Practical Tips, Insights, News, & Resources For The
BroadBand Generation. Covering Dedicated Bandwidth, VoIP, IoT, Wired & Wireless Trends, Cloud Computing, Network Management, Unified Communications, DevOps, Data Analytics, Managed Services, Mobile, IT Management... & More.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a standardized protocol to enable high performance IP networks. It provides fast response time for applications running on your WAN, security without scaling problems and with a lower cost structure. To both simplify and increase the efficiency of the network, the MPLS protocol enables data to be transmitted efficiently across a network infrastructure utilizing a technology known as “label switching.” This is much more effective than running a VPN over the Internet.
Key application: MPLS enables the creation of secure, reliable VPNs which are simple to manage, easy to deploy and which provide Class of Service/Quality of Service (QoS) support. The result is a single integrated IP network which supports quality of service, which is the key advantage in an application rich environment. This means you can implement VoIP and prioritize your applications ahead of the best-effort non-critical data. You have the reliability & security of legacy technologies like Frame Relay with the routing flexibility of IP. For applications such as Siebel, Oracle, Peoplesoft and other client-server applications, the productivity gains using MPLS versus a VPN over the Internet are substantial. If you use a Frame Relay, MPLS will improve your network flexibility, simplify management and reduce your costs.
Now that you know what MPLS is, let us explain how the system works. As your corporate data enters the carrier network, a label is attached to each packet. This label uniquely identifies your Virtual Private Network (VPN) in a shared infrastructure and keeps it private. Upon reaching its destination, the label is removed, returning the data packet to its original state. The process is seamless and unnoticeable to end-users. One can think of MPLS in this context as a “special delivery courier service” for your network data.
The “label” essentially replaces traditional Internet packet forwarding, where complicated address matching is performed at each hop in the network. The label describes how the packet should be handled within the network and thus assigns the packet to a Class of Service (CoS). Thus, all packets which belong to the same CoS get treated in the same way and quickly are sped along their way.
The result is that your data traffic is delivered quickly and securely and your applications perform faster than with other technologies, such as running a VPN over the Internet.
To learn how your business can best take advantage of MPLS to meet your business network requirements, including a comparison of available providers, simply request a free quote here ...
Cloud computing is visualization of computing assets delivered on demand over the internet.
Cloud computing is ushering in a new way to run IT. As IT organizations investigate cloud capabilities, they are realizing that new sets of management requirements are needed to govern, manage and secure the evolving cloud-connected enterprise IT environment.
Cloud computing enables you to have on-demand access to a pool of dynamically configurable computing resources, which can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal effort or interaction, and which are allocated — or even paid for — based only on the amount used.
You are exploring different ways to set up, deliver and pay for this approach, depending upon you business needs. CA sees — and helps enable — many possibilities. These clouds of computer resources are often assumed to be external to your organization’s IT department, but they could also be set up within your company’s four walls (known as an “internal cloud”), or in a hybrid model that includes both internal and external compute resources. Cloud computing can utilize public cloud providers, or leverage only more restricted private clouds.
In whichever case, you will want different models of service, depending upon your needs for a given application or data center. These can vary from needing just basic servers or storage power delivered over the network (called “Infrastructure as a Service”), to needing application building blocks and tools (“Platform as a Service”), or even a complete application (“Software as a Service”).
Traditionally, we've always referred to the Internet as the virtual environment 'up there' somewhere above the physical ecosystem of hardware... Today, most services are offered to a global audience because the Cloud enables the distribution in a more time and cost efficient manner.
Also, because the Cloud will contain the functional parts of a 'software', you can access them from anywhere, regardless of your geographical location..
Google Apps is a great example of using the Cloud for SME organizations.
To learn more and find out if there's a cloud computing solution that fits your network requirements simply ask here (includes free help, quotes, and a comparison of available providers)...
The deployment model for Cloud Computing can be categorized as follows:
Public cloud or external cloud describes cloud computing in the traditional mainstream sense, whereby resources are dynamically provisioned on a fine-grained, self-service basis over the Internet, via web applications/web services, from an off-site third-party provider who shares resources and bills on a fine-grained utility computing basis.
A community cloud may be established where several organizations have similar requirements and seek to share infrastructure so as to realize some of the benefits of cloud computing. With the costs spread over fewer users than a public cloud (but more than a single tenant) this option is more expensive but may offer a higher level of privacy, security and/or policy compliance. Examples of community cloud include Google's "Gov Cloud".
A hybrid cloud environment consisting of multiple internal and/or external providers "will be typical for most enterprises". By integrating multiple cloud services users may be able to ease the transition to public cloud services while avoiding issues such as PCI compliance.
Another perspective on deploying a web application in the cloud is using Hybrid Web Hosting, where the hosting infrastructure is a mix between Cloud Hosting for the web server, and Managed dedicated server for the database server.
Private cloud and internal cloud are neologisms that some vendors have recently used to describe offerings that emulate cloud computing on private networks. These (typically virtualisation automation) products claim to "deliver some benefits of cloud computing without the pitfalls", capitalising on data security, corporate governance, and reliability concerns. They have been criticized on the basis that users "still have to buy, build, and manage them" and as such do not benefit from lower up-front capital costs and less hands-on management, essentially "[lacking] the economic model that makes cloud computing such an intriguing concept".
Now that you know the different types of cloud computing you can make an educated decision of which best fits your needs. For help finding a cloud computing solution for business purposes simply request a free quote here....
Healthcare IT Is On The Front Lines Of The Cyber Security War...Losing's Not An Option
Healthcare IT is undergoing a massive shift in structure and compliance standards. Hospitals and clinics that have already implemented electronic medical record or electronic health record (EMR/EHR) systems are now contending with new HIPAA
logging requirements under the HITECH Act. Healthcare organizations that are still in the planning or implementation stages for EMR/EHR systems are now juggling that implementation with new compliance requirements and Meaningful Use guidelines.
A breach of Protected Health Information can result in serious ﬁnancialconsequences, loss of patient trust, and burdensome remediation efforts for your organization. Yet the regulatory and compliance requirements for the healthcare industry continue to expand rapidly and it can be difﬁcult for even the best IT teams to keep up with the latest requirements and solutions for meeting those mandates.
MegaPath Managed Security Services for Healthcare are designed to assist healthcare delivery organizations in meeting HIPAA standards, including those imposed under HITECH. If your organization also requires compliance with the Payment Card
Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) Common Security Framework (CSF), MegaPath Managed Security Services deliver essential capabilities for meeting those standards.
Whether based in the MegaPath cloud or in your premises, our Managed Security Services provide a comprehensive, multilayered approach to network security that helps protect your systems and patient data while maintaining security compliance.
Our Security-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings work together as a security best practice to reduce the risks associated with blended network attacks, as well as to coordinate security alerting, logging, reporting, compliance, and response activity.
Security Services to Address HIPAA Technical Safeguards
The MegaPath Security Services incorporate comprehensive Uniﬁed Threat Management (UTM) services that address many of the technical safeguards deﬁned in the HIPAA rules. MegaPath UTM services include Advanced Firewall, Intrusion Prevention,
Antivirus, Web Filtering, Anti-spam, Web Application Control, and Data Leak Prevention. All MegaPath UTM services can be fully implemented in the cloud, on your premises, or in a hybrid conﬁguration to provide defense-in-depth security.
Security and Process Monitoring Based on Best Practices
Healthcare organizations need to rigorously monitor the security of their networks and host systems from a regulatory perspective, and from the perspective of security best practices. Your team also needs to continuously identify and assess new
IT threats and vulnerabilities to stay ahead of security risks.
MegaPath offers several managed solutions to support these efforts including Managed Logging with real-time log review, File Integrity Monitoring for servers and critical endpoints, and Vulnerability Scanning Services to evaluate the effectiveness of your existing security controls.
Additionally, MegaPath offers a portal-based Security Information Management platform that allows you to track remediation activities, correlate and report on suspicious activities, and produce audit reports to demonstrate due diligence for running an effective information security program.
A Cost-Eﬀective Solution for EMR Transition
Conversion to EMR/EHR systems means that many healthcare organizations
do not have the expertise or resources to manage the new security concerns that go along with digitized records. And after making the associated large capital expenditure necessary to modernize IT systems and networks, it is important to control ongoing costs.
MegaPath Managed Security Services help to address these security and cost concerns. Security for the EMR/EHR systems and network connections is managed around-the-clock by MegaPath’s network experts. And with a comprehensive, outsourced solution, you can easily plan for ongoing network security costs.
The MegaPath Suite of Managed Security Services Includes:
- Managed Firewall
Features deep packet inspection with up to 500 firewall policies that are configurable via our secure Web portal. This service also includes periodic and on-demand reporting.
- Intrusion Prevention
Detects multi-layered and blended attacks for both known and unknown threats. Powerful anomaly detection functions identify and stop zero-day threats. The MegaPath intrusion prevention solution supports all network types, including
wireless with rogue access point detection.
Comprehensive, real time, and network-based anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-crimeware detection, with both signature-based and rules-based blocking of known and zero-day attacks.
- Web Filtering
Manage employee Internet access with White list/Black list and policy-based content filtering to reduce bandwidth consumption and enforce Internet use policies in real-time.
Automatically detects spam email and optionally tags or deletes it based on conﬁgurable policy rules before the messages can consume valuable bandwidth or email storage.
- Application Control
Provides granular, precise control of speciﬁc applications such as, instant messaging, chat, voice, or video on social media sites such as Facebook or MySpace.
- Data Leak Prevention
In real-time, detects and prevents sensitive data from being transferred outside of the organization, including data such as credit card numbers or patient information.
- Managed Logging
Provides cloud-based log collection, as well as automated daily log review, correlation, alerting, reporting, and archiving. Real-time portal tools for log management enhance your security operations and compliance.
- Vulnerability Scanning
A self-service, on-demand vulnerability scanning portal identiﬁes and remediates security vulnerabilities in real time. MegaPath also offers certiﬁed quarterly scans for PCI compliance.
- Security Information Management
Offers the portal-based workﬂow management and tracking necessary to demonstrate due diligence in meeting requirements for organizational security policies and compliance reporting.
- File Integrity Monitoring
Enables real-time monitoring of critical system or conﬁguration ﬁles for unauthorized access or changes. (Supports only Windows-based host systems)
Healthcare Organization Beneﬁts:
• Reduce Security and Compliance Costs
• Improve Network and Data Security
• Simplify Regulatory Compliance
• Access 24 / 7 / 365 Security and Network Expertise
• Gain Peace of Mind
• Receive One Monthly Bill
To learn more simply request a free quote here ....
Integra Telecom specializes in Ethernet, EoC, MPLS, and Hosted PBX services. When it comes to Ethernet pricing, Integra Telecom can't be beat (30Mbps for $784!).
Not only does Integra have the industry's best Ethernet pricing, but they also own and operate their own network offering local dial tone, domestic and international long distance, high-speed Internet and data services (including digital subscriber line or DSL), voice messaging, and numerous ancillary services designed to support the communication needs of businesses including business phone systems.
Integra Telecom also provides managed services and converged Internet Protocol (IP) network services that combine voice, Internet access, and private data networking for small and medium sized companies, enterprises, national and government accounts.
To learn more about what Integra can do for you....including getting free no obligation quotes....simply ask here:
Information is one of a ﬁnancial institution’s most important assets. Protection of
that information is necessary to establish and maintain trust between the ﬁnancial
institution and its customers, maintain compliance with the law, and protect the
reputation of the institution. The regulatory and compliance requirements for
ﬁnancial institutions continues to rapidly expand and it can be difﬁcult for even the
best IT teams to keep up with the latest requirements and solutions for meeting
MegaPath’s Managed Security for Financial Services are designed to help meet
the ﬁnancial services regulations on information security originated under the GLBA
and prescribed by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).
Additional support is also provided for agency speciﬁc requirements such as
those from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit
Union Administration (NCUA), as well as the Payment Card Industry Data Security
Standard (PCI DSS).
Security Controls Implementation
Security Controls Implementation is one of the key requirements to be met from
the FFIEC. MegaPath’s SaaS offerings incorporate comprehensive Uniﬁed Threat
Management (UTM) security services to address these needs which include
Advanced Firewall, Intrusion Prevention, Antivirus, Web Filtering, Anti-spam,
Web Application Control and Data Leak Prevention. All UTM services can be
fully implemented in the cloud, on premise, or in a hybrid conﬁguration delivering
unprecedented, defense-in-depth security.
Security and Process Monitoring
Financial institutions need to rigorously monitor the security of their networks and
host systems from a regulatory perspective, but also from a security best practices
perspective. Additionally, they need to continuously gather and assess new threats
and vulnerabilities to stay ahead of the game. MegaPath offers several managed
solutions to support these requirements which include Managed Logging with realtime
review, File Integrity Monitoring to keep an eye on servers and other critical
endpoints, as well as Vulnerability Scanning Services to evaluate the effectiveness
of existing security controls.
Additionally, we offer a portal-based Security Information Management platform
which allows organizations to track remediation activities, correlate and report on
suspicious activities and produce audit reports to demonstrate due diligence in
running an effective information security program.
MegaPath Managed Security for Financial Services
MegaPath’s cloud based and premises based managed security services provide a
comprehensive, multi-layered approach to security that helps meet the increasing
number of regulatory requirements of all sizes of ﬁnancial institutions. Our SaaS
offerings work together as a security best practice to eliminate/reduce the risks
associated with blended attacks, and coordinate security alerting, logging, reporting, compliance and response. Our suite of SaaS offerings include....
* Advanced Firewall
Featuring deep packet inspection with up to 500 ﬁrewall policies, conﬁgurable by the customer via our secure web portal. The service includes periodic and on-demand reporting.
* Intrusion Prevention
Features multi-layered and blended attack detection for both known and unknown threats with powerful anomaly detection functions to identify and stop zero day threats. IPS supports all network types including wireless IPS and rouge wireless
Comprehensive real-time network based anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-crimeware detection with both signature and rules based blocking of known and zero day attacks.
* Web Filtering
Manage employee Internet access with White list/Black list and policy based content ﬁltering to reduce bandwidth consumption and enforce Internet use policies in real-time.
Automatically detects spam and optionally tags or deletes it based upon conﬁgurable policy rules before it can consume valuable bandwidth or email storage.
* Web Application Control
Provides more granular, precise control of speciﬁc applications like IM, chat, voice or video on social media sites such as Facebook or MySpace.
* Data Loss Prevention
Real-time detection / prevention of sensitive data being transferred outside of the organization including items such as credit card data, healthcare or ﬁnancial data.
* Vulnerability Scanning
On-demand scanning of internal & external IP addresses to identify and remediate vulnerabilities in real time. MegaPath certiﬁed quarterly scans for PCI compliance.
* Security Information Management
Portal based workﬂow management and tracking required to demonstrate due diligence in meeting organizational security policies and compliance reporting.
* File Integrity Monitoring
Real-time monitoring of critical system or conﬁguration ﬁles for unauthorized access or changes. (supports Windows based host systems only).
To find out more about what Megapath can do to support your Financial Services Institution simply request a free quote here:
Ethernet technology has long been used to efﬁciently and effectively build LANs within business settings. Its widespread presence in the business world is a testimony for its simplicity and efﬁciency, as well as its ease of use and management. Now, Ethernet extends into the wide area as a cost-effective solution for connecting business sites to each other and to the Internet. Wide-area Ethernet services are an ideal choice if your business has intensive bandwidth demands and multiple locations in one or more major cities.
Until recently, only a select few service providers offered separate metro Ethernet services (connecting sites within the same city) and long-haul Ethernet services (creating a point-to-point connection between sites in different cities) over expensive ﬁber networks. Previously, the cost and availability of Ethernet technology put it beyond the reach of most businesses. Today’s Ethernet services use relatively inexpensive and omnipresent copper line to deliver the speeds that small and medium businesses and enterprises need.
In this design, the Ethernet service operates in the same way as any other access service, allowing one site to connect to another site on your network, whether across town or across the country, or connecting to the Internet. This design also means that sites can be conﬁgured into virtual private networks (VPNs), regardless of the access service used at each location.
Where available, Ethernet services offer bandwidth from 2x2 Mbps up to 45x45 Mbps per circuit, at a much lower cost than DS3 access or comparable bonded T1 service. Ethernet bandwidth is symmetrical, and delivers the same speed for uploads and
downloads on the network connection, making it an ideal solution for businesses that need to upload and download data.
Ethernet services are easy to install and manage because the technology uses your existing copper-loop infrastructure, an Ethernet bridge, a router, and a standard, familiar 10/100 Ethernet interface. With some providers, it is also easy to add voice, security, and collaboration hosting services to your business Ethernet connection. This simplicity and support for multiple network services means Ethernet is easily scalable to meet the growing demands of your business.
By using loop-bonding technology, Ethernet offers greater reliability and bandwidth efﬁciency than a bonded T1 connection, which uses link-bonding technology. More ﬂexibly for using existing circuits is also possible with loop bonding, which can
combine circuits with any mix of bandwidth. In contrast, link bonding requires the same bandwidth on each circuit, e.g., bonding only a 1.5 Mbps T1 circuit to another 1.5 Mbps T1.
Although both methods are effective, loop-bonding is a newer technology that reduces overhead and deals with loop failure more efﬁciently. That means more bandwidth is available for applications in an Ethernet service and your network connection will have higher reliability than alternative access methods.
Service providers offer Ethernet as a fully managed solution, with round-the-clock, proactive network monitoring and management. The solution is also typically backed by service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee network uptime, as well as time windows for installation and problem response.
If you're interested in learning more about what business ethernet services can do for you ... including a comparison of available providers ... simply request a free quote here:
Is Business Ethernet the Right Choice For Your Network?
It’s a common experience in business networks... give users more bandwidth and they’ll immediately ﬁnd applications that need even more. The trafﬁc load on access circuits in local ofﬁces is increasing at a faster pace today because more users rely on business networks for more applications and more services to do their work. And as ofﬁce setting change to accommodate remote workers and multiple locations, the ability to share information becomes even more critical for business success and
Yet simply increasing bandwidth on existing circuits isn’t necessarily the best choice for solving this problem. Taking a look at your business’ network needs — and all the services available to meet them — can help you identify more cost-effective solutions for higher network performance. Business Ethernet is the perfect choice for this scenario.
Businesses today seek simpler and more cost-effective network solutions to support needs, such as:
- Running application servers and/or accessing cloud services for websites, email, databases, and business applications
- Transferring large data, image, or video ﬁles
- Using bandwidth-intensive applications
- Supporting remote workers or virtual private networks (VPNs)
- Delivering Voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing services with end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) to local offices
- Delivering content to their end customers, suppliers, and business partners
In the past, the traditional T1 and bonded T1 access circuits have been the primary option for network connectivity, especially for local ofﬁces. Now Ethernet-over-Copper (EoC) technology allows service providers to offer their customers a new choice in most of the locations: Managed Ethernet Services.
Ethernet services can deliver particular beneﬁts to businesses in several industries.
Retail and Restaurants. Connect stores, restaurants, distribution centers, and management ofﬁces within a city while taking advantage of additional provider services such as such as PCI compliance and managed voice and network security services.
Healthcare. Transmit digital images, electronic health records, and billing data between local clinics while meeting the increasing demands of HIPAA compliance.
Real Estate. Give agents the high bandwidth they need for video home tours and integrated voice communications with advanced features like ﬁnd me/follow me.
Banking/Financial. Combine voice and data services on a single, secure connection for more efﬁcient branch-ofﬁce communications.
Education. Offer distance learning programs and connect satellite campuses over a single network that also supports WiFi Internet access for students, faculty, and staff.
For no cost help finding the right business ethernet solution for your particular business requirements ... including a comparison of available providers ... simply request a free quote here:
What to Look For In A Business-Class Ethernet Service
When evaluating any access service, it’s important to look at the technologies and design in the provider’s network. A service provider with its own MPLS-based network can deliver the exceptional performance, redundancy, and ﬂexibility necessary to
support business-class Ethernet services and VPNs. Because the trafﬁc routing decisions are made within the network, not at the access point, MPLS technology can load-balance the network and route trafﬁc efﬁciently, for no single point of failure and a high-quality user experience.
To connect all of your sites into a single network, the provider should offer a choice of access types, including traditional T1 and DSL services. When the provider also offers managed solutions for voice, network security, and cloud-based collaboration over the Internet access service, you can meet nearly all of your communications needs in one place.
Equally important is the quality of the provider’s network support and monitoring services. Support should be available 24 / 7 / 365 to help users and resolve problems. And providers that offer advanced, proactive network monitoring can maximize the availability of your wide-area Ethernet connections.
Use this list as a guide for what to look for when evaluating the Business Ethernet offerings from service providers.
Ethernet Service Evaluation Factor
* Offers Ethernet service for all target locations nationwide
* Supports symmetrical speeds up to 45 Mbps
* Initial and monthly recurring costs for Ethernet service
* Automated installation processes to speed deployments
* Multiple options for access circuits where Ethernet is not available
* Other managed services available:
- Network Security
- Hosted Collaboration
* Class of Service (CoS) support at the access circuit level for voice
* Nationwide MPLS network with Ethernet available in major cities
For no cost assistance to help you find the best fit for network connectivity ... including a comparison of providers per the recommended factors above ... simply request a free quote here:
Broadband Comparison....Which Data Service Is Right for Your Business?
To determine the best business-class connectivity option for your business network, it is important to evaluate your business’ employee needs — such as do employees perform high volumes of Web browsing, do they require video streaming services, and are Voice services and other cloud-based applications required — and proximity to the services. Understanding your business’ technological requirements will help take the guesswork out of choosing the optimal business-class connectivity service.
T1, Bonded T1, and Business Ethernet connections provide true business-class connectivity. They offer the same uptime SLAs (99.99%), provide symmetrical upload and download speeds (T1=1.5 Mbps, Bonded T1=up to 12 Mbps, Ethernet=up to 45 Mbps), and are widely available in major metropolitan areas. Business Ethernet is faster and generally more cost competitive than T1 and Bonded T1 connections. It has become a popular business-class connectivity option for companies and is out-pacing T1 sales in some markets. For businesses located in dense metropolitan areas, Ethernet over Copper offers greater flexibility and provides the best connection speeds at the best prices.
In addition to choosing a broadband type, it is also important to conduct an Internet providers comparison in order to ensure the Internet services provider you select is able to meet your business' current and future needs.
For help evaluating the most appropriate connectivity option for your business network ... including a comparison of available providers ... simply request a free quote here: