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2023 Strategic Roadmap: The Future of SD-WAN

The future (and arguably the present) of networking belongs to the Cloud. Legacy WAN networks deployed on aging MPLS systems can no longer handle the sheer amount of data, processing power, and security needed to keep businesses competitive. The resources required to maintain legacy networks are becoming increasingly untenable. More and more, we find on-prem data centers reaching the end of their lifespan, requiring migrations to a cloud-based network. Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a robust methodology that shifts the burden of data flow from hard-line MPLS networks to the cloud.

strategic roadmap future of sd-wan

SD-WAN deployment benefits include increased network speed, less downtime, and increased efficiency across the board. Additionally, it expands data real estate. Companies need real-time access to their applications, mobile data, at-home devices, and data from IoT devices. As a result, the number of points of presence (PoP) for many companies, especially those in the healthcare field, has grown exponentially. Because of this, the number of potential vulnerabilities for cyberattacks has grown to match. As such, the future of SD-WAN will hinge on current and cutting-edge security tools such as SASE, ENI, and specific deployments of machine learning (ML) and AI.

What is SD-WAN?

In a nutshell, SD-WAN architecture shifts the control of a wide area network for a company and its branches from an onsite data center and hardware to cloud-based software. This software controls connectivity, data management, and the flow of information from headquarters to company branches and remote workers. SD-WAN connection endpoints—branches, data centers, cloud platforms, or corporate offices—are referred to as the SD-WAN edge. As we’ll discuss in more detail later in the post, securing the edge network is a core issue vital to the future of SD-WAN.

According to a study conducted by Gartner with CBTS, the drivers of SD-WAN adoption are the need to:

  • Improve networking speed and agility.
  • Minimize or eliminate downtime.
  • Reduce costs and make predictable capital expenditures.

Optimize performance for end users and administrators.

Key benefits of SD-WAN

Switching to a cloud-based network as many company-wide benefits. Some of these include:
  • Dependable connectivity.
  • Faster network speeds.
  • Deployment over existing MPLS infrastructure.
  • Greater control of IT policy and permissions across the enterprise.
  • Easy monitoring of network performance.
  • Enabling managed services.
  • Enhanced security and early warning monitoring of potential threats.
  • Deployment of automation across the business-wide network.
  • Orchestration services such as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).
  • Support for a range of cloud and multi-cloud platforms, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS.

Also read: Key SD-WAN advantages your hybrid work-from-home model needs

The future of SD-WAN

Cyberattacks continue to grow in volume and complexity. In 2021, an attack with an instance of 17 million requests was recorded from a botnet three times larger than any previously registered attack. The rate and escalation of cyberattacks are not slowing down. A second attack later that year—an attack of 22 million requests per second—dwarfed the first attack. Experts predict that another attack will take place soon that surpasses 30 million requests per second. Fortunately, cybersecurity measures continue to evolve as preventing cybercrime becomes a focus for enterprises and government agencies.

SASE

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE, pronounced “sassy”) is an architecture that utilizes SD-WAN via an encompassing cloud-native framework. First defined in 2019 by Gartner, SASE is a philosophical approach to cloud security instead of a set of tools or a specific technology. The SASE model merges networking and security to reduce hardware, simplify operations, and minimize security risks.

SASE engages with five core technologies:

  • Integrated SD-WAN
  • Cloud access security
  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)
  • Secure web gateways
  • Zero trust network access (ZTNA)

SASE is a borderless approach to networking, meaning it can support globally distributed teams and customers. Global environments allow employers to embrace a modern, work-from-anywhere mentality. Migrating to SASE PoPs optimizes where data lands in the network by combining software apps and data storage. Additionally, the integration of FWaaS refines and maximizes security measures for data centers. SASE reduces latency and results in a higher performing network by adding PoPs globally, so data doesn’t have to travel as far. These gateways provide the functionality, reliability, and access that teams and customers need.

ENI

Edge network intelligence (ENI) allows enterprises visibility of their end-user and IoT devices. ENI creates a complete view of the entire data plane for each user (wired and wireless). This allows IT teams to home in on issues such as latency via automatically generated issue tickets. ENI also proactively engages in self-healing for the network after problems have been identified. Another feature of ENI is integration with AI-empowered Network as a Service (NaaS) such as Cisco Meraki or Juniper Mist.

Learn more: Thinking big on future of networking

AI/ML

ENI uses machine learning algorithms to detect, monitor, and interact with end-user devices across a client’s data estate. SASE providers also deploy AI to scan for threats and block attacks proactively.

But in terms of potential, AI and ML are just beginning to scratch the surface. AI/ML will be integral to the future of SD-WAN.

Other innovations

Beyond security advancements offered by SASE, ENI, and other AI solutions, other innovations will continue to trend as SD-WAN moves into the future. Those innovations revolve around:

  1. Operational simplicity.
  2. Automation.
  3. Reliability.
  4. Scalability.
  5. Solutions with flexible business models.

Given the movement of most industries, it also seems highly likely that future iterations of SD-WAN technology will work well with multi-cloud platforms and help to streamline those environments.

Strategic roadmap for the future of SD-WAN

Legacy MPLS architecture is nearing the end of its lifespan in many cases. Compounded with the surge of data streams from mobile, at-home, and IoT devices, networks are primed to falter in the immediate future without SD-WAN solutions. Replacing traditional networks in favor of SD-WAN will allow for greater agility, simplicity, and performance on every level of business operations.

CBTS is at the forefront of SD-WAN conversion for our clients. The flexibility of SD-WAN means that delivery is potentially borderless, with service in over 60 countries. Often, we can utilize existing MPLS networks to deploy SD-WAN quickly and efficiently. Our suite of managed services—including networking—are best-in-class and a valuable way to offload burden from IT teams.

Get in touch to learn more about future-proofing your business with our managed SD-WAN, networking, or security services.

How CBTS is Integrating Hosted UCaaS with Microsoft Teams for Improved Collaboration

Instead of patching together disjointed systems for voice solutions and cloud-based collaboration, forward-looking companies want to synergize and streamline their corporate telecommunications experiences. As more businesses settle into long-term work-from-home environments, remote teams need more efficient ways to connect to the critical applications they use daily. Microsoft Teams collaboration tools offer a reliable solution for companies looking to optimize their communications systems.

By combining VoIP communication with collaboration into a single integrated platform, companies can benefit from the CBTS Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution. By choosing a Hosted UCaaS service, businesses can free up IT resources and tap into their employee’s full potential by boosting the productivity of their remote workforce. Meanwhile, IT can now enable a robust PBX solution to Microsoft Teams users and their entire organization.

This blog will explore how integrating Hosted UC with Microsoft Teams boosts collaboration and efficiency for IT and across all business departments.

What is Hosted UC, and why are industries shifting towards it?

In the past, businesses relied on Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems through hard-wired networks and phone systems. However, aging PBX systems have speed, quality of experience, and security issues. Unified Communications (UC) emerged as a cloud-based solution to these communication challenges.

UC systems can be integrated with existing PBX systems or implemented independently of existing systems. Hosted UCaaS allows businesses to access all their communications through an accessible web-based dashboard and incorporate IP headsets into comm systems.

As a certified Microsoft Solutions Partner and Cloud Service Provider, CBTS calls on the Microsoft Teams collaboration suite to deliver a seamless telecom experience. This frees your IT department from having to spin up patchwork solutions or support multiple VPNs to connect remote workers to the tools they need to be successful.

CBTS Microsoft Teams collaboration graphic

Learn more: How a certified Microsoft partner can advance your digital disruption

Reliable remote Microsoft Teams collaboration

By offering local and remote workers secure access to all the business applications they use to do their jobs, the Microsoft PBX solution from CBTS equips employees to work anywhere from any device. CBTS enterprise voice solution achieves 99.999% reliability and redundant network design, ensuring uninterrupted call delivery and business continuity—even during emergencies and power outages.

Microsoft Teams collaboration features also include:

Teams and channels

Teams are a way of organizing people, projects, and other content. Channels are dedicated threads inside each Team that allow messaging and file sharing regarding specific topics and projects.

Meetings

Teams allows for superior video and audio conference calls through an intuitive web-based application. Instantly launch online meetings with a single click and invite guests to join from any mobile device, desktop, or web browser without requiring proprietary conferencing software or complicated login instructions. Facilitate real-time collaboration with screen sharing features and integrated applications that make meetings more meaningful and productive. Teams also makes it easy to broadcast webinars of up to 1000 participants.

Voice

Voice is fully integrated with Teams, meaning you can reach virtually any device using your work phone number. Additionally, users can respond to phone or other messages directly from Teams regardless of the device they are currently using or their location.

File storage

All members of Microsoft Teams have access to SharePoint Online, which allows for greater collaboration through easily navigated and secure file storage.

Learn more: The widespread benefits of Microsoft Teams

Integration Capabilities

Power Apps, which is automatically integrated into Teams, is a low-code application development platform. Power Apps utilizes visual tools over code, allowing users to solve problems without learning to code.

Another powerful integration is Cisco Broadworks, an enterprise-grade VoIP and collaboration platform. Broadworks allows businesses to streamline their voice and communications tools into a single stream and offers powerful features, such as:

  • Omni-channel call centers
  • AI-powered Interactive Voice Response (IVR) 
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Call recording
  • Mass notifications
  • e911

The implementation of Microsoft Teams collaboration solutions is custom to each client and makes it easy to integrate Office 365 apps as needed.

How UCaaS with Microsoft Teams benefits the company


Blending VoIP, dial-in audio conferencing, and HD video makes online meetings more dynamic. Microsoft Direct Route from CBTS lets your company communicate with parties around the globe by extending the collaboration capabilities of Microsoft Teams to your employees, customers, and partners.

Additional benefits include:
  1. Hosted, cloud-based VoIP phone and collaboration
  2. Flexible and scalable—grows quickly with your business
  3. Predictable cost and growth model with an average savings of 30% over Microsoft Voice
  4. Advanced reporting and business analytics

Learn more: Building the best Microsoft Teams adoption strategy for your company

The bottom line in Unified Communications

Combining your enterprise calling plan with the powerful collaboration capabilities of Microsoft Teams enables highly scalable, flexible, and reliable communications, ensuring employees can be productive whether they’re remote or on-premises. Additionally, the solution allows them to communicate however they prefer, whether on a soft client, handset, or mobile device.

Deploying this unified solution can even help reduce costs by leveraging your current phone systems and eliminating the need for additional network gateways, with fixed monthly expenses to help plan your IT budget without any surprises. Bringing CBTS voice solutions into the Microsoft Cloud through Direct Route delivers an average monthly savings of 30% compared to Microsoft’s calling plans, giving clients the best of both worlds without adding financial burdens.

With customized implementation, adoption, and ongoing expert support from CBTS, you can future-proof your company’s collaboration solution by integrating the best communication tools from Microsoft and Cisco.

Contact us to learn how CBTS and Microsoft Direct Route can enhance your organization’s remote collaboration, voice, and conferencing capabilities.

Learn more: The CBTS / Microsoft Partnership

 

The benefits of Network as a Service (NaaS) for the financial sector

The financial world is moving quickly, especially when it comes to technology. All the operations in your company depend on technology these days, but you need to focus on servicing your customers. You need your network to be reliable, fast, and secure so that key systems are always available to customers and employees. Every minute your network is down, your financial services firm loses significant money.

Many financial services firms are now enjoying the benefits of Network as a Service (NaaS) to power their network. While similar to Software as a Service (SaaS)—where a single program is accessible from the cloud—NaaS gives a business access to its entire network from any location or device.

NaaS is a scalable method of supporting, maintaining, expanding, and securing today’s commercial networks. As a fully managed networking solution with cloud integration, security, switching, Wi-Fi, management, monitoring, and SD-WAN, NaaS is suitable for a single location or a multi-site operation. Its scalability means that a NaaS solution can be customized to suit the unique needs of each customer.

Learn more about NaaS from CBTS.

With the implementation of NaaS, your financial services firm can see distinct benefits that together save time and money.

Scale your network seamlessly even as you reduce your hardware costs

NaaS allows you to seamlessly scale your network so that you don’t have to spend more money on additional hardware, or more time predicting the effects of expansion and contraction on your network. If you buy infrastructure that cannot handle your organization as it grows, you will spend extra money improving that infrastructure throughout time. On the flip side, if your company becomes smaller, your network will be too big. NaaS can give your business the freedom to evolve without worrying about having the right technology to make it happen. Add bandwidth and even new offices as your business grows, painlessly add or subtract employees from your network without having to search for or acquire additional technology—NaaS can make it all happen, resulting in big benefits for a savvy financial company.

Read more: The Cincinnati Reds are getting the benefits of NaaS

Also, does it seem like the moment you integrate a new product with your network, it’s already out of date? Not surprisingly, your business begins to spend more money and time to update or upgrade equipment, with IT operations struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of technological evolution. However, with NaaS you always have access to the latest features and capabilities without purchasing additional equipment.

Stay up-to-date and secure

In addition to monitoring and installing system updates and patches, the integrated communications solutions company stays on top of the turbulent security landscape, because today’s security threats are costly, not only in dollars but also in reputation.

It can be a full-time job to not only protect your financial network against security threats but also protect your employees and customers across your network. Trust NaaS to keep your network and its users safe with the latest security applications and hardware. Moreover, your integrated communications solutions company stays current with all security patches, updates, and upgrades. NaaS can help you rest more easily knowing that your network is protected while also giving your IT team time to work on business initiatives and giving you more time to focus on your customers.

NaaS benefits the IT teams working to meet financial customer expectations

Technology projects like interactive teller machines and video ATM kiosks that are rising to meet customer expectations will, in turn, create more demand on your systems. Using NaaS enables allocation and throttling to ensure that critical systems can maintain optimal performance. At the same time, customers and employees still have the network access they need to do their jobs or complete their transactions.

With a NaaS solution, your business can rely on the integrated communications solutions company to handle the management and monitoring of your network. As a result, your firm spends minimal time on maintaining the network and your IT department is freed up to access cutting-edge technology for projects and business initiatives aimed at creating a more personal customer experience and driving growth.

See how businessess across verticals are leveraging NaaS: How Network as a Service can benefit your business.

By using NaaS, your financial institution or firm no longer has to worry about your network or having the bandwidth and connectivity necessary to function day-to-day. Contact CBTS to learn how reaping the benefits of NaaS will allow your firm to focus on driving financial success for itself and its customers.

Future-proof your contact center with cloud-based tools from Five9 and CBTS

As the omni-channel contact center experience grows more complex, it can be challenging to maintain consistency and continuity. With more companies shifting toward a remote work environment, it’s even more important to equip agents with the same service capabilities regardless of location.

Five9 Contact Center as a Service keeps businesses of all sizes poised for growth.

Aging on-premises contact center solutions can’t keep pace with the rapidly changing telecommunications landscape. As a result, limited technical capabilities can hold companies back. By contrast, the feature-rich functionality of Five9 Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) from CBTS keeps businesses of all sizes nimble and poised for growth.

Cloud-based contact center solutions can help companies keep pace with these changes by equipping agents to provide stellar service across channels, leveraging advanced features and unlimited integration capabilities to stay ahead of the curve. By offering Five9 Contact Center as a Service, CBTS gives enterprise clients a scalable platform to enhance the customer experience while streamlining agent workflows. Combining these contact center tools with Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) solutions from CBTS empowers companies to future-proof their contact center experience for remote agents and customers.

This blog will discuss a few ways Five9 and CBTS are working together to expand customer service communication capabilities.

Read more about remote work best practices here: 10 Tips for Engaging New Work-at-Home Agents

Delivering a seamless contact center experience

Call center agents can’t provide a streamlined customer experience if they have to toggle between multiple systems to field incoming calls, use outbound dialers, or switch from voice to other channels. The Five9 blended contact center unifies inbound and outbound calling features to bridge this gap so agents can access multiple applications simultaneously through a single cloud-based platform.

In addition, CCaaS and UCaaS solutions connect agents with customers across voice, e-mail, web, social, chat, and mobile. Built-in integrations and advanced API capabilities offer connectivity to critical business applications that agents use every day. Customers ultimately benefit from this seamless experience, thanks to integrations with Salesforce, Microsoft (Dynamics), NetSuite, Oracle (Service Cloud), ServiceNow, Sugar CRM, Velocify, Zendesk, and Zoho. This collaboration also includes open REST-based API functionality that integrates with existing systems, enabling higher quality service across channels.

Empowering call center agents anywhere

Whether your agents work from one central office, multiple locations, or remotely from home, Five9 Contact Center and CBTS offer scalable support. The flexible cloud-based platform keeps agents connected anywhere, on any device, by providing reliable access to all the tools they need.

Five9 also offers comprehensive supervisor capabilities that let you monitor, whisper, and barge into calls from any location so that you can manage agent interactions everywhere. Plus, real-time insights and robust performance metrics help supervisors manage contact center operations at a glance.

Other contact center features from Five9 and CBTS include:

  • Bundle integrated collaboration and UCaaS solutions to reduce expenses.
  • Single account team, project management, training, and implementation.
  • Overlay hosted unified communications advanced PBX features.
  • No interruption of service and ease of migration.
  • Common calling plan and extension dial legacy systems.
  • Consolidated billing for all solutions.
  • Redundant global data centers.
  • Strict end-to-end security protocols.
  • Real-time software upgrades.
  • 99.99% uptimes.
  • 24x7x365 U.S.-based support. 

Integrated solutions with Five9 CCaaS and UCaaS

Technological advances in cloud computing allow companies to integrate UCaaS with CCaaS solutions, allowing both service types to be accessed through a single platform (such as Webex or Microsoft Teams).

Bundling Five9 Contact Center software with CBTS UCaaS solutions can reduce expenses while streamlining your company’s telecom infrastructure into one flexible platform with a single vendor. In addition, as a single solution provider, CBTS can fully customize each client’s communication capabilities—allowing you to bring your own voice (BYOV) provider or adopt a cloud-based voice solution like Hosted UC or Hosted Enterprise UC to support your agents’ PSTN calling.

CCaaS offers flexible scalability as your contact center needs grow and change. You can simply add more agent licenses with our concurrent user-based pricing, IVR ports, and line capacity—only paying for what you use to make growth more affordable. Additionally, the interfaces are intuitive, and training is included so administrators can easily add and change routing strategies and IVR call flows.

Read more: How to launch a modern call center to offer seamless service in times of crisis

Future-proofing the Furniture Mart contact center with Five9 CCaaS and Cisco UCaaS

Due to an aging, inefficient communications infrastructure, the Furniture Mart partnered with CBTS to upgrade its contact center processes and move away from dependence on analog phone systems. The implementation of CCaaS and UCaaS technology modernized its communications systems and integrated capabilities to improve customer satisfaction.

CBTS provided the following solutions:

  • A custom-designed platform that combines Five9 software with a Cisco UCaaS solution across the entire environmen.t
  • A fully-integrated voice solution with unified inbound and outbound calling, allowing agents access across multiple apps in a single platform.
  • An upgraded omni-channel communications hub with voice, SMS-text, chat, and e-mail capabilities.

As a result, the Furniture Mart employees now utilize a seamless set of communication tools that improve the customer experience and reduce the risks associated with relying on analog systems. Calls and other communications can now easily be dispatched from customers between different departments. Additionally, the company’s modernized communications solution has improved collaboration potential and workplace productivity.

“The outstanding CBTS project management team walked with us throughout the whole process. Their ability to solve our company challenges rose above just the technical aspect and far exceeded our goals.” — Erald Gjoni, Chief Information Officer, The Furniture Mart USA

Read the complete case study: Leading furniture company enhances communications with combined UcaaS and CCaaS

Cloud-based communications solutions from CBTS

Consumers today demand faster service from companies across multiple communication channels. They expect contact centers to deliver extraordinary experiences with every interaction, but that becomes more challenging as communication technologies rapidly evolve. CBTS and Five9 will help you adapt quickly to the constantly changing technology landscape and stay ahead of the competition.

As a leading Five9 Contact Center provider and integrator, CBTS offers solutions to future-proof your contact center with reliable cloud-based tools that deliver consistent, high-quality customer experiences across channels, devices, and locations. The streamlined platform enables service with more flexibility, functionality, and consistency—ultimately boosting agent productivity and customer satisfaction.

Contact us to learn more about bundling Five9 Contact Center as a Service with CBTS enterprise voice solutions to enhance your contact center experience.


Read more about Five9 Contact Center solutions:

Enhance the customer experience by blending Five9 Contact Center as a Service with CBTS enterprise voice solutions

Top six innovations in healthcare communication technology

The technological landscape of healthcare services is rapidly changing. Many providers are turning to modern healthcare communications technology to stay ahead of these shifts and continue to best serve their patients. However, these solutions often generate new issues for overburdened medical providers—it can be hard to know where to begin. Overwhelmed healthcare staff often have limited resources and time to learn new software and workflows. But for all the problems caused by new tech, many exciting solutions have been developing in the healthcare industry.

This post will review the current challenges facing healthcare communication technology and the technological innovations that are rising to meet them.

Like in any industry, the consumer drives healthcare innovation and trends. As the healthcare landscape rapidly changes, businesses must integrate systems that allow them to evolve with technology to meet patient needs. Upgraded networks that increase bandwidth are critical to accommodate the widespread adoption of IoT-enabled devices and analytics. Additionally, technological developments require that businesses be willing to embrace new frameworks.

Using modern healthcare communications technology to collaborate and deploy services helps teams create highly personalized, holistic care plans for their patients. Due to these burgeoning technologies, practitioners now have more data at their fingertips than ever.

So, how are they managing and using this data to better serve their patients? For instance, emerging technology helps doctors and healthcare staff search for meaningful patterns in their data streams.

While these advances promise improved patient experience and quality of care, they are out of reach for healthcare businesses that don’t have the fundamental technology architecture in place.

By implementing these solutions, providers can readily respond to market trends.

Innovative healthcare communications technology solutions

Fortunately for healthcare providers, many new systems, workflows, applications, and cloud-native technologies have emerged to help address the challenges of the current environment and keep pace with industry trends.

SD-WAN

Even if health systems manage a remarkable degree of interoperability, old technology and operating systems can cause network instability. Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a groundbreaking form of networking that is incredibly fast, secure, and adaptable. This new approach combines software with cloud-based technology to deploy reliable, high-quality connectivity across branch offices. Flexible networking is critical across all types of businesses, from doctor’s offices to hospitals to data centers.

By upgrading to cloud-based VMware SD-WAN™, providers can achieve:

  • Improved performance and agility to enable purpose-built applications.
  • Increased bandwidth to support IoT and data analytics.
  • Enhanced real-time operations.
  • Minimized burden on IT staff.

Learn more: VMware SD-WAN™: The Network of Tomorrow for Healthcare Today (cbts.com)

Network as a Service (NaaS)

Updating OS, software, and hardware, staying compliant, and maintaining network security are all issues of the highest importance in healthcare. But the cost of implementing and maintaining the latest technology can be overwhelming, especially for small and midsize providers. Actively managed network services unburden IT teams from constant security and compliance updates.

Implementing Cisco Meraki NaaS services allows healthcare businesses to:

  • Achieve significant cost savings.
  • Protect their networks with high-grade security technologies.
  • Offload IT burdens to expert engineers.
  • Utilize data analytics to improve patient care.

Learn more: Advancing Healthcare IT – Cost-cutting Strategies (cbts.com)

Network Security as a Service (NSaaS)

Adequate cybersecurity protections are more important than ever. Attacks are costly and disruptive, causing harm to both the bottom line and patient trust. Due to sensitive patient information and data available to healthcare providers, top-notch security is critical. CBTS NSaaS leverages VMware SASE and Check Point Harmony Connect to combine SD-WAN technology with cloud-enabled security practices. This approach reduces complexity and achieves secure, agile networks.

CBTS NSaaS makes it possible for providers to:

  • Increase threat prevention and assessment capabilities across all networks.
  • Improve efficacy with consistent policies for all network users.
  • Protect information with the highest level of compliance measures.
  • Reduce operational expenses.

Learn more: SASE & ZTNA for Dummies | VMware SASE

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

As regular communication between practitioners becomes the norm, inefficiencies with traditional contact centers threaten normal operations and the patient experience. Additionally, businesses must now account for evolving patient communication preferences. A reliable and flexible cloud-based contact center as a service solution allows healthcare practitioners to deliver exceptional communications experiences.

Five9 cloud contact center provides functional, scalable solutions that integrate with applications across the network. This robust service solves business challenges with:

  • Rapid deployment and efficient maintenance.
  • Advanced reporting and analytics.
  • Support for global remote staff and virtual operations.
  • Reduced dependency on costly resources, such as IT staff and hardware.

Learn more: Reimagine Healthcare Customer Experience with Five9

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)

Many healthcare systems, like hospitals or healthcare groups, manage Electronic Health Records (EHRs) with proprietary software that doesn’t work well across systems. Additionally, health providers rely on access to an unprecedented amount of patient data but have limited ways to view and interact with it. Cisco Hosted Enterprise UC is HIPAA and PCI compliant, and CBTS Hosted UC is HIPAA compliant—ensuring that providers can safely manage sensitive patient information. Cloud-based UCaaS allows businesses to unify and automate communication efforts within and across platforms.

Providers will achieve benefits such as:

  • Deliver voice service through the most secure, reliable collaboration applications (Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex) on the market, which is perfect for hybrid/remote workers.
  • Versatile supplementary features and application possibilities.
  • Simple transitions when updating or integrating applications.
  • Streamlined collaboration systems with a single cloud platform.

Learn more: A guide to cloud-based communications for healthcare CIOs

Collaboration solutions

EHRs have revolutionized healthcare, but the lack of interoperability makes it difficult for providers to share patient records between proprietary systems. This limits the amount of collaboration possible between doctors, specialists, and third-party vendors. Additionally, doctors seeking EHRs from outside their healthcare ecosystem may face the same problem.

HIPAA-compliant video communication and cloud file sharing have quickly become required capabilities in the healthcare system. Providers can ensure fast and compliant collaboration with a robust suite of solutions like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex.

Implementing collaboration tools will benefit providers with:

  • Dispersed communication for voice and chat.
  • Simplified deployment and user experience.
  • Hybrid capabilities.
  • Seamless file sharing and application integration.

Learn more: Cisco Webex for healthcare systems

Gain a competitive advantage with CBTS expertise

Healthcare providers face unique challenges as standard practices shift to accommodate patient needs. It’s more important than ever that businesses are flexible and ready to make changes to stay ahead. CBTS expertise gives providers the tools they need to utilize future-proof healthcare communications technology to deliver the highest quality patient care.

CBTS experts are experienced in strategizing business transformation, deploying and managing innovative technologies, and bringing legacy applications into a cloud environment. Collaborating with CBTS eases the strain on IT teams with fully managed solutions. With 24x7x365 access to expert support, maintenance, and system management, healthcare providers can spend less time struggling with inefficient legacy technologies and more time devoted to patient care.

Get in touch today to see how CBTS can help you optimize your healthcare communication technology.

SASE: What is it, why now, and is it right for you?

For many organizations, the pandemic has been a driver for digital transformation. With applications and operations rapidly migrating to the Cloud, security must follow the user and not be tied to the traditional brick and mortar location. Digital transformation is a complex process since organizations now require expertise in both networking and security, and the move to the Cloud can be costly as well.

Woman looking at tablet on network secured with SASE

This is where Secure Access Service Edge (SASE, pronounced “sassy”) comes in. The term is a new concept, originating from Gartner in 2019. In the not-too-distant past, SASE stood for Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope, and the evolution of the acronym exemplifies just how quickly our world is going digital.

With its Network Security as a Service offering, CBTS combines SD-WAN technology with SASE principles to provide efficient, secure, and cost-effective networks for organizations trending towards remote and branch operations. To help you embark on your own digital transformation journey, CBTS has prepared a guide on key SASE benefits, what challenges you should look out for, and why the trend is here to stay.

What is SASE, and how does it work?

In precise terms, SASE is a network architecture that combines software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) and security into a singular cloud framework. That means organizations benefit from improved efficiency, heightened security, and simplified WAN deployment.

The SASE framework and philosophy is a novel approach to a cloud enabled enterprise network with many operational, business, and security benefits. For example, converging an organization’s cloud-based networking and security services reduces complexity, boosts network performance, and minimizes the number of vendors and devices IT oversees.

Additionally, there is a considerable reduction in hardware requirements, lessening IT staff’s workload related to deployment and maintenance while expanding actionable security alerting and monitoring.

By implementing SASE, you’ll engage with five core technologies:
  1. Integrated SD-WAN: Optimize network administration and performance by leveraging software and cloud-based technology for enterprise network connectivity.
  2. Cloud access security: Ensure safe use of cloud technology for your enterprise. Improving cloud security prevents malware infections, data leaks, and regulatory noncompliance.
  3. Firewall as a service: Deploy cloud-based firewalls to take advantage of advanced threat protection, URL filtering, DNS security, and intrusive prevention systems.
  4. Secure web gateway: Protect your internal network and users from potentially malicious unsecured Internet traffic.
  5. Zero trust network access: Reduce the risk of attacks and data leaks by verifying the identity of users or devices attempting to access your network.

  6. Learn more about how SASE and Zero Trust Network Access work together to deliver safe, secure, and reliable remote access to your network.

Learn more about how SASE and Zero Trust Network Access work together to deliver safe, secure, and reliable remote access to your network by downloading this e-book: SASE and ZTNA for Dummies

Complete your SD-WAN migration with improved security

Migrating to SD-WAN has become a critical endeavor for enterprises across the globe, and SASE provides the ideal path to a successful implementation.

Due to the swift spread of the coronavirus crisis, many enterprises quickly shifted to a distributed workforce. They soon realized that their existing VPN-based solutions were often unreliable, with limited performance and security measures. We’ve previously covered how SD-WAN security enhances critical business applications, but in short, enterprises benefit from a networking solution offering more affordable, reliable, and faster connectivity.

In the SASE framework, these benefits are realized alongside improved security for a remote workforce. With remote work here to stay, organizations must be able to support increasingly dispersed teams safely, and security is paramount to doing so.

SASE employs a flexible, cloud-based firewall that protects users and computing resources located at the network’s edge. It offers secure web gateways to protect companies from the threat of harmful outside resources. It also implements zero-trust network access, which bases security on identity rather than aspects like an IP address.

Altogether, by leveraging SASE, organizations ensure branch offices can take advantage of ongoing digital innovation efforts and improved security features as they scale.

Also read: Employ cloud-enabled security to safeguard your SD-WAN network

Keep pace in a shifting digital landscape

Our increasing dependence on the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing necessitates a trustworthy, homogenized approach to cloud-based services and security. In this environment, SASE is already an essential aspect of a company’s digital makeup.

Remote workforces must be able to rely on sophisticated, tailored cloud services that allow them to perform their duties with confidence. IT staff cannot be held back by legacy hardware or features that are merely stitched together instead of well-integrated.

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and so are its threats. Our 2022 Cybersecurity Predictions asserted that ransomware attacks will increase. Additionally, nation-state attacks will see an uptick, while the number of states starting to give privacy rights to consumers is on the rise.

Enterprises can best address these concerns by deploying an integrated, complete response to the cloud-based security needs of modern organizations.

Reduce the burden of network and security maintenance

Beyond increased efficiency and reduced complexity, taking the plunge with a combined networking and security offering simplifies operations for an enterprise’s IT staff.

Regardless of where users are located, SASE ensures security policies are standardized. It also simplifies the authentication process by applying the right policies based on what the user requests at sign-in. In fact, IT executives can set these policies centrally using cloud-based management platforms. These procedures massively reduce risk, as the entire system is less complex and offers a universal approach.

Where an enterprise’s IT staff is often overloaded with menial, time-consuming tasks, a combined SD-WAN and security offering frees your team to improve business efficiency, address IT concerns that affect the bottom line, and support the organization.

Why CBTS for SASE?

If legacy infrastructure, increasing complexity, and skyrocketing costs are standing in the way of your team completing your digital transformation journey, CBTS is the right partner for you.

It’s critical that the partner you select has experience in both network and security solutions. CBTS offers a wide range of expertise compared to other managed service providers. As a Check Point Software Technologies 5-Star Partner, it has a long track record of delivering extensive networking and security overhauls. In 2020, CBTS was named a Gartner Magic Quadrant leader for its VMware SD-WAN™ edge expertise. By combining VMware SD-WAN with SASE network security principles, CBTS delivers comprehensive cloud-native network security.  

Our experts work alongside you from the assessment phase to the implementation of your SD-WAN and security capabilities to provide ongoing, full-spectrum support for your organization.

Contact the experts at CBTS to enhance and simplify security for your modernized networking environment.

Four Reasons Retailers Love NaaS

NaaS not only supports scalability and flexibility for businesses prone to seasonal fluctuations, it also captures customer insights that drive revenue growth.

woman accesses tablet in retail location

Just as Software as a Service (SaaS) has made inroads into retail as a means of shifting IT responsibilities for applications to a third party, a similar model for networking has been gaining popularity. The Network as a Service (NaaS) model can solve the complexity created by deploying a network in a store—no matter the size—in terms of both installation and ongoing management.

Having Internet connectivity and a wireless local area network (WLAN) at any location makes a retailer responsible for security, administration, updates, modifications, scalability, and troubleshooting. Factor in the various endpoints that require connectivity—including wireless point of sale (PoS) devices and kiosks, along with identity management—and running a network becomes a complicated proposition. NaaS transfers many of these responsibilities to a third-party provider that offers a centralized network (as opposed to a WLAN) while delivering improved access to cloud-based management services and mobile enterprise solutions like apps.

In addition to the monumental task of security monitoring, the third-party provider can give retailers more to love about NaaS.

Control over allocation and bandwidth of the network

NaaS enables retailers to cost-effectively shift network responsibilities to their NaaS service provider in alignment with this cloud-service approach to applications. Coincidentally, this also increases the flexibility to support fluctuating numbers of users, mobile devices, and endpoints.

Improved security is another major benefit of moving to a NaaS model. Cybercriminals continue to mount attacks on high-profile retailers like Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, and Target and expose customer data. Cyberthreats such as malware, botnets, and ransomware are increasing in frequency and ferocity. NaaS can relieve stress on a retailer by placing cybersecurity tasks like real-time monitoring and timely patching in the provider’s hands instead.

This retailer got a better Wi-Fi experience and security with its NaaS solution from CBTS.

Less time managing the network

Despite shifting network responsibilities to a service provider, NaaS can provide retailers with greater central control and visibility. This control means a retailer can have visibility across all networks from “a single pane of glass.” IT staff that can see every location in one dashboard can make better-informed decisions about allocating network resources and bandwidth. As a result, they spend less time managing the network and focus instead on strategic IT initiatives that support the customer experience and business growth.

Learn how Restaurant Management, Inc. (DBA Arby’s) focused on upgrading their customer experience with NaaS.

Endless scalability options

Scalability is critical, and NaaS can provide the agility to scale up or down in a business environment prone to seasonal fluctuations. Adding or removing users from the network becomes a much simpler task. And with the advent of the pop-up store, entire locations can easily be provisioned or decommissioned centrally in a replicable “cookie cutter” model.

A Southern-based company with food service franchises around the country used Network as a Service to connect new locations seamlessly with the parent company, creating a uniform experience for guests and employees.

Connecting multiple retail locations

Connecting multiple locations can create a bigger picture for the retailer, not just in terms of network traffic and bandwidth usage, but also in consumer behavior and customer feedback. NaaS provides a platform for capturing Big Data from various endpoints, including emerging Internet of Things (IoT) applications, making it easier to intelligently invest in retail strategies that drive revenue growth.

This auto service dealer leveraged NaaS from CBTS to connect locations, learn more about their customers, and improve customer experience.

Network as a Service Transforms 6 Key Industries

NaaS Is the Future of Food Service Networking

Four advantages food service enterprises can gain from UCaaS for retail

Next-generation communications functionality isn’t just for the high-technology corporate sectors. Customer-facing verticals such as the food service industry can benefit equally from a unified communications as-a-service (UCaaS) solution just as much as an enterprise serving six-figure clients.

By modernizing in-store Wi-Fi capabilities, seamlessly networking brick-and-mortar locations and mobile applications, and layering in an up-to-date IT support platform to manage it all, restaurants can leverage UCaaS to transform their forward-facing digital footprint for the next generation.

Below are a few of the ways UCaaS can deliver the same benefits for your food service organization:

To offer your customers a truly modern and satisfying experience that will keep them from coming back, aim for the following benchmarks made possible through UCaas for retail:
  • Continuous and reliable connectivity with a high quality of service.
  • A customer-friendly in-store Wi-Fi experience.
  • High-end threat detection measures in every store.
  • A monthly managed service model that keeps expenses low.

Why reliable communications are crucial for the food service vertical

In a fast-paced, customer-facing environment, losing connectivity can very easily lead to a loss of business. When customers expect service quickly and conveniently, every dropped or disconnected phone call represents lost revenue. That’s why call quality of service (QoS) and circuit failover are key factors in a UCaaS for retail transformation. By protecting each individual telephone order with UCaaS, organizations can, in turn, prevent an avoidable loss in revenue.

Donatos restaurant uses UCaaS for retail

UCaaS for retail also delivers the tried and true key system functionality where on-hold customers show up as a blinking line on all phones. This visual representation of on-hold customers on every phone enables easier customer retrieval and simplifies employee training.   

Cloud-based call queuing is another valuable tool for food service enterprises. During particularly busy times, such as holidays or sporting events, cloud-based call queuing—along with a branded hold message—can put customers at ease and address their orders efficiently. UCaaS for retail can also enable these on-hold calls to be answered from any networked device without complex call park procedures or pickup codes, making the entire system intuitive and user-friendly.

Ensure a memorable in-store experience with UCaaS for retail

Modern customer service standards indicate that simply providing a product or service isn’t enough; guests expect to feel welcome in your place of business, and that means offering a well-provisioned guest Wi-Fi network. Through UCaaS for retail, food service enterprises can not only provide a secure, family-friendly Wi-Fi experience for restaurant patrons, they can also implement branded sign-on pages and rate limits to maintain bandwidth limits and keep guests engaged.

Protect your enterprise with next-gen threat detection

Another critical component for network modernization is the addition of a unified threat management (UTM) firewall at individual storefronts­—in this way, UCaaS can deliver next-generation protection for your organization. Store-level UTM solutions provide application control, identity-based web filtering, and safe search features. A UTM can be supplemented by SSIDs and VLANs at the store level to maintain digital security across all guests, employees, point-of-sale terminals, visiting vendors, and any other devices in the building.

Also read: SD-WAN: The perfect prescription for CIOs’ pharmacy network challenges

Keep expenses under control with a managed UCaaS solution

All of the above benefits can be delivered as a monthly expense with no capital costs required upfront, due to the CBTS UCaaS managed solution model. This service also includes 24x7x365 monitored support and even covers any necessary relocations, additional equipment, and service changes. Under the CBTS UCaaS for retail managed solution, your food service enterprise will enjoy greater control and transparency into its network while also freeing up resources to focus more on long-term strategic initiatives.

Contact CBTS for more information on how a managed UCaaS for retail solution can help your food service enterprise improve its customer experience.

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CBTS and Parallel Technologies combine strengths to modernize 200+ restaurant locations

Retail technology helps businesses generate wins

Cloud technology for retail drives opportunities

Optimize your remote work migration with a VMware service provider

The coronavirus pandemic amplified the need for organizations to become more agile and resilient. As a VMware service provider, CBTS has been helping businesses across industries embrace remote work, redefine their digital strategy, and accelerate large-scale migration efforts.

According to the 2020 State of Remote Work, approximately 98% of remote workers said they would like to work remotely—at least part-time—for the rest of their careers. With remote work here to stay, organizations supporting a dispersed workforce can leverage the CBTS and VMware partnership to transform their enterprise WAN connectivity and manage thousands of devices securely.

Establishing a powerful WAN Edge infrastructure with CBTS and VMware

For the fourth year in a row, Gartner has recognized VMware as a Magic Quadrant leader for their completeness of vision for WAN Edge Infrastructure. CBTS is a top VMware service provider and VMware Partner Innovation Award winner for SD-WAN. Together, CBTS and VMware transform enterprise WAN connectivity by harnessing the public cloud to host critical applications. 

As part of the VMware SASE™ vision, the SD-WAN solution is built to be future-proof, with the speed, simplicity, and security today’s agile businesses need. CBTS delivers on that vision by providing organizations with cloud on-ramp services via global cloud gateways, implementation of VMware orchestrator, and rapid deployment of edge appliances based on assessed needs.

CBTS has demonstrated expertise as a VMware service provider, enabling organizations to take full advantage of the SD-WAN technology through deployment and ongoing monitoring and management across locations. The award highlights the significant ways CBTS empowers organizations of all sizes in their digital migration, with a full suite of flexible technology solutions that drive business outcomes, improve operational efficiency, mitigate risk, and reduce costs for clients.

Read more: How SD-WAN security enhances critical business applications

Adopting UEM strategies for modern desktop management and improved security

Last year, VMware was also named a 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant leader for unified endpoint management (UEM) tools. VMware scored highest in three of four use cases in the 2021 Gartner Critical Capabilities for UEM tools. CBTS has been at the forefront of helping customers mobilize for the “anywhere” workforce spanning geographies, use cases, and a myriad of devices.

Organizations leverage CBTS expertise in VMware Workspace ONE UEM to establish modern desktop management, including BYOD and increasingly diverse endpoints, for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Chrome OS, among others. CBTS assesses network vulnerabilities to enforce security-centric UEM strategies to protect against cyberattacks on the perimeter.

CBTS and VMware partnership in practice: a powerful networking combination 

CBTS teamed with VMware for SD-WAN beginning in 2017 to help enterprises deploy flexible, secure WAN connectivity across their remote and branch locations. 

So, when a large healthcare system in Indiana approached CBTS to build out several pop-up clinics during an upswing in COVID-19 cases, CBTS engineers were ready to deploy an SD-WAN solution to support clinic operations in only 24 hours.

Read the full case study: IU Health deploys COVID-19 remote testing centers in 24 hours with SD-WAN

Partnering with CBTS as your VMware service provider enables your organization to:
  • Address performance issues associated with latency while accessing data sources distributed across locations, devices, and geographies.
  • Reduce overall costs and stabilize IT budget by eliminating sweeping redesigns and the expense of maintaining outdated, disparate networking equipment.
  • Improve network reliability, redundancy, scalability, and security.
  • Remove IT burden from staff through reliable automation and cloud management.
  • Transform business outcomes with enhanced real-time operations and agility.

Growing alongside an evolving ecosystem

CBTS and VMware power the world’s complex online networking infrastructure, an ecosystem that will evolve alongside ever-changing enterprise needs. CBTS SD-WAN technology powered by VMware optimizes available bandwidth for remote workers in three ways:

  • Giving higher priority to business traffic than to social media and streaming service traffic.
  • 24×7 monitoring of the traffic path for packet loss or delay while applying forward-error correction to increase throughput and reduce packet loss.
  • Using traffic-handling techniques to throttle unnecessary application traffic.

By leveraging the CBTS and VMware partnership, your organization can implement cloud-based connectivity—and all its benefits of ubiquity, high bandwidth, and low cost—with assured quality, reliability, and security.

Frost & Sullivan names CBTS among its top UCaaS providers for second straight year

The pandemic has accelerated long-standing trends around remote work, the rise of virtual organizations, and customer interactions over digital channels. These rapid changes in industry norms require that companies take action to keep up. Forward-thinking businesses understand the importance of flexible solutions that support shifting workforce and customer needs. With the help of top UCaaS providers, enterprises across industries are making the changes required to future-proof their businesses.

As a recognized unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) provider, CBTS can help your enterprise organization evolve alongside a constantly changing digital landscape. With a rich portfolio of cloud communications, collaboration, and contact center services, CBTS can deliver custom-tailored solutions across industries.

Operating as one of the industry’s top UCaaS providers has garnered CBTS recognition among its peers. Frost & Sullivan, a market research and business consulting firm, recently placed CBTS in the top quadrant of its 2021 Frost Radar™ in Hosted IP Telephony and UCaaS for North America. 2021 marks the second straight year that CBTS has received the honor, thanks to expert design and a team of engineers ready to support hosted solutions for any industry sector.

“CBTS has been particularly effective in serving organizations in the public, healthcare, and retail sectors, which have been disrupted in the past two years. With its diversified technology portfolio services, CBTS has proven a trusted partner for businesses at varying stages of their transformation journey. Much of CBTS’ past UCaaS growth has come from substantial deployments, including many in SLED and retail. CBTS is poised for continued growth in these sectors as government and education organizations embrace cloud services to support the rise in remote/hybrid work.”

Elka Popova, Vice President and Senior Fellow, Digital Transformation at Frost & Sullivan

Read more: Six ways to enable business transformation with UCaaS

CBTS delivers robust cloud services for successful remote work

CBTS differentiates itself from competing top UCaaS providers with its extensive cloud, infrastructure, communications, and consulting expertise. A highly consultative approach results in custom-tailored solutions that leverage third-party technologies for its Hosted Enterprise UC, Hosted Unified Communications, Microsoft Direct Route, and Cloud Calling offerings.

The broader CBTS portfolio—which encompasses fiber connectivity, multiple as-a-service network models, integrated contact centers, and SIP trunking—provides additional value to its UCaaS customers. Today, CBTS also acts as a strong worldwide partner for Cisco Broadworks and Cisco HCS and as a leading provider for retail, healthcare, and state and local government and education (SLED) verticals. With 27 offices in five countries, CBTS is positioned to scale its UCaaS operations moving ahead. Much of the company’s prior growth derived from large deployments in SLED and retail. CBTS continues to grow in these sectors as government and education entities embrace remote work-supporting cloud services.

Read more: How UCaaS is changing the face of education communication solutions

Through top third-party UCaaS technologies such as Cisco HCS, Cisco Broadworks, and Microsoft Teams Voice, CBTS has become a reliable provider for solutions including:
  • Hosted Enterprise UC.
  • Hosted UC.
  • Microsoft Teams Voice.
  • Cloud Calling.

CBTS is a top UCaaS technology company for your cloud migration needs

CBTS UCaaS and collaboration technologies are built to ensure your successful transition to the cloud.

Microsoft Teams Voice is a fully integrated voice and collaboration service utilizing:

Hosted telephone unified with Microsoft Teams.

  • Robust integrated feature sets.
  • Advanced integrated solutions.
  • Diverse location configuration capabilities.
  • Around-the-clock monitoring by expert engineers.

Hosted UC brings cloud-based unified communications capabilities as well as:

  • Enterprise-grade VoIP.
  • Flexibility to scale with your business.
  • Advanced integrated solutions.
  • Key system emulation.

Hosted Enterprise UC provides secure industry-leading technology with benefits including:

  • A powerful Cisco HCS backbone.
  • A simplified management portal.
  • Ability to scale users up and down as needed.
  • Integrated Contact Center as a Service.

Also read: VoIP vs UCaaS: What is right for your business?

Going forward, CBTS can continue to enhance its standing as a top UCaaS company through integrated collaboration services. According to the Frost & Sullivan report, third-party productivity, communications, business, and vertical software and services are opportunities to further impact mission-critical business processes among the CBTS customer base.

In particular, the healthcare and SLED verticals are ripe for transformation in the coming months and years. CBTS is well-situated to capitalize on increased demand for UCaaS in these ever-growing marketplace sectors.

Contact CBTS today to discover how CBTS can bring tailored UCaaS solutions to your changing organization.

Continue Reading:

CBTS lauded as top Frost Radar Report communications leader for second year

Frost & Sullivan report places CBTS in top bracket for UCaaS innovation and growth