1272 Bond Street, Naperville, IL 60563 630-505-7500
Network Services
A combination of certain technologies can provide exponential benefits when bundled together; an example being SD-WAN, a natural fit for Unified Communications to improve voice and video call quality, providing more deployment options, efficient bandwidth use and potentially, lower costs.

Research firm IDC predicts that, over the next several years, cloud-driven solutions will present businesses with the potential to significantly improve performance or increase productivity. In addition to cost-effectiveness and quality of service, SD-WAN and UCaaS, both as-a-service solutions, allow a pay-as-you-grow model that can easily adapt to expanding teams and offices—and easily scale down during slow periods.

1. Better Routing:

SD-WAN addresses issues that contribute to lower QoS (quality-of-service) such as jitter, packet loss, and latency with dynamic traffic management across multiple network links in real-time. Some SD-WAN solutions provide both redundancy and QoS to networks and improve the quality of an organization’s connection via cloud-managed router capabilities.

2. Extra Reliability:

SD-WAN often serves as a cost-effective backup solution because it enables an active-active configuration, which enables operational continuity in case of link failure. This allows for near 100% up-times as well as superior voice and video quality.

3. Improved Security:

SD-WAN enables the security of UC solutions in several ways. Primarily, WAN segmentation, which can reduce the instances of some of the most prevalent cyber-attacks that can occur in UC systems. By isolating traffic by application, it’s also more difficult for some threats to identify and/or attack core applications. Not only does SD-WAN enable increased security protocols, but it also provides a cleaner flow for UC traffic.

4. Better Monitoring:

While emails, normal web browsing and most file transfers can handle jitter and packet loss with fairly minimal loss of productivity, with UCaaS, the same jitter and packet loss when dealing with voice or conference and video results in a noticeable slow-down of productivity and frustrates employees and customers alike. With SD-WAN, traffic prioritization can be managed so that tasks that can wait are automatically put on the back burner to highly prioritized traffic, such as a web conference or phone calls.

5. Compliance:

Together with UCaaS, SD-WAN helps to ensure that compliance regulations are met for industries such as healthcare and finance—even PCI-DS and GDPR—due to the inherent redundancy and traffic prioritization traits of the solution.

6. More Services:

Reliability and prioritization also make adding other cloud-based solutions easier without needing to increase the amount of bandwidth. This is particularly true for organizations utilizing SD-WAN in a multi-office environment.

Interested in learning more about UCaaS with SD-WAN specifically? Download our e-Book.
0

Network Services

Article by ATI Partner Shashi Kiran, Chief Marketing Officer – Aryaka Networks

You Have a Multi-Cloud Environment – Now What?

Whether they set out to use multiple clouds or not, large enterprises today end up with several cloud suppliers. In fact, it’s probably hard to find a company that isn’t using some mix of Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, IBM Cloud, Salesforce.com, Oracle, Google G-Suite, ServiceNow or Box. The list goes on and on. This is more pronounced with enterprises that have a global site footprint.

The cloud, after all, gets you out of the business of hosting applications and worrying about upgrading hardware and software constantly. It also enables you to sidestep the capital commitments otherwise required.

However, the more clouds you use, the more complex connectivity becomes. Security concerns skyrocket as it becomes hard to figure out who is accessing what, from where and how. In addition, the network becomes central to application performance across the organization.

Forces at Work

Despite the network challenges multi-cloud creates, multi-cloud is here to stay and will become even more complex with time as:

  • Companies turn to even more SaaS offerings that enable them to embrace best of breed rather than multi-purpose on-premise solution bundles that have to meet various requirements of legacy environments
  • Technologies, such as serverless computing and other advances, that are only possible with cloud native applications attract more enterprise workloads
  • Adoption of Internet of Things technologies and strategies require organizations to collect and analyze data closer to scattered sensors at the edge of the network, probably in specialized cloud services
  • Companies try to mesh cloud tools with on-premises systems in hybrid configurations because stringent security or compliance requirements – or the tightly integrated nature of those legacy systems – prevents going all in with cloud


Unfortunately, this shifting, demanding and dynamic environment is not a good fit for the 20-year-old legacy MPLS wide area networks that many organizations still rely on. Besides the fact that MPLS simply can’t provide off-ramps to many cloud tools, adding bandwidth is expensive and simple network changes can take months. It’s like trying to erect a shiny new skyscraper on a stone foundation fit for a mountain cabin. Businesses are short changed on time to market and this is a big no for CxOs driving WAN transformation initiatives.

The good news is software defined-WANs promise agility and enable enterprises to realize the full potential of what multi-cloud environments have to offer. But traditional SD-WANs don’t own the network and have to partner with telcos and service providers that do, creating a suboptimal solution. This is where a fully managed SD-WAN solution, where the provider owns both the network and the software definition provides the “best of both worlds.”

A fully managed SD-WAN running on a private network can connect far-flung employees to various data centre resources while also providing direct connections to public cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, Google and Oracle as well as connectivity to SaaS platforms such as Office 365, Salesforce, WebEx and Zoom, without compromising on application performance.

A managed SD-WAN allows enterprises to shift higher value human resources from the business of assessing technology, building out the network and then constantly tweaking and optimizing it as requirements change. Patching edge-routers or boxes from traditional, SD-WAN vendors is often an operational nightmare.

When managed SD-WAN is delivered as a service, it is akin to a SaaS provider, delivering connectivity as-a-service.

While SD-WAN services can help any organization deliver consistent application performance to employees around the world, the benefits for IT are magnified in multi-cloud environments because they get a unified view that is cloud provider agnostic.

However, not all managed SD-WAN services are alike. Speed of provisioning new circuits, the reliability of the backbone, the quality of the support and ease of engagement – all make a huge difference! Look for a fully managed SD-WAN that leverages a private network for the middle mile, uses built-in acceleration and optimization tools to improve application performance, and uses best of breed layered security from partners for mission-critical applications.

So, when it comes to looking for an SD-WAN delivered as a service to support growing multi-cloud needs, look for:

  • A simple, managed global solution for multi-cloud connectivity
  • End-to-end reliability SLAs guaranteeing 99.99% uptime
  • 24x7x365 monitoring and CCIE-level support
  • Built-in WAN acceleration and optimisation, regardless of the cloud resource targeted
  • Off-ramps to all the cloud providers
  • Deployment capabilities measured in hours at any site globally
  • Support for on-demand site and bandwidth changes


CIOs invest considerably in their public and multi-cloud strategy. The productivity of developers and corporate applications is compromised, if the underlying network connectivity is flaky or if it takes too long for a predictable site connection to be up and running. Digital transformation and the move to the cloud should start with the network. That is ground zero for a multi-cloud world.


Article by ATI Partner Shashi Kiran, Chief Marketing Officer – Aryaka Networks

0

Network Services

It’s apparent that U.S. organizations have accepted that cloud is here to stay; A recent analysis from Maverick Research found that more than 80% of CIOs estimate that more than half of their business will be conducted on cloud infrastructure by 2020, and roughly the same number predicted that applications supported by a SaaS platform will support more than half of their business transactions.

With this relatively newfound cloud acceptance, those managing the enterprise’s networking infrastructure have begun to realize that no single vendor can truly meet every need. Most businesses, particularly within enterprise and mid-market will likely require significant overhauls to their networks in order to support multi-source congestion from SaaS as well support digital transformation initiatives; as legacy networks were built for an era of static connections, a time when companies built their own private networks using largely proprietary hardware to connect to server/client networks.  

SD-WAN

Although IT professionals have been talking about SD-WAN technology for years, in 2019 it will be a major component in how networks are built and rebuilt. SD-WAN enables networks to route traffic based on centrally-managed rules and roles, regardless of where the entry or exit point of the traffic originates—and the data is fully secure. Research projects that SD-WAN networks will explode by 500%, and those businesses that aren’t currently using SD-WAN will likely be making plans for its adoption.

network-connect-3-1

One of the primary benefits of SD-WAN is that the network can be run by leaner, more agile teams of networking engineers, making it easier to make modifications as business needs change. Eventually, SD-WAN will begin to transition into more “intent-based” networking; this type of networking will change the way connectivity is delivered and, based on the defined standards, will adapt automatically to the needs of a business by analyzing various traffic events against KPI’s, flagging suspicious activities and implementing additional security measures as they’re needed.

Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure, IDC says, “Intent-based networking is a significant development for the networking industry. It encompasses not only advanced levels of visibility, automation and assurance, but it is the platform on which new machine learning-based network management functionality will be built.” Since the network of the future will use machine learning and AI to become cognitive, proactive and potentially self-driven, intent-based networking is important to enable continuous adaptation to environments that are constantly in flux.

WAN Edge

Another current network trend is the increasing discussion and adoption of WAN Edge architecture as cloud continues to drive vital changes to how networks are built, requiring more flexible network architectures that can accommodate and secure connections to multiple clouds. The WAN edge is the natural connection point to the cloud and where enterprises should be plugging in new security and SD-WAN software to safely and efficiently traverse this complicated network and provide appropriate policies to locations around the world.

In 2018, Gartner published its first Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure. SDXCentral reportedly asked Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa why the report wasn’t simply called Magic Quadrant for SD-WAN. Skorupa replied that the changes in the edge of the wide area network are much bigger than just SD-WAN. Skroupa went on to tell SDXCentral that the new WAN will include services ranging from security, to a variety of WAN optimization types, to secure web gateways, and “things like micro-segmentation all the way from the data center to the end user,” along with hosting of third-party applications in edge computing scenarios. “SD-WAN is just going to be a feature,” he said.

Network Security

As Joe mentions, the relationship between SD-WAN and security is in the process of a growing revolution. Edge devices and IoT, for example, will provide an increased area to potential threats and will create more opportunities for misconfigurations or vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, it’s not just the number of cyber attacks that have increased, but also the severity. Throughout 2019, we’ll no doubt hear more tales of infiltrations and data loss from organizations across the globe—and not just enterprise organizations, either. Due to the ever-increasing concern for security, 2019 will be another record year for network security spending and a banner year for IT security vendors and resellers. Gartner predicts that, worldwide, the IT security solutions market will increase by nearly 9% from 2018’s estimated $114 billion to over $124 billion.

Going back to SD-WAN for a minute, advisors suggest that high levels of security functionality should be built directly into the network’s foundation; ideally a wide-ranging suite of security components should be native to the network, delivered in a single SD-WAN platform in order to complement the other layers within a customer’s security posture. A few of these network security features would include:

  • Next-generation firewall
  • DDoS protection
  • Integrated intrusion Detection System (IDS) and Prevention (IPS), Anti-ransomware and Anti-virus
  • Layer 3 protection – ARP, IP ICMP protocol defense, IP spoofing, source-routing checks, fragment overlaps


SD-WAN, WAN Edge and network security are all vital solutions that companies of all sizes must seriously evaluate as the adoption of cloud in support of digital transformation journeys continues to boom. Ensuring that networks are not only efficient but also secure should be the primary concern, not just in 2019 but moving forward.  

0

Network Services

Software Defined Secure Branch is a purpose built solution designed for businesses and organizations with complex multi-location IT management needs and the desire for more visibility, security protection, and control of their network. Once in place, it helps keep the network secure and accessible through a combination of simplified management, the intuitive software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solution, and security.

Branch or remote office network architectures have barely changed for 15+ years. The digital enterprises of today need a network landscape that is built for the demands of the workloads of today – a network that is agile, intelligent, secure and reduces operational complexity while being cost-effective.  By 2021, 10% of midsize and large enterprises will have transitioned from piloting (during 2017) to using on-demand SDN-enabled services (Gartner, 2018 SAM Market Opportunity Forecast Readout – Network).

“Software Defined Secure Branch lets our customers focus on their business or organization as first priority, leaving the IT to us,” said Victoria Lonker, Verizon’s vice president of global products and solutions. “The simple, intuitive experience delivers rapid provisioning of new branch locations, a mobile management app, service health, application visibility and the security controls needed to protect the business.”

Verizon’s Software Defined Secure Branch, offered with Versa Networks, provides:

  • Video and cloud-based service performance leveraging SD-WAN to automatically adapt the network to help improve application performance.
  • Business continuity benefits through enterprise-grade connectivity and Verizon’s robust 4G LTEnetwork for active backup.
  • Bundled security through Verizon’s comprehensive threat management and end-to-end network encryption.
  • An application-centric network on Verizon’s sophisticated and managed infrastructure driving an enhanced user experience.
  • Intuitive mobile app-based service management and continuous monitoring capabilities for the service.
  • The service is easily accessible through the Verizon Enterprise Center online user experience portal that unifies the purchase, deployment, and management. The visibility provided through the portal gives business owners the tools needed to deliver on a better customer experience.
  • “SD-WAN is a powerful and complex solution with many moving parts. Verizon’s offer is a simple yet flexible way for businesses and partners to get technology at the level of features they need, and expand into new features as they need them,” said Brian Washburn, Practice Leader, Network Transformation and Cloud, Ovum.

Adopting Verizon’s Software Defined Secure Branch gives organizations a network landscape that is built for the digital enterprises of today. It maintains application performance and delivery, provides flexibility to easily integrate and scale the right security functions alongside advanced networking capabilities, and offers agility and better cost management.

0

Network Services
Article by ATI partner Joel Mulkey, Founder and CEO – Bigleaf Networks

IT leaders at today’s cloud-enabled businesses are expected to provide the same predictable performance that they did with on-prem systems. Downtime is unacceptable, and these cloud applications need to work the way they were meant to. They need to be responsive, fast, and not frustrate users. And they must do all of this in a way that scales – working consistently as business needs change, revenue grows, and locations expand.

But cloud is creating new challenges for the network, challenges not readily solved through traditional networking technology that rely on static policies.

The first challenge is that, by nature, cloud technologies rely on the Internet, and no matter what kind of internet circuit you look to use, performance is unpredictable. We monitor thousands of internet connections ten times per second and can tell you very simply that it doesn’t matter what kind of connection you have; fiber, cable, wireless, etc., they all can experience business-affecting degradation. This can mean downtime or brownouts, and both can be expensive, frustrating to users, and potentially job-threatening to the people responsible for networking. Our data shows that on average, an ISP connection will experience 3.5 hours of downtime per month and 23 hours of major performance-affecting brownouts per month. This can be at 2 AM, so if you’re not a 24/7 business maybe that hasn’t hit you hard yet, but it can also be during the middle of the day.

The second challenge comes from the ever-shifting application landscape. If your users are leveraging the cloud well, procuring and consuming new applications all the time and shifting their use of current applications, how does the network keep up? There’s no way for network administrators to know exactly the makeup of their traffic 6 months from now (if they even know what it looks like today). This means that it’s impossible to create static network policies that can provide a good user experience over time.

Finally, the third challenge is that IT is no longer the sole gatekeeper of software provisioning. This means that, even with plentiful IT resources, there are critical technologies being used in businesses that IT doesn’t know about and has no policies to manage.

These challenges lead to an all-too-familiar game of policy whack-a-mole. Users get frustrated by application outages or poor performance. They contact IT in a huff, and now IT must decide if they’re going to ignore the problem, say it’s not a supported application, try to fix it with some new network policy, or maybe contact a vendor so that vendor can implement a new policy. At the end of the day, no one is happy, and the cloud is a point of frustration rather than empowerment.

Here’s what I think is at the root of the situation: It used to be that IT controlled every application. IT was the bottleneck and was able to control the experience. Sometimes that worked out well, but that’s not the way the world is moving.

In this new cloud era, IT is now a facilitator, end-users are interacting directly with their applications. They’re procuring, configuring, using, and troubleshooting them. Yes, they’ll still come to blame IT when they don’t work right, but the interaction model has fundamentally changed. IT leaders need network technologies that support this new model, that enable their users to be nimble and efficient with applications.

If their network is built upon a set of static, human-controlled policies, how do companies ensure performance and reliability when new applications can be added into the environment at any time? They can probably configure policies for 80 or 90 percent of their business needs. That’s pretty good, and they’ll feel like they’ve done their job, the box is checked, they can say they have failover or application prioritization. But what about when one of those new applications uses a ton of bandwidth – how does that impact their existing business-critical applications? Or when their CEO gets sent an invite to use some random videoconferencing tool they’ve never heard of for a key meeting, are their network policies going to ensure he or she can communicate effectively, or will they get a frustrated email after the call?

Beyond simple frustrations and inconvenience, if a business relies on static network policies, it’s exposed to the risk of falling behind competitors who are using the intelligent software in their network. The solution to this lack of control isn’t more policies, it’s a smarter network.

At Bigleaf, we don’t want our users to have to think about how the network will handle new applications. Frankly, everyone wants their voice calls to sound clear, their video to play smoothly, their web applications to be snappy, and their databases to be reliable. We’ve built smart software that auto-detects every type of application, classifies them into six priority categories, and automatically ensures they behave how they’re supposed to, even when the network is congested. Our users don’t need policies to get the outcome they want. It’s wonderful.

Article by ATI partner Joel Mulkey, Founder and CEO – Bigleaf Networks

Learn more about SD-WAN for Enterprises here.
0

From ATI

SD-WAN (software-defined WAN) is a wide area network deployment method. Using virtualization and application, SD-WAN controls and establishes WAN (wide area network) and devices across branch offices.



Sign up for a no obligation SD-WAN assessment today and get a WAN optimization analysis and bandwidth evaluation. 

0

Network Services
Article by ATI partner Nitel & the Power of SD-WAN for Hospitality 

The number one goal of the hospitality industry is to please customers. Hotel chains are always looking for ways to go above and beyond to improve the customer experience. This regional hotel chain was looking to reinvent itself as a business destination. They had recently remodeled all of their meeting rooms and installed smart-TVs in order to attract conferences and on-site meetings. They also built a new on-site work center where guests could use their laptops in a designated workspace.

Upgrading Facilities & Technologies

In making these upgrades, the hotel chain knew they would also need to reevaluate their current network infrastructure. They knew that their current MPLS network would not deliver enough bandwidth to handle the increased traffic.

Just as important, managing the internet access and firewalls that were deployed at each site proved to be a bigger job than they would want their limited on-site IT staff to handle. With a mishmash of security policies, no centralized security strategy or administration, and a lack of confidence around their ability to monitor their security environment around the clock, the customer was concerned about being embarrassed by a breach.

With the chain in growth mode, they were looking for a scalable solution that could grow with them. As a result, this customer approached Nitel to:

  • Increase bandwidth to support the new initiatives
  • Simplify administration of their security environment
  • Complement IT staff’s ability to keep an eye on network security


Choosing the Right SD-WAN Platform

Upon realizing that an SD-WAN solution would address the customer’s needs, they took time to examine which of Nitel’s SD-WAN platforms would best suit the customer. With multiple platforms to choose from, Nitel can create a more custom-tailored solution for customers. In this case, the platform that enabled a more user-friendly, robust analytics and reporting platform fit with what they were looking to accomplish.

The solution could easily accommodate the increased bandwidth the customer wanted – with the added benefit of delivering it over redundant access links that would provide better resiliency and uptime.

With Nitel’s integrated SD-Security, the customer would still have security policies carried out at each individual location, but they could be administered centrally, which would simplify administration and give them consistency across locations. This solution also brought a level of simplicity since the customer was also able to manage their network performance and security all through a single platform.

Through this solution the customer gained:

  • Centralized management with reduced network complexity
  • Increased visibility and management of application performance with built-in failover for multiple circuits
  • Improved application performance
  • SD-Security features layered over their network

Thanks to the solution designed by Nitel’s engineers, this customer was poised to continue its transformation by providing better technology solutions to its business customer while protecting their network efficiently and with ease.

Article by ATI partner Nitel & the Power of SD-WAN for Hospitality 


Learn more about SD-WAN.

0

Network Services
Businesses are becoming smarter by using SD-WAN for a more agile and cost-effective network.

The next wave of networking technologies will transform how you virtualize your infrastructure. With AT&T FlexWare, you’ll be able to gain significant benefits that will let you make your business more agile and responsive.

Sign up for a no obligation AT&T SD-WAN Assessment today.
0

Network Services

In the demonstration, two Cradlepoint CBA850 routers are setup as the primary WAN connections and tied back into a VeloCloud box to control data being passed through the Cradlepoint devices. 

Watch the video to learn:

  • How SD-WAN from VeloCloud prioritizes voice over data traffic, ensuring VoIP calls are clear and consistent
  • How SD-WAN from VeloCloud maintains voice quality in the event of a circuit failure
  • How a Cradlepoint LTE router is a viable backup connection (even for small VoIP environments)

Get a No Obligation SD-WAN Assessment Today

0