Tips for Supporting Your Clients Network

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

Out-Of-Band Management

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

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: Collaborating In An Evolving Market

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.

Forward Thinking

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.

Evolved Firewalls

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.

Adaptive and responsive data services are our specialty. To gain a better understanding of your network performance get a FREE Network Assessment today!

Network Virtualization: What is it exactly and why is it useful?

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!

 

Network Deployment: 3 Best Practices

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”.

Final Thoughts

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!

Massive Networks Meets CVTV

Recently Paul Mako, CTO of Massive Networks met with the crew members of Channel Vision Magazine (CVTV).

This short video will walk you through how Massive Networks:

  • Deploys its services
  • Custom designs networks
  • Designed a multi-location network for a Colorado-based medical tech company

Learn how our Premium-Blended Internet and layer 2 Private Line Transport connections from office-to-officedata centers, and cloud applications can transform network connectivity from bandwidth-intensive services.

 

Cloud Application Management: 7 Useful Tools

Cloud application management is likely to become more challenging for cloud businesses in the upcoming months and years. Despite the various issues associated with cloud management, businesses – big or small, are adopting cloud-based systems at an enormous rate. Cloud applications have made life easier and given the real-time phenomenon that fosters enhanced collaboration and the work-from-anywhere model. Though end-user accessibility may be simple, monitoring cloud applications from an IT perspective is still complex. Below, we explain those complexities and what makes each of them a daunting task.  

Silo Management Anyone? 

Given the divided control onto the cloud services, it has become quite challenging for IT staff in any business to manage the cloud in its entirety. In addition to the cloud management systems that are set to deploy in silos, the various management tools in the market make it even more appalling to handle. Cloud management tools from renowned vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, and HP are flooding the market, but are usually specific to particular hardware. Similar to a mousetrap, you can’t buy one without adapting to the other. However, workload in case of the cloud applications is not tied to a specific device, which makes deployment of such management tools a complicated and tedious process.   

The complexity of Public Cloud  

Moreover, public cloud vendors have provided a range of their management tools and options, to manage the services extended through their cloud. The limitation here is that these tools are usually specific to a platform, making cloud application system management more complicated. Tools specific to cloud management are also on the rise, making overall management manifold and expensive at the same time.  The notion of cloud managed services being a cheap alternative has remained a myth to date, especially when it comes to cloud application management.   

Keeping Up With Change 

Cloud application management can be worked out if businesses learn to embrace this increasing commotion in the industry. If a company deals with multiple cloud applications, the first step to accepting the change will be identifying each application and its respective management requirements and tools. Once your MSP or IT department investigates their requirements, your staff has to make sure that the business opts for these variable tools. It is crucial for companies to keep up with emerging management tools in the market and work with these to take control of cloud management.  

Despite these three difficult hurdles, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Based on current cloud monitoring tools, we’ve compiled a list of useful management products that can come in handy. Some are full-stack enterprise solutions whereas others are specialized tools for companies of all sizes.  

To help isolate your needs, we tagged them for easy identification by the following keywords: 

  1. Enterprise 
  1. SMB (Small/Medium Size Business) 
  1. APM (Application Performance Monitoring) 
  1. SaaS (Monitoring tools like Office365 and Salesforce) 
  1. Infrastructure (Cloud, Virtual, and Physical) 
  1. Network 
  1. Platform 
  1. Microservices 
  1. Security 
  1. Microsoft (Specialized) 
  1. Google (Specialized) 
  1. Amazon (Specialized) 

Cloud Monitoring Tools 

  • Microsoft Cloud Monitoring  Using Azure to run your web apps? Microsoft may be the right solution for you. Microsoft provides an in-depth snapshot of your web application performance by providing log analysis, application monitoring, and security alerts. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, Network, Platform, Microservices, Security, and Microsoft. 

  • CA Technologies  – CA Tech offers an enterprise-level, full-stack monitoring, and management solution for businesses with public, private, or hybrid clouds. Making it an easy one-stop-shop for administrators. Their tools can help you do everything from monitor user experiences on your web app, to securing and scaling your operations. 

TAGS: Enterprise, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, Network, Platform, Microservices, and Security. 

  1. VMware Hyperic – This management system monitors your infrastructure; both the physical and virtual forms, as well as provides monitoring for your OS, middleware, and web apps. The dashboard and reporting features maintain SLA-compliance levels and send alerts when they are close to being breached. Additionally, Dell, one of the leading server virtualization companies in VMware, owns it. 

TAGS: Enterprise, APM, Infrastructure, Platform, Microservices, and Security. 

  • AppNeta  – Earned the spotlight as the highest rated Network Performance Monitoring tool by Gartner, in 2017.  This savvy resource not only works across all cloud platforms, it also gives you insight into resource usage, app delivery, and user experience.  

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, and Network. 

  • Amazon CloudWatch – If you’re on AWS then Amazon CloudWatch is your best option. Their management system gives you the ability to monitor application metrics, log files, and quickly react to changes in your AWS resources. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, Platform, Security, and Amazon 

  • Redgate  – If your teams use SQL Server, .NET, or Azure then this may be the right monitoring tool for you. Redgate’s specialty focuses on developing better apps. From SQL Monitor to .NET Profilers, to their Azure migration services, they are a one-stop shop for Microsoft stacks. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, Platform, and Microsoft. 

  • Stackdriver  – Native to Google Cloud products, Stackdriver provides monitoring, logging, and logistics for apps on both Google Cloud and AWS. Its full-stack provisioning insights allow you aggregate all data across cloud platforms. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Platform, Security, Google, and Amazon. 

 

If companies are looking to enhance their cloud application management capabilities, it is mandatory that they embrace any and all changes being introduced in the market and develop disciplined management tools for their multiple cloud applications.  Given the 7 choices to select from above, we hope you’ve found this article useful.

For additional help with managing your systems check out our Managed Network Service options. 

 

Managed Services: The Significance of Monitoring Systems

Proactive and reliable system monitoring has become increasingly crucial as part of network managing services. With the advent of high capacity and enhanced performance systems, managing the complexity of IT technologies has become even more challenging. To gain a competitive edge in the market and to keep one-step ahead of competitors, robust system monitoring has become the need of many businesses. Below are the top four reasons why monitoring your business applications and systems is important for a company.

1. Boost Your Productivity and Performance

System monitoring can help with the measurement of current performance as well as the identification of areas that are in dire need of improvement. So, you can help boost the overall performance of the system by identifying and touching-up these areas. Rather than stepping up and solving issues as soon as they occur, a pre-planning phase can help the system become less vulnerable to disruptions and threats.

2. Upgrades Can Be Pre-Planned

Monitoring is yet another way of keeping a close eye on the necessary or relevant updates required. This pre-planning phase can save you time and effort later when an upgrade becomes due. The proper inventory may be kept in place for such technological upgrades, saving you from any sort of last-minute and/or unexpected changes.

3. Reduce Downtime

Downtimes are severe for a seamless and uninterrupted user experience, which makes it all the more essential to monitor the IT infrastructure intermittently. To avoid disruptions and downtime, a proactive approach to system monitoring is fundamental. Learning from past experiences and detecting problems before they occur can help you make informed decisions and achieve peak performance.

4. Detect Problems In Advance

With system monitoring in place, failure patterns may be detected and comprehended in advance. This priority detection will result in resolving the problem without impacting the end users and their performance. Any and all warning signs and cues may be picked up while monitoring to ensure they are fixed in time as well as a seamless end-user experience.

As they say, caution is better than a cure. Now that you are aware of the whys, it’s time to consider adopting a proper system monitoring protocol.

By adopting a consistent system monitoring exercise, businesses can ensure a robust IT infrastructure that functions perfectly well, without distorting the end user experience. In addition to this, problems and issues may be identified prior to unnecessary and tedious downtimes, saving both cost and effort. Detection of problems helps with creating contingency plans that may be used as a back-up, to avoid system halts.

For additional help with managing your systems check out our Managed Network Service options.

 

Connectivity – Cloud Solutions for the Enterprise Environment

Connectivity.

Defined its meaning refers to the quality, state, or capability of being connected to a computer or series of computers.

That’s fine and dandy when placed in a dictionary reference, but in the IT world, it’s SO much more than that. The complexities involve connecting your computers to the Internet, your Internet to servers, your servers to the cloud, and your cloud provider to all of the applications your business requires to operate. And that’s a very basic representation of the details.

But even in a basic representation, you can see just how deep the rabbit hole can get.

As cloud services progress, enterprises are accessing the benefits of multiple service providers via one connectivity strategy. Cloud connectivity plays a significant part as more companies opt for cloud services to solve their business data needs. Enterprises looking to optimize their applications can combine their cloud service of choice into one solution – a hybrid cloud.

It’s like a common public or private cloud, but so much better!

In short, here’s why:

Hybrid cloud offerings merge data center services, cloud access, and managed services into one simplified, fully optimized solution.

If you can’t beat them, join them.

According to the 2017 State of the Cloud Survey, 67 percent of enterprises are already participating in one, and the number is set to increase in the upcoming years. Enterprises already working with cloud service providers can quickly make the shift to a hybrid ecosystem by engaging in a hybrid cloud strategy.

Here’s how.

Your cloud provider’s performance is only as good as your connectivity solution. So, if we were to place you in the driver’s seat wouldn’t it make life a whole lot easier to combine all of your services into one unified solution?

We certainly think so.

That’s why Massive offers the Cloud Exchange Connect. You can extend your WAN from any location to include the cloud platform of your choice or a registered cloud provider from our marketplace. Our advanced high-performance connections are secure and dedicated to you. Meaning, your business-critical data stays secure because it’s all routed through a private network.

Similar to a typical hybrid cloud, the MASSIVE Cloud Exchange Connect Includes:

  • Private secure connections directly to Cloud Platforms and SaaS providers (Speeds from 10 Mbps to 10Gbps).
  • 10 Gig private network transport with predictive routing to avoid Internet bottlenecks and network slow down.
  • Faster speeds, less latency, much better security
  • Premium-Blended Internet.
  • Global availability and multiple configuration options.
  • And any Managed Services you need to be monitored around the clock.

Making it an optimal choice when your IT Team begins researching their options for a cloud solution. To learn more about our Cloud Connect Services, click here!

Is MPLS A Dying Technology?

The market is changing. What is useful today may not be useful tomorrow.

No matter what problem a technology may currently solve, most of it is doomed to fade and die out. Either that or a technical engineer will develop a bigger and better version of it. Read more