Posted on: August 15, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly
If you boiled down the concept of digital transformation to a single word, it would be “application.” The goals of digital business include adding functionality, improving operational efficiencies and enhancing the customer experience. To meet any of these goals, you have to add or enhance existing applications.
Applications provide the interface between customers and businesses. If they perform poorly, issue error messages or force users to wait too long for services, they create a negative impression of the company. Therefore, digital strategies should set application performance and usability as a priority. For that to happen, you must deal with these common roadblocks:
- Aging, inflexible legacy infrastructure
- Complex IT architecture
- Data and application security
Failure to address these roadblocks results in underperforming, unsafe environments that frustrate users and complicate the life of administrators.
Aging, Inflexible Infrastructure
As organizations add more applications to automate processes and enhance usability, data traffic increases substantially. Some originates within the network while a lot more flows in from a growing number of devices – smartphones, tablets, social media applications and in some cases purpose-built industrial devices.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G will create even more data through sensors and trackers deployed in a variety of settings, from smart buildings to smart cities to vast, distributed industrial environments where equipment and people are monitored around the clock.
Legacy networks cannot handle the added demands of digital strategies, creating a serious obstacle. Companies need intelligent, adaptive networks to transport data between billions of devices, edge sites, data centers and cloud environments worldwide. Otherwise, they cannot accommodate traffic fluctuations or an unexpectedly large boost in demand.
In recent years, companies have experienced downtime as a result of the “Reddit hug of death,” a phenomenon that floods a website with so much traffic that it crashes. Here’s what happens: A company or product gets highlighted on Reddit, bringing attention to it. Reddit users then flock to the company’s website, overwhelming it with traffic beyond capacity, effectively shutting down online business. What starts out as a positive quickly turns into a negative for the company. Similarly, multiple theater websites’ order systems went down after the tickets for Avengers: Endgame went on sale.
These incidents are avoidable with an adaptive infrastructure that dials up resources when needed. As such, a business experiencing the “Reddit hug” or a similar phenomenon doesn’t get hobbled by its own success. Adaptive networks provide the flexibility, control and automation to provide the necessary availability and responsiveness to scaling needs. In the digital economy, organizations simply cannot afford downtime, especially in verticals such as finance, retail, healthcare and communications, which rely heavily on the network.
Complex IT Architecture
Another roadblock businesses face on the path to digital business is complexity. Largely driven by cost, companies are making important decisions about which applications move to which clouds. Certain applications run better – and are more affordable – in one cloud than another.
This explains why enterprises on average use five clouds, according to RightScale’s 2018 State of the Cloud Report. Cloud adoption among enterprises has risen to 96%, and 81% have a multi-cloud strategy, the report says.
Multi-cloud environments, mixing public and private clouds, can create challenges such as figuring out which application to run in which cloud based on data-transfer needs, security and other factors. Think of an application that handles medical records. Because of the sensitivity of the data, all information has to be archived and transmitted in compliance with privacy regulations. If housed in a cloud environment, this data should be in a private cloud with the proper security controls in place. If the data has to travel between multiple locations, you want dedicated, private connections that keep it out of the public internet, where the chance of security is higher.
Beside the complexity of managing multiple clouds, businesses increasingly operate in a continuous integration, continuous delivery mode as new features are constantly added to applications. At the same time, new architectures are being introduced to support emerging technologies and operating systems are being updated all the time.
All of these factors ensure environments are dynamic, not static, which adds management complexity. So while the flexibility and scalability of multi-cloud environments are welcome attributes, organizations need well-defined strategies and capable tools to secure and manage their environments in a simplified way.
Data And Application Security
Another obstacle to digital strategies is the need to secure more endpoints and applications. Securing the perimeter is no longer enough because mobility and IoT are making the network ubiquitous. Virtualized network security services and load balancing are replacing perimeter-based security.
In the near future, autonomous cars will generate several terabytes of data each day while smart cities are collecting data from digital street signs and traffic lights to communicate with vehicles and a control center. Securing all this data as it travels back and forth isn’t easy but it must be done. Here, too, the answer is in the network you choose. Networks must have built-in security to securely recognize and prioritize application data.
Since you can’t put a firewall on every smartphone and source of data, the data must be secured as it travels on the network, with monitoring and analytics that constantly improves through the use of machine learning.
For instance, an intelligent network can identify a command and control (C2) center that is communicating with compromised machines around the world. If the C2 center isn’t a recognizable data center, it is possibly operating a botnet getting ready for a distributed denial of service (DDoS) or other type of cyber attack. The network can detect and block the C2 servers to stop such attacks earlier and faster than a perimeter-based approach.
Removing the obstacles to digital strategies isn’t impossible but requires a lot of planning and proper execution. Businesses should look for experienced partners that deliver a secure, flexible network as well as consulting services and expertise to draw up and achieve their digital goals. With these elements in place, organizations can better position themselves to run the applications that open the path to a successful digital future.
Looking to take the next steps in your digital business journey? See how CenturyLink can help your company innovate faster.
Posted on: August 12, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly
Delivering Fanatical Experience for our partners is the foundation of Rackspace’s Channel strategy, and that means we’re always working on improvements and upgrades to better serve you.
As we head deeper into the second half of 2019, I’m excited to share the innovative new resources we’ve been developing and invite you to join us. Leverage our brand to build yours!
First, a little kudos. The Rackspace Partner Network is currently experiencing approximately 10 percent quarter-over-quarter growth. This is thanks to the dedication of our entire team, but also the strategic work of Michael Stephens, who joined Rackspace in 2016. He has driven hyper growth through the agent community ever since then and will now serve as our Agent Channel Chief.
At the same time, we’ve also boosted the number of partner account managers across the U.S. and added an enterprise account team. These additions allow Rackspace to be more proactive and closer to our partners’ prospects and customers. We’ve also added new commissionable products and created new enablement resources to help you serve customers. Read on to learn more:
Managed VMware Cloud on AWS is now a commissionable product. This unique cloud solution is a hybrid platform that offers access to public and private cloud, with the ability to shift workloads seamlessly between them. Companies can quickly add capacity to a new project or move workloads hosted on dedicated hardware to the cloud.
We also now offer commission for Rackspace Professional Services engagements. As customers seek more bespoke cloud expertise, Professional Services has become one of the fastest growing areas of our business.
In response to partner demand, we’ve created Technical Partner Workshops, which will serve partners who support technology and product integration solutions for their customers’ digital transformation strategies. The workshops will be led by Rackspace Solution Architect Paul Croteau, who brings 25 years of experience in engineering, sales, technical training and account management to the task. Paul will help our partner solution engineering organizations find the best fit cloud transformation opportunities for their customers.
All Clouds Guide
What if you could ask your customers a series of questions, then immediately get a customized cloud solution based on their answers?
We’ve got an app for that.
Our new All Cloud Guide is a sales tool that helps our partners quickly and accurately identify a customer’s needs, then get recommended cloud infrastructures choices based on those needs. Available as both a web and mobile app, the All Clouds Guide will recommend one or a combination of five infrastructure types: public cloud, private cloud, bare metal, server virtualization and colocation.
A sophisticated algorithm drives the All Cloud Guide, analyzing each answer by leveraging Rackspace’s two decades of experience. Quick, targeted videos offer support every step of the way, including:
- Learn: “Why This Question?” videos will help our partners understand the importance of each particular question and the best way to explain how knowing this information will help navigate them to a “best fit” infrastructure.
- Sell: Partners are walked through two main sets of questions, Business Background and Technical Deep Dive, to create an All Clouds Guide Workload report for their end client.
- Share: The guide delivers its recommendation in real time, allowing you to immediately share with your customer on screen, via email, with a printout or PDF. Our partners can submit their workload report to Rackspace for fast follow up from our industry-leading experts.
- Track: Keep up with all sales activity for your organization in easy-to-view lists and dashboards.
Posted on: July 29, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski
Every day, your employees log onto your network to accomplish their jobs.
To know whether your network performs at a level that helps them innovate and grow your business—rather than impede employees’ progress—ask these four questions and consider these recommendations to improve efficiency.
Building a better business network
1. What is the size of your IT staff? Is it a small team or is IT non-existent?
Many businesses today rely on lean IT teams to manage their business networks. Others are forced to manage without an IT team, instead relying on employees without IT expertise to be “jacks of all trades,” or to depend on the services of IT vendors and consultants.
Facing a range of day-to-day user, hardware, software, and support issues, small IT teams often lack the time to keep up with long-term IT planning. They are too busy supporting the operational needs of the business.
Outsourcing day-to-day network management to a service provider that offers scale, expertise, infrastructure and dedicated customer service ensures that the expertise and assistance your business needs is always at hand. You gain 24/7 access to network management experts while freeing up your internal IT budget and staff to help your company grow.
2. Is your business network reliable enough to serve both employees and clients?
Inadequate bandwidth, high latency, downtime, and overloaded networks can frustrate both employees and clients. Without a reliable, fast network, employees can’t get their jobs done. Without reliable, fast access to your website, applications or digital platforms, clients could abandon your business for the competition—and may never return. Partnering with an experienced network services provider will offer your business:
• A secure and high-performing Internet connection backed by 24/7 monitoring and management to help ensure your staff remains productive and your customers have easy access to your digital properties.
• A reliable wide-area network (WAN) to connect all company locations across a single network.
• A scalable solution that enables you to rapidly add bandwidth to support your company needs.
3. Is your business network adequately protected against security threats?
Beyond time and money, data breaches, viruses, and denial-of-service attacks shake client confidence and hurt the reputation of your business. Even fortune 500 companies with large IT staffs have not been immune to security breaches.
Outsourcing end-to-end network security services to an experienced provider takes security headaches out of your hands. For example, a managed unified threat management solution is an attractive option that can integrate a range of security capabilities, including an advanced firewall, antivirus/antispam tools, and other vulnerability management capabilities.
4. Are network maintenance issues forcing your IT staff to be reactive rather than proactive?
If your IT staff spends the majority of its time dealing with day-to-day operations and maintenance, it has little time left to focus on the kind of long-term network planning that drives innovation and competitive differentiation.
By offloading day-to-day network duties to an experienced provider of managed network services, you’re able to free up your in-house IT staff to work on more strategic initiatives. In return, you can also leverage the scale, expertise, infrastructure, and 24/7 monitoring and customer service support systems that a managed services provider offers.
Creating a business network to support innovation
By asking these four crucial questions before implementing a business network and by taking advantage of the expertise of an experienced provider of managed network services has to offer, your business can enjoy many benefits. To learn more, read this Q&A with FRONTEO COO David Wilner and CMO David Ahrens, discussing how their network boosts business performance.
Posted on: June 3, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski
There are a lot of cybersecurity options, all proposing to be the right solution to protect the small and medium business customer. The security marketplace is confusing and overwhelming for SMBs. But CyberFusion® is very different from the usual cybersecurity offering. Here are three main reasons your customer needs this all-in-one solution…
1. CyberFusion is more effective. To explain why an all-in-one solution protects more effectively than other options, it’s helpful to understand what true security is. It’s a combination of protection, detection, and response efforts, all working together to provide “defense-in-depth.” The easiest way to explain it is to use something everyone knows and understands–protecting a home. A home is safeguarded in multiple ways:
Physical protection: The house is physically protected with a fence, doors, and locks. If a criminal jumps over the fence, he is stopped by the door, if he chooses to try to open the door, there is a lock to stop him.
Detection: Let’s say the criminal gets into the house. There may be an alarm that goes off when the door opens or the motion detectors are tripped. If the home is monitored by a security company, their operation center experts will see there is an intruder.
Response: Maybe a ferocious dog is awaiting the intruder or the homeowner has a weapon. The home security company may also alert the police to enter the house.
No function on its own is true, effective security. All are parts of a security program or discipline. They all work together.
The same is true for cybersecurity. Individual components will not adequately protect your company. You need to have all working together to stop cyber attacks.
Cybersecurity protection comes in the form of firewalls, an IPS (intrusion protection system), anti-virus software, and employee awareness training.
Detection is a SOC (security operation center) handling an IDS (intrusion detection system), sandboxing (isolating applications), and an EDR (endpoint detection and response).
Response isn’t an attack dog but SOC analysts managing needed containment and eradication of threats.
What we find is that most SMBs, if they have invested in security, have invested in low-grade protection tools. Almost like having a door without a deadbolt. And forget about detection and response. When the cybercriminal gets into the system, most SMBs are left completely vulnerable. Game on for ransomware, data hijacking and whatever else the threat actor wants to do. And many take their time and go undetected for months or even years.
2. CyberFusion saves time. It takes at least 54 hours to investigate, source and select IT security technologies to create full, end-to-end protection. There are six main components to a security platform: network monitoring, next-generation firewall capabilities, email gateway security, endpoint security, trusted access, and employee awareness training. Assuming a triple-bid process, there are 18 suppliers to seek out. Let’s agree that on the low end it requires three hours of time per component, 54 hours are required.
The 54 hours doesn’t even include the time and effort it takes to hire in-house or contract SOC analysts to conduct 24/7 monitoring, detection, and response.
CyberFusion for the SMB customer is one contact, one company, one monthly invoice, one customer service number. That’s it.
3. CyberFusion costs less. We can all agree that SMBs have limited resources. And the reality is that most business owners make the hard choice of being under-protected because the cost to purchase, deploy and maintain all components of a full stack security solution is outrageous for an SMB. There are initial purchase costs, deployment costs and annual renewal costs for various licenses. The budgeting process alone is challenging.
Spend some time putting together an end-to-end cybersecurity solution for your customer and adding up the costs. You will find that paying for just 24/7 monitoring is often triple the cost of CyberFusion. CyberFusion is a U.S. patent pending process that was designed to have the same effectiveness as our biggest enterprise platforms but at a cost that a small business can afford.
Simplify cybersecurity for your customer with CyberFusion. The effective, efficient, affordable solution.
Contact Rocus Networks today to set up a 30-day trial for your customer.
Posted on: March 18, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing
Formula 1 is an amazing piece of art. A perfect combination of machinery and technology.
Building a Formula 1 single car costs between 6-8 million dollars not including the costly, long R&D process, that at the end forms a car that is built from more around 80,000 components and can accelerate and decelerate from 0 to 100 and back to 0 in 4 seconds. There is almost an unending list of superlatives for the formula 1 car.
But a Formula 1 can’t drive itself (yet).
The team—not the car or the driver—wins the race. During a Grand Prix, it is easy to think that the success of the race depends on the formula 1 driver. However, the driver is just a member of the team.
Many organizations already have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). However, as an F1 car can’t drive itself, nor can the driver work alone, so a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) can’t work on his own. The CISO needs a professional team that works together. Each one of the team knows his place and is the best in his job.
In a cybersecurity security operation center (SOC), the CISO is the driver. He drives the powerful machine of SOC, and his success is dependent on the expertise and teamwork of the members. An excellent teamwork is important to effectively curtail the dangers of cyber-attacks. Teams must be able to communicate with other members and teams in an organization in order to detect early signs of threat.
Each team member is the professional and experienced man on the team that can do the work, and this is what makes it work well and turn an ordinary team to a winning team. As it is in F1, so it is in any professional job—the need for an excellent teamwork in a professional team cannot be overemphasized. An efficient professional team works behind the scene to ensure that an organization runs effectively.
To have a great cybersecurity SOC, a fully functional team that is experienced in the following domains is required:
Tier #1-2 analysts –The tier 1 analysts are analysts with the IT background, and the tier 2 analysts have the dogged curiosity to get to the root cause, and the ability to remain calm under pressure.
Incident response – Collaboration within a professional cybersecurity team can help in effectively managing an incidence of phishing and cyber-attacks.
“None of us is better than all of us.”
When a professional cybersecurity team has solid teamwork, there is synergy. This helps in overcoming the usual constraints that an individual may encounter if a work is done alone. A professional team thinks like an F1 team—they are able to stay ready in the right place to change the F1 car tire and address to the driver’s needs. When there is a proper synergy, a professional cybersecurity team is able to identify weak links and apply the appropriate controls to respond to an incidence that may affect the cybersecurity of the firm.
Forensic investigation – Teamwork enhances team morale. It helps professional cybersecurity teams feel involved in the organizational structure. When work is divided among the members of a team, they are able to meet deadlines, and diagnose an attack before it spreads like a ripple throughout the organization’s servers.
Intelligence team – The intelligence team helps in keeping the team abreast of the latest developments in cyber security.
Onboarding team – It is important that there is a team that is focused on ensuring newly recruited cybersecurity experts adjuste to the social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly.
SOC manager – The SOC manager focuses on ensuring that the team is working towards a common target and ensuring the organization moves towards its vision.