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How UCaaS is changing the face of education communication solutions

Colleges and universities must be prepared for any number of disruptions, a lesson learned over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. And with any disruption, communication is key.

Man at university works on laptop, utilizing education unified communications services
UCaaS offers integrated cloud-based education communication solutions and services, supported by trained staff.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) from CBTS is becoming a widely adopted tool for higher education leaders seeking to keep pace with the modern digital world. Forward-looking institutions are turning to UCaaS solutions for help navigating an IT environment that is becoming more unwieldy to manage and finance.

Evolving technology demands IT expertise and a large-scale upfront capital outlay that most schools can neither staff nor afford. Without expert support, poor security compliance and protection can erode the trust among an institution and its students, parents, faculty, and additional constituents. 

UCaaS offers integrated cloud-based education communication solutions and services, all supported by trained staff, available with predictable monthly pricing, and capable of scalability for physical or virtual campus locations. Active support from CBTS reduces the burden of network upkeep and allows for a greater focus on the development of services that address the unique needs of students and faculty.

This article will detail the education communication solutions by CBTS, especially for entities ready to make the transition from legacy networks to cloud-based solutions.

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

Savvy educators bring UCaaS to campus

Compared to other sectors, higher education is historically slow in adopting new innovations, including the paradigm shift associated with modern cloud-based solutions. It’s imperative for education CIOs to understand how the long-term benefits of cloud migration outweigh the temporary disruption of restructuring existing IT staff and services.

Put simply, the future is now, as the rapid pace of technological change can wreak havoc on higher education budgets. Savvy educators choose CBTS UCaaS for strategic cloud services that continuously deliver updated technologies and analytics, as well as tech support from anywhere on the planet.

Also read: Leverage SD-WAN to get the most from your UCaaS platform

Five ways UCaaS can help transform higher education:
  1. Increased operational efficiencies
  2. Improved safety and security
  3. Enabling next-generation learning
  4. Leveraging crucial education data
  5. Seamless connection to an expanding network environment

Five communication solutions UCaaS offers the education sector

Unified communications requires multiple functions to work together while enabling departments and colleges to function independently. Strategic technologies assist schools in boosting academic quality, which fosters innovation and improves student retention—goals that can no longer be tethered to legacy technology platforms and practices.

1) Increased efficiencies

As effective communication across all departments is key, UCaaS integrates communication channels, so that voice, teleconferencing, and messaging are woven into the student experience whenever and wherever they are needed.

Through UCaaS, educational institutions can:

  • Deliver seamless, simplified communications.
  • Offer single-number reach.
  • Simplify management.
  • Improve productivity.

2) Better-quality security

Managing data storage, compliance, and security is a prime concern of education leaders seeking new communication solutions, considering most higher education institutions can’t afford the costly blowback from a massive data breach. UCaaS solutions protect enterprise data against potential assaults thanks to network segmentation backed by qualified CBTS experts. Schools using UCaaS can also:

  • Enhance staff response during a crisis.
  • Easily share emergency messages, or send them in a simultaneous, real-time broadcast.
  • Expedite communications with first responders.
  • Notify parents and emergency contacts within minutes of an incident.

Also read: The Effects of the Coronavirus on Cybersecurity

3) Enabling learning

With the pandemic accelerating a need for reliable remote teaching, UCaaS can make a key difference in how your institution reaches young learners. From utilizing online sources and class notes to communicating easily with professors or improving how students submit projects, UCaaS integration provides campuses with a singular solution rather than a confusing mix of vendors, software, and solutions. By including UCaaS in day-to-day operations, colleges can:

  • Provide cost-efficient IP-based phone services.
  • Enable communications and collaborative learning.
  • Give students and faculty access to global resources.
  • Enhance parent-teacher-administrator communication.

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

4) Leveraging data

Data analytics tools can help schools find and retain students while identifying demographic trends that offer a competitive edge. This strategic analysis allows institutions to parse enrollment data alongside factors contributing to waning admissions.

At the governing level, business intelligence tools supported by CBTS give decision-making insight about every aspect of managing and sustaining a higher education enterprise. Education communication solutions from CBTS come with a single-pane management design, delivering operational analysis via dashboards and real-time displays.

5) Seamless connections

As campus footprints expand both physically and virtually, continuous connectivity will keep your entire digital universe operating as a single unit. UCaaS presents an integrated package of innovations that scales to both current needs and any future expansion.

A competitive edge through UCaaS

Migrating to UCaaS cloud-based services is a must for educators seeking to take their institutions into a competitive, secure, and future-forward academic landscape.

CBTS provides best-in-class UCaaS infrastructure and support to empower your educational transformation. See how CBTS assisted a higher-ed client in reaching its cloud-based communication goals.

Contact us for more information on how UCaaS from CBTS can enable innovative education communication solutions for your college or university.

Continue Reading: Reliable WiFi Access Vital to Universities

Check Point Harmony: A secure solution for remote users

The business world has comprehensively shifted over the last year into remote work, a way of life that may be permanent for many organizations. Staying connected at a time of widespread change is paramount, as your employees must be able to work from anywhere on any device, and have access to work-related applications at all times.

Check Point Harmony is a secure solution for remote users
Check Point Harmony consolidates six security protocols to provide uncompromised protection.

Of course, additional touch points mean more opportunities for hackers to steal your data. To defend against attacks from increasingly sophisticated threat actors, it’s not enough to simply keep adding individual security products.

Enter Check Point Harmony, the industry’s first unified solution for remote work. Harmony consolidates six security products to provide uncompromised protection, safeguarding devices and Internet connections from attack while ensuring Zero-Trust Access for corporate applications.

Utilizing Harmony gives organizations a suite of services including:

  • Clientless connectivity.
  • VPN remote access.
  • Mobile and e-mail security. 
  • Secure Internet browsing.

Combining Harmony with a managed and hosted partnership from CBTS—a Check Point Software Technologies 5-Star Partner—will keep your enterprise network productive and connected.

Also read: Protecting your most vulnerable cyberattack vector: E-mail

Let CBTS and Check Point Harmony secure your “work from anywhere” efforts

Check Point Harmony is simple to manage and capable of securing the your new “work from anywhere” environment. Organizations concerned about fortifying staff endpoints are covered by Harmony, with CBTS acting as a managed provider to relieve the burden on already busy IT staff.

Harmony unifies endpoint, browser, e-mail, and remote access security components to protect user devices and networks against known and unknown threats. Harmony integrates key security capabilities into a single solution to deliver:

  • Complete web security: As a core component of Harmony, the new Harmony Browse feature offers secure, fast, and private web browsing by inspecting SSL traffic directly without adding latency or re-routing traffic through a secure web service.
  • Secure remote access from any device, anywhere: Harmony Connect securely links a user or branch to mission-critical resources, supporting clientless Zero-Trust Access from any browser.
  • Best-in-class e-mail and productivity app protection: Harmony Email & Office secures e-mail clients, giving users complete protection for Microsoft Office 365, Exchange, Google G Suite, and more.
  • Total endpoint and device security: Harmony Endpoint defends PCs from ransomware, phishing, and malware, minimizing breach impact with autonomous detection and response capability. Meanwhile, Harmony Mobile secures employees’ mobile devices against malicious apps and OS attacks.

Harmony is easy to deploy due to its simple per-user pricing model. With CBTS acting as a managed provider, companies can apply user-centric security policies across all organizational environments.

Also read: How SD-WAN security enhances critical business applications

By harnessing Check Point Harmony, organizations can:
  • Securely connect users to any resource, anywhere, with cloud-delivered network security powered by 11 SASE services.
  • Provide clientless Zero-Trust Access to any corporate application from any web browser, web applications, database, remote desktop, SSH remote terminal, and more.
  • Allow for a secure, fast, and private Internet browsing experience with the industry’s first in-browser protection.
  • Protect user e-mail and collaboration apps such as Office 365, MS Exchange, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and G-Suite.
  • Prevent threats on user devices with complete endpoint protection and a mobile threat defense solution.

Look to Check Point Harmony and CBTS for a complete network solution

CBTS, a leading technology provider of communications, cloud, infrastructure, and consulting to clients worldwide, is on the front line of supporting organizations struggling to equip remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only has CBTS developed a suite of networking solutions to connect employees to reliable, secure bandwidth no matter their location, the leading technology provider also works with different partners and is provider-agnostic. For organizations, this means CBTS can deliver the best solutions available from different vendors to a single point of contact.

Through its partnership with Check Point, CBTS can protect the full Check Point Harmonyproduct suite. For example, Harmony Endpoint is a complete security solution built to shield user PCs and laptops from today’s complex threat landscape. Endpoint protection tackles imminent threats and enables enterprises to quickly minimize breach impact with autonomous detection and response.

“CBTS has always taken pride in the organizations we choose to partner with to deliver industry-leading technology solutions for our clients, and this latest partnership with Check Point Technologies is a milestone in that long history,” said Joe Putnick, Chief Innovation Officer with CBTS. “Check Point Harmony represents a new standard in comprehensive, future-forward network security, especially for an age of hybrid workplaces and remote connectivity. We’re proud to work with Check Point Technologies in equipping our customers and stakeholders for success.”

Additionally, CBTS can help enterprises maintain fast and private Internet browsing safe from malware downloads, phishing attacks, and corporate credential reuse. Via Harmony Browse, companies can also block access to inappropriate websites.

Harmony Email & Office secures user mailboxes and productivity apps, while blocking sophisticated phishing attacks and malicious attachments. Finally, Harmony Mobile is a mobile threat defense solution giving organizations comprehensive protection across application, network, OS, and device vulnerabilities.

“Many times over, CBTS has proven to be a reliable and expert facilitator of cutting-edge technology solutions, making them an ideal partner to bring Check Point Harmony to market,” said Marco Garcia, Director of Engineering, Global SI & Telco at Check Point Software Technologies. “Together, we’re confident that our organizations can revolutionize the way enterprises secure their remote workforces for the post-COVID era and beyond.”

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

A best-of-breed protective partnership

With Harmony and CBTS, your users get the same level of protection regardless of location, the applications they access, or devices they use. Whether it’s a phishing attempt, a malicious e-mail attachment, or zero-day ransomware, the comprehensive solution guards them from threats across all attack vectors. Powered by revolutionary AI engines and the industry’s most extensive threat intelligence network, Harmony—with CBTS as a hosted cloud provider—stops attacks before they happen.

Learn more about Check Point Harmony here, and contact CBTS for more information regarding remote working solutions and managed services.

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:

Learn what the power of a fully managed Microsoft Azure cloud platform can do for your organization

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 Harmony 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 Harmony Connect and Harmony Email and Office 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 Harmony Connect and Harmony Email and Office 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 Harmony 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 Harmony Connect and Harmony Email and Office

Harmony Connect and Harmony Email and Office are perfect complements for enterprises seeking to secure their SD-WAN environments.

“Check Point Harmony 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 Harmony Connect and Harmony Email and Office 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 Harmony 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 Harmony 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?