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5 questions for SD-WAN partners

As technology develops and your company expands, you may find siloed systems across your corporation. While this poses a problem for your business, there are emerging solutions on the IT horizon. More and more companies are embracing software-defined networking in a wide area network (SD-WAN) to connect their enterprise networks and data centers.

Typically, SD-WAN platforms are not exclusive to the provider but rather delivered by a third-party SD-WAN vendor. This is why having an understanding about the prospective SD-WAN partner’s technology, capabilities, and functionality are critical to your success with SD-WAN.

SD-WAN partners should be able to provide multiple proof points regarding the legitimacy of their solution. At CBTS, we believe you should ask these questions to a prospective IT solutions provider to ensure they have the experience necessary for success.

How many clients have been successfully deployed on SD-WAN?

As IT service partners add SD-WAN to their solution offerings, it can be difficult to discern which provider has a history of success. Many vendors will market themselves as a proven provider, but are only doing so to take advantage of the growing popularity of SD-WAN solutions.  If you’re hinging essential business operations on the success of an SD-WAN solution, you may not want to connect with a provider that is still working out their system kinks. You’ll want a provider that has a proven record of experience. Make sure you ask how many successful clients they have deployed before staking your business on a new partnership.

How many sites have been deployed?

The primary goal of CBTS SD-WAN is to streamline all company location networks into an easily accessible enterprise for everyone, regardless of proximity, connectivity, or devices in use. SD-WAN is ideal for organizations with multiple site locations. If you want to ensure that your SD-WAN accurately converges all of your various data hubs, your partner will need to have proven experience implementing solutions that successfully integrate a large number of locations and operating systems. The more sites in which a provider has successfully deployed an SD-WAN solution, the better assurance you have for your business.

Are there any use cases that are representative of my business model?

This is an important question when you’re trying to find the right partner for your business. Find a provider that has catered to similar organizations. Look for experience with the same industry, similar goals, challenges, and business models to get a feel for the experience level and success rate of serving your sector. You can ensure that your new provider has a thorough understanding of your sector’s specific infrastructure needs by asking for examples of successful SD-WAN deployment cases that are similar to your business.

What is a typical deployment period?

It is essential that you consider the timeline on which your SD-WAN will be deployed to ensure your service provider is a good fit. Your company’s goals, current initiatives, and budget constraints all factor into creating a roadmap for system implementation and an experienced provider will understand that. Be wary of providers that claim to deploy systems in too rapid a time frame as they may either lack the industry skills to do a thorough job, or are making false promises to gain your partnership.

Do you have an established network that can be leveraged immediately?

SD-WAN allows you to take advantage of a variety of networks to expand your business activity. By partnering with a provider that has well-established systems, you can begin your business expansion once your solution is deployed. Your organization will benefit from increased visibility among departments, control of activities, and insights that were previously unavailable. By asking this question, you are essentially asking your provider how they can help your business. An SD-WAN provider with an established network has proven experience, and industry knowledge to drive successful business outcomes.

When partnering with CBTS for your SD-WAN solution, you are partnering with a proven provider of IT services, backed by years of industry experience and know-how. CBTS provides an agile platform with flexibility, scalability, and reliability, enabling your business not only to reach, but to exceed its goals. We have successfully deployed SD-WAN for numerous companies, giving them the power to control operations from a single, unified location. Our industry-leading IT professionals have expertise in every sector and work with you to understand your business and tailor each system to fit your business needs.

Check out more of our tips on vetting prospective SD-WAN partners by downloading our free guide, “Choosing an SD-WAN Provider.

CBTS recognized at Cisco Partner Summit

Cisco recently honored CBTS, a leading technology provider that delivers communications, cloud, infrastructure, and consulting solutions to clients across North America, with two awards at the Cisco Partner Summit annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • CBTS received the Execution Excellence Regional Partner of the Year award for its innovation, leadership and best practice as a Cisco business partner across the Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio region.
  • CBTS received the SLED Breakaway Partner of the Year award in the U.S. Public Sector.

Joe Putnick, Vice President and Principal for the CBTS Communications Practice, accepted the awards on behalf of the company.

“These awards reflect our commitment to strategic partnerships with Cisco. We pride ourselves in delivering best-in-class solutions, built on Cisco technologies, that deliver positive business outcomes to our clients,” said Putnick.

“We have seen tremendous success with our Hosted Unified Communications as a Service solutions, especially in the SLED space, as more and more clients wish to consume technologies in a hosted model.”

Cisco Partner Summit Theatre awards reflect the top-performing partners within specific technology markets across the country. All award recipients are selected by a group of Cisco Global Partner Organization and regional and theatre executives.

Cisco Partner Summit is attended by more than 2,100 global attendees from Cisco’s ecosystem of partners representing more than 1,000 companies worldwide from more than 75 countries.

 

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Houston a growing IoT innovation hub

What an exciting time to connect at our upcoming SD-WAN CIO Summit with the IT leaders driving Houston’s Smart City transformation. Just this past May, City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced an alliance with Microsoft to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) technology to the city.

Think of all of the possibilities for using IoT to make Houston a more connected, data-driven city – to create efficiencies, expand economic opportunities, enhance quality of life for citizens, and even build a smarter energy infrastructure.

Data collected from sensors on buses, for instance, might be used to determine optimal routes to relieve traffic congestion or alert managers when aggressive driving patterns consume more fuel than necessary. And that’s only the beginning!

For the enterprise, IoT offers the potential to create a more intelligent work environment and a happier workforce. By connecting devices and objects from all locations to the internet, they can be centrally managed, or set up to collect and share data and communicate without human involvement. With the right IoT hardware and technologies in place, such as smart devices, robots, and artificial intelligence, workers can be more effective in their roles, and their productivity can be measured using real-time data.

Today, digital assistants like Alexa for Business can be used to find the location of the nearest meeting room, allow for ordering of supplies, or for personal tasks such as making calls and texting, checking calendars, and accessing information from business apps like Salesforce and Concur. Smart building management systems automate control of heating, air conditioning, lighting, and security systems. Smart watches open office doors, smart desks warn employees if they’ve been sitting or standing too long, and voice commands start and control video conferences. Connected coffee makers never run dry and vending machines communicate when products need to be refilled.

IoT creating increasing demand for bandwidth

Our increasingly integrated and connected environments offer unprecedented advantages, but also present a myriad of challenges. For one, all of these devices and objects take bandwidth, and their numbers will only grow. The global research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, organizations will need to support over 26 billion connected devices. Secondly, IoT delivers constant data that needs to be managed along with inputs from many different data sources, often dispersed on multiple systems with no singular view for analysis or real-time decision-making.

Moreover, in highly regulated industries like oil and gas, financial services, and healthcare, data silos not only create operational inefficiencies but put the organization at risk with their ability to meet regulatory compliance requirements. And network administrators are responsible for security across their entire networks, as more and more devices and objects connect and generate tremendous amounts of data.

So how do IT leaders keep IoT, and their entire network, under control? In traditional network models, companies invest for scalability, buying more ports than needed and managing hundreds or thousands of annual software licenses. With all of the stress put on today’s networks by devices and IoT objects running cloud-based applications, many organizations have turned to Network as a Service (NaaS), shifting investment from ongoing capital expenditures to a consumption-based model.

Network as a Service the right solution

NaaS enables organizations to pay only for what they use, whether on a per-port basis or by network utilization, and scales securely at any time. And with its real-time dashboard, NaaS helps network admins not only account for all devices on the network, but can automate segmentation of groups of users and devices based on policies, improve security, and deliver IoT analytics needed to make smart business decisions.

Our CBTS account managers and network engineers are excited to talk with Houston’s technology leaders about how NaaS can:

  • Reduce network infrastructure and support costs with a predictable monthly service vs. significant capital investments
  • Support your IT staff with always-on engineers to monitor and manage your network proactively, 24x7x365
  • Scale branch locations easily up or down to meet business needs
  • Protect your organization with enterprise-wide firewall and security components including anti-malware and perimeter defense technology
  • Provide technology and management teams with real-time analytics and powerful business intelligence data from disparate devices to gain insights into complex operational processes, manage supply chain assets, track data to improve services, provide better customer experiences, and bring focus to business objectives specific to the organization

If you’re not headed to our SD-WAN CIO Summit, we’d still be pleased to answer any of your Cloud Networking questions.

Learn more about UCaaSNaaS, and SD-WAN.

 

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Cloud trends driving innovation in Houston

Network as a Service Transforms 6 Key Industries

Cloud trends driving innovation in Houston

As we continue to expand nationally and prepare to host our first SD-WAN CIO Summit in Houston, our account and technical teams are gearing up for an exchange of ideas with leaders from the most prominent industries in Texas. We know Houston is a powerhouse in energy and manufacturing, with a rapidly diversifying economy experiencing growth in medical research and healthcare, banking and finance, high technology, and professional services. With nearly two dozen Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, Houston has some serious bragging rights!

If you’re like many leaders we support in these types of industries, you understand the stress being put on your network by today’s cloud-based applications. With employees scattered across states, regions, and continents, each running cloud-based apps like Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, and Webex on both their corporate and personal devices, conventional WAN often struggles to keep up. Moreover, employees increasingly use a vast array of SaaS products for scheduling, collaboration, navigation, communications, and many more functions, and they need access on any device in any location with Internet connectivity. We’ll discuss these issues at our CIO Summit and why IT teams are turning to cloud networking technologies for answers.

Among the benefits of cloud networking adoption that will be covered include:

  • Better performance: Abstracting the enterprise network on the public Internet gives users instant access to cloud-hosted apps while eliminating lag or cut-outs of real-time apps like VoIP and video conferencing.
  • Potential cost savings: Moving network control to the cloud gives IT staff the ability to configure, upgrade, and manage the network centrally from a single dashboard, cutting travel costs to branch locations for network support and providing a predictable OpEx model versus variable, upfront capital expenditures.
  • Increased security: With implementation of security functions via the cloud, IT personnel have the flexibility and control needed to secure even the most sensitive business environments.
  • Staying ahead of the competition: Giving users the speed, flexibility, and agility to capitalize quickly on market opportunities.
  • Innovation: Investing in cloud networking technologies to improve every facet of daily operations and provide instant access to data and analytics needed to make real-time decisions.

Once the cloud networking benefits are laid out, we’ll dig deeper into the technologies as they apply to specific industries, organizations, environments, and business goals. Let’s take a brief look at the technologies we believe can make a significant difference for IT leaders:

SD-WAN (Software-defined wide area network)

With the tremendous rise in cloud-based app usage, performance of traditional networks like MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) has been negatively impacted. MPLS networks can’t offer the high-speed, low-latency access to cloud apps users expect, and many companies experience more frequent interruptions with MPLS, causing poor VoIP call quality or lag in their video conferencing.

SD-WAN delivers the high-speed performance branch employees need while running multiple apps simultaneously over the network. With SD-WAN, network traffic is analyzed and rebalanced in real time, ensuring throughput remains constant or increasing. Also, unlike traditional WAN technology requiring hardware setup and maintenance at each location, SD-WAN moves network control to the cloud, allowing IT staff to configure, upgrade, and manage the network from a single dashboard. Flexible security is also built into SD-WAN architecture to protect both traffic and data, giving IT staff the control they need for even the most sensitive business environments. With SD-WAN, users aren’t forced to sacrifice speed of their cloud-based apps for security.

NaaS (Network as a Service)

IT organizations must reduce the amount of time it takes to connect branch locations to corporate apps and exchange large amounts of information. In some environments like manufacturing, wireless tablets and barcode readers collect massive amounts of data online. Existing networks are being stretched beyond their intended capabilities and lifespans, especially with the growth of bandwidth-hungry cloud apps, leading to more downtime and higher support costs.

As more and more data traverses a network, security becomes an increasing concern – particularly in security sensitive industries like banking and healthcare. The full Unified Threat Management suite of the NaaS firewall protects critical data from getting out and security threats from getting in.

NaaS gives network admins a smarter way to keep everything up, running, and protected. Delivering network connectivity via the cloud and virtualization, NaaS enables data to be sent and received across shared or public networks as if on a private network. NaaS technology allows IT organizations to offload the labor-intensive burden of managing complex network resources in multiple locations, including wireless LANs, security appliances, switches, and application delivery controllers. When these resources reside in a provider’s network, they are centrally controlled and easily shared by enterprise branches. Handheld radios and push-to-talk systems can be integrated with IP-based communications like telephones, telepresence, and video conferencing systems.

Read our case study for more details about one practical implementation of NaaS, adding functionality and efficiency for a manufacturer across multiple locations.

UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)

When challenged with bringing together staff members across time zones and continents, IT leaders look to combine the best enterprise-class voice services with the latest in collaboration like instant messaging and presence, audio, video, and web conferencing solutions.

UCaaS allows organizations to deploy on-demand communications and applications as a utility service, providing businesses with agility, increased productivity, scalability, and cost-effectiveness they need to grow. As a fully hosted, cloud-based solution, UCaaS frees IT teams from managing the complexity of an onsite communications stack. Moreover, with UCaaS, organizations customize the stack from a portfolio to fit their precise needs including VoIP, room-based video, mobile solutions, chat/presence, messaging, web conferencing, audio conferencing, and contact center solutions, all with 24/7/365 support.

The CBTS team is excited to engage in meaningful conversations with technology leaders driving business and innovation in Houston. If you’re not headed to our SD-WAN CIO Summit, we’d still love to answer any of your Cloud Networking questions.

The countdown to the SD-WAN CIO Summit has begun.

Houston, get ready for launch.

Learn more about UCaaS, NaaS, and SD-WAN.

Governments serve public through cloud solutions

Government organizations are facing a variety of IT challenges. Rather than being a source of worry, however, think of these challenges as opportunities to transform your strategic initiatives, reduce expenses, and better serve your communities.

Here are the top IT challenges facing the government sector, and how the public cloud can help.

Meet taxpayer needs on a strict budget

Governments have the difficult challenge of navigating tight budgets while meeting the high expectations of constituents. As the political landscape evolves, the expectations of your residents will increase, whether you’re a state government serving millions, or an agency serving a specific need for a small community. Your citizens expect your organization to be readily accessible. They want to use their benefits, speak with representatives, and receive answers to their inquiries no matter what time it is, where they are, or what device they’re using. With the added element of financial responsibility to the taxpayer, can your organization stay on budget while meeting those requirements?

There are viable ways to meet taxpayer needs and remain financially prudent. Migrating to the public cloud offers your organization:

  • 24x7x365 reliability, giving your constituents constant access to information.
  • Use of new, innovative technologies like AI, Big Data, and IoT.
  • Robust data backup and disaster recovery solutions, keeping data safe from cyber attacks or natural disasters.

By streamlining these processes into a single location, you save your organization time and resources, and allow yourself to focus efforts on important government initiatives. You can successfully meet the needs of the public, and reduce overall costs for your organization, with the public cloud.

Make security a priority

Upholding strict security and privacy standards is crucial for the success of any governmental organization that wants to foster trust among its citizens. Your organization is responsible for valuable personal data, leaving little room for error. Cyber attacks are evolving with increased sophistication; therefore, it is essential that your organization remains agile in its effort to protect sensitive information. Staying several steps ahead of hackers can be an extreme drain on resources, but the public cloud offers industry-leading security measures to ensure that your constituents’ information is kept safe without having to hire additional IT resources or invest in on-premise infrastructure.

Government organizations should partner with a company that understands security and privacy regulations. By working with a provider that has extensive knowledge of, and experience with, the government sector, you can ensure that your organization is compliant with current policies and standards.

Streamline and consolidate technology

Allowing different government organizations to operate on disparate systems is expensive, time-consuming, and  creates roadblocks for communication and collaboration on important initiatives.

Moving your organization’s infrastructure to the public cloud will yield many positive results. For example:

  • Your organization’s technology is kept current via regular updates of your cloud-based applications, eliminating the need for hardware or software maintenance, monitoring, and management.
  • Cloud-based Unified Communications streamlines collaboration and communication between teams and office locations.
  • You pay only for what you use, decreasing the strain on program budgets.
  • Moving from capital expenses to operational expenses with a predictable monthly premium reduces budget constraints and eliminates the need for additional resources such as new equipment and staff for maintenance.

CBTS understands the IT challenges facing government organizations. We understand the responsibility you have to maintain your citizens’ security and peace of mind while meeting their high expectations for service. CBTS has served the government sector for decades, and we provide sophisticated public cloud solutions to ensure that your organization delivers successful results.

To learn how your organization can address IT challenges with a CBTS public cloud solution, download our free guide.

 

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Mass-messaging technology helps governments manage crises

When a crisis flares up, mass-messaging tools help governments broadcast information about threats and keep people safe. As more governments develop smart networks of sensors, cameras, and other devices, they need a coordinated approach to mass messaging.

That’s one of the reasons why CBTS recently integrated robust mass-messaging capabilities into our cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution. Our enterprise unified communications solution now includes InformaCast Fusion from Singlewire Software, which gives our government clients a portfolio of mass notification tools for emergencies.

Adding mass-messaging technologies is a natural evolution of our UCaaS solution. These tools help government entities such as cities, counties, and regulatory agencies send precision-guided alerts to their employees.

How mass-alerting technologies help governments

Government agencies have long depended on sophisticated messaging systems for police, fire, medical, and disaster response. Mass-messaging tools deliver similar capabilities to government leaders and staff.

The core features of InformaCast Fusion illustrate the advantages of these tools:

Central communication dashboard. Because it’s hosted in the cloud, InformaCast provides a standard communication interface across PCs, tablets, and smartphones. From here, managers can direct messaging to phones, conference rooms, billboards, road signs, IP speakers, and other communication venues.

Multiple media. Managers can send recorded or live audio messages. Other formats include SMS text, email, phone calls, and push notifications. Facebook and Twitter updates also are available.

Delivery, reading, and response. Managers can confirm a message is delivered and read. They can send messages requiring responses to determine who is available and direct them on what to do next. If people need help, the app can help send rescuers to the scene.

Escalation. Sometimes the first round of alerts gets a low reading and response rate because the recipients weren’t clear on the severity of the emergency. In these cases, managers can escalate their messaging to help clarify. This phase might also include informing the news media if necessary.

Geographic location. Most smartphones have built-in GPS, which helps emergency communications managers figure out who is where. Alerts can be targeted to people within specific areas, and they can form a virtual perimeter that tells people to avoid a dangerous area.

Common mass-messaging scenarios

It’s important that governments can clearly communicate and coordinate with the appropriate teams during emergencies. Government officials have to address threats such as:

  • Natural disasters. Storms, sinkholes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions — any number of natural threats can require the need to communicate with employees at all levels.
  • Traffic challenges. Multicar crashes on busy expressways can slow traffic to a crawl. Toxic-gas leaks and train derailments can endanger people across a wide geographic area.
  • Public unrest. Protests turn violent. Brawls break out at festivals. Often government employees attending these kinds of events can become crucial information sources to the public, reducing the risk of panic or destructive rampages.

With the right mass-messaging tools, government officials can deliver information that protects the community’s well-being.

Reaching all your people all the time

Some UCaaS providers offer mass-messaging tools as an option. At CBTS, we believe that mass-alert capability is so crucial that it comes standard with our UCaaS offering.

Our system ensures you can send alerts to everybody who reports to you, whether they use a desktop phone, PC, tablet, or smartphone. In a crisis when seconds count, that can make all the difference.

To find out more on mass messaging and UCaaS, contact the experts at CBTS.

 

Related Articles:

Check out our three-part series on creating a roadmap for Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS):

Part 1: Start with a deep assessment

Part 2: Create a thorough process analysis

Part 3: Rally stakeholder support

InformaCast Fusion offers campuses mass-alert technology

When a crisis like a fire, tornado, or active shooter occurs on a college campus, administrators suddenly become grateful for all those students glued to their smartphones.

Mass-notification technologies can instantly tell students, staff, and visitors how to respond in an emergency. That can streamline the work of emergency first responders and limit potential harm to specific areas of the campus.

Sending mass notifications has obvious health and safety benefits. The core challenge is deploying mass-notification tools across all the communication modes on a modern college campus. That requires a thorough understanding of the devices on a campus network and a careful strategy to ensure nothing gets overlooked when trouble strikes.

Mass-notification technologies can now deliver across in-building devices, desk phones, overhead paging systems, IP speakers, digital signage, and computer desktops. Colleges and universities need to send alerts via live audio, pre-recorded audio messaging, SMS text, email, phone calls, and push notifications.

Let’s look at how campuses are addressing these challenges.

Typical mass-notification scenarios

College administrators adapt to threats in specific areas and across geographic regions:

Natural disasters. During a snow storm, mass notifications can tell students to stay in their dorms when a blizzard makes it unsafe for staff and faculty to reach campus. In hurricane country, notifications help students evacuate safely. From tornadoes to floods to earthquakes, mass-messaging can ensure everybody receives the same guidance.

Crime. Hacking attacks can shut down computing infrastructure. The mass shootings that capture the headlines are exceedingly rare, but if one happens on a college campus, mass notifications become mandatory. Many more kinds of crime from arson to sexual assault might require a mass-alert response. The technology gives campus leaders the freedom to tailor notifications to whatever need arises.

Accidents. A four-car crash ties up traffic or blocks access to campus parking. A noxious-gas release from the physical plant requires an evacuation. A fire in a high-rise dorm requires exit instructions. Sending instant alerts reduces the risks arising during these situations.

Challenges with mass-notification technologies

Mass notifications must be able to reach specific kinds of devices and deliver specialized content in an emergency. These are some of the challenges campuses face:

Multiple populations. Administrators cannot limit their view to students, faculty, and staff. Campuses also have vendors, visitors, media, and external emergency first responders to think about. Mass-alert technology can be customized to reach all of these people via text message, phone calls, and other delivery methods.

Delivery, response, and confirmation. A high-quality mass-notification system has a software console that provides real-time updates about who has received notifications. That gives administrators an idea of how many people know about the crisis. Messages can be configured to require a “please respond” message to find out who is safe and who needs help.

Escalation. If campus leaders need to expand their messaging or recraft it to reinforce the severity of a situation, escalation capability allows a standardized method of stepping up to a higher alert level.

Conference calls. Leaders from multiple schools or departments can be automatically summoned to a conference call to manage a crisis. Configuring this capability in advance ensures a much faster response to an emergency.

Geolocation. A well-designed mass-messaging system can send alerts to people already within a specific geographic area. Moreover, it can send an alert when people enter an area, creating an electronic perimeter that warns people to leave dangerous areas.

CBTS offers advanced mass-messaging capabilities

CBTS recently integrated InformaCast Fusion, a cloud-based mass-alert technology from Singlewire Software, into our Hosted Enterprise Unified Communications (UC) solution. CBTS Hosted Enterprise UC delivers advanced capabilities like VoIP, teleconferencing, and global collaboration via a cloud-based managed service. CBTS experts handle the complications of configuring phones, allocating bandwidth, and ensuring high-quality communications, all for a predictable monthly fee.

The addition of InformaCast Fusion ensures that our Hosted Enterprise UC clients have top-tier mass-messaging capabilities. For college campuses, that means administrators always have the tools they need to send specific messages to defined groups of people in precise geographic locations. That helps campus leadership manage crises, reduce hazards, and save lives—all in real time.

If your campus needs advanced mass-messaging capability, talk to the experts at CBTS.

 

Learn More

Check out our three-part series on creating a roadmap for Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS):

SD-WAN: Secure, reliable connectivity for businesses

Employees in branch offices often need as much bandwidth and application access as their peers in the main office. SD-WAN technology helps them get it.

SD-WAN is a new generation of technology designed to overcome the shortcomings of conventional branch-office networking. Much like virtual servers using software to replace racks of dedicated hardware, SD-WAN abstracts a physical network into the virtual realm. Virtual servers and software-defined networks are far easier to configure, support, and upgrade than their hardware-based peers, so IT departments of all sizes are embracing them. These are just some advantages of SD-WAN.

Small and mid-sized businesses with branch offices are excellent candidates for SD-WAN because it reduces costs and simplifies their network operations.

An ideal alternative to MPLS

Until a few years ago, most organizations connected to their branch offices via MPLS (multiprotocol label switching). While MPLS can deliver high performance, it’s costly to configure and maintain. It’s also poorly suited to the rise of cloud applications. Branch office personnel on MPLS networks often encounter service blips such as voices cutting out during a VoIP conversation, or latency interrupting a video conference.

Because so many people depend on cloud-based apps such as Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365, they need networking technologies that plug the gaps of MPLS. That’s where SD-WAN comes in.

Key advantages of SD-WAN 

SD-WAN technologies allow small and mid-sized companies with branch offices to leverage public Internet services, which typically offer plenty of bandwidth at a far lower cost than MPLS. That’s an attractive proposition because of the time and expense involved in servicing and configuring an MPLS network.

MPLS requires IT resources to visit the branch office and work through a list of manual chores when setting up the network, or updating the network to add hardware or software. SD-WAN uses single network equipment that connects a branch to the main office and the public Internet.

The SD-WAN technology can be managed and supported via a web interface, which dramatically reduces the number of technician visits. Much of the configuration is automated, reducing support costs.

MPLS delivers a high-speed connection to a single application. Unfortunately, performance degrades if users must deploy multiple applications over a network. Thus, the widespread use of cloud applications is a poor fit for MPLS networking.

How SD-WAN outperforms MPLS

MPLS delivers powerful network performance in narrow circumstances. Traditionally, organizations have used the Internet only as a last resort because MPLS outperformed the public Internet. But the low cost and rising capacity of Internet bandwidth created an opportunity for SD-WAN.

SD-WAN technology analyzes and rebalances network traffic in real time. SD-WAN anticipates the packet loss that degrades Internet service and delivers a digital workaround. The result is users enjoy high performance and low latency across all of their cloud-based apps.

A flexible option for remote offices

Organizations with remote offices may have dedicated security devices. Typically, SD-WAN equipment has this security functionality built in, and SD-WAN equipment also can encrypt data in transit, bulking up network security.

SD-WAN delivers features and performance that small organizations with limited IT support could never afford in years past. The advantages of SD-WAN allow smaller organizations to level the playing field with corporate giants.

Partnering with an SD-WAN provider

SD-WAN offers multiple benefits, but it takes substantial IT acumen to configure it properly, optimize it for peak performance, and support all of your branch office users. Many organizations depend on a managed services provider to support SD-WAN. Instead of investing in new networking hardware, consider partnering with a service provider that will install, configure, and manage your SD-WAN, helping you make better use of your finite IT resources.

As longtime experts in configuring networks and designing systems for enterprises of all sizes, CBTS has the skill to deliver SD-WAN performance that meshes with your precise business needs. We will ensure that your users have access to their favorite cloud apps, and that you have the necessary networking technology.

CBTS partners with VeloCloud, a top provider of SD-WAN technology, to deliver SD-WAN as a managed service. To learn more about the nuts and bolts and advantages of SD-WAN, download “SD-WAN for Dummies,” VeloCloud’s guide to the technology.

CBTS provides four unified communications essentials

Today’s business world is filled with seemingly unending e-mails, phone calls, and meetings. In order to keep your organization’s various departments running smoothly, all team members must stay updated on project developments and day-to-day operations.

A new cloud-based unified communications solution can help transform your business activities — and having the right partner will lead your team toward success. CBTS provides industry-leading cloud-based unified communication solutions, and we’re sharing our advice on how to choose a partner that will ensure long-term prosperity with your new technology. Check out the four unified communications essentials below.

Training and support 

The new solution will greatly enhance your overall communications experience, including new features and functionalities that your old PBX lacked. High-quality training and support is crucial to guarantee your teams maximize the solution.

CBTS is there to provide 24x7x365 coverage to keep your system working properly and make sure your teams understand all of the available tools and assets. We are with you from day one, providing support with planning, implementation, and management to provide a seamless transition. Additionally, we offer on-site and WebEx-based training, and a robust self-service portal.

Monitoring tools

When migrating to a new cloud-based system, you want to be certain all the moving parts work properly. Network monitoring and analytics tools can help establish an optimally performing solution for your business.

CBTS cloud unified communication solutions offer network monitoring tools and constant analytics that can enhance management control and monitor for service issues. By partnering with us, you get a bird’s-eye view of your system and the ability to catch and fix issues before they occur.

Auditing and road mapping

Keeping the big picture in mind is vitally important when implementing a new cloud-based solution. Communications auditing and road mapping is key for boosted performance. Your audit should cover three essential elements:

  • Technology: Compile an inventory of your current tools and features, physical equipment, and underlying network.
  • Processes: Outline all of the current communication avenues operating within your business.
  • People: Who could be impacted by the transition? Audit everyone affected including staff, partners, suppliers, and customers.

Once you have a clear picture of your technology, processes, and people, analyze what will change with the new transition. What are the benefits each group will see from leveraging the cloud?

The auditing process can seem overwhelming, but CBTS offers a range of resources to support your transition and benefit your team at every stage. We also proactively suggest new services for improving your experiences, always ensuring you’re getting the most out of the cloud.

Experience

CBTS has implemented cloud unified communications solutions for organizations large and small, within every industry. With our experience, we understand that no IT solution is one-size-fits-all. We tailor each of our solutions to meet your business goals, always keeping client relationships top of mind. When you work with CBTS, you are partnering with an organization that truly appreciates the nuances of your business and will be by your side as your company evolves.

To learn more about the steps for a successful cloud communications journey, download our free guide.

Unified Communications transition mistakes to avoid

Collaboration is fundamental to any relationship, whether personal or professional. Given all the moving parts within your business, it can be challenging to ensure your team stays on the same page and is able to work efficiently on projects.

A cloud-based unified communications solution will help your organization connect, communicate, and collaborate in eye-opening ways. While making the switch from traditional PBX solutions can be extremely rewarding, the transition should be carefully navigated in order to avoid common pitfalls.

As a leader in cloud-based unified communications solutions, CBTS is sharing the top four mistakes to avoid when implementing a cloud-based communications solution:

Mistake 1: Missing a key feature when you launch

A lot hinges on the success of your new communications system, and planning is a vital step in the implementation process.  It’s important that you survey all user requirements during your communications audit to make sure your organization has the necessary components. In doing so, you will help guarantee the foundation of your system is fully secure before launching your cloud-based communications solution.

Mistake 2: Network infrastructure hampers system performance 

The purpose of a cloud-based communications solution is just that — to communicate. Key features such as voice and video need to work flawlessly to effectively unite departments and teams. Sufficient quality of service for real-time voice and video is essential for connecting with clients and outside agencies. Because of this, it is crucial to cover yourself during unexpected surges in network traffic, and allow sufficient WAN bandwidth for concurrent phone calls or videoconferences. To ensure a successful experience for your end users, you’ll need the network infrastructure to support it.

Mistake 3: Lackluster process mapping disrupts the transition 

It all goes back to planning. The last thing you want when implementing a new solution is for it to disrupt business operations. To keep continuity of existing processes, detailed data capture is a must, and should include number blocks, call flows, call handling, hunt groups, and contact center call routing. Ensuring functionality is in place from day one will avoid confusion and mishandled calls, ultimately leading to effective deployment of your cloud-based system and overall business operations.

Mistake 4: Improper training means employees won’t maximize new system

Without the proper education, your team will not be able to use the new system to its full potential. When you implement the right user training, and have the ability to rely on a well-staffed help desk for efficient issue resolution, your company greatly benefits. By making sure all of your employees are properly trained on the features and functionalities of the unified communications solution, you secure long-term success.

Your cloud communications partner should provide support every step of the way. From planning to transition, to launch, training and beyond, your organization can avoid these missteps by partnering with an experienced UC provider. CBTS has provided tailored cloud-based unified communications solutions to organizations of all sizes and across all industries. Contact us today to start your UC journey.

To learn more about how to successfully implement a cloud-based unified communications solution in your organization, download our free Cloud Communications Journey guide.