Unified communications are on the rise. With the increase of communication solutions based on cloud networks, the mobile workforce of today is improving interaction for all users. From team collaboration apps to video conferencing platforms and instant messaging tools, the geographical location of an employee is no longer a hurdle for businesses to overcome.
Organizations have entered an era where cloud adoption has offered the capability of being connected 24×7.
This year alone, we will witness an increase in demand for mobile unified communication solutions because the expectations of consumers that are demanding an “always approachable, always available” business setting.
Below are 3 approaches to improve your communication systems.
Make Mobile Unified Communication a Priority
With an increasing number of business officials relying on their mobile devices to communicate, organizations are required to adopt unified mobile communications. They can be conveniently managed and scaled as compared to unified communications connected through wires. IT officials are required to consider adopting mobile devices for unified communications considering mobility has become end users’ primary networking vehicle. Adopting mobile devices for unified communication will offer visibility and control, which is necessary for organizational IT deployments.
Adopting Mobile Unified Communications
For the next 5 to 10 years, unified mobile communication will become the leading provisioning approach and mechanism for enterprise communications. In addition to that, both wireless local area network (WLAN) and cellular networks support unified mobile communications, and in the coming years, it will also match suitably with all-IP 5G services, which are going to become prevalent within next 5 years.
As a result of the high demand for adopting unified communication, we recommend that IT departments start exploring alternative methods to effectively implement and manage the devices.
How To Deploy Mobile Unified Communications
Mobile unified communication is increasingly provisioned as cloud services. Cloud adoption streamlines arrangement, allows for scaling over time, and improves dependability at an overall low operating cost. Mobile unified communications as a service are available that applies the network managing strategy already at work in various other aspects of IT and cloud computing. The mobile unified communication management support in the cloud services allows unified mobile communication as a service to deliver complete flexibility without any need of supplementary infrastructure of any kind.
Need help? No problem.
Get help with your network managing strategy by checking out our Managed Services. We offer an array of useful and flexible programs that can help you stay on track without breaking your budget.
How can you effectively monitor your cloud applications?
With so many systems and so little time, a lot of IT managers, System Administrators, and MSPs have a hard time keeping up. But, these challenges also offer a unique opportunity for organizations to reconsider their approach towards development, maintenance, and monitoring of their IT environments.
Recently, Gartner revealed that around, “80% of organizations still have no idea about connecting cloud networks or have substantial gaps in the monitoring process of their latest cloud services.”
That’s a pretty significant number. Making it essential to stress the importance of effectively monitoring cloud services. By doing so, organizations stand a better chance to maximize the advantages of cloud adoption.
Which is why we developed some helpful tips point you in the right direction.
4 Tips To Map Your Way to Cloud Monitoring Success
1. Stay Prepared Deep Dives and Horizontal Debugging
In the cloudy networks, particularly in cloud-first designs, the application usually transforms from being vertically scaled monoliths to extensively dispersed micro-services attached through platform modules throughput several hosts and even different cloud services providers. To manage such complicated structures, there is a need for enabling visibility across tiers via an efficient monitoring system. Several systems only focus on targeted deep dives; however, cloud networks demand knowing where one must start looking first.
2. Do Not Wait For an Issue to Arise
Several organizations feel reluctant to add monitoring solutions unless there is a substantial downtime. However, there is a need to start working to obtain the overall visibility of the system. The upfront investment in the tool will soon be recovered through the cost savings and increased productivity because of immediate resolution of the problems and efficient identification and alertness regarding the occurrence of bottlenecks, which may get overlooked otherwise.
3. Keep a Close Watch for Platform Components
In cloud networks, there is a need to acknowledge that the application is not merely a procedure operating through a host. Platform components in cloud networks are essential because they can be equally crucial for the performance and success of your application as the virtual machine it has been installed at. Whether you are using a stress manager, cache, queue, data store, NoSQL or any other platform component, you need to consider it just like any other internal service you have developed. To allow them to show their true worth, make sure to link them back to the applications they support.
4. Monitor Your Business
Monitoring is not simply a limited view but a highly technical need. The cloud adoption saves the effort of monitoring components of backend infrastructure, allowing you to focus on the metrics crucial for your business.
Need help monitoring your cloud systems and applications? No problem. Check out our Managed Services. We offer an array of useful and flexible programs that can help you stay on track without breaking your budget.
Does supporting your client networks wreak havoc on your day-to-day productivity? If so, then this is the article for you. Managing client networks can be tricky. A picture-perfect set-up would be if each network device you managed came from the same manufacturer. But an experienced MSP knows better.
Did you know that 75% of MSPs manage at least four or more network devices from various manufacturers?
Well, now you do. Some MSPs have even reported up to twenty vendors for one client’s network. How crazy is that?
To reiterate, managing various networks is a standard process for most MSPs, but just because it’s standard doesn’t mean it’s less complicated.
Managing client networks requires the understanding of managing diverse OS systems, various languages, and a whole LOT more. Even though standardization is preferred, it is not practicable for all scenarios.
Because we’re in the network business, we decided to offer a few tips for supporting your clients’ network. Hopefully, you find them helpful!
Tips for Supporting Your Clients Network
Establishing a connection to a device via a substitute connection similar to a serial interface without utilizing the production network is out-of-band management. It can be used to access network devices when your product network is inaccessible. Switches, routers, firewalls, and other network elements can usually be configured via serial connections to the device. It offers command line control on the device in the absence of network interfaces.
IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interfaces)
When the primary metal server is not accessible, and the server’s OS gets corrupted and stops booting, remote connection to the machine cannot be established through SSH or RDP, which means inability to restore the backup or reinstalled OS remotely. The server can be managed out-of-band through IPMI. It serves as an IP switch and remotely creates a mouse, keyboard and video access to the server over the network. IPMI allows rebooting the server or repairing or reinstalling OS in situations where OS is corrupted and serve is inaccessible.
Console servers offer several serial ports, which can be linked to the serial console ports of different network elements. When the internet connection is down, they allow administering network devices over its 3G or LTE networks remotely. Even though the client would not have internet access until the repair has been done at the ISP end, you will be capable of making local infrastructure accessible. Because IPMI makes use of network interface controllers (NICs) for access, IPMI devices would also be inaccessible when the network is not available. The good news is that console servers are equipped with several NICs that allows server IPMIs to link directly to the console server. This further allows remote access to IPMI equipped server through the console server even when there is no internet connectivity.
Need help with managing your client’s networks? No problem.
Partnering with the best in business vendors, MSPs, and VARs, we offer an array of managed network services through our partner program. Whether you want to use us directly or share the customer service side of things, we are flexible. Check out our partner program to learn more!
Network vs. security. It’s an old debate. What’s more important?
Once upon a time, a business’ network system and application security system were considered separate isolated management items. With the way technology has evolved many IT departments have merged the two. That way they sit under one umbrella.
Past Grievances Between Network and Security Teams
In the past, the two management systems contradicted one another. While network teams generally demand speed and efficiency, security teams work on the opposite end of the spectrum. They prefer to slow things downs and apply additional security barriers to assure complete protection. Nevertheless, their opposing objectives have been the cause of the lack of communication between both parties.
Security teams are generally more focused on the mitigation of potential security risks and network vulnerabilities. Whereas network teams continually strive to enhance network accessibility and usability. This creates bottlenecks for network engineers because security measures are more likely to affect the speed of the processes due to firewalls, as well as the implementation of two-factor authentication and other precautionary measures.
Today, IT experts agree that collaboration between the two IT counterparts is key to supporting an organization’s needs. With the rise of security hack attempts, network and security teams are now required to sync up and shift their approach to combating system failures or system breaches.
A Collaborative Solution
It all boils down to communication to maintain a collaborative solution. Whether your business has merged to the two counterparts or not, the goal of both departments is to ensure that a company is operating at full speed and at all times.
This means taking a proactive measure to communicate about the latest trends and concerns.
It also means that when a new project begins, like adding a new application; both teams should be present in the process to ensure effective deliverability. That way the security team can provide feedback about the impending security issues and the network team can evaluate responsively.
To learn more about merging your network and security management teams, check out our managed networks services.
Similar to every technology, firewalls have also changed over the past few decades.
A firewall is a security device for the network that monitors both incoming and outgoing traffic over a network and allows or blocks the network traffic according to its programmed security rules. For a quarter of a century, these firewalls have served as the first line of defense in network security. Firewalls create a barrier between secured and controlled in-house networks. They also decide whether to trust an external system or not, such as the Internet.
In modern-day firewalls, you get to see more than just a packet inspection. Because of their proven ability to block malicious traffic from accessing the corporate networks and guard the most valuable assets of organizations, firewalls have become ubiquitous throughout their IT landscapes.
How Have Firewalls Evolved Over the Years?
Firewalls were invented as a software tool to regulate access from mainly free and non-targeted network security threats. Over the years, firewalls have evolved into exclusive hardware devices. As the appliances, firewalls are enforced to adjust according to the continually rising performance demands. With the increasingly sophisticated attacks, firewalls are also required to embrace additional security functionality. With the introduction of the public and private cloud services, a division of firewalls needed to get back to their software state and virtualized form.
The contribution of a firewall towards a cyber-ecosystem has been refined with evolution. Having progressed from a simple access guard, a few forms of modern firewalls act as a highly sophisticated cyber defense system. The evolved firewalls have taken on the extremely challenging, tough, and sneaky adversaries. Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) solutions and the multi-solution Unified Threat Management (UTM) are the two examples of evolved firewalls.
The Latest Trends in Firewall Security
Modern-day firewalls, also known as next-generation firewalls at present depend more on a similar analysis of the application layer. However, evolved firewalls are more focused on deep-packet introspection. To this extent, evolved firewalls can be highly effective in the execution of different security features such as detecting and preventing intrusions, integration of user ID, firewalls for Web applications. Another latest trend in Firewall security is the integration of Virtual Private Network (VPN) services into firewalls. This has become a common practice by most enterprises because it enables off-site employees of an organization access company resources while interacting over an unprotected network such as a public Wi-Fi.
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Massive Networks uses various types of smart cards for security measures within its data center facilities. And because the smart card is among the digital icons in today’s information era, we thought’s we’d share a feature guest post about it from our friends at The Smart Card Institute.
Smart Card Technology – Types, Applications, and Working
Your smart card is always at your beck and call for making transactions every now and then. Today’s article takes a dive deep into the types, applications, and workings of this technology.
Smart card technology is available in markets for gaining access to products and services, for authenticating identity, and for establishing and facilitating trade. In a survey conducted in 2016, it was discovered that 27 percent of smart card applications are utilized in the banking industry, 18 percent in the welfare and health sectors, and 15 percent in the transportation industry. Besides these, smart card tech equally applies to other applications, including radio security, identification, telecommunications, and metering. In this article, we elucidate on the types of this technology, its applications, and how it works.
What is a Smart Card?
“Smart card” is a term used to describe a special kind of card-like device, pocket-sized, and containing a small integrated circuit (IC) chip. Also called a readable device, it is deployed for security verification in big corporations. The IC chip embedded in smart cards could be a simple memory circuit or a microprocessor with memory. These cards have 3 primary functions: storing personal information/data, authentication, and storing values.
Types of Smart Cards
Contact Smart Card
This type comprises electrical contacts that connect to the reader where the smart card gets inserted. In a contact smart card, the electrical contacts can be seen arranged upon a conductive gold plated coating on the surface.
Contactless Smart Card
The contactless type establishes communication with your card reader without any form of physical contact. Contact-less smart cards consist of an antenna, used for communicating with the RF (radio frequency) band with the antenna on the reader. This antenna gets power from the reader via the electromagnetic (EM) signal.
Furthermore, based on smart card functionalities and configuration, 2 types of cards can be identified:
These comprise only memory circuits and are used for storing, reading, and writing data to a specific location. These are cards which only consist of memory circuits. The data, stored and written in this manner, can neither be manipulated nor processed.
A memory card is also used as a rechargeable or disposable card, containing memory units usable only once. This type is a straight memory card, which is only used for storing and writing data. And this data is protected from unrestricted access.
Microprocessor-based cards consist of a microprocessor, which is inserted into the chip together with memory blocks. This type has specific sections of files, associated with a specific function. The data contained in these files are either managed by a fixed operating system or a dynamic one. Microprocessor-based cards also carry out multiple functions and are equally utilized for data processing as well as manipulations.
How Smart Cards Work
Your smart card is connected to the controller or host computer through a card reader — also known as an interface device, card programmers, or a card acceptance device — that receives information from the card and then conveys this information to the controller or host computer. A difference of one minute exists between both the reader and the terminal.
When your smart card gets closer to a smart card reader, the card identifies itself to the interface device by transmitting information and receiving it. If the data that is exchanged does not match, any further processing will cease. Smart cards, just like ordinary bank cards, can secure themselves against unauthorized use.
Applications of Smart Cards
Smart cards were first introduced 3 decades ago in Europe as a storage value tool for payphones to crack down on perpetrators of theft cases. Since that time, the smart card technology has made great advances, and people have invented innovative ways of using them, which include tracking credit purchases, record-keeping that took the place of paperwork, among others.
For example, in the US, consumers have been making use of smart cards for all commercial activities, such as buying groceries, ordering items online via smartphones, visiting libraries, attending movies, just to mention a few.
Smart card applications cut across many sectors and industries, ranging from banking, transportation, to telecommunications, domestic purpose, and even in government agencies. We’ve firmly integrated the smart card technology into virtually every activity in our daily lives, obviating the need to carry cash on a person. Many a state in the United States has made things a lot simpler by including chip card programs for government applications, which range from traffic departments to electronic benefit transfers.
A lot of industries have equally adopted smart card technology in their products, like GSM digital cellular phones and TV-satellite decoders. Indubitably, smart cards have a wide variety of applications in modern times, stretching across many different fields.
One of the most prominent and relevant smart cards applications is in SIM Cards and telecommunication, where they are also called secure elements, allowing the safe and secure operation of network traffic, through the provision of security technology for several millions of subscriber identity modules (SIMs) on a yearly basis. Smart cards are consumed which help the unique identifier, stored in the SIM card to protect the rights as well as privileges of all mobile subscribers.
In 2017, Brussels, Belgium-based Eurosmart reported that 5.6 billion secure elements, would be shipped globally for applications in the telecommunications sector. Eurosmart estimated that in 2018 secure element shipments for applications in the telecommunications industry would grow to 10 billion.
In a Nutshell
The technology behind smart cards has many uses today and some potential benefits for the future. With this tool — contact or contactless cards; memory or microprocessor-based cards — so many organizations and individuals now seamlessly maintain a business relationship between clients, suppliers, vendors or government authorities. They are equally capable of use, either as portable storage devices or for different purposes entirely, as they possess the capacity to hold more data in various forms.
Right now, the need for connectivity and communications is booming. Why? Because cloud services are how businesses run their daily operations. From online shopping to human resources, billing, and educational platforms, automation is the name of the game. Redefining the way service providers facilitate their consumers and identify opportunities for further development.
Cloud-Centric Networks For Cloud-Centric Businesses
Organizations have become ambitious for an innovative approach in the form of cloud-centric networks to link their content and communication services. With the big push towards cloud services, network providers are now required to deliver innovative cloud-centric networking models to serve cloud-centric businesses. Making an on-demand, secure, agile, and configurable interface a pre-requisite offering. IT Teams looking to outsource the network side of the puzzle should focus on Quality of Experience (QoE) and Quality of Service (QoS) with considerable scalability.
Making the Switch From MPLS
With the cloud revolution, corporations are slowly fazing out Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks to a dedicated fiber backbone that supports connectivity for both private and public clouds. Further defining the need for cloud-centric networks.
Many different services that previously stayed within storage sectors are now becoming integrated for the provision of end-to-end networking solutions. Which adds to the speed of deployment for these services on a national and international level. With the rise of diverse portal offerings and software-defined networking (SDN), networking platforms are transforming into critical differentiators for service providers.
Today, network speed, efficiency, and user-friendliness of cloud-centric networks have created new competitive advantages for cloud-centric businesses. A cloud-centric network is an integrated environment where a cloud-centric business can enjoy connectivity across the world, monitor end-to-end performance, adjust networks for particular applications, and turn up different services on demand. It provides them with a tool for catering to several demands instantly with a virtually unlimited international scale. A Cloud-centric network is the right platform that can transform a cloud-centric business to succeed in the present market.
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Network Virtualization. What is it exactly and why is it useful? In a nutshell, network virtualization combines hardware and software resources into a single administrative entity. Its purpose is to enable a data center or service provider with the applications they require on a daily basis.
But What Makes NV So Special?
All businesses aim to achieve efficiency, flexibility and cost savings. Network virtualization fulfills those. Additionally, it also provides security. In a world where malware, hacking, and data breaches are common, eliminating these possibilities is crucial.
Behind The Network Virtualization Scenes
For the last ten years, enterprises have been embracing virtualization technologies at a fast pace. Network virtualization decouples networking connectivity and services, which were previously delivered through hardware, into a dynamic, logical virtual network. Network virtualization helps address a large number of networking challenges within modern-day data centers. It also assists with consolidating any on-demand programming and provisioning of businesses networks while eliminating the need of making any physical changes to the primary infrastructure. Network virtualization allows enterprises to simplify the way they roll out, scale, and regulate workloads and resources for effective management of ever-increasing computing requirements.
The primary objective of advancements made in the field of virtualization is to automate and ease the physical management required. In physical environments, the addition of switch ports demands connections and configurations through cabling along with the additional cost of actual switch ports. A switch port can be created separately from the primary physical ports with virtual settings. Making it an ideal solution if a company requires multiple virtual switch ports.
Why Should Your Company Use Network Virtualization?
Aside from efficiency, flexibility, and cost reduction, a company can create and configure an entirely new logical network while using the existing physical hardware. This new logical network can be independent of the other virtual networks even though it also utilizes the same equipment including cables, routers, switches, etc. Network virtualization allows for the facilitation of complex needs within multi-tenancy settings while maintaining complete security. It can keep the traffic of each network into a different logical zone and prevents it from mixing with other resources.
By allowing multiple heterogeneous network architectures to cohabit on a shared physical substrate, network virtualization provides flexibility, promotes diversity, and promises security and increased manageability — all at a lower cost to you regarding physical hardware.
Network, security, and application performance are critical to business operations. Adaptive and responsive data services are our specialty. To gain a better understanding of your network performance, get a FREE Network Assessment today!
It can be extremely challenging to manage an enterprise network. Or any network for that matter. Most businesses are heavily dependent upon real-time data sharing, online transactions, and operational processes making network systems a critical component to ensuring business efficiency. From backup and load balancing to stringent security controls, the quality of every aspect pertaining to the network is heavily dependent upon an effective deployment process.
Below are some best practices related to network deployments that your business must know.
Embrace the power of Ethernet
We have seen an unprecedented improvement and progress in the ability of Ethernet in the last decade. Networks that power over Ethernet offers greater scalability, flexibility, and reliability to enterprises, supplemented by the improved security provisions. The installation involves a simple routing process using Ethernet cables compared to complex VPN and MPLS setups. Business Ethernet also supports the existing network configuration. Carrier Ethernet can handle massive volumes of traffic and facilitates in high-speed connectivity of data centers to transfer substantial data loads efficiently. Moreover, Carrier Ethernet is easily upgradable and helps an organization cope with adaptive networking and ever-changing application and service demands.
Copy physical media to a hard drive
To keep it short and sweet, copy your physical media to a hard drive. This will accelerate the process of the deployment while immunizing the risk of errors and file corruption. Using this practice will also ensure that no communication errors occur and data installation is performed smoothly without any bugs or connectivity issues related to private networking.
Use a Uniform Naming Convention (UNC)
When specifying network paths during the deployment, using a Uniform Naming Convention (UNC) instead of mapped drive letters can be extremely beneficial. Each computer has different mapped drive letters and utilizing UNC paths help to navigate this problem and facilitate error-free network deployment. An example of a UNC path is using “\\server\share\folder” instead of “E:\folder”.
Using the techniques as mentioned earlier and other best practices and data solutions will allow you to avoid bottlenecks and issues related to deployment and enable you to get your network up and running swiftly and smoothly.
Network, security, and application performance are critical to business operations. Adaptive and responsive data services are our specialty. Transform your technology connectivity, today!