Cloud trends driving innovation in Houston

October 16, 2018
Justin Rice

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

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

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

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

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

SD-WAN (Software-defined wide area network)

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

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

NaaS (Network as a Service)

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

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

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

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

UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)

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

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

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

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

Houston, get ready for launch.

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

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