What is the New IP?

Guest Author: This week’s blog was brought to us by Michelle Patterson – Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Have you heard a new term taking ahold of the telecom industry — “the new IP?”  If you’re anything like me, you’ve wondered what that was.  Intellectual property?  Information processing?  Industrial property?

Turns out it’s none of these.  It’s the same old familiar Internet Protocol.  But it’s simply viewed in a different way.  It’s viewed in a new, more user-centric way, as opposed to the older more IT-focused model.

When the web was first coming out, and people were first starting to use mobile devices, then it made sense for the old IT-focused model to be continued to be used.  After all, it had worked since the days when computer filled entire rooms; why should things change now?

Yet now with most of the world on mobile devices — some estimates say nearly 7 billion cellular contracts signed by the beginning of 2015, and that’s not even counting devices tethered to landlines — now the time has come to focus on the user’s part of the equation rather than the corporate part.  Providers and networks alike are being forced to tackle this progress straight-on, welcoming the change with the flowering of virtualized networks with a strong focus on both service and software.

Neglecting to include these new expansions in their overall model for business can mean a grievous death for providers and networks.  Their more progressive competitors will surely leave them in the dust.  Therefore, making sure both yourself and your staff are educated so as to make informed and intelligent decisions is crucial.  The future of your operations hangs in the balance, along with your software, services and networks.

How to understand “The New IP”

The way to understand the new IP is to take a deep and detailed look at the changes that are underway already.  In the old IT-centric IP structure, the majority of the focus was on the network and infrastructure.  The architecture was rigid and decisions were centralized around IT.

In the new IP, focus has changed to the user.  This has pushed other things such as BYOD, COPE, cloud applications, applications functions, content, mobility, data centers and virtualized networks into center stage.  The new IP seeks to scale to resources and clients on-demand by aiming its power at the user, using a cloud-like design.  Contrast this with the older way of doing things, with a rigid, IT-based architecture.

We see that it is now software that forms the backbone of what we call the new IP, changing the old mentality that “hardware is the center of the computing universe.”

So what does this mean for the wholesale telecom industry?

Early adopters will rush in to take advantage of the new IP.  In the face of this, there is an overall secret to staying ahead.  Overall, you should virtualize many of your network processes, especially those that focus on open-source, open-interface services, network function virtualization, modernized operations and simplified software defined networks.

There is potential in the new IP to save a great deal for a communication providers’ profit, especially regarding operating expenses and capital expenses.  This is while at the same time creating additional proceeds through content-driven services.  You might as how this is possible; I was skeptical as well.  But when I studied some more, I realized the answer lay with the virtualization of the network landscape.  Since with virtualization, you can limit unnecessary hardware purchases, this helps to create an environment where savings are promoted through effectively using infrastructure and personnel resources.  The same can be said for using automated on-demand services.

What about the end-users?

The new IP is very good news for end users.  The changes are bringing greater flexibility and control when picking applications and services.  As people advance their fluency with the Internet, the new IP is altering the landscape to fit their needs.  This “better fit” allows a more customized experience that’s shaped by the users themselves — altering, adding and removing services in moments rather than months.  All Internet-related operations are more simplified, resulting in both happier users and happier IT staff; usability and services are both propelled to the forefront as a result.

Infographic: Elevate Your Business with the Cloud

Companies are increasingly challenged with the rapid increase of data in their business and the subsequent need to manage and store it in a secure, reliable way. Storing your data and IT infrastructure onsite leaves it vulnerable to a variety of threats, including floods, earthquakes, fires, and tornados. In fact, 43% of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen. Cloud computing is no longer just an IT priority – it’s a business priority.

Go Cloud TeraGo Infographic

 

Interested in discovering how Cloud Solutions can elevate your business? Click here to learn more, or submit the form below:

Prepare Your Business for the Digital Disruption

The message from Gartner’s recent CIO Survey is clear; a digital disruption is on the horizon, and not many businesses are prepared for it. Having the ability to manage, harvest, and analyze data is essential to success in 2015 and beyond. The top two priorities indicated by the survey results are responding to the ongoing needs for efficiency and growth by renovating the core of IT and shifting to exploit a fundamentally different, digital paradigm, including new technologies and trends.

Industry change

However, over 50% of CIOs that took part in the survey also stated that they were worried this shift in the industry is coming faster than they can handle, and 42% feel that they don’t have the right skills and capabilities in place to navigate this future. Further compounding the issue, CIO IT budgets are only expected to change by +0.2% on average. This presents a significant challenge, as there is an expectation to simultaneously renovate the core of IT systems and services while employing new technology options.

So what can businesses do to overcome these barriers? Aligning with the right technology partner can make a huge difference. Many of the current telecommunication leaders are set up to thrive in the old platform environment, not the new “big data world” that the industry is moving towards. As a result, businesses can no longer rely on the big telcos to help them navigate this new world since many of them are learning it themselves.

Businesses need to look for the partners, vendors, and providers that are competent leaders in this new digital environment. Some key indicators to look for would be:

  • How much of their product offering is based in the old platform?
  • How much experience do they have with cloud technology?
  • Do they own their network? Or is it outsourced?
  • Do they have FTEs? Or do they use contractors?

The answers to these questions will give you a sense of their level of commitment (as indicated by whether they “rent” or own their network infrastructure or employee base) and their understanding of the type of technologies needed to be successful. To learn more about this pivitol change in the industry, we recommend reading Gartner’s Taming the Digital Dragon.

Is your business is prepared to handle this industry change? Comment below and let us know what you think.

 

The Future of Cloud Computing Infographic

Guest Author: This week’s blog post was provided by Ivan Serrano, an online entrepreneur who enjoys writing about tech, globalization, and business communications. He often contributes to 1800-number.com’s blog, and he prides himself on his love of sharing information with others. Ivan is passionate about what he does, and aims to stimulate conversation with his work.

The digital revolution is long underway, moving from block-sized computers of the 90’s to sleek, one-pound MacBook Air laptops to a now invisible landscape up in the clouds. Cloud computing, where computers can sync up and store data on large databases “in the cloud” is growing increasingly popular for companies to store and share data in a safe and reliable way.

The digital clouds are now blowing north. Cloud computing is primarily used by American companies, who have been using the cloud not only to store and share data, but also for messaging and conferencing purposes. But two years ago, the cloud had yet to catch wind in Canada. In fact, until recently, Canada had the lowest internet caps in all of the developed world. This is something the Canadian Cloud Council is trying to change; to create an open and democratized proliferation of information online. While the Canadian government remains skeptical of cloud computing for security purposes, Canadian companies are beginning to privately take the reigns using dot-ca domain names hosted outside Canada, and the cloud is becoming the route to take. This infographic explains how cloud computing works, and the dangers that come along with it.

 

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Is VoIP Safe From Surveillance Systems?

Guest Author: This week’s blog post was provided to us by Tanya Williams, a freelance writer and blogger. She has been working with telecom companies for over 20 years, writing about new technologies and how businesses and business owners can take advantage of them. Her topics included IP based communications technologies, cloud computing, website development, and many more.

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Recently, there has been serious objections about government agents’ and other agencies’ spying on private calls, leaving many users are worried about their privacy. There are some doubts on whether VoIP is strong enough to guard against such eavesdropping and phone tapping. However, as technology VoIP tends to provide better security than its pervious systems. Landline communications were easily traceable, while VoIP runs protocols to safeguard information.

Safety with VoIP

Hackers know how to attack Internet-based devices and services, such as VoIP, allowing them to easily get hold of customer account data, records of conversations and voicemails. Additionally, if a user’s account details are compromised, that information can be used to charge third party services. However, it requires a high level of skill and technical knowledge in order to that.

VoIP has its own safety measures, which pose a challenge to such hackers or surveillance agents. All the traffic is routed through a firewall and network address translators (NAT). Utilizing a firewall is one of the most commonly used safety systems for protecting a device from Internet-based attacks. Translators help in interconnecting networks and creating a safe communication system. Services like Skype use proprietary protocols for protection by routing calls through other skype peers on the network. This enables it to traverse symmetric NATs and firewalls.

Encryption is one of the most powerful tools in protecting digital information, but VoIP is not using it currently. Due to this, it gets easier for spies to eavesdrop on voice calls that are made on a data network. There are solutions like Wireshirk, which help in doing that. Protocols like secure real-time transport protocols (SRTP) and ZRTP are used for securing VoIP. IPsec also help in securing point to point VoIP by encrypting all traffic.

Why is VoIP more secure than previous systems?

As we know, traditional phone systems were based on analog signals, which cannot be encrypted. VoIP uses data signals, which are digital, and can be easily encrypted for protection. When the signal is sent, the receiving device can then decrypt the packets easily as they get the respective decryption key. This decryption process is necessary if real information is required. In process transmission if this signal is traced, the hacker would have to decrypt it based the decryption key, which is possible only with the device for which signal was intended.

Privacy

It is hard to tell whether our conversations will remain private or not because powerful authorities, such as the government, might implement laws that could give them the power to do surveillance. In the USA, the FBI recently announced its plan to expand Communication Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in order to bring Internet calling, such as VoIP, under this law. This law gives them power to intercept calls. If the plan is passed, then providers will have to make the tracing easier for them, which would compromise the privacy of the user.

However, despite the possibility that VoIP may fall under CALEA, several hospitals, military organizations, and large corporations have adopted VoIP. If we see figures, almost one third of businesses in world today use VoIP. When compared with other communication systems, VoIP is still the best possible option because of it’s low cost and higher level of security when compared to traditional systems.

Infographic: Fun Facts About the Internet of Things

The number of connected devices is steadily increasing, fuelling the continued growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). To help demonstrate the impact IoT will have, we’ve created an infographic containing six fun facts about the technology.

6 Fun Facts IoT

For businesses that haven’t adopted IoT yet, it’s time to start thinking about what your competitors could do if they embraced IoT solutions faster than your company? Or consider what new business ventures can be created through the use of IoT. This technology has the potential to change the way companies communicate with their customers, and the way customers interact with their devices. If you haven’t started exploring IoT – now is the time (like, right now).

Don’t know where to start? Click here to learn more about Internet of Things.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

5 Tips on Protecting Your Business from a DDoS Attack

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An escalating number of businesses are falling victim to distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks. Compared to this period last year, there has been an 47% increase in the total number of DDoS strikes. The companies that take advantage of their attack experience by learning from it and educating their employees on cyber security go a long way. Getting hit by a DDoS attack can help uncover some vulnerabilities or mistakes that your IT department may not have previously been aware of. Combining your experiences with these 5 tips on protecting your business from a DDoS attack is the best way to help prevent future incidents.

  1. Conduct an Assessment: Review your company’s current state of network security – whether you’ve experienced problems in the past or not. This will give you a sense of where your weak points are and allow you to reinforce them.
  2. Know your Network: Reducing the cost and impact of an attack starts with early detection. The better you know your network, the easier it is for you to identify a problem. Having an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each network component will also give you a better understanding of what kind of assaults you can protect yourself from (such as a small attack originating from a single IP address) and if you need to outsource to help fill any security holes.
  3. Implement General Rules to Help Mitigate Attacks: Some general rules to help defend against a DDoS attack include turning down all unnecessary ports and protocols, implement an IP blacklist, block invalid and malformed packets, and configure and harden network equipment.
  4. Communicate with your ISP: In some instances, an attack can be so big that it completely saturates your bandwidth, making any other preventative tactics ineffective. Be sure to learn the procedures for getting your ISP to intervene if necessary. Work with your ISP to plan and practice for any possible large-scale attacks, and be sure to examine your Service Level Agreement (SLA) to learn your ISP’s options for defending against DDoS assaults.
  5. Create an Action Plan: In the unfortunate even that your company suffers an attack, having an action plan in place can help you stay in control – because once an attack is occurring, it’s too late to decide what action to take and how to respond. Be sure to structure your plan by severity level, since your responder actions will vary depending on the impact of the attack.

DDoS attacks can happen to any business at any moment. It’s naive to think that your website is too small to attract the attention of hackers, especially since DDoS is a relatively easy attack to perform. Reducing the cost of an attack starts with preparation and early detection.

Click here to learn more about how to protect your company from cyber attacks.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

5 Tips for Establishing a Data Center Disaster Recovery Plan

As businesses continue to utilize Internet technologies, data has become central to operations and productivity. Companies have a variety of data that they must manage and protect, such as employee information, customer details, policies and procedures, and so on. In many cases, companies use data centers to store their information. However, it’s important to establish a data center disaster recovery plan to ensure your business critical items are protected. Not sure where to start creating your data center disaster recovery plan? Here are 5 tips to help you get started.

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  1. 24/7 Availability: Disaster recovery plans typically need to accommodate high availability requirements, so make sure your data center provides 24/7 assistance.
  2. Overcome Redundancy Limitations: If your company requires full data redundancy, the hardware costs may be more than what you’ve budgeted for – especially if you have multiple sites that need a redundant connection. Fortunately, there are options to help you overcome any budget limitations, such as virtual machine snapshots or thin provisioning.
  3. Be Sure to Manage your Disaster Recovery Spending: In addition to managing redundancy costs, it’s important to sync your disaster recovery plan with your budget. Relocating vast amounts of data offsite to a data center facility can be quite costly if your company doesn’t have the technology to support it. Some companies have found great success in utilizing their existing WAN set up to transfer the data over their Internet connection.
  4. Learn from Mistakes: Disaster is the name of the game, and sometimes even the best laid plans aren’t enough. Companies that are in the early stages of their disaster recovery planning have an opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by others.
  5. Create a Plan with IT Members: Having the right hardware and software in place isn’t the only aspect of a disaster recovery plan – you need to have an actual plan. It’s important for your IT staff to sit down and create a plan that works best for the needs and requirements of the company.

Haven’t found a data center to store your company’s information? Find the right facility for your business by clicking here.

Saving Money with Colocation in Canadian Data Centres

If you are a business owner or executive, finding ways to save money on IT is probably high on your “To-Do List.” As necessary and vital as technology is to running virtually any kind of organization, it can also represent a bit of a budgetary black hole – and an area of the company where you might struggle to make the right choices and investments.

What you may not know already, however, is that reducing your IT expenditures doesn’t necessarily have to mean making hard choices between budgets, performance, and reliability. In fact, thousands of companies throughout Canada and the world are actually getting more from IT while saving money through the process of colocation.

How Colocation Works

In a traditional IT department, servers, networking equipment, and other pieces of technology are stored together in some remote portion of an office or facility. These typically receive attention only when something stops working the way it’s supposed to, and then the repair process can be lengthy and expensive – especially if new hardware or equipment is needed.

With colocation, things are simplified. Instead of keeping technology equipment on site, companies outsource those needs and simply lease what they need at a given point in time. In other words, they stop holding on to their own servers and networking equipment and simply use space on a business data centre located elsewhere.

Aside from the obvious benefits that come with not having to buy and install their own hardware, businesses gain tremendous advantages through the use of colocation in Canadian data centres.

5 Key Benefits of Colocation in a Canadian Data Centre

1. Lowered hardware costs. Actually, most businesses can eliminate their networking hardware costs altogether with colocation. That’s because, instead of investing tens of thousands of dollars in new equipment on a regular schedule, you pay a low monthly fee to use what you need. For most companies, that means a very significant cost savings. It also means they can stop worrying about the kinds of unplanned hardware investments decision-makers at every level worry about most.

2. Better technology and performance. Even though cost savings are a major attraction when it comes to colocation, you shouldn’t overlook the actual performance upgrades that are possible, as well. Because technology investments and upgrades can be pooled and shared over several different businesses in a data centre, you ultimately end up getting access to better equipment than most companies would purchase on their own. And, because performance is important to marketing colocation services, savvy IT providers upgrade to newer models all the time, meaning you get the very best for less.

3. Lower overall IT expenses. Aside from the obvious hardware savings, most companies that make the switch to colocation enjoy lower IT expenses in other areas, too. This often stems from the fact that software packages can be leased on similar monthly agreements, and that they suffer fewer problems associated with software and hardware failure. In other words, colocation in a Canadian data centre means fewer errors and less downtime. Those might be difficult costs to calculate, but every business leader knows the impact they can have on the bottom line.

4. The flexibility to scale technology up or down. Managing technology can be incredibly difficult if your company is growing too quickly, if only because the sudden need for more hardware and bandwidth can make expansion costs prohibitive. Even worse, if you need to scale your technology or operations back to save money, you might be faced with the uncomfortable prospect of selling equipment you’ve purchased at a loss. With a colocation plan in place, both of these problems are alleviated because you can scale your services up or down as needed – in an instant, and without any long-term financial repercussions.

5. Increased IT security. You don’t have to pay much attention to the news to know that the security of your technology is more important than it’s ever been in the past. What better way to keep data safe and sound than by having it stored and backed up regularly in a secure, climate-controlled, and continuously monitored environment? The average Canadian data centre is many times more safe and reliable than the office building or facility they replace.

Colocation Gives Businesses a Bit of Everything

For most organizations, and especially those that don’t have the resources to obtain or purchase high-performance technology equipment, colocation offers a number of important financial and performance benefits without any trade-offs. It’s no wonder so many companies are looking to Canadian data centres for colocation in 2014… shouldn’t yours be one of them?

To learn more, click here.

How to Migrate Your Call Centre Into the Cloud

In a previous post, we looked at the many advantages to moving your customer service call centre into a cloud platform, which included the possibility of huge cost savings combined with higher customer satisfaction. Today, we want to look at the process of actually migrating your call centre into the cloud. In other words, we’ll look at what it takes to actually turn that money-saving vision into a reality.

The actual process will vary, of course, from one company to the next. Moreover, your specific steps will probably depend a bit on the size of your business, where your calls will be routed to in the future, and what Canadian data centre you’ll be working with for colocation.

However, the template below should apply very well for most situations. Moreover, it will help to dispel the widespread myth that moving your call centre into a cloud has to be expensive, time-consuming, or problematic. Few things could be further from the case. In fact, most businesses find that the transition is incredibly quick and smooth. The only real issue is figuring out why they didn’t make the switch sooner.

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Steps Involved in Migrating to a Cloud-Based Call Centre

So, what does it actually take to move your customer service calls into the cloud? Here are the steps most businesses will follow:

1. Choose a data centre for colocation. This is an important piece of the puzzle, since the right environment for your cloud platform is essential. You want to work with a partner who can guarantee lots of uptime, maximum security, and “extras” like automatic file backup on a regular basis. Biased as we might be, we recommend you consider a Canadian data centre for the most reliable technicians in a stable, accessible environment.

2. Make a plan for your migration. In most cases, this doesn’t have to be complicated, just an outline of the actual system to be transferred, a date and time for the migration to be executed, and all the relevant details like telephone numbers or server addresses for customer records. Additionally, your plan might contain information on backups and contingencies, just in case systems are offline for a few minutes during the transition.

3. Train your staff for your new customer service platform. Typically, when businesses make the switch to cloud call centres, they upgrade their capabilities at the same time. That means your team might have access to information they didn’t have before, which could require a little bit of training. Or, you might decide this is a great time to overhaul your entire customer service experience to meet a higher standard of satisfaction. Either way, it’s a good idea to ensure that staff members are informed about the switch and ready to move forward.

4. Port your telephone numbers from one location to another. Moving your customer service contacts into the cloud doesn’t have to mean surrendering the telephone numbers you already have (and your customers already know). Most major telecommunications providers can actually port numbers to a new location within just a few minutes, but it’s a good idea to give them a healthy amount of lead time if it’s at all possible. That way, you can be sure things will work the way they’re supposed to.

5. Keep a close eye on your customer service performance. Once you’ve moved your call centre into the cloud and had your numbers ported, you are ready to begin with your virtual setup. All there is left to do at this point is keep an eye on your most important customer service metrics to ensure that your staff is handling the transition smoothly.

Don’t Let the Fear of Call Centre Migration Hold You Back

Some companies end up spending far, far more than they should – one quarter after another – because they are afraid to undergo the process of migrating their call centre into the cloud. While this is understandable for those who aren’t familiar with the technology, it’s also a case where a little bit of misinformation can hurt your bottom line in a big way. Don’t be afraid to make the switch, because the process itself is likely to be very simple and the benefits to your business could be tremendous.

Ready to take the first step? Start your search a data centre that provides colocation services by clicking here.

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