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

As the business world continues to adapt to the remote working conditions necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, migrations of network infrastructure and applications to the cloud are becoming increasingly common.

Learn about the advantages SD-WAN can have for your hybrid work environment.
Learn about the advantages SD-WAN can have for your hybrid work environment.

With businesses looking to the cloud to stabilize and enhance their hybrid work from home models, it’s more important than ever that enterprise leaders understand the solutions and benefits offered by software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN), as well as how SD-WAN and network as a service (NaaS) offerings can complement each other.

VMware SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud creates an agile platform that allows enterprises to securely deploy, manage and monitor hybrid public and private and wireless networks—all while offloading management and analysis to the solution provider. NaaS enables customers to leverage the power of CBTS to deliver a fully managed network, with cloud integration, security, switching, Wi-Fi, management, monitoring and Auto VPN.

These solutions can be secured through Trusted Security by Check Point CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)—now called Harmony Connect and Harmony Email and Office, respectively—which deliver integrated, advanced threat prevention, reducing complexity and lowering the total cost of ownership. Whether your enterprise is looking to limit capital expenditures, lessen the workload on your internal IT staff, enable growth within the new hybrid/remote work environment, or simply do more with less, it pays to be familiar with the following SD-WAN advantages:

Primary SD-WAN advantages:
  • Hold onto your capital: SD-WAN, as well as NaaS solutions, function as monthly utility models, limiting the capital expenses required to get them up and running.
  • Do more with less: The hosted and managed cloud-based nature of SD-WAN means your organization can offload network maintenance tasks and easily scale operations as needed.
  • Streamline remote and hybrid workforces: SD-WAN can maintain reliable connections between remote and on-site employees on the same network.
  • Advanced security features: Remove accessibility for employees working from home doesn’t have to mean compromises on security.
  • Superior service: As a managed solution, SD-WAN comes with the expertise and partnership of your provider organization, which can act as an extension of your own team.

Read more: How SD-WAN & NaaS come together to supercharge remote work productivity

Addressing the pain points of a hybrid work-from-home model

The last year has been chaotic for nearly every sector of the global economy. Employees are settling in for the long haul as remote work becomes the new normal, and enterprise leaders continue to seek every opportunity to introduce stability and reliability to their remote workforces. Indeed, rapidly shifting to a hybrid work-from-home model can create a variety of difficulties ranging from expenses and loss of efficiency to security risks.

The migration of disparate remote offices and traditional workplaces into a shared network tends to incur a need for greater bandwidth and more robust traffic routing to properly manage the volume of data a modern hybrid work-from-home model produces. That’s where SD-WAN shines, allowing enterprises to scale bandwidth up or down on an as-needed basis to meet changing conditions.

Read more: CBTS Delivers Optimal Remote Work Accessibility and Productivity with Secure SD-WAN Solutions

SD-WAN advantages for security

Even before COVID-19 forced major restructuring of the standard workforce composition, network security was a primary concern for enterprises of nearly every industry and vertical. Today, with more employees than ever accessing business-critical data from home or even from coffee shops, security is a more crucial priority than ever.

Fortunately, a fully managed SD-WAN solution can be easily augmented with a cloud security package without putting any additional strain on your organization’s in-house IT personnel.

The advantages of a managed SD-WAN service don’t stop there—your providers will have insight into the day-to-day operations of your networking environment and will be able to work closely with you to identify potential cost savings while also assisting your organization’s transition to a cloud-based architecture.

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

Lean into SD-WAN and NaaS to empower your hybrid work-from-home model

By embracing the strengths of SD-WAN and NaaS solutions, your enterprise can establish and maintain a robust remote/hybrid workforce capable of meeting any current challenge, with the flexibility and ongoing support to meet any future obstacle as well.

Contact CBTS for more information on how the above SD-WAN advantages can modernize your organization for the modern age.

Continue reading:

Cloud delivered SD-WAN and 5 fixes for networking obstacles

How SD-WAN security enhances critical business applications

How a certified Microsoft partner can advance your digital disruption

The benefits of moving to the cloud are no longer a secret. Cloud services make everything easier for businesses and organizations of any size. The key to maximizing your benefits is making sure your transition to the cloud is customized to meet your specific business objectives and your environment becomes cloud efficient. To that end, it’s critical to find a Microsoft certified partner that helps you develop the right strategy and ensures a successful deployment.

A Microsoft certified partner can increase your efficiencies and improve your security posture
A Microsoft certified partner can increase your efficiencies and improve your security posture.

If you’re like most organizations moving to the cloud, your first step will be an Office 365 migration for collaboration and communication solutions. Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite is one of the most powerful business tools available. According to Gartner, nearly three-quarters of all medium and large organizations in the U.S. use the platform, particularly in areas like healthcare and finance, which have seen usage double over the last two years. 

An end-to-end solution provider 

A qualified Microsoft certified partner can offer informed recommendations based on their ability to capture a holistic view of your IT environment’s infrastructure and applications to provide a modernization roadmap for your journey to the cloud.  A Microsoft certified partner should have the proven experience and certified expertise to assess your environment, look at every workload application, and determine what’s ideal for the cloud and what is not. Even if you’re already using Microsoft, a Microsoft certified partner can increase your efficiencies, lower costs, and improve your security posture. 

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

Leverage the experience of a 15 year partnership with Microsoft
  • Microsoft licensing optimization
  • Managed Azure Cloud
  • Collaboration and Communications
  • Application Development and Consulting Services

Why invest in a Microsoft certified partner?

There are many benefits to partnering with an experienced Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, including:


Only pay for what you need. Take Office 365, for example. If you had 1,000 Office 365 licenses and needed to increase that by 50 licenses for a big project but wanted to drop it back to down to 1,000 afterward, you can. When using Azure, you only pay for what you use, just like an electric bill.

Logical billing.

Every month, you’ll receive a bill for the communication licenses you used and/or the amount of Azure you utilized. Gone are the days of upfront licensing costs.

Superior Microsoft support.

Your Microsoft certified partner also acts as your support team. When necessary, your partner deals with Microsoft on your behalf. This ensures a resolution that can occur in a matter of hours vs. days or longer.

Trusted advisors.

You may be aware that Microsoft’s service offerings and licensing can be complex. With a Microsoft certified partner, you have an experienced guide that is able to evaluate your options and enable you to maximize your technology investment.

Right-size your Microsoft environment

Whether your organization’s IT infrastructure is on-premises, in the cloud, or uses a hybrid model, CBTS—as a Microsoft certified partner—can customize solutions to fit your unique needs. If you’re unsure of what you need, no worries. CBTS has the expertise to evaluate and recommend agile solutions that meet your currents needs and can easily scale. 

If you already use at least one Microsoft solution, CBTS would love to show you how to get the most out of your investment. You’ll be surprised at how unlocking the full potential of your current Microsoft solution can transform your organizational digital disruption.

Contact CBTS  for assistance with finding a Microsoft certified partner and streamlining your cloud migration

Continue reading:

Leverage Office 365 to transform your business

How CBTS is integrating Hosted UCaaS with Microsoft Teams

How Network as a Service can benefit your business

Cut costs and ease the IT burden with a future-proof NaaS solution from CBTS

Until recently, organizations with multiple locations had to grapple with the costs and complexities of managing their own wide area networks (WAN) to connect each site. As businesses expand and new technologies devour limited bandwidth, these existing networks are being stretched beyond their intended lifespans, causing frequent downtime and increased operating expenses that can be eliminated by leveraging the benefits of Network as a Service (Naas).

Network as a Service (NaaS) benefits different industries and their unique networking requirements.
Network as a Service (NaaS) benefits different industries and their unique networking requirements.

Adding to these IT pressures, different locations often involve their own unique networking requirements. This is further complicated by bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and the Internet of Things (IoT), which both require robust security, flexibility, and scalability to meet fluctuating demands. An outdated multiprotocol label switching (MPLS)-based network simply can’t keep pace with these rapid changes.

The NaaS model for deploying and managing networks can bring countless benefits to businesses of all sizes by providing centralized connectivity, support, and network management. Just as the popular Software as a Service (SaaS) approach helps companies shift their applications to the cloud, the various benefits of NaaS enable organizations to transfer their networking responsibilities to the connectivity experts at CBTS, tapping into features and cost-savings that can boost the bottom line.

Also read: NaaS helps school districts engage students

The basic functionality of NaaS

Fully-managed NaaS solutions from CBTS provide businesses with scalable methods of supporting, maintaining, expanding, and securing their enterprise-wide networks. This centralized service gives end users the ability to access the enterprise network from any location or device, unhindered by the limitations of traditional MPLS-based architecture.

Built on Cisco Meraki technology, these full-service networking solutions from CBTS combine:

  • Automated virtual private networking (VPN) to connect and secure local area networks (LANs).
  • Endless scalability options to add or remove users and easily provision or decommission entire locations.
  • Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology that enables centralized, customizable network management solutions.
  • Multilevel security protocols including next-generation firewalls, unified threat management, and advanced encryption standards.
  • 24x7x365 monitoring, management, and support from certified engineers at CBTS.
Sr. Solutions Consultant Kirk Rooney explains Network as a Service and how it benefits businesses.

Although NaaS offers benefits that enable companies to offload day-to-day connectivity responsibilities (such as resource provisioning, network mapping, and security monitoring), the intuitive dashboard preserves the ability for internal IT staff to easily monitor and adjust networks as needed. This flexibility gives companies the control and the support to make informed networking decisions without the day-to-day burden that typically accompanies enterprise network solutions.

Also read: How SD-WAN & NaaS come together to supercharge remote work productivity

By replacing expensive MPLS networks with a flexible NaaS solution from CBTS, businesses can take advantage of benefits such as:
  • Integrated branch operations across remote office locations.
  • Scalable network support to enable seamless expansion.
  • Dependable 24x7x365 uptime with continuous upgrades.
  • Built-in security features to protect data privacy.
  • Flexible connectivity with sufficient bandwidth.
  • Significant cost-savings at a predictable monthly price.

The benefits of Network as a Service

Unlike traditional network environments, NaaS provides a virtualized solution that’s cheaper to deploy and easier to operate than a traditional MPLS architecture. Whether you operate a single location or multiple branch offices, NaaS delivers scalable features to support the unique needs of every business—even complex sectors such as retail, healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, and education.

By implementing Network as a Service from CBTS, many different industry verticals can tap into the game-changing benefits of NaaS. Here are a few examples:

Integrated branch operations

For retailers with multiple store locations, NaaS can securely connect network endpoints to support numerous facilities through one streamlined solution. This allows clients to share wireless connectivity, analytics, and other IT resources while gaining full network visibility across their operations. As a retail chain grows, NaaS provides sufficient bandwidth to add wireless point-of-sale devices and kiosks without requiring additional investments in hardware or software. This is just one reason why retailers love NaaS.

Scalable network support

For healthcare providers, NaaS can be a critical tool to support HIPAA compliance and other regulatory requirements while offering network scalability and reliability. As hospitals spin-up satellite clinics, short-term research labs, and other temporary “pop-up” facilities, NaaS enables top-notch security and automatic upgrades to keep data safe and accessible as healthcare networks expand.

Dependable uptime

In the industrial sector, NaaS provides dependable connectivity to position manufacturers to take full advantage of factory automation and IoT devices with 24x7x365 uptime. By integrating factory floor networks into company-wide enterprise architecture, NaaS keeps manufacturing companies connected across facilities, helping them improve operational efficiency by eliminating downtime and reducing capital costs.

Baked-in security

For companies in the financial services sector that handle personally identifiable information (PII), cybersecurity hacks and data breaches pose a persistent threat. NaaS offers baked-in security features rather than requiring additional time and expertise to layer security on top of the network infrastructure. With enterprise-grade firewalls and constant security monitoring from CBTS, NaaS is particularly well-suited to protect sensitive financial data.

Flexible connectivity

The budget-conscious, resource-constrained education sector can easily accommodate both staff and student connectivity expectations through NaaS. A NaaS deployment from CBTS offers superior performance when transmitting all types of content across locations. Whether administrators are sending video announcements to staff members or students are submitting assignments from home, Network as a Service provides school systems with reliable network access.

Cost efficiency

For companies in any industry, one of the biggest benefits is the cost-savings that Network as a Service provides. The NaaS model eliminates the capital expense of building out individual networks or performing forklift upgrades to replace aging equipment that doesn’t meet current demands. Instead, companies pay a predictable monthly price for equipment, management, and support, along with automatic upgrades. This allows companies to move from fixed capital expenditures (CapEx) to on-demand operational costs (OpEx), so you only pay for what you need.

Better business outcomes with NaaS

From Major League Baseball teams to entrepreneurial cannabis start-ups, businesses of all shapes and sizes are tapping into the benefits of Network as a Service from CBTS. These companies are future-proofing their businesses and cutting operating costs while freeing their IT teams from day-to-day network management.

Through its NaaS offerings, CBTS supports the entire spectrum of network and IT infrastructure requirements by leveraging a software-defined networking approach that responds to dynamic traffic and application requirements. CBTS makes the task of remotely managing hybrid, public, and private networks more affordable and less complex. With CBTS, businesses can migrate to a high-performance network without the hefty price tag or heavy IT burden.

Contact CBTS for a free demo to see how your company can streamline operations with NaaS.

4 Reasons Retailers Love NaaS

CBTS helps governments use telehealth technology

Meet uptime and dependability targets with NaaS

LAN infrastructure from CBTS gives a boost to retail growth

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified demand across all industries for modern networking technology that enables seamless and user-friendly collaboration. Retail is no different, as local area network (LAN) infrastructure gives merchants and customers alike access to actionable information anytime from any location. Benefits include:

  • Faster customer information processing.
  • An enhanced customer experience.
  • Increased sales and reduced costs.
  • Improved network performance.

Cloud-managed security cameras—the latest addition to the CBTS Network as a Service (NaaS) product line—are equipped with advanced sensors and work seamlessly within the Internet of Things (IoT) to streamline store operations, improve public safety measures, and optimize revenue without an increase in licensing costs.

LAN infrastructure gives a boost to retailers.
LAN infrastructure and cloud computing solutions give a boost to retailers.

LAN infrastructure also allows retailers to reduce spending associated with software and hardware development, maintenance, and staffing. Retailers can now deliver products and services at speed while monitoring data performance in real time.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the many ways in which innovations in LAN infrastructure from CBTS empower retail clients nationwide.

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

Unifying multiple store locations with NaaS

NaaS is putting LAN infrastructure within reach for every enterprise, including retailers not currently equipped to meet high demand for reliable, full-spectrum communication. When combined with software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) and hosted unified communications (UC), NaaS is capable of reinventing any store’s networking architecture.

NaaS delivers a Wi-Fi-enabled network that boasts shared wireless connectivity and analytics across multiple locations. By harnessing NaaS, retailers can:

  • Spend less time and money managing expensive, complex resources such as LANs, appliances, switches, and application delivery controllers.
  • Provide customers with Wi-Fi connectivity for loyalty and award apps as well product information and reviews.
  • Use Wi-Fi to obtain customer travel paths and additional data for dissemination of personalized in-store promotions—wireless access points provide information on where the customer moves in store, which can help retailers design layouts and maximize foot traffic.

Cisco Meraki MV cameras are the newest feature of the ever-expanding CBTS product portfolio. By tapping into cloud-augmented edge storage, Meraki MV cameras eliminate the costs and complexities of traditional security camera systems.

Meraki MV cameras are managed centrally through the cloud, eliminating the need for in-house servers and enabling automatic firmware updates, bug fixes, and instant delivery of new features. Users with a retail cloud computing focus can stream and create video walls for monitoring critical locations without needing to configure IP or install plug-ins.  

Also read: How Cisco Meraki + CBTS NaaS team up to deliver cost-efficient modernization for your network

Product highlights include:

  • Meraki dashboard for centralized management.
  • Cloud-augmented edge storage.
  • Easy scalability for multiple camera deployment.
  • Intelligent motion indexing.
  • Built-in video analytics tools.
  • Encrypted control architecture supported by SAML integration.

No special software or browser plug-in requirements.

Discover how LAN infrastructure and cloud computing are revolutionizing retail by downloading this retail networking guide.

Updating your retail operations with LAN infrastructure

Smart wireless networks are a treasure trove of customer information that offer retailers valuable insights into customer behavior—from foot traffic patterns to time spent in store. Retailers can further improve customer experience and brand loyalty via branded landing pages, integrated applications, and push notifications.

Secure access service edge (SASE) is a network architecture that rolls SD-WAN and security into a cloud service, delivering simplified WAN deployment, improved efficiency and security, and appropriate bandwidth per application.

As a cloud service, SASE can be readily scaled up or down based on usage, an attractive option for retailers looking for a viable cloud computing option. SASE’s designation as a single service cuts overall complexity and cost, thanks to a decrease in hardware and the number of vendors retailers must meet with. 

SASE also supports zero-trust networking, which bases access on user, device, and application rather than location and IP address. End users can therefore gain access without worrying about security becoming a focal point for future cyberattacks.

Ultimately, SASE allows businesses to respond to crises faster, ideally minimizing their impact. Additionally, SASE better positions stores to employ new innovations such as edge computing, 5G, and mobile AI.

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

Crucial LAN infrastructure resources can replace outdated retail systems

UCaaS (unified communications as a service), a managed service for voice and collaboration, is an increasingly popular tool for retailers.

By implementing UCaaS, businesses can replace outmoded voice-only systems and operate VoIP, room-based video, chat, web conferencing, and other real-time applications. UCaaS is a scalable cloud computing solution that improves the quality of voice calls while adding omni-channel features such as call reporting, video conferencing, and e-mail.

With UCaaS solutions from CBTS, retailers can increase productivity and eliminate upfront costs. Cisco’s Context Service, included in all CBTS contact center solutions, collects customer data from multiple channels and organizes it for use in marketing, sales, and other applications.

SD-WAN is another valuable cloud resource for retailers to manage services among UCaaS, LANs, software as a service (SaaS) applications, security systems, and private and public clouds.

Among its other benefits, SD-WAN minimizes delays over long distances and improves overall network quality. The technology allows cost-conscious merchants to maximize multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) costs, or even replace MPLS entirely and switch to broadband. SD-WAN can be deployed over MPLS and Ethernet as well as cable, fiber, DSL, Wi-Fi, and 4G cellular LTE.

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

LAN infrastructure in retail ensures business longevity

UCaaS, NaaS, and SD-WAN are subscription-based cloud computing solutions with usage-based monthly payments, meaning retailers won’t be responsible for upgrade costs or ongoing hardware and software licensing. Merchants can now better connect with customers, maximizing visitor data to develop beneficial business strategies and perfect customer service.

Contact us to learn more about LAN infrastructure options for your enterprise and join a team of CBTS experts for an online-only LAN infrastructure for retail event.

How SD-WAN security enhances critical business applications

CBTS woman at desk

In response to the move to have workers at home, companies of all sizes have had to rethink their networking infrastructures to support their growing remote workforces. The swift spread of the coronavirus crisis and the necessary response to it left many enterprises realizing that their existing VPN-based solutions were unreliable systems with limited performance and security measures. As a result, they recognized that a better solution was needed, one that took into account the new work model and the way that applications were being accessed.

With the COVID-19 era forcing increased use of a hybrid work model and the need for secure remote access expected to last beyond the pandemic, organizations are thinking long-term in regard to their most crucial workforce networking needs. Enterprises seeking an affordable networking solution that offers more reliable and faster network connectivity are turning to software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) architecture and VMware SD-WAN as the premier offer.

The following are a few of the ways in which an SD-WAN solution can boost your business both safely and dependably.

Also read: Revamping an outdated network with SD-WAN and NaaS

Protecting SD-WAN in your remote or hybrid work environment

SD-WAN is the most advanced WAN connectivity option on the market, and VMware SD-WAN has rapidly become the most widely trusted deployment avenue of this technology. The powerful VMware SD-WAN solution has transformed the way organizations structure their networks, allowing multiple network connections at varied locations to be combined into a single connection with traffic steered intelligently over them based on application policies and network conditions. The result is more speed, security, and reliability with the flexibility to use links of any type, including lower-cost broadband, all managed from a central portal.

Remote working solutions can’t compromise on security, so it’s incumbent upon organizations to furnish each employee’s home office with the same data integrity measures utilized in traditional office environments.

Modern network infrastructure must be protected from a range of threats, from phishing scams to bots to a wide variety of viruses. Your SD-WAN security solution should meet the following secure remote access criteria:

  • Next-generation threat prevention as a cloud service.
  • Public cloud security and compliance measures.
  • Increased protection and threat assessment across all virtual networks.

Also read: CBTS Delivers Optimal Remote Work Accessibility and Productivity with Secure SD-WAN Solutions

Threat emulation functionality prevents infections from targeted malware attacks, delivering the best possible threat capture rate to your network. With the right emulation program in place, intruders will have a much more difficult time breaching your defenses.

Properly automated intrusion protection, meanwhile, forms a nearly impenetrable barrier around your network environment by monitoring, tracking, and shutting down potential threats. As it stops external attacks, the program also compiles actionable data and analytics about potential dangers to your network.

By harnessing CBTS-integrated technology, your network will be enhanced with features such as:
  • Cloud delivered threat prevention.
  • Zero-day threat prevention.
  • Cloud-native architecture.
  • Simple and intuitive web management.
  • Optimized WAN security.

Powering secure business activities in an uncertain time

As traditional WAN architectures aren’t designed to support cloud and NaaS applications, enterprises are instead turning to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). However, not all SASE solutions are created equal, meaning a hosted cloud security partnership with CBTS makes the difference for the continuing efficacy of your network.

Check Point provides organizations with advanced threat prevention, reducing complexity and lowering the total cost of ownership. Additionally, this CBTS-integrated technology protects SaaS, IaaS, and branch office assets from sophisticated threats through dynamic scalability, intelligent provisioning, and consistent control across physical and virtual networks.

The Check Point SD-WAN security solution also includes:

  • IPS, Anti-Bot, and Antivirus solutions to safeguard networks from known threats.
  • Application Control and URL Filtering to enforce safe web use.
  • HTTPS inspection to prevent threats inside encrypted HTTPS channels.
  • Multiple voice-over networking solutions for optimal customer quality of experience.

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

Jhonatan Almaraz, senior manager of network engineering at CBTS, says the reliability and security of a managed network is a boon for today’s forward-thinking companies.

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

Executives interested in SASE must plan around the long-term business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, adds Michael Leonard, senior product marketing manager at VMware, which partners with CBTS on SD-WAN technologies.

“VMware SD-WAN, managed by CBTS, is ideal for enterprises seeking business continuity solutions to enable a remote digital workforce, delivering consumer simplicity, enterprise quality, and maximum flexibility for a dynamic and challenging environment,” Leonard says. “Providing quality access from home is critical in empowering employees to continue business activities in this uncertain time.”

Also read: A Q&A on VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud

Conclusion: CBTS is the right partner for you

If there’s one part of IT standing in the way of business agility, it’s the outdated enterprise WAN. Cloud-delivered SD-WAN from CBTS is an agile platform to securely deploy, manage, and monitor hybrid public, private, wireline, and wireless networks.

As a Check Point Software Technologies 5-Star Partner, CBTS offers a wealth of expert knowledge compared to other managed service providers, as well as an unparalleled track record of delivering extensive networking overhauls for clients of all sizes. By partnering with CBTS, your organization will gain ongoing support from the assessment phase way through the implementation of your SD-WAN solution and management of it and beyond.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can implement advanced secure remote access solutions to modernize your networking environment.

Employ cloud-enabled security to safe-guard your SD-WAN network

The cyber threats faced by enterprises today—from phishers and scammers to bots and viruses—can have a disastrous impact on your organization. Stay-at-home orders spurred by the pandemic have only exacerbated the issue, with hackers exploiting remote networks and human error to steal corporate data.

Cloud-enabled security safeguards your SD-WAN network
Cloud-enabled security safeguards your SD-WAN network

As the pandemic enters its second year, business networks are becoming more efficient thanks to new transport methods, organizational strategies, and improved cloud computing capabilities. Contemporary security solutions are the logical answer to next-generation threats aimed at cloud-connected software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN).

Cloud-enabled security from CBTS can steer your organization on its path to digital transformation. Check Point’s CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS solutions provide reliable security at a time when applications and employees alike can operate from anywhere in the world. These technologies empower companies to make optimal network and application decisions without the added difficulty of securing a malleable, distributed system.

Also read: In response to COVID-19 now is the time to build a Cyber Risk Program – Here’s How

Public, cloud-enabled security is a must for modern organizations

With more applications moving to the cloud, many business users are conducting virtual meetings, sharing files, and collaborating through bandwidth-reliant tools such as voice and video traffic. For IT organizations managing remote and branch offices, it can be a challenge to accommodate user needs in a way that’s efficient, secure, and cost-effective.

As traditional WAN architectures aren’t designed to support cloud applications, many organizations are turning to SD-WAN to manage and improve connectivity from a single dashboard. Working alongside Networking as a Service (NaaS), this solution requires a cloud-enabled security approach to create a fully functional modern networking infrastructure. Ideally, your security solution should:

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

These features are the bare minimum for any up-to-date, cloud-enabled security solution. Considering the danger presented by modern security threats, it’s critical to safeguard enterprise branch offices linked to the cloud via SD-WAN.

Also read: Cybersecurity Awareness Month: the Essential Security Practice

By using CloudGuard Connect, you’ll provide your enterprise with:
  • Threat prevention as a cloud service, including threat emulation, HTTPS inspection, anti-bot, application control, and firewall.
  • Tunneling to Check Point cloud with GRE and IPsec.
  • Redundancy of availability zones.
  • Dynamic or sstatic IP site creation.

The power of CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS

CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS are perfect complements for enterprises seeking to secure their SD-WAN environments.

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

“CBTS has leveraged SD-WAN technologies to help our customers along their journey to the cloud and their path to digital transformation,” says Jhonatan Almaraz, director of cloud networking for CBTS. “Organizations are now facing the challenge of how to secure this new, flexible, always-on network. Check Point’s CloudGuard Connect and CloudGuard SaaS enable our customers to make the network decisions and application decisions that are best for their organization. We are delivering peace of mind now, along with our flexibility and convenience.”

Putting the right cloud-enabled security program in place

When determining what to look for in cutting-edge security, organizations should place threat emulation functionality high on the list. With the right threat emulation program in place, you can ensure your organization avoids infections from new malware and targeted attacks. Your enterprise will also have the best possible catch rate for network attacks, while would-be hackers will have a difficult time navigating your defenses.

Best-in-class cloud-enabled security systems like CloudGuard Connect provide URL filtering, a valuable tool that keeps lists of problematic URLs and flags any attempts by end users to access them. This is handy for preventing users from opening inappropriate, unsafe, or irrelevant websites you’d rather not have them access.

Ongoing intrusion protection forms a nearly impenetrable barrier around networks by monitoring, tracking, and shutting down potential threats. As it stops external attacks, the program also compiles actionable data about incoming threats that could threaten your network.

Ultimately, organizations employing SD-WAN services between branch offices must complete their cloud-enabled security package in preparation for the post-pandemic digital future.

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

CBTS is proud to be named a Check Point Software Technologies 5-Star Partner.

Continue reading: Cloud delivered SD-WAN and 5 fixes for networking obstactles

5G: Paving the road to smart manufacturing

Smart manufacturing, or the “digital factory,” is no longer the future—it’s already arrived. Manufacturers are in the process of putting 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced data analytics, and robotics to work to improve asset utilization and operating efficiency, as well as create new revenue streams from existing services.

The big question is: are their networks ready?

Manufacturers understand from first-hand experience the importance of network modernization to support their digital factories and reap the benefits. Manufacturers are energetically deploying 5G, IoT, and advanced data analytics across their operations, with AI and robotics being priority number one. Informed IT leaders realize their networks can’t currently support their new goals and are investing in intelligent infrastructures such as edge computing and software-defined wide- area networks (SD-WAN). Intelligent infrastructure like SD-WAN should help manufacturers modernize and defend cybersecurity worries that delay modernization.

Manufacturers are turning to emerging technologies

A 2018 survey conducted by AT&T reached out to 318 senior IT executives working in the manufacturing industry. It found that very few believe their networks are currently set up to support emerging technologies. Only 19% thought AI use cases could be adequately supported by their current network. No more than 25% believed their network could support robotics. And the same doubt was present for IoT and data analytics use cases.

Shifting to intelligent infrastructure for smart manufacturing

Today, SD-WAN is present in the networks of just 23% of the surveyed companies. Deploying SD-WAN is the logical progression for bringing intelligence to infrastructure. Multi-access edge computing and 5G are providing low-latency capabilities for technologies like augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) which are increasingly being used in manufacturing. SD-WAN solves the issues of latency and security and creates a truly intelligent infrastructure.

Strategy and planning are key

The pace of technology innovation is extremely rapid, with advances like cloud computing, IoT, AR/VR, and software-defined networking causing many manufacturers  to struggle with how to modernize their infrastructure and take advantage. There must be a strategic commitment and understanding among decision-makers that modernization should not be viewed as a cost, but rather as a business value.

Cybersecurity paralysis

Cybersecurity is at the top of the list when it comes to concerns over modernization and is seen as the biggest block to network modernization. Privacy concerns come in at a close second. The concerns center around IoT and all of the associated sensors that could provide potential backdoors into the network. SD-WAN can help manufacturers address these concerns by offering protection through centralized security management.

Modernizing your network for 5G

There’s little doubt that 5G is the future for smart manufacturing. Reduced latency is the key differentiator that is setting 5G apart from existing wireless connectivity solutions. Edge computing allows critical network functions and applications to be placed much closer to where they are needed. The result is a flexible and responsive future-proof network that is resilient, reliable, and secure.

What do manufacturing operations need to do to prepare for and take advantage of 5G Smart Manufacturing?

  1. Adopt multi-access edge computing (MEC) technology and SD-WAN. 
  2. Get decision-makers to consider the primary technologies, processes, and applications that will realize the improved efficiencies and integrations 5G can provide.
  3. Find a partner that is leading the way in 5G.

Contact us for more information on leveraging new technology to achieve smart manufacturing.

Six ways to enable business transformation with UCaaS

While it may soon be common knowledge that on-premises PBX communications infrastructures are no longer suitable for the demands facing enterprises today, many are still under-informed in regard to the alternatives.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is rapidly becoming a widely-adopted tool for organizations seeking to keep pace with the modern digital world. However, in order to successfully adopt a UCaaS solution, the entire organization—from front-line workers to upper management—must be educated on the benefits of UCaaS.

Here are a few of the main ways that UCaaS can enable digital business transformation for your enterprise:

1. UCaaS can be supplemented with a wide range of integrated capabilities

One aspect making UCaaS so attractive to so many enterprises is the versatility it offers in terms of supplementary features and benefits. These can include workstream collaboration platforms, AI-driven Interactive Voice Response (IVR), hosted call reporting and recording, contact center functionality, advanced data analytics, and more.

At its core, UCaaS is designed to replace your aging PBX telephone systems and combine all collaboration technologies in one package. This makes UCaaS capable of unmatched versatility and convenience when combined with the conferencing and communication applications your organization needs. As a single solution provider, CBTS adds security and multiplies the convenience by delivering all the technology in one package on a secure network backed by 24x7x365 support.

2. UCaaS empowers a cloud-forward business transformation

Understanding the cloud and all the functionality that it offers­—let alone embracing cloud computing as a business transformation and modernization initiative—isn’t always a simple proposal for organizations accustomed to legacy PBX communication infrastructures.

As an inherently cloud-based and hosted solution, UCaaS makes cloud transitions simple and painless. Your UCaaS provider oversees the implementation and upkeep of your cloud communications infrastructure while you reap all the benefits.

3. Free your IT staff from tedious day-to-day operations

The availability and bandwidth of modern enterprise IT professionals are at a record premium. Many organizations are stretching their IT teams to the limit with constant updates, troubleshooting, and general system maintenance.

UCaaS solves this problem by allowing updates and launches to be executed on multiple communications services and technology platforms simultaneously. Additionally, day-to-day monitoring and management tasks are also taken off the to-do lists of internal IT staff by the organization’s UCaaS provider.

4. Give your remote workers the tools they need

With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating a global need for reliable and advanced remote conferencing and productivity capabilities, UCaaS could make the key difference in your enterprise’s work-from-home and hybrid workforce initiatives.

The culture of work itself has changed in these chaotic times, and simple conference calling functionality is no longer enough. Through UCaaS, your organization can give remote workers the secure collaboration, softphones, video conferencing, file-sharing capabilities, and other features they need to do their jobs from any location.

5. Take advantage of “set it and forget it” network upkeep

As a hosted service that lives on the cloud, UCaaS grants total peace of mind when it comes time for crucial system updates, patches, and support. Your UCaaS provider should not only manage daily system upkeep tasks but will also set the roadmap for the future development of your unified communications infrastructure.

6. Keep your entire organization compliant and secure

In this new age of decentralized, mobile, and hybrid/remote workforces, data security is arguably more critical than ever. UCaaS solutions leverage the latest network monitoring and threat prevention measures so that your teams can be confident that their information is protected at all times.

Through your UCaaS provider, your communications infrastructure should be kept up-to-date on all relevant regulations and other compliance measures you’ve agreed to.

CBTS is dedicated to providing the right UCaaS infrastructure to empower your business transformation strategy while keeping your employees connected and safe. Contact us for more information on how UCaaS can drive innovation for your organization.

Interested in UCaaS?

Cloud delivered SD-WAN and 5 fixes for networking obstacles

Businesses from nearly every industry and vertical are embracing the capabilities of Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN), especially in an age when it’s vital to empower remote workforces. But what exactly is SD-WAN?

Cloud-delivered SD-WAN explained

Simply put, SD-WAN technology is the natural result of business applications being migrated to the cloud. Most businesses are familiar with software and services like Office365, but businesses around the globe are also adopting cloud computing services such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Disaster recovery and backup services are also increasingly being managed via the cloud.

As applications migrate to the cloud, so too are network functions—and that’s where cloud-delivered SD-WAN shines. By moving network operations to the cloud, businesses are no longer required to manage their communications infrastructures at the local level while also gaining improved visibility and analytical insight. From there, mission-critical applications can be layered into the cloud-delivered network. SD-WAN ultimately drives business outcomes by giving customers a better experience when accessing these applications. 

Cloud-delivered SD-WAN software and cloud-based technologies:
  • Improve buisness agility with a software-defined solution that delivers faster deployment, on-demand bandwidth, and faster recovery.
  • Drive IT efficiency with automation and cloud management that takes the burden off in-house staff.
  • Reduce overall cost and stabilize IT budget management by eliminating data center upgrades and redesign costs.

Five remedies for remote or hybrid networking pain points

In the complicated global business environment, the versatility of hybrid and remote networking solutions enabled by cloud-delivered SD-WAN can grant a competitive edge—but only if they are implemented effectively. Enterprises often run into roadblocks when adopting a remote/hybrid networking strategy. Here are a few ways to minimize those obstacles:

1. Migrating your remote workforce onto the same network

Enterprises of all types and sizes have struggled over the past year to establish functional remote workforce networks. Given the chaotic conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no wonder why so many remote workforce initiatives have suffered from limited performance. By partnering with a proven service provider like CBTS, a variety of remote work and internet-based connectivity solutions can be put into place using software-based virtualization—meaning your enterprise can benefit from greatly improved connection quality, reliability, and security.

2. Protecting your network with enhanced security across remote offices

With large numbers of employees working from home, many enterprises are finding their network security unsuitable for securing networks across a high volume of remote connections. An SD-WAN cloud security solution can easily be service chained with a cloud security solution to consistently deliver protection from external threats, including phishers, scammers, bots, and viruses—even as users access the network remotely. This reduces strain on your organization’s data center while providing peace of mind for remote employees.

3. Identifying opportunities for cost reductions while empowering remote workers

Especially at a time when operational expenditures are being inflated and complicated by the ongoing public health crisis, it’s critical to take advantage of cost savings wherever possible. Cloud-delivered SD-WAN accomplishes this by abstracting your organization’s network hardware and application transport characteristics to simplify management and enhance performance. This allows companies to replace expensive private WAN connections such as multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) by building higher-performance WANs that use lower-cost Internet access.

SD-WAN can improve your enterprise’s bottom line by:

  • Eliminating capital expenditures (CapEx), the traditional capital investment in IT infrastructure.
  • Leaving behind the complexity and high costs associated with building, sourcing, and supporting high-performance and leading-edge technology.
  • Allowing your organization to pay less for an agile, high-performance network.

4. Migrating applications to the cloud

With cloud-based applications becoming key components of modern business operations, network administrators are constantly on the lookout for new methods to ensure access and increase bandwidth availability. This is leading many organizations toward the cloud. A cloud solution that fits the unique needs of your enterprise can be a game-changer, but migrating critical applications to the cloud can also be difficult without a qualified partner.

5. Creating a more consistent and satisfying customer service

By embracing centralized, cloud-delivered SD-WAN functionality, enterprises can reduce the burden of managing disparate networking equipment across several locations, thereby creating more predictable performance and increasing quality of service. This has the desired end effect of allowing organization leadership to focus less on network management and more on long-term strategic initiatives and customer satisfaction.

Companies require network access immediately for remote workers. Learn how CBTS can help your team create an optimal home branch environment in our free e-book.

How cloud-delivered SD-WAN improves operational efficiencies

The intelligent controls of SD-WAN are capable of managing public and private network connectivity within secure and reliable wide-area networks. Cloud-delivered SD-WAN is also able to automatically deploy and maintain these WANs using VPN and other technologies. This allows multiple sites to remain connected and supported via redundant 4G failover links.

SD-WAN’s efficiency-boosting features include:

  • Superior connection remediation with packet-duplication over single Internet links.
  • Connectivity-agnostic architecture capable of integrating public, private, and hybrid (public/private) networks and applications with automatic site-to-site VPN.
  • A centralized, policy-based management portal with Graphical User Interface (GUI)
  • Application enhancement and a high-quality user experience.
  • Dynamic link selection by aggregating multiple Internet connections and choosing the best path for traffic.

A suite of cloud networking solutions

To support organizations struggling to equip remote workers for success, CBTS has developed a suite of networking solutions designed to connect employees to reliable, secure bandwidth regardless of their location or the number of users or devices sharing the network. For decades, CBTS has been on a mission to optimize networks, making them more accessible and their users more productive. That mission continues with our latest CBTS remote worker bundles, including a Cisco Meraki Cloud Managed Security and SD-WAN Bundle, a VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud Bundle, and a VeloCloud + Check Point CloudGuard Hosted Cloud Security Bundle. These predefined remote network bundles are built to get clients up and running quickly in order to meet the challenge for today’s environments that demand flexibility with work-from-anywhere policies.

Continue reading for more information on how cloud-delivered SD-WAN can modernize your network as well as your threat management strategy.

Understanding Total Cost of Ownership for UCaaS

Everything has a price, and enterprises looking to consolidate their communications infrastructures are as price-minded as ever—especially at a time when remote work capabilities are paramount.

Many have turned to Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) in a bid to simplify the flow of information throughout an organization and outward to customers, vendors, clients, and more. In making this transition, enterprise leaders often compare the Total Cost of Ownership (TOC) directly between UCaaS and their existing on-premises communication solutions.

While it’s an understandable comparison to make, a truly thorough TCO analysis goes beyond the upfront capital expenditures and maintenance cost line items and considers all the key factors of a UCaaS adoption.

Here are a few of the areas your TCO analysis should cover:

UCaaS savings for your data center

A properly planned and implemented UCaaS solution can be a game-changer when it comes to your organization’s data center operations in terms of cost reductions, improvements in efficiency, and many other factors, including:

  • Servers and storage.
  • Software and virtualization.
  • Real estate.
  • Power and cooling.
  • Redundancy.
  • Physical security.
  • Compliance.

Under a UCaaS solution, the provider is responsible for all of the above, reducing the workload on your internal IT staff and making for fewer expenses that impact your bottom line. With your UCaaS provider managing software procurement and maintenance, virtualization licensing and deployment, access control, and any compliance requirements unique to your industry, your enterprise can more freely focus on long-term strategic business goals instead of day-to-day communication operations.

These potential savings of both capital and personnel power should be taken into consideration in your total cost of ownership analysis.

How UCaaS can lead to IT staff savings

Many organizations struggle to keep up with the overabundance of daily management responsibilities that on-premises legacy communications networks demand. These burdens can include:

  • Service request management: IT staff have to be ready to respond to help tickets submitted by users.
  • Monitoring and response: The mission-critical nature of enterprise UC systems means that 24x7x365 readiness is a must-have, which in turn requires a large commitment of on-call tech specialists.
  • Updates and maintenance: Whenever bug fixes and upgrades are rolled out, careful planning and preparation are needed to ensure these updates are implemented smoothly.
  • Vendor and billing management: The process of billing and procurement with multiple solution vendors can be extremely tedious and time-consuming.
  • Disaster recovery and continuity: Communication infrastructures must be robust enough to continue operations and recover from disaster in case the unexpected occurs.

All of the above factors also demand a high standard of excellence from the IT experts hired to manage them. UCaaS providers take on the burden of recruiting, hiring, and managing the experts needed to keep these factors in check—reducing overhead for your internal staff and giving your IT teams valuable time back.

Cutting telecommunications spending with UCaaS

Telecom expenses can account for some of the greatest CapEx drain faced by modern enterprises, especially when considering the investments necessary to update and maintain legacy voice networks.

Under a UCaaS framework, the struggles inherent to traditional telecom systems are ameliorated by a customized, collaborative, and scalable managed solution that can easily incorporate new users, new devices, and new applications as needed—no new CapEx expenditure necessary. Additionally, the predictable monthly charge of a managed UCaaS framework means surprise expenses are a thing of the past.

UCaaS savings in an OpEx model

Another crucial component of your TCO assessment is a comparison of capital expenditure (CapEx) models and operational expenditure (OpEx) models, as this difference can be crucial information when making a decision regarding UCaaS adoption.

In a CapEx model, a large upfront investment of capital is needed to implement new technology or a new service, like an on-premises UC solution, for example. In addition to the upfront cost, this approach often involves ongoing maintenance costs as well.

In contrast, UCaaS functions as an OpEx model, meaning a fixed amount is spent per user. This makes it easier for enterprises to plan and budget for their UCaaS expenses, which are spread out over time as opposed to being concentrated in one large upfront capital investment.

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

UCaaS offers flexibility in user count

The ability to adapt to changing conditions is another key factor that should be weighed in your total cost of ownership assessment, especially for enterprises with seasonal user bases that grow and shrink throughout the year.

With on-premises UC, adding or subtracting even a single remote site can eat up months; additionally, large capital expenditures may be required to increase capacity when user engagement surges. A UCaaS solution takes all of these factors out of the equation, offering unbeatable flexibility and agility when faced with shifting user counts.

The low initial capital costs of UCaaS technologies mean that it can also be onboarded on a trial basis, allowing an enterprise to “test drive” the solution and ensure it’s a fit for their organization’s unique needs.

A complete total cost of ownership analysis takes into account the above factors and usually results in substantial savings for UCaaS versus an on-premises solution.

Continue reading: Frost & Sullivan report places CBTS in top bracket for UCaaS innovation and growth.

Contact our team of experts for more information on how UCaaS can save your organization time and capital expenses.