Cloud Security Concerns are in the Past

A study conducted by Microsoft has revealed that small and medium businesses (SMBs) are beginning to see the cloud as a secure platform and are starting to embrace the technology. As cloud technology matures and grows, a majority of the problems that occurred in its early stages of development have been resolved. Companies which offer cloud services have implemented modifications to provide higher levels of security to their customers. Additionally, other technology based businesses have designed software programs that offer additional protection for cloud users.

The global Microsoft study showed that 35% of SMBs surveyed said they have experienced noticeably higher levels of security since moving to the cloud. Most notably, the results show that SMBs are seeing improved disaster preparedness in virtual or cloud environments. Having a plan in place, should anything go wrong, is encouraging for SMBs who are uploading their company data to the cloud.

More importantly, the survey conducted by Microsoft indicated that security concerns are not as prevalent as they were in the past. In fact, the findings revealed that SMBs were investing the time and money that they saved by utilizing the cloud back into their business. Of the SMBs that participated in the survey, 32% reported that they spend less time worrying about security. Conversely, 52% said that using the cloud enabled them to more quickly add new products and services that benefit the business.

The implementation of better security solutions in the cloud has allowed for overworked IT departments in SMBs to use their time more efficiently. Since concerns over data security have eased off, members of IT have been able to focus their attention on products and services that benefit the company. After all, the cloud was established as tool for IT personnel to use for delegating a portion of their workload to a web-based service. By uploading data to the cloud, companies are able to avoid costly and timely hardware installations as well as offload the tasks of upgrading, running, and maintaining the IT services.

As more small and medium businesses become comfortable with using cloud technologies, the demand for faster upload speeds is growing at an equal rate. Since cloud users must upload their data to a virtual environment, they require higher amounts of upstream bandwidth in order to avoid slow-downs and maintain business continuity.

To learn more about obtaining higher upload speeds, click here.

To review to survey conducted by Microsoft, click here.

Protect Your Data in the Cloud with Endpoint Security

Keeping vital and confidential information secure is a top priority for a vast majority of businesses. On the other hand, it is important for companies to implement current technologies in order to evolve and grow. One of the most recent large scale technology movements has been the development of cloud technology, which allows for users to upload their data to a virtual environment.

Undoubtedly, this innovation was welcomed by many businesses as a result of its ability to save on costs and offload the tasks of upgrading, running, and maintaining IT services to a web-based service. However, some businesses are concerned about the security of their data once it is uploaded into the cloud. Other companies have rushed the implementation of cloud technologies without having a full understanding of it, which can put the data they have uploaded at risk.

Recently, the most publicized example of a cloud security breach occurred when Dropbox users suffered a spam attack. The security breakthrough happened after a Dropbox employee member had his personal e-mail account password stolen. The hacker then used that same password to gain access to the employee’s Dropbox account, which had a document containing the e-mail addresses of several Dropbox users. Those email addresses were then used to send an abundance of spam messages to accounts used by Dropbox users.

Even though the users of this particular cloud provider had their security compromised, that does not mean that the technology should be avoided. The benefits of cloud technology far outweigh any associated risks, especially if additional security measures are implemented. There is also the option of using a private cloud versus a public cloud. A private cloud has the ability to provide a virtual location that is more secure than a public location, which is ideal for companies that possess sensitive or confidential data.

There are also several ways in which businesses can execute endpoint security within their offices, such as a two-factor password authentication process for all employees. Users should also consider the adoption of a company-wide data loss prevention solution that encrypts all private data that has been uploaded to the cloud. Additionally, using a secure internet connection to send and receive data in the cloud also protects company information.

Data is one of the sole reasons that companies spend so much money on IT and IT security. So the fact that many businesses are now giving up on properly securing, transmitting and storing their data is surprising. By using a private cloud instead of public, implementing endpoint security solutions, and using a secure internet connection, companies can feel confident that their data is safe.

To learn more about obtaining a secure internet connection, click here.

To read about the Dropbox investigation, click here.

Is Your IT Ready for Cloud Migration?

Cloud computing has been growing significantly in its ability to deliver business applications and has proven to be a valuable tool. Cisco has predicted that more than 50 percent of computing workloads in data centers will be cloud-based by 2014 (May 8, 2012). Research collected from the Fifth Annual State of the Network Global Study revealed that 60 percent of those polled anticipate that half their apps will run in the cloud within 12 months, and 70 percent will implement video conferencing within a year*.

It is undeniable that cloud computing is becoming a necessity for businesses. However, several IT members are facing some challenges with their existing network and are not able to support the migration of their business applications to the cloud. The survey commissioned by Cisco indicated that updating the network is one of the top focus areas for cloud migration (May, 8, 2012). However, the same study revealed that only 5 percent of IT decision makers have been able to migrate half of their total applications to the cloud.

The two most prevalent concerns discussed by IT professionals were inadequate bandwidth and security. Seventy-four percent of respondents in the Fifth Annual State of the Network Global Study indicated that their main apprehension about cloud migration was corporate data security*.

Although IT professionals embrace cloud services as a way to save on costs and increase productivity, there are also issues surrounding bandwidth availability. The Fifth Annual State of the Network Global Study showed that a quarter of the respondents expect that video will consume half of all bandwidth within 12 months of implementation*. Overall, 33 percent of all study participants expect that bandwidth consumption will increase by more than 50 percent in the next two years, even if video conferencing technologies are not utilized.

However, IT professionals also require bandwidth that is symmetrical so they get as much upload as they do download speeds. Many networks have high download capabilities, but they are not able to upload content at the same rate. In order to fully benefit from cloud applications, such as video conferencing, users must have access to a symmetrical connection.

In order for IT professionals to become comfortable with adopting cloud technologies, they need to ensure that their network is fully capable of supporting it. The use of the cloud is continuing to grow every day, so IT professionals will not be able to avoid it for much longer. Upgrading existing networks by obtaining symmetrical bandwidth is the best place to start. After which, the IT professional can investigate which specific type of cloud is right for them; either public or private.

To learn more about symmetrical bandwidth, click here.

To read the Cisco Study cited in this blog, click here.

If you would like to review and article discussing the *Fifth Annual State of the Network Global Study by Nathan Eddy, March 14, 2012, click here.

Top 5 Reasons Your Business Needs More Bandwidth

 As businesses grow and develop, more bandwidth is required to match increasing productivity levels. Bandwidth represents the amount of data that can be transported from one point to another in a given time period. The ability to send and receive higher amounts of data allows for businesses to upload and download more content to the internet. Below is a list of the top 5 reasons why your business needs more bandwidth.

  1. Cloud Services. The utilization of cloud services by companies is continuing to grow, and this has resulted in an increasing demand for additional bandwidth. In order to move more applications to the cloud, businesses require a greater amount of symmetrical bandwidth to benefit from the technology. Additionally, a lack of bandwidth to support cloud services can result in a slow connection and reduce business productivity.
  2. Video Conferencing. Business video conferencing is a great tool for communicating with employees and customers who are located in remote office locations. By utilizing this technology, businesses are able to cut travel costs by making smart use of video conferencing as an alternative to face-to-face meetings. However, it is a very demanding application that can require a substantial amount of bandwidth to support it.
  3. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Many businesses are consolidating their services and obtaining all their communication and internet connections through the same channel. This allows for businesses to conveniently manage their finances as well as their services. However, a higher amount of bandwidth is required in order to support the delivery of multiple services through a single connection.
  4. Business Growth. Naturally, businesses will grow and expand as they develop their customer base, which means that they will require additional bandwidth to support the increasing number of employees and/or business transactions. If there are several members of staff using the same internet service, they may experience a slow connection if the service has not been upgraded to accommodate the increased traffic, which can impact overall performance.
  5. E-mail. The most universal use of the internet by businesses is e-mail. Although e-mail usage patterns vary, all users experience bursty e-mail traffic. Since e-mails are not sent and received in a consistent stream, multiple small spikes result throughout the work day. As a result, users that do not have adequate bandwidth available may experience frequent slowdowns at times when e-mail traffic bursts throughout the day.

 Even small entrepreneurial businesses are connecting with customers worldwide. The internet allows for real time, face-to-face interactions to occur between two users who are located on opposite sides of the globe. Although internet technology enables us to communicate worldwide, it is limited by the amount of bandwidth available to each user.

 To ensure that your business is experiencing a fast and consistent internet connection, it is critical to verify that you have access to adequate bandwidth. Check your current internet speed by clicking here.

Fixed Wireless Technology Presented by TeraGo Networks: Part 3

In the final part of our informational video series, we discuss some of the common misconceptions of fixed wireless technology. This includes perceptions regarding the impacts of weather on fixed wireless, as well as concerns on security. Aaron McIntosh, Marketing Manager for Internet and Data at TeraGo Networks, provides further details on these common misconceptions in the informational video posted below.

To learn more about fixed wireless technology, download our whitepaper by clicking here.

Does Your Business Have a Need for Speed?

It’s no secret that the internet has become a lifeline for most businesses across the globe. However, having access to an internet connection alone isn’t enough; speed is also an essential requirement in order to maintain business productivity. If an internet connection is slow or unreliable, employees are not able to accomplish as much as they are capable of within a standard work week. Additionally, the overall success of a company may be entirely dependent upon access to high speed internet technology. For example, a company that has a revenue stream tied to moving data to and from customers or other office locations, will be at risk of not realizing potential revenue if their connection is slow or even goes down.

As office space in city centers becomes depleted, and rental fees skyrocket, many companies have started to look elsewhere. Businesses have begun to infiltrate suburban areas, where there is an abundance of space at a reasonable price. However, businesses are finding it difficult to obtain a reliable, high speed internet connection in these areas. Many suburban areas do not have a fibre infrastructure in place, and installing fibre can be cost prohibitive and time consuming. As a result, internet providers supply their services through other technologies, such as TDM legacy telephony (T1) or with a more scalable and reliable approach: wireless.

One of the major issues with obtaining your internet through a T1 connection is speed. Since a T1 has been designed to carry a minimal amount of data at one time, large data transfers can take an extended amount of time. Although this type of internet connection is considered somewhat archaic when compared to fibre technology, it may be the only technology available to access the internet outside of the city centre. Consequently, businesses that obtain their internet through traditional landline services are subject to a slower connection which may impact performance.

Recently, there has been a strong push for increased development of wireless broadband networks in suburban areas.  Wireless broadband technologies boast higher speeds than most traditional landline services, and the cost of installing these networks is less than the price of a fibre network installation. If there isn’t an existing fibre connection within the building, the cost of installation can be significantly higher than the installation of a wireless service. In order to obtain fibre, new trenches may need to be excavated in order to physically bring the line to your building. Since a wireless connection operates above the ground, installation is faster and much less expensive.

The internet is only a viable tool to businesses if it can operate at the high speeds required by businesses today. Older technologies are no longer able to keep up with the demands of business users. In suburban areas, there is a strong requirement for an internet infrastructure that is able to support the growing bandwidth demands of new and existing businesses. Fixed-wireless broadband internet is a viable option to meet the demands of businesses today, and in the future.

To learn more about fixed-wireless technologies, please click here.

Get More for Less

Innovative technologies are helping small and medium businesses become more productive at a relatively low cost. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology meets this criteria by providing a valuable service at a lower cost. VoIP is the use of IP-based networks to transmit voice signals instead of using a traditional telephone network. From the user’s point of view, VoIP works just like a conventional phone system. 

VoIP has only recently started to grow in popularity because the service is dependent on an Internet connection. Businesses that share an Internet network connection with residential customers are subjected to peak period slow downs, which means that call quality could vary throughout the day. Aaron McIntosh, Product Marketing Manager at TeraGo Networks Inc., has observed that “the rise of broadband internet, as well as internet networks that are designated for business use only, has made VoIP an attractive alternative to land line phone services.”

Since your internet connection can be used to carry both data and voice, the need for a dedicated phone line is eliminated. This also allows for users to bundle their services instead of managing multiple bills with different service providers. Businesses can also customize their telecommunication packages to meet their needs. This can include modified internet services, to ensure that companies are only paying for what they need, as well as a variety of features.

In order to utilize the benefits of VoIP, you will need a provider with connectivity to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) in order to make any type of phone call. Two methods used to connect a VoIP network to the PSTN are Session Initiated Protocol (SIP trunking) and the traditional Primary Rate Interface (PRI). There is no difference in call quality between the two, but there is a difference in cost. SIP trunking is less expensive than PRI because additional channels, or lines, can be purchased incrementally. On the other hand, PRI channels are only available for purchase in groups of 23. As a result, SIP trunking can be better tailored to the customer’s needs since they only purchase what they require.

VoIP services are growing in popularity as more and more businesses recognize its benefits. Many providers, such as TeraGo Networks, are presenting customers with all the same features that can be found on a traditional phone line service, such as caller ID, 911, long distance plans, directory listing, and more. Additionally, customers have the option of using either SIP trunking or PRI to connect to the PSTN. Regardless of which option you choose, the end result is transparency.

Businesses have the opportunity to take advantage of the cost and technological benefits that VoIP has to offer, while still being able to just pick up the phone and make a call to anyone. TeraGo Networks is providing customers with state-of-the-art broadband internet and voice services, allowing businesses across Canada to utilize VoIP technology while lowering their expenses. To learn more about this great service, please download our white paper by clicking here.

Image provided by photostock.

What Goes Down Now Comes Up

The demand for greater bandwidth has traditionally been in one direction; down. Users would access the internet to download content, and wouldn’t typically contribute or upload any new materials. However, the need for higher upload speeds has been growing steadily as users begin to create their own content, such as videos, high-resolution photos, CAD drawings, etc, and upload it to the World Wide Web. Additionally, many companies are using the internet to run high bandwidth applications or access cloud technologies to develop more productive business practices.

Access to symmetrical bandwidth is imperative for business success since they consume, generate and transfer a substantial amount of content. New and updated content, such as videos or white papers, are great tools for nurturing leads and providing customers with information about your service or product. However, uploading substantial amounts of content to the internet can take up a great deal of time and cause frustration and loss of productivity. Additionally, many companies are using the internet to run high bandwidth applications, requiring the transfer of vast amounts of data. Without the adequate bandwidth required to operate these applications, businesses are not able to utilize the full potential of these applications. If the upload speed is lagging, overall business productivity can suffer.

Most IP companies are just starting to address the rapidly growing demand for symmetrical bandwidth. TeraGo Networks has been providing its business customers with symmetrical bandwidth for years, and has long been prepared to meet the demand. A high speed internet connection is also required to optimize the benefits of cloud computing, which is one of the many internet based applications utilized by businesses.

An online article written by Piyush Sevalia, Director of Product Marketing at Ikanos Communications, reiterates the importance of bandwidth for businesses. Sevalia notes that “accompanying the trend in content creation and storage are changes in network utilization and new applications that are now demanding greater bandwidths upstream “.  In his article, he also points out that it’s also important that the bandwidth is symmetrical in order to support the constant uploading and downloading of content.

In order to be a successful company, it is important to keep up with the latest technological innovations. Symmetrical bandwidth is the latest tool that businesses are utilizing to be more productive by upload and downloading their content as well as running high bandwidth applications at higher speeds. If your company can’t afford to waste time, then it would be highly beneficial to adopt a symmetrical bandwidth.

To learn more about TeraGo Networks, and to view our current promotions, just click here.

If you would like to read the online article written by Piyush Sevalia, Director of Product Marketing at Ikanos Communications, just click here.

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