessary for security automation, combining easy-to-digest automation language with a composable execution environment alongside security-focused communication and collaboration capabilities.

The platform’s open foundation also allows for seamless connection to your security applications and IT infrastructure, creating a common platform for participation and sharing across an entire organization. A supported set of security-focused Ansible collections—modules, roles, playbooks, and more—is included with the platform. These assets coordinate a unified cybersecurity strategy to counter a variety of threats by providing:

  • Chain workflows and playbooks for modular reusability.
  • Consolidated and centralized logs.
  • Support of local directory services and access controls.
  • Integration of external apps using RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs).

Additionally, the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform includes tools to help optimize automation:

  • Automation Analytics offers insights into how your organization processes automation.
  • Automation Hub lets team members access certified automation content via a centralized repository.
  • Content Collections streamline the management, distribution, and consumption of automation assets.

Modernize your security approach with the right automation platform

With CBTS as your trusted partner, the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform can help bring your IT teams together to respondto growing security threats faster and at scale. Our certified Red Hat Ansible experts will consult with you to understand your current environment and work with your team to customize the platform to meet your automation business objectives.

Contact us for more information on how the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform can modernize your cybersecurity strategy.

Why global technical support is crucial for a successful enterprise

All businesses, regardless of size, exist in a highly globalized world. Enterprises across every industry are broadening their scope to draw resources and services from around the world.

Especially for those organizations investing in managed infrastructure, including services such as public cloud, global support services are particularly valuable. It’s critical for these organizations to seek out a provider with a global technical support perspective.

CBTS is one solution provider with a full-spectrum global support approach. When a client’s environment requires an upgrade or there is an incident of any kind, CBTS monitoring services will proactively identify anomalies of any type and will take full ownership over the recovery of the client’s environment.

In this way, CBTS acts as the client’s first line of defense, constantly on alert for any intrusions and taking on responsibility for the performance of the client’s core business functionalities and the security of mission-critical data. One factor that enables this effort is a robust global support structure distributed throughout North America and South Asia. This global footprint and around-the-clock availability give clients the responsiveness and reliability they expect—the result being that crises are addressed right away with as little delay as possible.

Additionally, a global footprint and around-the-clock service approach put a wide variety of information technology resources at the client’s disposal. In the event the client requires application development support, incident escalation or remediation, or any of a number of other use cases, CBTS can assist the client organization in addressing any issue it may have, no matter when it arises.

Leveraging global support services for your cloud transition

With more enterprises embracing cloud computing environments than ever before, cloud transition services are seeing an uptick in demand. In these cases, offering support when it is needed is only a part of the equation. Your organization’s journey to the cloud is not simply a product—it’s a partnership. A truly collaborative service vendor will take proactive steps to manage the entire process of your cloud transition and provide the right technical and human resources to see it through.

To this end, CBTS offers a close partnership throughout the consultation and implementation phases of a cloud transition and provides a dedicated service delivery manager who acts as a single point of contact and ensures that the client’s business objectives are being met. This service delivery manager performs quarterly business reviews and collaborates closely with client organizations, providing a level of global service for the client that is both efficient and cost effective.

How global technical support keeps your enterprise secure

The most sophisticated and future-proof cloud environment won’t do your organization any good if it isn’t also kept safe from scams, phishing, and other intrusions. That’s why it’s critical to seek out a global support services provider that weaves security into every layer of your cloud transition and maintenance process while creating a sustainable shared risk model that limits liability for your enterprise.

There’s no need to “go it alone” and place all the burden of risk solely on your organization. For best results, partner with a global support services provider that can put your organization’s needs first while addressing the ever-evolving cyberthreat landscape.

To drive successful strategic business outcomes for your enterprise, your chosen service provider should have three priorities central to its approach: people, process, and technology. CBTS leverages its entire global technical support apparatus to place these three pillars at the core of every service it provides, putting the best possible people, processes, and technology innovations at the disposal of its clients.

Contact us to find out how a global support infrastructure can provide a new level of service and success for your enterprise.

Implementing Data Protection Best Practices in the Cloud with Bocada

There is no question that organizations can reap strong benefits by migrating their IT infrastructures to the cloud. Increased speed, minimized overhead costs, and access to best-in-breed technology partners are just some of these advantages.

Yet the evolution toward cloud, or multi-cloud, infrastructures does not minimize the classic data protection challenges faced by on-premises solutions. In fact, the complexity of some of the latest solutions, coupled with their limited reporting capabilities, can mean organizations are choosing operational improvement gains over preserving the integrity and security of critical data.

Classic data protection issues faced in cloud architectures

While there a variety of data protection challenges facing organizations moving to cloud architectures, three common issues frequently arise:

  • Complexity: The more software and third-party solutions, the more complexity you bring into your environment. This includes everything from new GUIs and scripts to cross-platform data incompatibility issues. It often requires incremental in-house expertise as well as increased labor hours allocated to data protection oversight.
  • Security and governance: With added complexity also comes lingering uncertainty that each tool is set up to comply with internal mandates or government regulations. There can be uncertainty that data is being backed up, not to mention whether it’s being backed up at the correct interval and across all your different backup and storage solutions.
  • Exponential growth: Additionally, with multiple resources storing data in the cloud, organizations are still left with the age-old problem of managing growing data volume. Without streamlined reporting protocols, staying on top of backup data health and protection policies is a major challenge.

How CBTS overcomes cloud security challenges with Bocada

To ensure that cloud environments thrive, CBTS makes use of Bocada to implement automation initiatives that streamline monitoring, proactively identify cloud data protection risks, and mitigate the chance of human error.

Centralized monitoring under a single pane

Bocada allows us to automate the process of collecting raw backup and storage data across all cloud solutions and report on it all under a single dashboard. This even includes collecting data from on-prem solutions for customers leveraging legacy systems or migrating to hybrid-cloud environments.

While the data consolidation process is notoriously difficult due to each systems’ unique complexity, this automated approach overcomes complexity, drastically improving the time taken to begin reviewing backup performance and removing the human error that would exist with an otherwise manual approach.

Proactive cloud asset identification

Enterprise operations often lead to Azure or AWS assets being spun up quickly, often with no knowledge from the internal backup team. With no backup protection in place, these critical assets can be at risk to cyber or malware attacks.

However, by automating cloud asset oversight with Bocada, CBTS identifies in near-real time when assets are left unprotected. This gives our team the chance to proactively set up backup procedures with few gaps in data protection protocols.

Built-in alerting for critical failures and anomalies

A variety of factors can result in data not being backed up as expected. With large, complex systems, these factors can go undetected resulting in potential cloud data protection holes. That’s why we leverage built-in alerts. By being notified of everything from critical data not reaching expected backup thresholds or storage usage trending in unusual ways, we can quickly identify and address issues before they prevent data recoverability.

Optimized ticketing

Just as we look for ways to streamline our day-to-day backup monitoring, we similarly look for ways to streamline all aspects of operations tied to data health and protection. This is a key reason we integrate our backup operations with our ticketing systems. When backup issues are identified, we don’t have to wait for a team member to manually input a ticket. Instead, we use Bocada’s cross-platform automation for faster ticket creation and faster resolution, minimizing any possible gaps in the client’s cloud data protection.

Contact us to learn more about how CBTS delivers complete cloud data protection while ensuring you meet your compliance guidelines.

How to build a full-spectrum cloud security strategy

The growing relevance of cloud technology shows no signs of slowing down. As more organizations migrate to cloud environments, their managers and IT specialists are grappling with the issue of cloud security.

However, a number of misconceptions currently muddy the water and could prevent your enterprise from achieving the secure cloud networking environment it needs to stay competitive. Before you embark on a comprehensive cloud migration journey with your organization, ensure that you have all the information you need to build a cloud-enabled security solution.

More isn’t always better

You may hear from time to time that the more cloud security tools your enterprise can bring to the table, the safer your data will be. This isn’t always necessarily the case. In fact, too many disparate systems, as well as too many security service providers, can overwhelm your staff and security experts and create additional avenues of attack.

It’s also vital to not simply rely on your cloud security provider to manage all aspects of your organization’s security solution. While working with a security provider, your team should remain responsible for the data it places in the framework of your managed cloud security environment. Overall, a streamlined and customized cloud security strategy, in which your organization has transparency into the entire process, is the best approach.

Stay ahead of the curve

The interconnected and comprehensive nature of cloud computing imposes some inherent risks and vulnerabilities, chief among them being the volume of access points to secure across the environment and the amount of auditing and review needed to prevent breaches.

Additionally, cyber attackers are constantly evolving their techniques and employing more advanced methods to break into protected stores of data. However, in most cases, successful security breaches are the result of lapses, errors, and lack of preparation on the part of the victim. To prevent opportunistic hackers from finding an open window into your network, a robust security policy must be instituted so that employees are held accountable for every possible network entry point.

This team-oriented approach to cyberattack defense may be counter-intuitive; after all, isn’t security best left to the professional providers and consultants? Not necessarily. Security is everyone’s responsibility—especially in the hyper-connected cloud era. Your developers should be involved in the ongoing process of securing your cloud environment with the assistance and guidance of your security provider.

Don’t count too much on automation

Although automated network security is an attractive goal to strive for, human input should not be underestimated or discounted. Studies have shown that both human specialists and computer-driven security systems are equally valuable in terms of identifying and mitigating weak spots in a cloud computing network.

Securing a cloud network environment is not a simple matter, and it can be difficult to know the first steps or to separate myths from the truth. However, by keeping these guiding principles in mind and choosing the right provider to meet your specific security challenges, you can set your organization up for success in an increasingly cloud-centric world.

To help future-facing enterprises secure their cloud computing environments, CBTS is bringing Check Point CloudGuard Security as a Service (SaaS) to market. CloudGuard SaaS is a cloud service tailored for real SaaS threats. More than just a cloud access security broker (CASB), it blocks attacks intended to steal data on common SaaS applications and cloud e-mail. It provides complete protection against malware and zero-day threats, sophisticated phishing attacks, and hijacking of employee SaaS accounts. Users also gain instant threat visibility and data control and protection.

“CBTS has leveraged SD-WAN technologies to help our customers along their journey to the cloud and their path to digital transformation,” said 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.”

Check Point and CBTS can offer differentiated security services to customers moving towards borderless compute (SASE and CASB).

Contact CBTS for more information on how to build a cloud security strategy that keeps your organization’s data and employees protected.

Read more: Protect your SD-WAN network with cloud-enabled security

Read more: Finding the right SD-WAN provider for your organization

Why CBTS leverages Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform for modernizing enterprises

Today’s enterprise is faced with a myriad of challenges of managing legacy systems and processes and yet data volumes are increasing exponentially, while demand for new services, reliability, and operational efficiency show no signs of easing up.

But what technology has created, it can also manage. Using the latest automation platforms, such as Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, organizations are finding that they can in fact push IT capabilities to new levels of performance while reducing costs and without expanding on the same old rigid infrastructure and processes that inhibit growth and put a damper on the introduction of new products and services.

Targeted automation

The key is to apply automation where it can do the most good, freeing up IT specialists to concentrate on driving value to the bottom line. In most cases, this means automating the mundane, repetitive tasks that technicians hate doing anyway, while allowing them to concentrate manpower on higher-level, strategic tasks.

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform concentrates its firepower on three critical aspects of the modern data environment: automation, cloud services, and collections. The platform’s automation component allows enterprises to create scalable environments as well as manage IT applications, particularly those that must engage with diverse architectures, in an efficiently optimized manner. The hosted services that comes with a Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform subscription, supports team-based collaborative processes by applying operational analytics to automated heterogeneous and hybrid environments. Ansible Content Collections extend native platform capabilities using certified and supported content, with an eye toward expanding and accelerating the adoption of automated areas of IT.

By working together, these three components strive to provide a scalable, streamlined data environment across public, private, and hybrid clouds while still preserving the necessary operational control and flexibility to deliver reliable, engaging user experiences.

On a functional level, Ansible Automation Platform utilizes a streamlined user interface, Red Hat Ansible Tower, featuring integrated notifications and enhanced permission capabilities. This component is a web-based UI that allows operators to schedule and centralize jobs while also enhancing visibility into the environment and enabling greater control and compliance management.

Ansible Tower operates as a GUI driven portal that provides a simplified view of automation jobs for entry-level managers, while the full dashboard provides quick summary views of their work environment and is designed to simplify operations for system administrators. Tower is also compatible with all major cloud environments, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace.

Complete control

Ansible Automation Platform provides role-based access control, security, auditing, and delegation, utilizing both the REST API and the traditional command line interface (CLI) to integrate with existing tools and processes. It oversees a wide range of functions, such as networking, line of business, security, operations, and development.

Being a Red Hat product, Ansible Automation Platform is based on multiple open source projects, providing broad flexibility for such tasks as configuration management, application deployment, services orchestration, and resource provisioning. This allows IT staff to create increasingly complex environments without getting bogged down in the minutiae of daily operations and systems troubleshooting. With the right policies and architectural guidelines in place, the data environment becomes largely self-managing and self-governing, which not only improves performance and lowers operational costs but allows the enterprise to devote more resources to strengthening revenue streams, tapping new market opportunities and otherwise shoring up its core business.

Application development, in fact, is a key function of Ansible Automation Platform because the creation of new applications and services is crucial in today’s data-driven economy. By automating many development processes, organizations will be able to maintain continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) methodologies that deliver advanced services without application downtime. Crucial to this mode of operation is the broad orchestration of rolling software updates across multiple architectural tiers within the application. Using Ansible Automation Platform, organizations can maintain a single version control system that tracks changes to playbooks, runs tests against a staging environment, and then applies new configurations to production – all at speeds that far exceed what is possible with traditional manual workflows.

In this age of digital disruption, long-standing industries are being upended by start-ups that provide equal or better service through a more effective use of data and digital technologies. With an automation platform like Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, the enterprise is better equipped to weather this turbulent period by becoming the disruptor, not the disrupted.

Contact us for information on how CBTS can integrate Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform into your environment.

The key to finding the right SD-WAN provider for your organization

As cloud-based applications catch on in terms of both popularity and availability, the users who rely on them are expecting easier and more reliable access from any remote work situation they operate in.

Simultaneously, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology is solidifying its place as the leading solution for deploying and managing cloud-enabled network environments. Small, medium, and enterprise-level organizations alike are seeing the value in partnering with a qualified SD-WAN provider to enhance and simplify their cloud application and managed software processes.

Identifying and selecting the right partner for your managed SD-WAN needs is no simple matter, however. It’s crucial for organizations to have an intimate knowledge of their existing network architectures in order to find the best fit for their goals.

Not every provider has the expertise to smoothly transform a legacy Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network into a cloud-powered hybrid or SD-WAN architecture, regardless of the industry or vertical the client occupies. This requires a provider to work closely with the client’s IT teams to identify vulnerabilities, map out the existing network environment, and meticulously plot out a transition plan.

The right SD-WAN partner must also bring a critical eye and modern approach to your organization’s security situation. When designing and deploying an SD-WAN environment for your enterprise, solutions like Check Point CloudGuard should be layered throughout the architecture of the managed service. In short, your SD-WAN provider should fully and comprehensively assess your existing network to not only optimize bandwidth but to safeguard data and applications as well, counseling you on where to layer on additional security measures when needed.

Additionally, a managed SD-WAN solution provider should offer a suite of services that achieve the end goal of freeing up your IT personnel and resources to focus less on mundane daily tasks and more on critical strategic business initiatives. A properly implemented SD-WAN environment can achieve this, but only if the provider works alongside your team throughout the entire deployment process by monitoring, maintaining, and updating the environment as necessary to ensure a smooth transition.

It’s a common misconception that after migrating to a Software as a Service (SaaS) SD-WAN model, organizations lose direct control over their network. This isn’t the case for experienced and proven SD-WAN providers, which partner closely with clients to co-manage the new network environment. In this manner, a truly collaborative SD-WAN solution combines the strengths and expertise of both client and provider to achieve the client’s long-term goals.

Contrary to some popular perceptions, SD-WAN is not a magic button that solves every networking difficulty with the press of a button, even when users are extensively trained and experienced in the operation of SD-WAN networking solutions. That’s why a qualified and trusted partner is so important to effect an orderly migration from legacy MPLS networking to a cloud-enabled SD-WAN environment while giving your organization a greater degree of flexibility and control over your network.

That’s where CBTS comes in. Whether your strategic goal is to cut down on operating expenses or greatly increase application uptime, CBTS will synergize with your IT infrastructure to formulate a customized SD-WAN solution that is tailor-made for your specific circumstances and needs. CBTS can also easily factor in and balance additional features like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) as needed.

SD-WAN is defining both the present and future of enterprise networking and is creating exciting new opportunities, but it takes an expert guide to navigate these turbulent waters safely. Choose your partner carefully to get the most out of this cutting-edge technology.

Contact us for more information on finding the right SD-WAN provider for your organization.

How NaaS is putting the cloud within reach for every enterprise

Legacy networks, and the businesses that rely on them, are running out of juice. For the most part, these outdated network environments are simply not equipped to meet the high demand that exists today for reliable, full-spectrum communication capabilities. The spike in remote work situations during the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified the demand for modern networking technology that enables seamless and user-friendly collaboration.

Network as a Service (NaaS) has emerged as a transformative solution to the flagging effectiveness of most legacy networks. NaaS works by leveraging the programming and connectivity power of the cloud to provide managed, cloud-based networking capabilities as a comprehensive service and a simple transport method.

Joe Putnik, chief innovation officer at CBTS, recently sat down with CIO Review to discuss new advances and developments in NaaS, which won CIO Review’s Product of the Year award.

When combined with other revolutionary solutions such as Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) and Hosted Unified Communications (UC) and implemented by a trusted vending partner, NaaS is capable of completely reinventing any enterprise’s networking architecture. Indeed, reinvention is crucial at a time when organizations are settling into a semi-permanent state of remote operation in the face of the COVID crisis.

However, networking solutions are only effective when enabled by the correct hardware. That’s where Cisco Meraki comes in. A collection of scalable and secure network platforms for the future-focused enterprise, Meraki offers intuitive cloud integration, auto-provisioning, VPN, and other valuable capabilities. As an experienced partner for enterprise-level organizations as well as small- and medium-sized businesses, CBTS pairs the Cisco Meraki platform with its array of managed SD-WAN, Hosted UC, and NaaS services to deliver unparalleled results for clients.

CBTS has implemented its NaaS for more than 600 clients and more than 5,000 locations since it began offering the solution in 2016 and has achieved this milestone by partnering with other leaders in the market, including Cisco and Dell/VMware. CBTS is able to deploy solutions from these partner firms over any transport, from Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to 4G LTE. This flexibility makes CBTS an attractive provider for organizations of any size that are seeking a future-ready network architecture.

The CBTS NaaS solution arose from a need for a fully-managed, streamlined, and holistic approach to secure connectivity. Customers in multiple industries were seeking a method to address both their Wi-Fi and firewall concerns, which NaaS is purpose-built to solve. NaaS is also designed to be easily scaled for growth, a major benefit for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), especially those with a need to expand their networks to multiple locations or facilities.

From day one, the NaaS approach has been driven by the goal to simplify the lives and day-to-day processes of every client, regardless of the vertical they occupied or the size of their business. However, implementing a solution is only part of the equation. To ensure success for their clients, CBTS takes the initiative to establish a monitoring environment that allows for continuous system auditing, patching, and improvements to deliver the best experience possible for the client. CBTS accomplishes this by partnering with software company ServiceNow and creating automated monitoring processes that help clients proactively maintain their network environments and databases in the long term.

Commitment, flexibility, and collaboration are the keystones of the NaaS service that CBTS employs for all of its clients. By utilizing the latest technology available and anticipating the needs of its customers, CBTS stays ahead of the curve and consistently delivers intuitive, effective, and future-forward managed solutions for organizations of every size.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can enable your network infrastructure to be smarter and simpler.

Disaster Recovery Solutions that Work

There is little question at this point that cloud-based Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solutions offer tremendous benefits when it comes to backing up, maintaining, and then restoring critical operating environments following a sudden and unexpected outage.

But the fact remains that not all DRaaS platforms are the same. Depending on the needs of the organization and the dependencies of legacy infrastructure and business applications, some DRaaS options are better suited than others—and some could even end up impairing recovery time, or at the very least cost far more than is necessary.

To choose the right architecture of DRaaS for your organization, it helps to understand the fundamentals of the technology and how they affect such critical attributes as security, reliability, operational flow, and cost structures.

Cost containment

The main value proposition that DRaaS brings to the table is the switch from Disaster Recovery (DR) as a capital expense to an operational expense. Cloud-enabled as-a-service-based technology, DRaaS allows businesses to maintain fully replicated secondary environments and production-level infrastructure without the cost of building a duplicate data center that could sit idle for years before serving its purpose. At the same time, DRaaS provides an even greater level of protection by being highly portable. If one support facility is taken down, DRaaS can be easily mirrored to another site. All the while, DRaaS providers have a vested interest to ensure that their services are at the head of the pack and will therefore invest heavily in the latest technologies, the best security, and other features.

Two critical elements in selecting a DRaaS provider are the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and the Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO is a measure of system downtime as it affects core business operations. An e-commerce site, for instance, would have a much shorter RTO than a B2B manufacturer, since every minute of downtime represents lost sales. RPO is a measurement of how far back in time data recovery should extend. Some enterprises might need to restore days or weeks of data, others might require minutes.

DRaaS service providers should also exhibit high proficiency in a number of attributes, among them:

  • Design. A DRaaS partner should be highly adept at replicating your existing environment remotely and then responding quickly to an outage. This usually requires a holistic approach to match the recovery environment with all existing hardware, software, and related resources, as well as business processes and objectives.
  • Testing and documentation. Business is evolving at the speed of data these days, so constant vigilance is needed to ensure changes, incompatibilities, and other detriments to a smooth recovery are quickly identified and eliminated. At the same time, it is important not to let test procedures interfere with ongoing production operations.
  • Management and recovery. Top providers do more than just implement cutting-edge technology. They should also have the expertise and professionalism to ensure smooth data protection and recovery operations. This should encompass the skills needed to solve problems that are unique to every enterprise and provide real-time support when time is of the essence.

Getting all of this right is a huge challenge, which is why many organizations turn to seasoned service providers to ensure a successful DRaaS deployment. At CBTS, we work closely with all cloud providers to ensure clients receive a state-of-the-art solution that maintains deep ties to much of the leading business productivity software deployed in their existing production environments.

The CBTS way

We begin by conducting a complete assessment of all data recovery needs, including RTOs, RPOs, system dependencies, and the like. We also conduct walk-throughs of common DR scenarios and perform a thorough analysis of performance data.

From there, we design and implement an optimal solution featuring both physical and logical characteristics, including replication software at each site. This is backed up by a full complement of DR procedures, subject to regular review by stakeholders.

Finally, we validate and document the entire system by syncing and testing the primary and secondary environments, defining recovery and live test procedures, and creating the full run-book documentation.

Few enterprises have the in-house expertise to navigate this complicated process alone, and relying solely on a cloud provider can produce results that are more beneficial to the provider than the enterprise. With an experienced partner like CBTS on your side, however, you can be sure you’ll get the right DRaaS environment the first time, and that it will continue to evolve with your business needs rather than lock you into a digital ecosystem incapable of meeting the challenges of tomorrow.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can help build your DRaaS environment.

What does a successful migration to the public cloud look like?

The cloud has proven itself to be a valuable resource in the continuing struggle to expand data environments, improve flexibility and performance, and lower the overall cost of IT infrastructure.

But even as the cloud enters its third decade, there is still much to be learned about optimizing disparate resources and migrating workloads to a public cloud environment. As demand for robust, reliable data services increases in the era of 5G and the Internet of Things, organizations of all sizes and across all industries face continuing pressure to get the cloud right.

Building an effective cloud migration plan

The key to meeting this challenge is first determining what a successful cloud migration looks like and then constructing an effective architecture that reduces risk and improves efficiencies during the migration and afterward.

Fortunately, AWS—the world’s leading cloud provider—has established a template of sorts to help organizations achieve optimal results in their cloud. The AWS Well-Architected Framework lays out the five pillars of a successful cloud:

  • 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.

With this framework in hand, enterprise technicians and consulting specialists have a clear idea of what success in the cloud looks like, and this can then be used to guide the migration to a successful conclusion. As a certified partner in the Well-Architected Framework program, CBTS has mastered these five pillars in our drive to deliver exceptional cloud experiences to all of our clients.

In the realm of operational excellence, for example, our architectures adopt the key design principles laid out in the framework. These include the performance of operations as code; the ability to make small, reversible changes and refine procedures frequently; as well as the ability to anticipate failures and learn from them. This level of flexibility is crucial given the rapid pace of change in today’s digital economy and the need to continually evolve to meet new challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

When dealing with security, we have incorporated the framework’s key design principles governing identity monitoring, traceability, multi-layer protection, and automated monitoring and response. With AWS’ Shared Responsibility Model, CBTS clients can be assured that physical-layer infrastructure remains secure while higher-level structures can be customized around individual workloads and compliance requirements.

The journey and the destination

A well-designed cloud is only one aspect of a successful migration, of course. Equally important is the execution, and this is where an experienced partner can be invaluable. At CBTS, our goal is to provide end-to-end support for the full migration and afterwards, when the new cloud environment is running production workloads. To that end, we provide a full suite of design options to ensure the right resources are being applied to the right workloads. From there, we create a seamless, highly secure migration strategy that keeps disruption to a minimum while enabling a swift, smooth transition from the old working architecture to the new. And finally, we offer a wide range of managed service offerings in which our IT professionals take over day-to-day operational requirements, leaving the client’s staff to concentrate on mission-critical strategic initiatives.

The cloud remains an important resource for the enterprise, primarily because it offers an opportunity to try new things and function at levels that exceed the capabilities of traditional infrastructure. But a cloud without order leads to digital chaos, as many organizations that failed to implement the proper controls early on came to understand, and regret.

By partnering with CBTS, organizations gain the best of the cloud–unlimited resources, low operating costs, and cutting-edge tools–without the worry. By delivering top performance, security, scale, and availability using a proven framework developed by the company that invented the cloud, our clients are in a prime position to excel into the next phase of the digital economy.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can manage your next cloud migration.

Take control of third-party programs with proprietary AWS platform solution

With so much business being conducted through mobile and web applications, many forward-thinking enterprises are relying on specialized programs that facilitate transactions and give end-users the tools to customize their products and services.

In many cases, these applications are hosted by third-party entities on exterior platforms. This allows organizations to operate an application while reducing the burden on the rest of its developers. However, the benefits of a proprietary application hosted on a first-party Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform solution are also becoming apparent.

Choosing quality over convenience

Fischer Homes, a home builder founded in 1980 and based in Kentucky, was one such organization that decided to take direct control of a proprietary application using a first-party AWS environment.

As an extensive enterprise that has experienced substantial growth over the last 20 years and has amassed a portfolio of more than 20,000 homes built in five states, Fischer Homes found itself in need of a technology solution that provides its customers with a value-added service. This solution took the form of Sapphire, a third-party application that allows customers to calculate costs, source materials, and plan out the design and construction of their homes. Originally, this application was hosted on an exterior AWS platform managed by the software vendor that managed Sapphire.

Eventually, Fischer Homes made the call to take more direct control of the hosting and management of its Sapphire application by migrating it to a first-party AWS environment. This required the careful examination of the proper network architecture that would be needed to ensure the application performed at peak efficiency and remained accessible to customers.

CBTS and AWS, partnering for success

To facilitate a successful transition to a first-party AWS platform, Fischer Homes turned to the experts at CBTS for assistance. Their goals were to solve the issue of slow performance, minimize dependence on cloud computing, reduce the total cost of ownership, and strengthen network security.

As an Advanced Consulting AWS partner, with over 50 AWS certifications, CBTS is your trusted partner to ensure your journey to the public cloud is a success.  

CBTS went about meeting these goals by launching a site audit to diagnose the cause of Sapphire’s connection and performance bottlenecks. CBTS also reviewed the current architecture of Fischer Homes’ AWS environment to design a Well-Architected Framework (WAF), outline best practices for security, and establish a roadmap for the building of Fischer’s new environment.

CBTS assessed potential risk exposure during the planning phase, configured private subnets that limited exposure of private IP addresses, and deployed proactive and automated network protection measures—providing a window of visibility and real-time insights into the operational health of the network.

As a result, CBTS determined that the performance bottlenecks were related to the central processing units of end-users, the size of which directly affected application performance. To solve this issue, CBTS proposed the implementation of a managed remote desktop service, which would make up the difference in processing power when users with weaker CPUs could still access the Sapphire application with minimal loss of performance.

The case of Fischer Homes and its Sapphire application demonstrates that hosting an application through a third party to save on operation costs doesn’t always lead to favorable client outcomes. When an AWS solution is purpose-built for your organization, you can see the benefits in greater control over connection quality and a better user experience for your customers.

Contact CBTS for more information on how a customized AWS platform can deliver better performance for your applications.