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Expert breakdown webcast series: Microsoft Teams in the Big Picture

Team collaboration is evolving quickly as companies strive to maintain smooth operations and meaningful interactions, whether working from home or utilizing traditional office environments.

Service providers, master agents, partners, and customers alike are exploring new tools and channel options with a multitude of questions about the future of communication. To tackle these questions and help you navigate the solutions, CBTS will host a three-part webcast series during which our experts will break down Microsoft Teams in the Big Picture.

Through three engaging discussions, this series will explore the most pressing issues and opportunities surrounding collaboration tools today. Below is an overview of what we’ll cover.

Webcast Series 3.1: Comparing collaboration platforms

In the first installment of this webcast series, the team of CBTS experts will compare major collaboration platforms including Cisco Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams. By examining the benefits and downsides of each platform, this webcast will explore how different collaboration tools integrate with Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to provide a seamless experience from the desktop to the cloud.

The first webcast will feature insights from CBTS experts including Justin Rice, Senior Solutions Architect; Matt Douglass, Senior Director of Solution Engineering; and Alex Broome, Senior Sales Engineer.

Secure your spot now for this webcast, scheduled for Wednesday, September 16, at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
Sign up here

Webcast Series 3.2: Taking a technical deep dive

In the second session of this Expert Breakdown series, we’ll take a technical deep dive into Cisco Webex Teams, Microsoft Teams Direct Routing, and UCaaS.

We’ll evaluate how Direct Routing connects Microsoft Teams to SIP trunks and third-party voice applications. Then, we’ll highlight the game-changing advantages of combining the Cisco Webex Teams toolset with Cisco UCaaS integrations from CBTS.

Join our duo of technical experts—Chris Pope, Director of Solution Design, and Matt Douglass, Senior Director of Solution Engineering—to take a closer look at these integration issues.

Reserve your virtual seat today for this webcast, scheduled for Wednesday, September 23, at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
Register here

Webcast Series 3.3: Exploring work-from-home collaboration

The final webcast of the series will explore how companies can use remote collaboration tools to excel in today’s new work-from-home environment. Through a live panel discussion moderated by CBTS Channel Chief Rob Messmer, several cloud experts will analyze how collaboration tools like UCaaS and SD-WAN can elevate remote work productivity like never before.

A panel of experts—featuring Cisco Cloud Calling Specialist Bryan Wilson, Director of Cloud Networking Jon Lloyd, and Senior Director of Solution Engineering Matt Douglass—will confront the biggest questions, challenges, and opportunities surrounding remote collaboration. By the end of the conversation, your business will be better equipped to make the most of working from home.

Tune in to participate in the live Q&A, scheduled for Wednesday, September 30 at 1 p.m. EDT.
Reserve your spot here

Navigating all the different platforms and potential pitfalls of today’s rapidly shifting communications experience can be a challenge, whether you have sophisticated IT resources or a one-person IT department. That’s why CBTS designed this new webcast series to explore Microsoft Teams in the Big Picture and guide companies through the maze of collaboration tools impacting operations in every industry.

Join our three-part webcast series to find answers to your biggest collaboration questions.

Register for Webcast Series 3.1

Register for Webcast Series 3.2

Register for Webcast Series 3.3

Revamping an outdated network with SD-WAN and NaaS

Growth, and having a plan to achieve it, is critical for any enterprise. However, growing your business is difficult when aging technology, an outdated network, and thinly-stretched IT resources are holding you back.

The Kleingers Group, a civil engineering, transportation, land surveying, and landscape architecture firm with approximately 120 employees and offices in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Louisville, had a similar issue.

The company contended with various IT challenges and had precious few qualified employees to do so. Instead of focusing on the core strategic initiatives needed to drive the company’s bottom line, these specialists were instead bogged down by the many tasks involved with managing an outdated network and aging telecom system, resulting in frequent downtime.

This outdated network had been assembled out of equipment from multiple vendors, creating a cluttered and chaotic environment for the IT staff to navigate. Additionally, the client’s phone system originated from a vendor that had gone out of business, making replacements or repairs needlessly expensive and time-consuming.

Employees in the client’s Cincinnati, Dayton, and Chicago offices were also collaborating through expensive equipment that was managed through a separate vendor. This sprawling web of vendor relationships, paired with the obsolete and costly nature of much of the technology itself, led to severe difficulty in daily operations. A fourth office, which was preparing to open in Louisville, required a more streamlined and comprehensive connectivity solution that was scalable and more suited for the growth that The Kleingers Group was planning.

The Kleingers Group sought help from communication provider Parallel Technologies, Inc., a member of the CBTS Partner Channel, to assess The Kleingers Group’s network environment and formulate a solution.

A full-spectrum audit of The Kleingers Group’s telecom and network environment was launched with the intent to identify opportunities to remake the client’s IT infrastructure from the ground up. Throughout this process, experts from CBTS and Parallel worked closely with the client to plan the implementation of new tools and solutions, including a new cloud-based network and voice service.

“Parallel and CBTS came into our organization two years ago and were critical to helping us achieve our business goals. They understood the technology needs that Kleingers had in order to grow and proposed a strategy to move us forward. They worked with The Kleingers Group’s IT staff to find a solution that would fit our business needs and facilitate future growth.” —Mike Pillman, Systems Administrator, The Kleingers Group

CBTS launched a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) solution that could seamlessly integrate the client’s branches with a single pane of glass management console to simplify operations. CBTS also provided the Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) necessary to support reliable connections between all four Kleingers locations, with no third party needed to manage the branch network.

Additionally, Parallel installed a Mitel MiVoice Connect voice solution that would operate in concert with the CBTS NaaS and SD-WAN solutions. This added functionality was intended to empower The Kleingers Group’s growth and expansion strategy.

When all solutions were put into place by CBTS and Parallel, the client had at its disposal a reinvented and reinvigorated network that was capable of supporting its multiple branches and ambitious growth strategy. The Kleingers Group also had the benefit of full transparency into the performance of this new network thanks to the management tools provided by the customized SD-WAN and NaaS solutions.

The close partnership of Parallel’s IT support staff—which oversees the client’s new network and voice system—frees up resources for Kleingers, allowing its own personnel to concentrate their attention from an outdated network to more mission-critical strategic initiatives.

Contact CBTS for more information on how a managed NaaS and SD-WAN solution can help your organization achieve its strategic goals.

Download the full case study to learn more about how CBTS and Parallel Technologies created a comprehensive, cloud-enabled networking solution that revamped The Kleingers Group’s outdated network with SD-WAN and NaaS.

A Q&A on VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud

CBTS recently put together a three-part webcast series centered on VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud. The panel, moderated by Channel Chief Rob Messmer, features VP & CTO-SD-WAN at VMware Craig Connors, CBTS Director of Cloud Networking Jon Lloyd, and CBTS Senior Director of Solution Engineering Matt Douglass. The three-part webcast series breaks down the top questions about VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud.

What is the story behind VeloCloud?

“I’ve been in the WAN space since 2007. When I joined the founding engineering team at Talari Networks, it was the first time we looked at what MPLS was doing and asked if we can do it across the public internet. I joined VeloCloud in 2013, and in 2018 the cloud began to become part of our daily lives, and the idea of keeping the cloud a cohesive part of network infrastructure was really innovative and forward-looking.” – Craig Connors, VP & CTO-SD-WAN at VMware

What are the core differentiators for VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud?

“There are two major differentiators: 1) Gateways that serve as a direct on-ramp to SaaS. We can build an overlay using one or more links from your end location to gateways and not just steer around problems that happen, like a lot of SD-WANs do, but we can mitigate problems such as jitter and packet loss. Even with a single link, with  packet loss, you can still get high-quality business connectivity, even for applications living in the cloud.

“And, 2) Dynamic Multipath Optimization with (a) Continuous Link Monitoring, (b) Dynamic Per Packet Steering, and (c) On-Demand Remediation. Everything we do—measurement-wise, error correction-wise, traffic steering-wise—is unidirectional. We’re measuring upstream and downstream independently. Per-packet steering allows us to move traffic at any time to link in a sub-second fashion.” – Craig Connors, VP & CTO-SD-WAN at VMware

How does CBTS communicate all of the value and technology behind VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud to its channel partner agent resellers?

“When a customer says, ‘Help me understand that this is not marketecture and that it’s architecture,’ we can show you the traffic, show you moving it…we can show you the results of tests we did back in 2016. For us, the proof is in what we do today, especially now with remote work.” – Jon Lloyd, CBTS Director of Cloud Networking

How does VeloCloud view next-generation security features like UTM, malware protection, etc.?

“There are two sides to the question, and the first one is SASE (secure access service edge). When you look at SASE, you get a consolidation of cloud firewalling, secure web gateways, ZTNA, and SD-WAN. On the other side, SASE is all about market consolidation and a single vendor—a single pane of glass network simplification. We’re able to facilitate security in a flexible way, working with any vendor a customer may prefer.” – Craig Connors, VP & CTO-SD-WAN at VMware

How does CBTS bring Check Point CloudGuard Connect into the SD-WAN story?

“What we wanted to do with Check Point CloudGuard Connect and with the Check Point suite was complement what we’ve already been doing for customers for five years with the VMware SD-WAN platform. Some customers are going to want this, and some are going to want that, and our job is to be able to make sure we’re delivering with an easy-to-consume wrapper.” – Jon Lloyd, CBTS Director of Cloud Networking

What are some important aspects for customers to know about the SASE market?

“I think the important thing for customers to remember is SASE is big in the hype cycle right now. There’s a lot of companies rushing to try to ride that wave of hype. And one thing you’ll never hear me say is “good enough security.” That’s a term that people throw around. And I think something that we take seriously at VMware is we’re the leader in SD-WAN Workspace ONE, tens of millions of devices under management. We believe that’s a best-in-breed solution for UEM for ZTNA, bringing those together.” – Craig Connors, VP & CTO-SD-WAN at VMware  

How does VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud and Check Point fit into the customer’s journey to the cloud?

“This is a unique time for us in the channel to talk about business outcomes and building outcome-based networks for customers. One of the things that my sales engineering team has been most excited about is that these tools—VeloCloud, Check Point, all the things we’re talking about—allow us really to be meeting with customers and start talking about business outcomes.

“We actually will write on a whiteboard that we build what we believe is outcome-based networking. And so, a lot of our work is sitting with the customer and saying, okay, what are your applications that are going site to site? That are going site to data center, site to SaaS application, site to AWS or Azure? There is now this work-from-home component. How do we layer in the right security solutions? Because VeloCloud, Check Point, and CBTS are positioned as a managed service provider, it really allows us to build very customer-specific solutions.” – Matt Douglas, Senior Director of Solution Engineering

What are the industries that you are surprised about adopting cloud technologies like VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud?

“Retail, banking, sports stadiums, and healthcare are all taking advantage.” – Craig Connors, VP & CTO-SD-WAN at VMware

How does CBTS, as a service provider, keep pace with what key partners like VMware and VeloCloud are doing in the market?

“It starts with a great partnership and understanding of where VMware is going. There’s an open flow of communication and knowing ahead of time what will be rolling out so we can be prepared.” – Jon Lloyd, CBTS Director of Cloud Networking

Visit Expert Breakdown: VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud Series 2.1-2.3 Webcast Replay for a full recap and to view all webcasts in the series.

Download our SD-WAN CIO Tools to learn how integrating SD-WAN into your infrastructure can deliver better performance and outcomes for your organization.

VMware SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud

VMware SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud provides limitless and optimized access across the entire enterprise organization for cloud applications and services while simplifying implementations and centrally managing all network activity. Using a flexible, agile, and scalable delivery model, VeloCloud is the only SD-WAN solution fully able to leverage all the benefits of the cloud.


CBTS is a leading technology provider to enterprises in all industries, including dozens of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies. What sets us apart is the agility, flexible delivery models, and client focus of a smaller company coupled with the ability to deliver the resources, scale, and capabilities required by large organizations. Ask how CBTS can help you capitalize on the cloud today.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can implement state-of-the-art SD-WAN solutions for your organization.

How SD-WAN is revolutionizing hybrid networks for the cloud era

For IT service providers and the enterprises they support, Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology is quickly establishing itself as a revolutionary concept and a valuable tool for organizations hoping to thrive in the age of cloud computing.

The value of SD-WAN technology is projected by the International Data Corporation to reach $8 billion in 2021. This strong rate of growth indicates the volume of organizations turning to SD-WAN solutions to prepare their networks for the cloud era, regardless of the industry vertical they occupy.

Through SD-WAN, small-to-midsize businesses and international enterprises alike can gain the tools to develop, deploy, monitor, and manage their own cloud-delivered private, public, and hybrid wireless networks. Unprecedented levels of network visibility and control are also possible through SD-WAN, making it easier than ever before for users to completely transform their IT infrastructures for peak performance.

Specifically, VMware SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud offers a wide range of functions, including dynamic packet routing, simplified deployment, and the convenient Orchestrator management tool. This variety of tools enables users to measure the quality of their connections, efficiently route traffic, and address impediments across multiple network pathways, whether they’re managing branch offices or traditional data centers.

With cloud-capable solutions like SD-WAN growing more available, levels of network transformation that were only dreamt of a few years ago are within reach. This technological leap forward is very timely, given the recent explosion in demand for secure and reliable remote office collaboration capabilities. By some estimates, traffic between branch office networks is doubling every three years—indicating that the time has never been more right to buy into the SD-WAN revolution.

A hybrid networking strategy provided by cloud-enabled SD-WAN can also mean significant savings over more traditional multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) architectures. By dropping MPLS, adopting SD-WAN, and embracing broadband and 4G LTE as a backup, several major retailers are seeing savings of up to 40 percent on networking costs. Shifting to a versatile, hybrid network can also cut expenses in the long run by addressing future needs ahead of time. Additionally, SD-WAN’s ease of deployment can cut down on costly downtime.

However, before making moves to adopt SD-WAN and all the advances that come with it, enterprises must carefully research and assess the various providers offering SD-WAN solutions. An ideal partner should be capable of providing a full-spectrum cloud-delivered SD-WAN environment that interfaces with any cloud service, any network transport, and any vendor. VeloCloud is one such provider, offering a versatile cloud architecture that comes complete with controllers, gateways, edges, and the Orchestrator management tool.

To date, VMware SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud has provided high-end network solutions for more than 1,000 customers and 50,000 sites. The company prides itself on its ability to launch and stand up its proprietary SD-WAN instance in less than 30 days, delivering fast results for the client.

Change can make enterprise leaders nervous, and that’s understandable. Many organizations with entrenched MPLS network environments are hesitant to move away from them because of long-standing relationships with trusted vendors. That’s where SD-WAN comes in to serve as a hybrid network solution. By implementing SD-WAN as a streamlining influence, various transports such as 4G wireless, cable, and broadband can come together with legacy MPLS to create flexibility and versatility where there might otherwise be utter chaos.

Download our SD-WAN CIO Tools to learn how integrating SD-WAN into your infrastructure can deliver better performance and outcomes for your organization.

VMware SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud

VMware SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud provides limitless and optimized access across the entire enterprise organization for cloud applications and services while simplifying implementations and centrally managing all network activity. Using a flexible, agile, and scalable delivery model, VeloCloud is the only SD-WAN solution fully able to leverage all the benefits of the cloud.


CBTS is a leading technology provider to enterprises in all industries, including dozens of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies. What sets us apart is the agility, flexible delivery models, and client focus of a smaller company coupled with the ability to deliver the resources, scale, and capabilities required by large organizations. Ask how CBTS can help you capitalize on the cloud today.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can help transform your organization’s network environment with a customized SD-WAN solution.

Improving the remote collaboration experience

When COVID-19 made working from home mandatory, many companies struggled to bring corporate communication tools into remote work environments. Webcams and headsets quickly became the new norm as home-based employees tried to keep noisy kids from disrupting their video conferences.

When CBTS began working from home in March, we started to explore how to collaborate more effectively to enhance the experience of working remotely.  We were used to face-to-face communication, so we wanted to recreate that environment at home.

Now, as businesses move from pandemic mode to long-term planning, executives expect higher quality, fewer distractions, and easier integration as they prepare employees for long-term remote productivity. In fact, according to a recent Gartner survey, nearly three-fourths of CFOs plan to move 5% of their on-site workforce to remote positions, and a quarter of them plan to make at least 20% of positions permanently remote post-COVID.

To make this shift successful, businesses must examine and enhance their remote meeting experience by equipping employees with intuitive collaboration tools that turn any home office into a professional conference room.

The new normal

Even in this age of high-tech communication, many meetings still require face-to-face interaction. When global pandemics or scheduling logistics prevent physical meetings, workers in every industry need reliable tools to collaborate from separate locations.

For example:

  • Executives sharing financial reports with investors.
  • Employees huddling together to plan tasks.
  • Engineers collaborating to design new prototypes.
  • Sales reps presenting products to prospective customers.
  • Support teams troubleshooting issues with clients.

As vital as it is to facilitate interaction between remote workers internally, it’s even more critical that companies offer clients and prospects a platform for interaction outside of the conference room. Providing an enhanced collaboration experience can exert credibility and professionalism.

Under pressure to manage costs more tightly, business leaders are realizing that remote collaboration tools can actually save them money. Not only do virtual meetings reduce the need to travel (and the related expenses incurred on business trips), but they also produce significant real estate savings, since physical office space is no longer required for face-to-face communication.

According to the Gartner survey, 22% of businesses have reduced real estate expenses (or plan to) because of remote work. Similarly, 20% of respondents have deferred on-premises technology spending, with many issuing work-from-home equipment instead.

New solutions for remote collaboration

To deliver a secure, streamlined collaboration experience that engages employees and clients, CBTS offers a state-of-the-art solution through the Secure Remote Collaboration portfolio. Custom-designed for the huddle workstyle, The Secure Remote Collaboration portfolio includes robust endpoint options such as the Cisco Webex Room Kit Mini, as well as the Cisco Webex Desk Pro. These all-in-one collaboration tools offer features such as cameras and microphones that can be easily mounted on any monitor.

As entire industries shift toward virtual meetings, the Secure Remote Collaboration portfolio provides four key features that foster enhanced collaboration

Smart meetings

The camera’s “best overview” feature automatically detects meeting participants to provide ideal framing. Meanwhile, automatic noise suppression minimizes distractions by reducing background sounds like rustling papers or children yelling in the next room.

“One Button to Push” functionality makes it easy for participants to join scheduled meetings withno more clicking around, trying to find the meeting link. Although the process of joining meetings is simplified, end-to-end security prevents uninvited guests from entering.

Smart presentations

Wired and wireless content sharing elevates the virtual experience by allowing groups to view and annotate whiteboard presentations through the Cisco Webex Teams app.

Smart rooms

By combining high-definition audio and video, the collaboration portfolio improves interactions with intelligent collaboration tools typical of much larger systems. The camera even counts participants, enabling utilization analytics and insights to guide future resource planning.

Flexible integrations

With its seamless integration of Cisco Webex software, the portfolio delivers continuous workflow by registering either on-premises or to the cloud. Plus, interoperability with any cloud-based video conferencing provider gives users the flexibility to leverage the same sleek functionality whether they’re joining Webex conferences, Zoom meetings, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or any other platform.

By empowering people to meet instantly and securely via any device in any location, this Cisco Webex solution from CBTS enhances remote collaboration anywhere—helping businesses minimize wasted time and expense while maximizing the remote work experience for customer-facing employees.

Learn more about the Secure Remote Collaboration portfolio’s features that designed to streamline remote communication.

Contact us today to get your first month’s subscription to Webex FREE when you deploy the Secure Remote Collaboration portfolio for your remote workforce.

Cut costs and create a future-proof network with managed NaaS and UCaaS solutions

Champion Windows & Home Exteriors is a Cincinnati-based manufacturer and distributor of windows, siding, roofing, and doors with 55 factory showroom locations across the United States. The growing enterprise was looking to future-proof its network, upgrade its security, boost performance across its network, and provide a better customer experience for internal and external customers. 

Champion Windows & Home Exteriors chose to partner with CBTS to solve its issues and prepare the business for the future. There were a number of challenges presented to CBTS to solve:

  • A slow and expensive multi-protocol label-switching (MPLS) network.
  • The need for a universal network platform that could be centrally controlled and connected to all locations.
  • The need for a universal integrated phone system.
  • Improved bandwidth at 55 nationwide locations with the ability to access cloud applications.
  • The need for a superior MPLS provider focused on customer service and company success.

A future-proof, cost-effective, connected, and secure network

CBTS went to work and recommended Network as a Service (NaaS) with Hosted Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). The tailored solution would meet Champion Windows’ goals of connectivity, budget, and superior customer service. 

The CBTS solution provided Champion Windows with the following benefits: 

  • Higher bandwidth, more performance, at lower costs compared to traditional MPLS. 
  • A secure firewall to protect customer resources. 
  • An agile cloud-based network infrastructure. 
  • Hosted Unified Communications (UC) that frees up internal IT resources to focus on other important initiatives. 
  • The elimination of costly, obsolete technology.

Cut your IT costs in half  When the dust had settled, the results for Champion Windows exceeded the company’s expectations. Compared to its old network, it was now enjoying a 50% savings in cost.

The CBTS scalable solution allowed Champion to only pay for what it needed. Not only did it cut costs in half, but it also got the performance it needed. Champion enjoys increased speed and connectivity, improved security across all locations, better customer service, and the ability to scale services as it grows within a future-proof network. 

Choosing the right technology partner saves your budget 

More and more technology vendors are emerging as companies realize the improved performance and cost savings of switching to Network as a Service (NaaS) solutions with Hosted Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). Evaluating the different vendors and platforms goes beyond the features and benefits of the applications that those vendors use. The process also involves establishing user policies and formulating a plan for efficient implementation and training.

Here are three important questions to ask prospective technology partners before you hire them: 

  1. How established is the technology partner and their tools, and is security a top priority? The best companies use a holistic approach to security and employ experienced security personnel to identify and eliminate threats proactively. 
  2. How does the technology partner support rollout and training? A good partner helps establish policies to reinforce your company’s security and simplify implementation. 
  3. Does the vendor support end-to-end connectivity for today’s agile workforce? Managing a hosted application environment requires visibility across the entire organization with the ability to monitor threats in real-time. 

Working with an experienced technology partner cuts costs by improving efficiency and processes, as well as reducing the costs of security breaches. 

Ready to cut your IT costs in half and get better results? Read the full Champion Windows & Home Exteriors case study and Connect with CBTS to get a free assessment. 

Enable remote branch employees with SD-WAN

Working outside the office is rapidly becoming the new normal and, in some ways, home offices are the new branch facilities. Many remote working situations put employees at a disadvantage; those working at home may have to share their wireless bandwidth with family members and their devices, while those in branch offices may be dealing with underpowered networks compared to their traditional workspaces.

This is becoming a widespread issue as major corporations and enterprises are continuing to shutter office buildings for safety reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these organizations are now relying on employees’ home and remote environments to serve as fully functioning branch locations.

These “temporary” remote working situations are no longer temporary in many cases, with several enterprises putting off plans to return to traditional office environments. Therefore, to avoid productivity losses and to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on mission-critical business goals, enterprises relying on remote environments must equip their employees with networking capability equal to what is available in more traditional office settings.

To support the many organizations struggling to equip their remote branch employees for success, CBTS is offering a suite of networking solutions that can empower remote branch employees to connect with reliable signal strength no matter where they’re working from or how many users or devices they’re sharing their remote branch with.

For years, CBTS has been on a mission to fix networks, not just the devices that connect to them. That mission continues with the Meraki Remote Work Bundle, which includes the MX67C Firewall and 1G LTE SIM card, a fully managed cloud security solution complete with automatic VPN and LTE connection functionality.

This package offers a robust collection content and search filtering, anti-malware, self-provisioning, and remote management features. This not only keeps remote employees safe from intrusion outside the office, but it also allows network administrators to maintain access for remote branch workers without the need to be physically on-site. The integrated LTE technology also allows for remote cellular visibility without the external hardware or configuration requirements of similar networking platforms, making this bundle an all-in-one remote networking solution.

Other options for enterprises looking to optimize connectivity and efficiency for their remote branch employees include the VMware SD-WAN 510 LTE Edge with 10mbps license. This provisioned appliance enables secure connectivity to proprietary applications and protected data regardless of location. It also allows remote branch employees to access private data centers, public clouds, and other sources, all with unparalleled signal strength, more reliable coverage, and fewer compatibility issues than non-standardized USB modems. Additionally, this package comes with a 1G LTE data plan.

In addition to these network-boosting hardware solutions, Check Point CloudGuard can be added on to deliver managed cloud security services at the enterprise level—making remote branch traffic smoother and creating secure connections over traditional internet and hybrid WAN transports.

With this array of solutions, CBTS seeks to solve networking challenges at their source by transforming the connections that modern enterprises rely on instead of simply installing new devices. These services offer a cost-effective way to make remote branch operations more reliable, secure, and effective, with proven LTE technology serving as a backup transport.

Contact us for more information on our range of remote working solutions and managed services.

Hosted cloud security with Check Point CloudGuard delivers active threat prevention.

Give your remote teams the tools to connect seamlessly with Cisco Webex

According to recent findings, 37 percent of employee time is spent in meetings. Is your team connecting effortlessly and securely? Are you providing an intuitive experience for your remote employees? 

Today, more than ever before, there is a need for teams to connect remotely with as little hassle as possible. Seventy-two percent of executives rated “effective team communication” and “collaboration” as key drivers of business success. 2020 has been and continues to be the year of the remote workforce. Which platforms and tools emerged as the best solutions for working remotely? Although there have been and still are many remote work platforms to choose from, Cisco Webex has emerged as the clear preferred choice for companies with remote teams. 

Cisco was recently recognized as a leader in five collaboration-focused Gartner Magic Quadrants, including web conferencing and group video systems. 

Whether you are working remotely, planning meetings in advance, or collaborating whenever and wherever inspiration strikes, Cisco Webex helps you make the most of your team’s time. With continuous collaboration, your teams can connect effortlessly, make meetings intuitive, and optimize their efficiency. 

How a secure cloud team collaboration platform works  

Cisco Webex ensures continuous and seamless team communication no matter where your team is located. When properly implemented, it can help you beat your competition by improving your teams’ efficiency on time-sensitive tasks, projects, and proposals. 

The following is a typical scenario illustrating how Cisco’s Webex helps companies beat the competition. 

  • 8:58 AM – A customer calls to ask for a proposal and needs it ASAP. With only hours to get it done, you create a new Cisco Webex Teams space and add all of your team members. 
  • 9:10 AM – You begin posting relevant documents using file sharing. Your teams get to work on the agenda and select a time to meet. 
  • 10:00 AM – At the set meeting time, team members click the Cisco Webex Teams link on their calendar and join. Team members are able to seamlessly access the meeting on any device, from any location. 
  • 10:05 AM – The meeting is underway, and team members are speaking face-to-face using video, sharing applications and screens, and brainstorming ideas using the whiteboard. 
  • 11:15 AM – After the meeting finishes, team members are back to work and messaging about action items in your Cisco Webex Teams space. Revised files are posted so everyone can find the most updated version easily.
  • 1:59 PM – Conversations continue, and team members message their task updates, share files, and stay connected on deliverables and deadlines. Some initiate one-on-one meetings on demand to iron out small details face to face. 
  • 3:45 PM – You deliver the proposal to your customer, ahead of the 5:00 p.m. deadline. All of your files, messages, whiteboard drawings, and action items are saved in your dedicated Cisco Webex Teams space so you never lose context. 
  • 6:15 PM – The customer calls after reviewing the proposal—you’ve won the deal! Your competition was unable to provide viable proposals within the short deadline window. 

Cisco Webex improves your productivity throughout your organization

The better your team communicates, the more productive every team member will be. Webex helps companies improve communication and productivity every day. A Techvalidate survey showed: 

  • 86% of users report shorter and more effective meetings. 
  • 83% report faster decision making. 
  • 88% report easier engagement with experts. 
  • 90% report improved collaboration with team members. 

A secure collaboration platform 

The collaboration tools your teams use every day contain some of your company’s most sensitive information. When your teams are collaborating remotely, the need for enhanced security arises. When employees use personal devices, the risk for a security breach increases. 

The security features built into Cisco Webex applications make it an easy choice for corporations, institutions, and government agencies worldwide. For more information on the security features Cisco Webex applications offer, read the whitepaper linked here.

Ready to make the most of your team’s remote communication?

Download this Collaboration Use Case from CBTS and Cisco for an example of continuous workflow before, during, and after the meeting.

Learn more about collaboration solutions from CBTS and how to securely connect with remote employees and teams.

Q&A: Secure networking utilizing robust SD-WAN solutions

CBTS recently partnered with cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point to deliver a Network Security as a Service with Check Point CloudGuard and Custom SD-WAN integration solution. Given today’s advanced cyber threats, CloudGuard is designed to benefit customers looking to secure their VMware SD-WAN infrastructure powered by VeloCloud, now part of VMware.

In a recent webcast series hosted by CBTS, a panel of experts emphasized the importance of leveraging new SD-WAN solutions to safely help customers along the path to digital transformation.

Why did CBTS and Check Point partner on this solution?

“We understand that each network is going to be different, and a lot of times we don’t look to connect people or connect buildings, but to deliver business outcomes. With Check Point we’re able to do that, because whether you’re looking to protect the software-defined perimeter or the end-point user with applications moving to the cloud, we have that with CloudGuard.

If you’re looking for something locally at the data center, we have the Check Point physical hardware lineup that’s still managed from that same centralized control plan. We can take all the pieces of Check Point to build a customized solution that has the same ease of traditional SD-WAN networks. We’re taking that ease into the complex security space.” – Jon Lloyd, director of cloud networking, CBTS

How does this technology interweave with SD-WAN?

“We started seeing interest in this 18 months ago. We would be in the field and presenting SD-WAN and how we would integrate it with your firewalls at a location, branch or data center. People started asking, ‘What about cloud security?’  “What we’re really seeing is how are people building a network of clouds, because applications are moving to the cloud with all of us working from home. Whether we’re talking about a secure cloud for your SD-WAN domain, or a data center if you’ve got inbound traffic, or our mobile workforce. People are starting to work with an SD-WAN solutions provider and also integrating a full suite of security services. We’re bringing a very robust environment that can support a data center, branch, cloud, or mobile workforce.” – Matt Douglass, senior director of solution engineering, CBTS

Can you talk about pricing model flexibility with this solution?

“The cloud products we’ve seen have been built for the larger enterprise market. When you start to bring these solutions to the mid-market, you’ve got to meet some price points and have some flexibility. Check Point has done a great job in building a product at a price point that’s easier to absorb in the mid-market space.” – Matt Douglass

How is this technology relevant in our new work-from-home environment?

“We keep coming back to flexibility. We can provide a work-from-home solution with a VeloCloud SD-WAN deployment where I’m putting a VeloCloud Edge with built-in LTE in my house. I’ve moved mission-critical businesses applications home.

“What happens when that internet goes down? Having VeloCloud Edge with built-in LTE gives me survivability to my network. We can deliver security whether it’s off of an SD-WAN deployment, or the roaming user that runs on your device. I can supply that same security without taxing my resources.” – Jon Lloyd

How does this solution protect SaaS for customers?

“We were able to provide SaaS security in an in-network connectivity approach. When you are connected to an SaaS application, we can provide security on that connection going across a network. The platform provides the capability to inspect the data on SaaS applications. We realized customers might want a more integrated approach in securing e-mail, for example.” – Marco Garcia, director of security/sales engineering, Check Point

What other security benefits does this technology provide?

“You are now moving the threat plain away from your front door. With a cloud-based solution, you’re moving your threat plain to the cloud. Now we’ve got quicker response. As soon a threat’s recognized for one user, that (solution) gets applied for everybody.” – Matt Douglass

How are customers using the solution supported?

“It’s going through our 24×7 support desk and CBTS employees. What we’ve been able to do with Check Point and VeloCloud is un-handcuff customers from the giant conglomerate. What these new technologies allow customers to do is be able to expand.” – Jon Lloyd

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How SD-WAN answers the challenge of remote workforce networking

Enterprises of all types and sizes these days are struggling with the difficulties of setting up functioning remote workforce networking and communications infrastructure. Given the speed at which the COVID-19 crisis prompted this transition, it’s no wonder that many solutions to date have been piecemeal, ad hoc, and have exhibited limited performance.

Now that it seems that this new working paradigm is not likely to be temporary, the time is quickly approaching when these rushed solutions take on a more permanent aura, but not so permanent that they become too rigid to accommodate another fast-moving crisis or simply the rapidly-evolving digital economy. Remote working solutions can’t compromise on security or connection quality. Therefore, each employee’s home office requires the same data integrity measures and networking capabilities utilized in traditional office environments.

Fortunately, we can look to one industry sector that has been forced by necessity to quickly ramp up remote data infrastructure at scale while still fostering the long-term data performance for the new working environment. This would be the healthcare industry, which was tasked with rapidly establishing field operations to treat COVID patients using much the same networking technology that knowledge workers across the board need for a productive work-at-home setup.

Recently, Jon Lloyd, Director of Cloud Networking, CBTS and Sanjay Uppal, SVP & GM VMware, VeloCloud BU sat down to discuss these topics:

  • Parallel between IU Health remote testing sites and transforming each home office a fully functioning branch office
  • How to deliver the same performance, security and network resiliency in non-traditional locations and across all devices
  • Agility to stand-up remote office networks quickly, scale quickly and do so with a reliable connection

Networking in the field

A key example is Indiana University Health, which turned to CBTS and VeloCloud to establish a working SD-WAN solution capable of supporting the substantial data loads of field clinics that were quickly created in parking lots and other locations as a way to prevent the coronavirus from infiltrating existing hospital space. In addition to maintaining broad connectivity among healthcare workers and continuous data streams back to central facilities, IU Health needed to maintain high levels of security, resiliency, availability, and a host of other metrics needed to deal with an unfolding emergency situation.

IU Health’s network of “pop-up” testing centers required the same access to data and services that established hospitals receive, including ongoing patient monitoring through connected medical devices. Using VeloCloud’s VMware-based SD-WAN solution, the company was able to field a working network environment on extremely short notice (as little as 24 hours in some cases) while at the same time building in the necessary scalability, agility, and mobile accessibility needed to deliver top-notch care. Additionally, VeloCloud was able to provide a range of proprietary collaboration tools and cloud-based applications to enable such features as network prioritization and single-point-of-contact monitoring and maintenance dashboards.

The relevancy of this solution expands well beyond the unique needs of the healthcare industry and applies to many other industries. While the data and applications may be different, the networking needs of at-home workers and remote clinicians are very similar. One key requirement is the ability to extend existing networks to large numbers of people while maintaining strict security standards, which requires a bit more finesse than simply logging into central resources with a VPN. With a standard VPN appliance, the challenge is to connect all users independently via their own connections, which can quickly increase costs and degrade performance as more users tap in. Under VeloCloud’s gateway architecture, there is one connection that can scale to extreme numbers of users, all operating as if they were working from a fully functional remote office. A managed SD-WAN service from a trusted partner can make all the difference when attempting to stand up a large number of remote work spaces on a limited time frame.

Work-home data balance

Another issue is the way home offices blend personal and work-related data on the same network infrastructure. This can lead to performance and privacy concerns as organizations try to maintain high-quality applications without hampering home services like video streaming and gaming. Naturally, enterprises would like their applications to have priority over personal services, but making this happen without encroaching on the privacy of home workers and their families is a challenge. At the same time, organizations have a vested interest in maintaining security over their data and applications, but this can be difficult when these streams are combined with personal data and applications on the same network.

With VeloCloud’s network segmentation capabilities, however, workers are able to split their professional and personal data streams into distinct network tunnels. And since this is done through a cloud-based ERM tool, this capability is pushed out to the remote workforce with little to no provisioning or setup on their end.

This need for simplicity extends across the entire VeloCloud platform, which was designed around a “zero touch” architecture in which many of the manual processes required for installation and operations are entirely automated. In this way, non-technical users are not burdened with the intricacies of resource provisioning and network access (which sometimes stumps even experienced network engineers), allowing fully functional office environments to be implemented quickly and easily.

It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention, and the necessity brought on by a sudden and unexpected worldwide pandemic has forced virtually every business on the planet to invent remote work infrastructure from scratch. Going forward, however, these systems will have to adapt to the broader shifts in the nature of work that will likely to continue long after the virus has been neutralized.

A partner like CBTS, which can bring to bear multiple solutions to remote workforce networking like VeloCloud to craft truly unique environments for each and every client, will be crucial in the drive to embrace the new normal. Ultimately, only those companies that can successfully manage this transition will survive, and those that can do it quickly and effectively will find themselves at a distinct competitive advantage as the digitization of work and commerce unfolds.

For information on how CBTS can help you set up a remote workforce network, contact us.