Saturday, May 19, 2018

Finally....A Global SDWAN Solution That Really Makes Business Sense



To see what Aryaka can do for your global network management needs, as well as other options for SDWAN based solutions, simply ask at the link below.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.


Aryaka is a global SD-WAN provider that replaces MPLS and can connect global locations with speed and agility. Aryaka provides network connectivity (MPLS displacement) + WAN Op + SD-WAN technology/functionality under a single, integrated and managed solution. Aryaka can deploy a customer or new site in a matter of days, versus months. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ARYAKA

Unlike other SD-WAN solutions that only provide regional connectivity, Aryaka’s solution is the only platform that not just solves the issue of global connectivity, but also delivers a holistic solution to an organization’s core network. Aryaka’s key differentiator is its global private network that includes 26 Points of Presence within 98% of the world’s enterprise locations with built in SD-WAN and WANOp.

  • Aryaka replaces MPLS and piece-meal networks
  • Aryaka provides the entire middle mile, connecting via the Internet to the customer location at the first and last mile only
  • Aryaka uses proprietary, highly improved TCP proxies to provide customers with MAXIMUM performance.
  • Better/consistent throughput, especially for bandwidth-hungry applications
  • Aryaka can deploy any site in a few days around the world 
  • Aryaka can help with fewer router hops, router convergences, less loss, FLAT latencies and a much more stable service
  • Built-in cloud and SaaS connectivity to every application and cloud platform

MPLS REPLACEMENT

Replace MPLS fully or partially, starting from sites suffering from high network complexity and costs.

MPLS ALTERNATIVE

Deploy Aryaka at all global locations, instead of MPLS, especially sites suffering from application performance issues.

MPLS BACKUP

Use Aryaka in place of your MPLS backup link in case of multi-provider link redundancy at branch offices.
Use Aryaka in place of your
MPLS backup link in case of
multi-provider link redundancy
at branch offices.

Aryaka Global PoP map




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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How To Know If You Need Advanced Cybersecurity Solutions



Since the beginning of 2016, there have been over 4,000 ransomware attacks every day. This means the average ransom demand has risen to $1,077. Along with the threats and the cybercrime out there, when we take a look at the actual traffic of internet it seems to be moving in the direction of spam emails. As of the most recently reported period, spam emails accounted for 60 percent of email traffic worldwide. When you look at the traffic on the internet, 48 percent of it is bots, which is traffic on the bandwidth that's not business related. As threats are building up and new techniques are being utilized to get in on-premise devices have had to increase their security feature set. As companies add these filtering engines and security features, they have to increase the processing speed of these devices which in turn increases the cost of the device and subscription.

OmniNet delivers the next generation of Fortune 500-grade cybersecurity and is the only provider in the market to move the edge of small businesses to a virtual, omnipresent perimeter. Their patented technology delivers robust yet simplified cloud security and eliminates bandwidth pollution, which is inherent to traditional premise-based security solutions. To avoid the usage of on-premise devices, OmniNet has moved everything to the cloud. Now that OmniNet is not limited to an on-premise device they can have the full unified threat management stack virtually hosted in the cloud. They are no longer limited to a box, its processing power or its upfront cost. The OmniNet Cloud is a multi-layered, sophisticated security stack that inspects all traffic at wire speed using up to six industry-leading security engines. All data is tunneled to the OmniNet Cloud to go through a rigorous screening process detecting and blocking any malware, malicious links/content, threats or intrusions. Everything happens in the OmniNet Cloud so that no threats can get close to your network or your data. This rigorous filtering process is applied to both incoming and outbound traffic. Anything going in or out is thoroughly cleaned, and your network is protected.

PRODUCTS

OmniShield is the next-generation cybersecurity solution that extends your company’s perimeter to all your sites while providing omnipresent, enterprise-grade security. It is nextgen tech and does what no traditional, premises-based security solution can do: It is always there, limitless, and virtual. So what are some of OmniShield's Features?
  • Anti-Malware: Advanced antivirus and antispyware
  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): Protects against Advanced Persistent Threats
  • Basic Reporting: Weekly email
  • Blocking of Embargoed Countries: by the United States and European Union
  • Intrusion Prevention System (IPS): Blocks attacks
  • Malicious Website Protection: Blocks phishing and malware sites
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Prevents sensitive data such as credit card numbers from leaving the network
  • Suspicious Activity Monitoring: Monitors for any malicious or suspicious activity and traffic
  • Firewall: Perimeter defense
  • VoIP QoS: Voice Quality of Service
  • Website Filtering: Block inappropriate or nonproductive websites
  • LAN Separation for Dedicated PCI Network: PCI Compliance
  • Denial of Service (DOS): Volume-based attacks
  • Botnet (Malware Communication): Defense system
  • Application Control: Block nonproductive or dangerous applications
We are never satisfied with bandwidth. When it feels slow, we buy more thinking it will help. Why do MPLS lines cost many times more for a lot less bandwidth? It’s because MPLS takes other important metrics into consideration not just bandwidth. There is latency, jitter, packet loss, stability, control, and prioritization. In most applications, bandwidth is the least important of all these metrics. OmniWAN brings all of the important quality metrics to your existing internet connection, turning your cable and DSL into the enterprise quality of MPLS, without the price tag. OmniWan’s features include:
  • Dynamic Adaptation
  • Latency and Jitter Control
  • Packet Loss Reduction
  • Bandwidth Fluctuation Control
  • Quality of Service
  • Traffic Prioritization
  • Fragmentation Reduction
  • Omni-Link - Site to Site vMPLS
  • Increased Reliability
  • Bandwidth Stacking
  • Packet Level Link Balancing
  • Lossless Failover
  • Transmission Security
  • Network Connection Monitoring

To learn more about OmniNet, and other options to meet your connectivity and Cybersecurity needs, simply ask at the below link.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Connectivity And Cybersecurity Solutions

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Benefits Of Managed Services Will Knock Your Socks Off


"Managed services" is defined as an umbrella term for third-party monitoring and maintaining of computers, software and networks. The actual equipment may be inhouse or at the third-party's facilities, but is running at a certain specified quality level or keeping the software up-to-date.

For example, if an organization requires a secure, available, and redundant IT environment to support their business-critical systems and applications, usually it needs managed IT services including replication services, storage services, hosting services, network management and monitoring services, managed security services, email and collaboration services, disaster recovery solutions, and application services, etc.

Neglected or overlooked IT maintenance tasks can lead to potentially devastating business consequences, and hence the need for proactive network maintenance should be acknowledged. Service calls to IT contractors or IT infrastructure consultants take up to three times longer to diagnose the issue when compared to networks that are under an IT Managed Services contract. This increases the costs of repairs considerably - not to mention that the repairs could have been avoided had there been a contract with a professional IT Services Partner.

Remote management services ensure that most of the maintenance tasks are performed well in time with no impact on the company's workflow. Relying on the services of an experienced IT Services Partner can help an organization manage preventive maintenance requirements of critical technology resources. Given below are some benefits of managed services:

Cost-effective
A professional and reliable partner can help eliminate data recovery costs and expensive repairs by addressing problems before they pose huge network blockades. Moreover, managed services cost much less when compared to hiring an in-house IT team. Most Service Providers charge a fixed monthly fee for performing regular maintenance, including but not limited to data backups, security patches, virus protection updates, firewall protection updates and network performance maintenance.
Faster support
The best part of having an IT Services partner is that the received support is very fast. An efficient partner can diagnose and repair most issues using remote management tools, saving time as well as money.
Optimal performance
A professional IT Services partner performs regular preventative maintenance, thus ensuring that the performance is optimum with fewer network issues and less downtime.
Budget predictability
Most IT services come with a fixed cost which makes it easier to estimate your IT budget for the contracted period, especially as you do not need to spend exorbitantly on addressing random IT roadblocks.
Improved data integrity 
When an organization invests in reactive maintenance and repairs, there is a huge probability of losing mission critical data. The possibility of data loss due to hardware and software failure is eliminated by a managed IT service provider.
Efficient risk management
Managed IT services can safeguard the security and integrity of your network and can limit and control IT risks to a great extent. Now, can you put a price on peace of mind?
Last but not the least; IT managed services can free you up from the worry of managing your IT and can help you focus on your core business.

If you're looking for what the best managed services options are for YOUR organization we offer a FREE service that will help you do just that....including comparing available providers with rate quotes. Simply ask us at the link below....it's easy as 1, 2, 3.

Managed Services Solutions

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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

How To Make Your Contact Center Run As Smooth As A Swiss Watch....Even Better!

A contact center is an integrated, and usually automated, communications system that coordinates all telephone and electronic contacts between an organization and the public. The goal when talking about contact centers has always been to connect your business to your customer. Some of the questions you should consider as a business with a contact center are:

  • What do you want your business to look like?
  • How do you want your business to be perceived?
  • How will people talk to you? Who should they talk to? How do you connect them?
  • How do you measure your effectiveness?

HOW TO SPOT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT TO YOUR CONTACT CENTER OPERATIONS

Customer experience has become the new battleground for competitive differentiation. When you look at customer needs they involve social media, self-service, mobility, texts, chats and email. These are all newer methods of communication, not usually associated with call centers, but nowadays call centers are really contact centers. In the past businesses have competed through products and pricing, but they now find themselves having to compete through service. One of the key factors for a business is the need to be able to interact with its customers in a manner which makes the customer want to interact with them. Therefore, the cloud contact center industry is expected to grow within the next three to five years as more businesses start to move into the cloud in order to be able to offer the features, functionality, and the type of customer experience their customers are demanding.

For your contact center to truly be an asset to your business objectives it must run smoothly at all times....efficiently and cost effectively. Competition is fierce and you can't afford any issues at any time. Performance, or lack thereof, shouldn't keep you up at night. To the contrary....you should sleep like a baby knowing everything is running like a well oiled machine.

To that end the best decision you can make is to implement a robust cloud based system which covers all your requirements and enables you to not only beat your competition, but to look like a real hero and invaluable asset to your organization's bottom line.

This system should make it easy to cut costs, improve business continuity and support business growth. It should give you the freedom to build your ideal communications solution without having to start from scratch. You should also be able to customize anything it does to fit the exact needs and processes of your business. 

To learn more about just what this perfect contact center solution can look like for YOU...and how to make it happen for your organization...simply ask us at the link below and we'll help design a custom solution for you. 


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Saturday, May 05, 2018

Tailored IT Solutions For Disaster Recovery ARE Possible...You Just Need To Know Where To Look

NaviSite, part of Spectrum Enterprise, is committed to operational and service excellence. NaviSite’s state-of-the-art data centers, and unique access to Spectrum Enterprise’s network infrastructure. NaviSite can deliver customized IT solutions tailored to your current business requirements and in support of your future growth objectives. They also have over twelve years as a VMware partner and have over 150 VMware certifications.

NaviSite knows that there’s never a one-size-fits-all application. You can’t protect everything with just one simple replication solution. Often you’re going to mix and match different kinds of replication technologies, backup technologies, recovery points, and recovery time objectives. NaviSite offers a portfolio of solutions and they can work with clients to tailor the solutions to their applications and their workloads. They can design a disaster recovery plan around this.            
If you’re a VMware-based business, you know it can be a challenge to find a secure replication solution that avoids the complexity of third-party tools. Today that’s no longer the case. With VMware vCloud Availability brought to you by NaviSite, you can replicate business-critical data seamlessly and securely from within your VMware environment, avoiding the usual pitfalls of additional setup and configuration. Some of these solution’s highlights are:
  • Integrated with NaviSite’s VMware vCloud Director-based cloud and your existing vCenter interface.
  • Connects securely without a VPN or special network connectivity. 
  • Fast RTO in as little as 5 minutes, RPO is as little as 15 minutes.
  • Cost effective usage-based pricing, and licenses included. 

SAMPLE BUYER/USER PERSONAS

A lot more people are talking about DRaaS these days, and it will continue to be that way. The estimated growth for DRaaS between 2016 and 2021 is 45.9 percent. This is one of the reasons it is important for you to have conversations with your customer about this service. More customers today are based on a VMware platform. here are currently about 500,000 VMware clients globally with over fifty million VM’s. A lot of these clients are still running on-premise; this means that more and customers are starting to want to decrease the amount of hardware that they keep on-premise. VMware Cloud Platform (VCP) on AWS is months away from a full launch, but pricing is out. VMware Cloud on AWS is an on-demand service that enables you to run applications across vSphere-based cloud environments with access to a broad range of AWS services. Below you can see some of the sample buyers in user business cases and what’s important to each of them: 

There are different pain points for a C-level executive and IT admin architect.  When it comes to C-level you will notice that a lot of the pain points come down to investments. On the other hand, IT admin pain points have more to do with adding value to the business, and staying up to date with new technologies and skills.

To learn more about how tailored IT solutions will benefit your business....and what the best solutions are for your applications and requirements, including from Navisite....simply ask us at the following link.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3. 

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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Data Protection And Recovery....How To Get It Right

We can all agree that data is extremely valuable, so it seems reasonable to also say that data protection is important. Data protection and recovery is all about things that can be or are lost and how to find them or get them back. There are two main areas when it comes to data protection, backup and storage. The following are the two most fundamental considerations when it comes to this:
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) - How much data are you prepared to lose or can you lose?
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) - How long are you prepared to wait or can you wait to have it?
These two things in the context of backup and DRaaS are similar, but they are not the same.  So what is different between them? It wasn’t that long ago that a really good disaster recovery strategy consisted of tapes, a hot site, or some express-ship gear. This is no longer true. The difference today between backup and DRaaS is that in the case of backup you’re generally backing up data only. DRaaS goes up the stack and covers data, your operating system, applications, and configurations. Having all of your data somewhere safe is very important, so backup is a common consumer product, but it might not be the best choice if you are a business looking to eliminate downtime. Keep in mind that backup is mainly useful when you are just trying to get files back. Some questions you should be asking yourself are:
  • Do I have gear on which to reinstall OS and Applications?
  • Do I have a place to house the DR gear?
  • Are all configurations documented?

The economics are pretty simple—more protection costs more money. Essentially, if people want to spend a great deal of money on having their data protection strategy in place, they can count on having extremely low data loss. On the other hand, people who don’t want to spend money on this will have to deal with more data loss. The trick to having a good strategy is to balance the two things and to find a point where the business is well served by having some things protected in a faster way while other things are protected more slowly. It is important to remember that you do this because the business suffer badly if you have data loss or downtime.    
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

BASIC CONSIDERATIONS OF BACKUP

TierPoint offers a full portfolio of managed and unmanaged backup services to help clients protect their data and adhere to relevant government compliance regulations. Backups have always been a critical component of business continuity programs. In case of a malfunctioning or infected disk, they offer a restore point that allows users to recover data before damage took place. Today, a big trend among businesses is to deploy them in conjunction with a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution to maximize protection and speed the restoration process. Want to learn more about what TierPoint’s backup offerings include? Click here

There are four fundamental questions you should be asking your clients when starting a conversation about backup:
1. What are you going to back up?
  • Back up things that matter 
  • Back up things that change
2. How often are you going to back up?
  • Hourly? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? 
  • Full backups? Incremental backups?
3. How long are you going to keep it?
  • Retention schedule
4. Where are you going to keep it?
  • On-site? Off-site? Disk? Tape?

THE BASICS OF DSAAR

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) has moved beyond a preventative measure for data protection to be a strategic option that provides many benefits. IT organizations recognize that protecting corporate data and making sure it is available to users is one of their top priorities. TierPoint believes in providing organizations with an affordable and customizable DRaaS solution that lets you choose your personalized mix of cloud, colocation, and your own data center. So how does DSaaR work? 

These are a few questions you should be asking your clients when it comes to Disaster Recovery as a Service:
1. What are you going to protect?
  • Best practice is to identify the workloads that are most important to shaping cost
  • Complete DR strategy may have several components for different RTO and RPO
2. How do you identify what is most important?
  • Do a Business Impact Analysis to identify what is most tied to critical business functions
  • Document the needed boot order to most quickly get workloads back online
3. What else is important to have a good DR strategy?
  • Test the strategy!
To learn more about all the options available to you for meeting your data protection and recovery requirements...including from TierPointe...simply ask us at the following link.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

IoT-Enabled Asset Tracking Is Driving Business Innovation

Knowing the location and monitoring the health of your most valuable assets is critical to business operations. Thanks to Internet of Things (IoT) technology, remote tracking of everything from heavy equipment to fleets to luggage, patients, pets and kids can reduce risk, minimize inventory, save money and create new revenue streams for businesses, in addition to making life easier for consumers.

IoT-enabled asset tracking is playing a greater role in the modern economy than ever before. A recent study found that an estimated $1.9 trillion of economic value could be created by the use of IoT devices and asset tracking solutions in the global supply chain and logistics sector. But in order to compete for a piece of this emerging, profitable market, you’ll need to know which IoT technology will benefit your asset tracking application and how to build a system that works seamlessly within your existing business model. By building a flexible, customized tracking system, you can reap the benefits of asset tracking without having to make significant changes to your business, saving you both time and money. A number of industries have adopted IoT-enabled asset tracking already, paving the way for the creation of new business opportunities and more efficient operations. 

Industries That Rely on IoT-enabled Asset Tracking
IoT-enabled asset tracking can benefit more than just fleet managers or tracking-focused products. The following industries have had immense success and are continually innovating and adding new applications: 

Each of these industries uses tracking solutions differently, but they all have something in common: they use wireless technology to get reliable data that they can use to provide valuable services related to the asset’s supply, or asset’s usage. By customizing their tracking solutions to meet the unique needs of their customers and their industries, these businesses can leverage more competitive advantages because they have all the data that they need to make intelligent—and fast—decisions. IoT-enabled asset tracking can be used broadly to engage new customers and improve business operations. 

Creating New Business Opportunities 
Today’s customers expect reliable, efficient tracking features for nearly all their connected devices, even those that serve another purpose. For instance, a child’s walkie-talkie will be more appealing to parents if the device includes an embedded GNSS tracker that tells parents where their children are located. Likewise for a dog collar that can perform heath checks and pin-point a beloved pet’s location if he goes missing. 

Using the latest cellular modules and Smart SIM cards, it’s easy to include worldwide connectivity as an add-on to an existing device, enabling new business models based on usage and not anymore based on ownership. A rail wagon equipped with a tracker can be sold as a service (lease on distance and time basis). Standard Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies make cellular connectivity ideal for these types of solutions because they can deliver the key 3C’s  (low Cost, broad Coverage and low power Consumption). Even if your business isn’t centered around tracking technology, you can still use it to improve your product. A bicycle manufacturer might embed a small tracking module into the frame of the bike that customers can use to locate it if it’s stolen. By offering these tracking options to your customers, your product stands out against the competition.

Improving Business Operations
Beyond attracting more customers, IoT-enabled asset tracking can also improve the way your business works on a daily basis. Here are just a few benefits to IoT tracking that could save you time and allow your business to operate more smoothly: 

Cost Reduction: You can embed trackers into your products or shipping containers to avoid losing shipments, minimize inventory and invoice accurately for Demurrage & Detention. If an item is lost or stolen, you can immediately see where it’s located, allowing you to recover it. This saves replacement costs and time spent tracking the items down by phone or in-person. 

Faster Response Times: 
You can set up notifications for major events and respond to them quickly. For instance, a tracking device would notify you that one of the vehicles in your fleet hasn’t reached its destination on time, allowing you to immediately contact the driver and the intended recipient to work out a solution. You can even monitor whether your assets are used properly and take appropriate action if needed. 

Streamlined Operations: IoT-enabled asset tracking allows you to manage thousands of assets around the world from just one location. You can also reroute vehicle fleets, recall defective products or replenish new supplies to customers on the fly. And last but not least, you can plan maintenance when needed: no need to plan maintenance on a wagon, if you are aware that the wagon has not been used over a long distance.

More Detailed Data:
 How often do your customers use a certain feature on your device? Is the solar panel on your outdoor light working properly? How much time did it take to get your product to your distributor? Normally, these statistics would be difficult to track, but when you use IoT-enabled asset tracking, you can do so automatically. Insight into data like this could help you find areas where you can cut costs or improve your product. 

Building Your Tracking System 
IoT-enabled tracking will have a positive impact on your business operations, but designing an effective solution doesn’t have to be a challenge. 

Your solution can be customized to your needs. A local farmer might need reliable connectivity in rural areas for his livestock’s tracking collars, whereas a luggage tracking company needs global connectivity to track their devices anywhere in the world. That’s why it’s important to have the power to pick and choose the right technology that you need for your tracking system and use products that are purpose-built for the IoT. The components of your solution should include: 

Embedded Wireless Modules with integrated GNSS: Connect an existing device by adding a wireless module or gateway. 

Smart SIMs
: Embed a SIM card into the tracking device to ensure you have resilient global connectivity and superior data service quality everywhere your tracking device goes. 

AirVantage® Platform
: Build and deploy complete IoT tracking solutions. Connect all your devices to the cloud to keep your service running, manage your data and track locations, delivering an amazing, always-on user experience to your customers.

Hopefully You Attended the Expert Panel Webinar, "How IoT Enables the Tracking of Assets" on October 5th, 2017 to learn more.

To learn more about how IoT-enabled asset tracking from Sierra Wireless will benefit your business....and what the best solutions are for your industry to integrate tracking technology seamlessly into your existing business model. ....simply ask us at the following link.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.



by Benoit Tournier, Director of Marketing, Transportation, Sierra Wireless

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Your IoT Applications Need The Right Managed Connectivity Solution

When companies partner with Sierra Wireless, they’re able to move past the confusion and complexity of deploying IoT applications and effectively tap into new revenue streams, new services and new business models, enabling more choices for customers and additional value for businesses.



Bring your innovations to market faster and at a lower cost. Sierra Wireless provides a fully integrated solution comprised of embedded solutions, gateway solutions and cloud and connectivity services that empowers organizations.




SIERRA WIRELESS MANAGED CONNECTIVITY SOLUTIONS

Sierra Wireless offers the broadest array of services to connect to the mobile network, manage devices and power IoT services. Their AirVantage® IoT platform combined with their unique ability to provide an end-to-end IoT platform that integrates with our eUICC-based Smart SIM and connectivity service provide all of the IoT infrastructure to create, deploy and manage IoT solutions. 

Their eUICC solution is one of the first to market that conforms to the latest GSMA specification, ensuring global interoperability across hardware vendors, SIM vendors and operators. eUICC is a game-changer for cellular IoT connectivity, because it allows customers to select and change service provider profiles over the air based on the criteria or business rules of their choosing—without physically accessing the SIM card.

Your connectivity deserves:

  • The most ubiquitous wireless coverage throughout North America
  • Managed connectivity for mission critical applications on a temporary, permanent or backup basis
  • High speed connectivity for locations beyond the reach of cable, DSL and other wires
Solutions To Accelerate, Streamline, And Manage Your IoT Services


                    AirVantage IoT Platform

AirVantage is a cloud-based IoT platform that uniquely provides all of the services you need to create, deploy and manage wireless IoT solutions. It provides all of the building blocks including wireless connectivity management, wireless device management and application enablement services for you to connect your machines to the mobile network, and to build innovative solutions.

Smart SIMs And Connectivity

IoT deployments are fundamentally different than roaming smartphones, so why continue to use SIMs and connectivity services that leave your service disconnected with expensive resolution costs?

Learn how the multi-operator Sierra Wireless Smart SIM and Connectivity Service can deliver a superior connectivity service for your IoT application.

Managed Connectivity Solutions

Enterprises requiring mission critical connectivity choose our fully managed connectivity solution to keep their businesses connected and IoT devices online 24/7.

Our managed connectivity solution bundles the best hardware, multi-operator connectivity and a 99.9% uptime and performance SLA guarantee into a single monthly service. Standardized deployments, continuous monitoring, and 24/7 live support enable distributed enterprises to focus on their customer experience not their IoT infrastructure.

SECURITY

AirVantage protects your data from the connected devices to the cloud. 

 Secure device-to-cloud communication

AirVantage is the first commercial IoT platform to have implemented the Lightweight M2M (LWM2M) protocol. This standard protocol offers a secure solution by allowing the encryption of data end-to-end between the device in the field and and the application hosted in the network. 
The IoT platform also secures data in transit with additional measures including mutual authentication, secure download and device-initiated communication to prevent unauthorized control or access from an external source. For applications with sensitive data, users can add an optional VPN tunnel to extend their private operator network security to AirVantage.
 Security in the Cloud
To protect data at rest, Sierra Wireless has assigned a dedicated team to continuously monitor our data storage operation. Our storage infrastructure is highly available in each region, and is constantly upgraded to guarantee optimum security. 

 Secure cloud-to-enterprise communication


To protect data in transit on the server side, AirVantage applies HTTPS secure browser access only. All software attempting to access data in AirVantage will have to be authenticated using the secure OAuth 2.0 authentication protocol, using one of the 3 authentication flows proposed. Account administrator can review and revoke the API clients any time on the AirVantage operations console, and keep the account access control up-to-date.
To tighten the user access control, account administrators can enable the security options any time including the 2-factor authentication with a one-time SMS password and IP address filtering.

To learn more about all the options available to you for managing your IoT deployment, applications, and network from Sierra Wireless...simply ask us at the following link.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.













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Saturday, April 21, 2018

How The Cloud Could Have Saved The Day

cloud.jpgHaving worked off-and-on as a network administrator for the past 15+ years, I am often reminded of just what a life-saver the cloud and managed services can be. This past weekend, I happened to step into a situation where ignoring these benefits led to a complete nightmare for one "unlucky" customer.

I was called-in as a favor on what basically turned out to be a disaster recovery operation. The disaster did not come in the way of a flood, fire or earthquake though. It came in the form of a rogue IT employee who basically took down his employer's entire telecommunications network upon his sudden, forced exit from the company. 

To protect the innocent, I will not get into too many details about the customer, other than state the fact that it was an (otherwise) fairly modern medical office that depended upon a single employee to handle it servers, network connectivity, hardware, software, back-ups and phone service. What could possibly go wrong?

Hardware, software and telecom services were spread out all over the place. No standardization of operating systems, no network redundancy, pretty much no firewall to speak of, no way to monitor or shape network utilization, a mix of analog phone lines from one company and a VoIP service used for other lines from a different company, a wi-fi network that had access to HIPAA sensitive files, unencrypted and incomplete data backups stored on servers overseas and sky-high expenses on everything including software, telecom hardware, broadband service and external hosting providers. To complicate matters, the IT director had been summarily dismissed before the employer managed to shut off his remote access or recover any of the numerous administrative passwords.

To put it mildly, this customer is in deep trouble. It will take many weeks and thousands of dollars to unravel the enormous problems that a single employee has been allowed to cause. That brings me to the actual point of this article, which is what could have been done to prevent such a nightmare. This is where the real benefits of the cloud and managed services begin to seep in. The below are a list of measures that could have been taken to avoid such an ugly and costly incident. The next time you are consulting a customer on the benefits of moving their business to the cloud and a managed service provider, you may want to keep this story and list in mind.
  1. A cloud-based phone system operated by a managed service provider could have assured the customer of continued communications without having to pull the plug on their entire network. A managed firewall and monitored network could easily allow access to vital services while blocking unauthorized access from the outside.
  2. Consolidating services with a single provider would have dramatically lessened the time needed to get in touch with a number of different providers to reset passwords, revoke account access and redirect phone calls.
  3. A managed broadband circuit with monitoring would have ensured that the customer was subscribed to an adequate amount of bandwidth and perhaps even saved them some money. It definitely would have improved the quality of their VoIP calls, which were previously said to be an issue. As it was, all traffic was basically treated the same and the customer had no idea if they were paying for too much or too little service.
  4. Integrated Software as a Service could have done away with a multitude of licensing and hardware issues that were found, provided superior customer support and protected the customer from security issues caused by obsolete operating systems and office software. It would also have lessened the impact of losing passwords known only to a single administrator.
  5. The cloud could have provided complete, encrypted backups of sensitive customer data with greater privacy and perhaps even at a lower cost.
  6. Outsourced IT management quite possibly would have prevented a single employee from obtaining such a stranglehold on this customer's operations by carefully screening prospective employees and implementing policies that would allow them to easily be replaced without downtime or concern of security breaches.
  7. Using a knowledgeable agent or cloud broker could have saved this customer thousands of dollars by consolidating lines, preparing competitive quotes from a number of different carriers and coordinating efforts between vendors. An experienced agent would have also recommended a suitable back-up plan in the event that the customer's primary carrier suffered a service disruption.
  8. Many carriers and vendors have divisions that specialize in helping customers comply with HIPAA regulations, thus protecting their patient's privacy, steering clear of legal problems and safeguarding their licenses. Using one of these providers may have saved them from many headaches that could still result from this incident.
  9. Physical security of the customer's building was also compromised as a direct result, as the employee evidently had a door key and passcode for the alarm system. Cloud providers and managed service providers neither want nor need this level of access. In addition to cost of addressing IT issues, the customer also had to employ an armed guard, locksmith, private investigator and paid for a field call from their alarm company. Again, none of this would have been necessary if the customer had relied upon the cloud, a broker and a managed service provider.
  10. Although the customer had a mix of both traditional analog lines and VoIP service (albeit from different providers), neither were integrated with the other to provide any sort of redundancy. Thus, they still had a working lines for faxes, a credit card terminal and alarm system, but they were otherwise unable to make or receive calls until a new firewall was installed and network connectivity was restored. Obviously, bundling of services with a single, integrated provider or adding vendor-recommended hardware to their system could have prevented their blackout of phone service to a large degree.
Unfortunately, this was an "accident" that never had to happen. While the human factor can never be 100% accounted for, using the appropriate technology for the job could have saved this customer an enormous amount of time, money, legal headaches and perhaps even loss of reputation.

When you consider that taking full advantage of the cloud and managed services would have most likely been less expensive for the customer to begin with, you have to wonder why agents and cloud brokers aren't in even higher demand than they are now.

William Van Hefner

For free quotes and support comparing the cloud and managed services options available at your specific location....simply ask at the following link.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wireless Point Of Sale Systems Are The Untethered Future Of Retail Technology

There’s no such thing as a brick-and-mortar store anymore. Or, rather, no store can be only brick-and-mortar. Connected technology is now a key part of the retail experience, whether you’re a boutique gift store or a multinational consumer products manufacturer. Connectivity saves money, gives you better control of inventory, and—by arming employees with more data—improves and humanizes the customer experience. But stores implementing wireless solutions also need a guaranteed connection, as any outage can quickly spiral into financial disaster. 

When retail stores have network downtime, the cost can average $4700 a minute. And even occasional slowdowns can add up, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars of lost revenue per year. With 33% of retail businesses reporting monthly slowdowns and downtime, this is no small matter.

These retailers need more than great primary providers. They need strong backups to ensure that core-function systems like point of sale (POS) trackers continue to stay online. Especially for retail chains scaling up—spread over wide regions and dependent on seamless logistics between warehouse and store—powerful connectivity can be a life-saver. 

With a 99.9%-uptime guaranteed service level agreement (SLA), Sierra Wireless provides this connectivity to some of the United States’ largest retailers, helping transform companies that are trying to keep up with a quickly changing retail market. 

Point of Sale Systems and the Need for Connectivity

Companies with operations spread across many regions have complicated logistics in order to link manufacturing and distribution centers with retail storefronts. Inventory has to be shipped in a way that guarantees stores always have what they need but aren’t sitting on a surplus of goods. And when a customer orders a product that has to be shipped, any location must be able to follow through and deliver it in a timely manner.

Modern Point of Sales (POS) systems can manage sales, inventory, and delivery. The problem, of course, is that the system relies on connectivity and is vulnerable to downtime. When a company’s whole business model is based around data-driven customer service and connected logistics, loss of connectivity is more than an inconvenience. It undercuts the foundations of the business itself. And terrestrial data systems can be unreliable. If there is a cut fiber, a short, or any issue with the cables (even in a redundant ecosystem), the entire network can go down.

Wireless Backup and the Virtue of Redundancy in Retail

Retail stores need a data backup plan that maintains connectivity no matter what—and a service level agreement to guarantee it. Sierra Wireless is the only company to offer a 99.9% SLA, thanks to its patented Maestro smart antenna system . 

By adapting to each store’s unique RF environment, Sierra Wireless’ system is able to provide the fastest data rates, highest availability, and lowest latency across fixed 3G and 4G cellular broadband networks, in whatever area the store happens to be in. Whether a suburban strip mall or a standalone exurban big box, every location has transmission challenges. Sierra Wireless’ technology can seamlessly adjust to all of them. 

A wireless backup plan means that stores not only avoid downtime but—by using a metered rate—they pay only for usage. It’s peace of mind without breaking the bank. 

Wireless Data as a Primary System

Of course, there are a number of reasons to rely on a wireless, rate-based system for primary use. It can be a valuable tool for retail stores during initial construction—before all the cables are laid and while systems are being tested. And the system flexibility also makes it ideal for other aspects of a changing retail market. 

Take the pop-up store trend: even a temporary location will need connectivity. It still has to be plugged into the main warehousing and inventory network. But using the possibly unreliable network that comes with a temporary location means stores could be significantly less productive during their short lifespans. Having a flexible wireless system that is rate-based, easy to install, and available only for the days or weeks that you need it enables a much smoother operation.

By adapting to varying challenges in the RF environment, wireless systems can also be a good option for retailers in airport storefronts, carts at outdoor fests, kiosks in crowded malls, food trucks, or other traditionally difficult locations.

Wireless Connectivity Creates the Human Touch in a Changing Retail Market

Sixty malls across the US are on the brink of closing. Macy’s is shuttering forty stores. Meanwhile, online retail grossed nearly $400 billion in 2016. 

Connectivity is key to competition. Stores have to be more personal, friendlier, and offer a better experience than consumers can find online. Websites like Amazon algorithmically understand what people want to buy, but brick-and-mortar stores can do the same—and do it with a warm, human touch. 

Seamless backup allows retailers to embrace technology without worrying about what will happen if that technology fails, paving the way for innovations like:
  • Easy employee access to data. Imagine if every worker on the floor had a reliable tablet that allowed them to answer any customer question instantly. The only improvement would be a system that pulled up the customer’s existing preferences so that the employee could personalize the interaction. And that might soon be possible with…
  • App-based loyalty and location programs. When a customer walks into a store, their phone can use app-based push notifications to alert them to relevant sales based on purchase history. But the app can also be connected to the cloud, giving employees access to this data so that they can learn about a customer’s preferences and shopping habits before approaching them.
  • Analytics. What did the customer buy? What did they look at? Where did they stop? These same apps can generate customer data by using purchasing patterns and individual and aggregate heat maps. This data can then be used to improve your store’s layout—and your customers’ overall shopping experience. 

Whether a retailer is scaling up and building new locations across the world, necessitating POS logistics that maximize profit, or competing with online retailers in niche markets, they need consistent connectivity. The changing face of retail and the pressures of online competition demand speed and flexibility, and any downtime is a lost opportunity. 

At Sierra Wireless, our primary, backup, and temporary services are helping retail stores compete in this challenging new environment. To learn more about how our innovative solutions can help your business stay connected.
...simply ask us at the following link.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.


by SierraWireless

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