Managed Services Archives - Mosaic NetworX

Mosaic NetworX Debuts Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solution

LARKSPUR, CA–(Marketwired – February 9, 2016) – Mosaic NetworX, a full-service telecommunications and IT infrastructure service provider, today announced the launch of its new Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) service offering. Delivered as a Network-as-a Service (NaaS), the Mosaic SD-WAN solution is an intelligent network service that enables organizations to increase application performance and available bandwidth while significantly reducing network costs and complexity. Using cloud-based SD-WAN technology, Mosaic NetworX delivers a turn-key solution that simplifies branch office deployment while simultaneously improving connectivity to the data center and cloud applications. Combined with centralized orchestration, Mosaic delivers zero-touch branch deployment along with Business Policy automation for over 3000 enterprise and cloud applications.

Market projections from Gartner, a research and advisory firm, indicate that by the end of 2019, approximately 30 percent of enterprises will use SD-WAN products in all of their branches* and analysts from IDC estimate that the spend will reach $8 billion in revenue by 2018.**

“SD-WAN enables us to offer a new generation of agile networking solutions, improving both application performance and cost efficiencies for mid-market, multi-location enterprises,” said Brian Erickson, CEO of Mosaic NetworX. “Our turnkey SD-WAN solution enables companies to gain simplicity, performance, and control while reducing operating costs, and with no capex impact.”

Utilizing any combination of Internet, MPLS, and wireless networks, the Mosaic NetworX SD-WAN solution enables customers to easily realize the benefits of SD-WAN technology, including:

  • Simplicity: “Zero-Touch” deployment for branch offices using remote provisioning and monitoring via Cloud-based Orchestration platform.
  • Improved Performance: Application-aware, deep packet inspection enables enterprise-grade performance using public networks to provide a superior experience for unified communications, videoconferencing, and demanding cloud-applications.
  • Security: Standards-based encryption provides secure connectivity over any type of transport.
  • Reduced Operational Costs: Leverage both MPLS and the Internet to aggregate WAN capacity, or migrate to 100% public network creating enterprise-grade performance with commodity bandwidth and zero capex.
  • Scalability: Quickly implement business policy changes, QoS, software updates, and new sites. Start with a single branch and easily scale as you grow.

SD-WAN Diagram

“With Mosaic NetworX’s SD-WAN service, we are leveraging the success in our core networking business by taking those services and seamlessly combining them with SD-WAN technology to offer a turn-key Network-as-a-Service,” said Brian Erickson, CEO of Mosaic NetworX. “The demand for SD-WAN technology is expanding and we believe that Mosaic NetworX’s offering positions us for great success.”

Additionally, Mosaic NetworX offers professional IT consulting services to help organizations best leverage its SD-WAN service, including network design, implementation, assessment, strategy, and other key functions. Coupled with its established industry-leading portfolio of infrastructure solutions, this product launch solidifies Mosaic NetworX’s position as a trusted provider of innovative and high-performance network solutions.

For more information on the Mosaic NetworX SD-WAN solution, please visit mosaicnetworx.com/sd-wan or contact Mosaic NetworX directly by emailing sales@mosaicnetworx.com.

*Gartner Inc., Market Guide for Software-Defined WAN, December 1, 2015
**IDC, Worldwide Software-Defined Networking Market Expected to Reach $8 Billion by 2018, August 2014

About Mosaic NetworX
Mosaic NetworX consistently delivers industry-leading strategic infrastructure services. Distinguishing itself from service providers that offer restrictive one-size-fits-all solutions, Mosaic’s experts work with clients to architect secure, agile solutions that meet each business’s individual IT infrastructure and communication needs. Mosaic NetworX functions as a single point-of-contact, offering scalable and customized voice, data, mobile messaging, cloud, and WAN solutions.

Software-Defined Networking: A Good Fit for Businesses of All Sizes

Software-defined networking is mature enough to where the technology is fulfilling the promise to centralize and simplify management of business networks. However, more than a few IT managers, in particular those working for small- and medium-sized businesses, do not feel software-defined networking is an option. They are under the impression software-defined networking only makes sense for enterprise operations with huge budgets and plenty of IT staff to manage the operation.

That sentiment may have been true at one time, but is no longer the case. Most if not all the costly growing pains have been eliminated, allowing software-defined networking to develop into a powerful tool for organizations of any size.

Software-Defined Networking in Simple Terms

The best way to explain Software-Defined Networking (SDN) might be a brief history of where and why SDN originated. In the mid to late 1990s, researchers were developing new network protocols for the Internet Engineering Task Force. The work involved a significant amount of testing, adjusting, and testing again. Each alteration required the researchers to change physically one or more networking components and/or their configuration.

Trying to save time, the clever engineers figured out how to control the individual hardware devices via a network-wide management software program. This meant the physical hardware never needed to be swapped out. The researchers simply reprogrammed the management software for each new test. Before long, astute business-types discovered what the researchers were doing, saw immense potential, and commercialized the technology.

Current terminology divides SDN into two components — Control Layer and Infrastructure Layer. SDx Central, a good source of information and for all things software-defined and the diagram to the right offers the following Mosaic NetworX SDNdescriptions:

  • Control Layer: The management software responsible for routing and switching all network traffic.
  • Infrastructure Layer: The physical components (routers and switches) that carry network traffic.

That’s SDN in a nutshell.

Is There an Economic Benefit?

SDN’s capabilities are impressive, but most companies do not reconfigure their network multiple times a day. That said, Arthur Cole, networking expert and technology writer offers a reason that will of interest, especially to C-Level management. “Calculating the economic benefit of SDN should be quite easy,” mentions Cole. “Start with the cost of the networking hardware SDN will make redundant: add to that the reduction in labor costs for network management, application provisioning, and other relevant ancillary functions; then subtract the total from the cost of SDN implementation, operation, and management.”

After doing the math, SDN typically comes out ahead because of:

  • Reduced capital costs from replacing specialized equipment with SDN-controlled commodity switching and routing devices
  • Increased savings in real estate, power, cooling, and cabling

The Operational Benefits 

Engineers mention that digital networks are like fingerprints, no two are alike. Moreover, setting up networks with individually-programmed routers and switches is complicated regardless of the company’s size.

SDN removes that individuality, allowing administrators, local or remote, to configure the network to meet any networking needs of the business. For example, a common occurrence is granting outside contractors remote access to the company network. Using SDN, that takes seconds, as does limiting what contractors can access.

A wise mentor mentioned that when a network is misbehaving the first question should be, “What has changed?” Before SDN technology was available, that required checking each device’s operation until the “what has changed” was found. SDN allows real-time analysis of network patterns and traffic loads, enabling administrators to see what changed and make appropriate corrections from a central command screen.

Simplified Security and Policy Management

A common witticism is that digital bad guys have it easy, they only need to find one weakness to penetrate an organization’s network. The good guys have to find and defend all weaknesses as soon as they surface. To help in that regard, Jon Oltsik, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and known for his expertise in IT security, champions CISO Triad — a security model based on the following three principles:

  • Security efficacy (i.e., risk management and incident detection/response)
  • Operational efficiency (i.e., facilitating the right processes and methodologies to allow the security team to work smarter and not harder)
  • Business enablement (i.e., ensuring security is built into business processes that leverage IT resources)

“In my humble opinion, SDN-enabled security has the potential to add tremendous value in all three of these areas,” mentions Oltsik. “If that’s not a ‘killer app,’ I don’t know what is.”

Oltsik asked IT professionals what security feature allowed by SDN they found to be the most helpful:

  • 28 percent: Blocking malicious traffic from endpoints while allowing normal traffic flows
  • 28 percent: Auditing policy and conflict detection/resolution
  • 23 percent: Centralizing network security, service policy, and configuration management
  • 23 percent: Automating network security remediation tasks
  • 23 percent: Managing network segmentation to increase security

One can see a common thread from the features selected by the security professionals. All the chosen features make use of SDN’s “management agility.”

Managing the SDN

It’s time to circle back to one of the original concerns — SDN sounds great, but only if there are “plenty of IT personnel” to install and operate the SDN platform. This is where companies like Mosaic NetworX are an advantage. They take all the pain-points of SDN design, implementation, and testing away.

Another advantage, in particular for smaller companies with little or no internal IT support, is contracting suppliers like Mosaic NetworX to run the system as well as provide service and support.

Attribution:

https://www.sdxcentral.com

https://www.sdxcentral.com/flow/sdn-software-defined-networking/?utm_source=pink_ball&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=links&utm_content=sdn-software-defined-networking

http://www3.cs.stonybrook.edu/~phillipa/CSE534/sdnhistory.pdf

http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/netsysm/making-the-business-case-for-sdn-1.html

http://www.esg-global.com/author/jon-oltsik/

The Little Things: Incidental Network Intrusions and Protection for SMBs

Twice a month the network at Clear Blue Pools slowed to a crawl. The office manager would call the company IT provider who would scan the network and invariably find new viruses and malware. Like clockwork, every other Monday, the network became infected and operations were interrupted.

After much investigation, it was discovered that the owner of the company brought his personal laptop with him to meetings with the bookkeeper every other Sunday, and when that laptop accessed the network, all of the viruses and spyware on his machine spread across the company’s IT infrastructure like a cancer. The next Monday morning, the employees of Clear Blue would turn on their machines and be greeted with those same viruses. The carelessness of one person – the owner – was crippling the entire company.

You’ve worked to secure your network. You’ve installed anti-virus on every machine and an enterprise-grade firewall on the circuit. You have a third party managing all patches and updates and perform quarterly security audits and network assessments. You’re doing everything you should do…right on time. But what about the network vulnerabilities that are unconventional, sporadic, and rare? Are you planning for them or simply hoping that the odd intrusions don’t equate to bad luck for your organization? Have you considered the following weak spots in your network?

  • Employee devices:  If your employees use unmanaged devices to connect to your network, then your entire IT infrastructure is at risk. Malware or spyware on an employee machine can quickly spread throughout your organization if you aren’t careful. Be sure to establish firm rules with employees who want to bring a personal laptop or tablet into the workplace with regard to appropriate usage. Even better, do not allow these devices to access your network at all unless they are under company administration.
  • Open machines:  It is startling how many businesses do not require a password on each workstation. Just as troubling are the number of machines left unlocked while an employee steps away from their desk for a break or leaves for the day. Make sure that your organization has a firm password and lock policy for all in-office machines. From custodians to other employees, unattended machines are an invitation to breach and intrusion.
  • Guest WiFi access:  How many times have you walked into a business and been granted the WiFi password by simply asking the receptionist? Or a retail establishment that places the password on a public-facing whiteboard? Just because you have a guest WiFi network doesn’t meant that anyone walking by should have carte blanche to do as they please with your bandwidth. Make sure to change the network password weekly and make it available only by request, not published for everyone to see. Furthermore, put the network device on a timer to shut off automatically outside of business hours so that no one drains your bandwidth allocation while you are away from the office.
  • Computer destruction:  Every few years you refresh your computer hardware, right? What procedure do you use to make sure old machines are properly cleaned or destroyed? At a minimum, you should remove the hard drive of each machine before getting rid of it. Even better, if possible, is working with a reputable company that specializes in data destruction and asset recovery. The incremental cost of $20 to $50 per machine is worthwhile to make sure there is no chance the private data on your hard drive can be reclaimed by creative and ambitious hackers at a later date.

The above listed vulnerabilities sound incidental in the grand scheme of things, but can present major problems for your network security. Just like Clear Blue Pools above, the slightest misstep can lead to major problems for your entire operation. Implementing enterprise-level security is worthwhile for your organization, but don’t forget to keep smaller risks in full view, as well. A full scope security solution means addressing even the most trivial concerns. Click here to learn more about how Mosaic NetworX can keep your network safe and sound!

Face to Face: How to Plan Successful Client Meetings for IT Professionals

“Good Morning, Jim. It’s Greg over at Tech Solutions…I’m going to be nearby Friday morning and wondered if I might stop by to show you a new feature we just added to your CRM software….”

Jim answered in the affirmative and the appointment was set. Greg stopped by Friday morning, exchanged pleasantries with Jim, and then showed him a new report function in the CRM software. When he was finished, Greg thanked Jim for his time and went upon his way. The entire exchange took less than twenty minutes.   However, the meeting was successful for Greg and Jim. Do you know why? Because they both received a benefit from the time invested with the other. Jim learned about a new product feature that might help his business and Greg was able to advance his work relationship with Jim via an in-person meeting.

informal client meeting

Bring something useful to your client meetings.
Image courtesy of Cleary Gull.

A key part of successful business relationships is building a rapport with the client. If the only time you are interacting with a client is when you want to sell them something, then you will quickly – and deservedly – gain a reputation as a “salesman” or “supplier” when the reputation you really want is “partner in our success.” Informal business meetings are a great way to build this kind of relationship and are easier than you think.

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Expert at Everything: Integrating IT Outsourcing Into Your Offerings

Jim and Cal’s technology company worked with a great set of clients throughout Maine. Small businesses needing help with Quickbooks and Microsoft Office support were glad to pay for Jim’s expertise, while Cal’s business sense unearthed interesting work opportunities with new and existing clients alike. One day they got a call from one of their clients, a realtor for whom they had set up an office network, as well as anti-virus and software updates for her workstations. She seemed to really appreciate their work, and was coming to them with a proposal. “I need to redesign my website. You guys do such a good job on everything else. Can you help me with that?”

Jim started to explain that web design and hosting wasn’t a service their company offered but Cal cut him off. “Of course we can help. Tell us a little about what you need and we’ll start sketching out a solution…” And just like that, Jim and Cal’s company offered web design services.

IT technical team

Acquire diverse technical talent through IT outsourcing.
Image courtesy of Cisco Meraki Blog

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