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5 Ways to Improve Work from Home

Networks and Connectivity

The Covid-19 pandemic proved that work from home and remote work was viable and productive for more employees than previously believed or acknowledged.  Necessity is a great motivator. Our businesses, employees, and customers responded, adapted, moved forward.  In the process, we have identified new benefits and pitfalls with remote work. Looking forward, our emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic is not a clear as hoped or predicted. The virus is here to stay and the impact on our lives is yet to be fully understood.  Our normal is not necessary “new”, but continues to evolve.

While we cannot predict the full extent of the shift, remote work, hybrid work, and work from home will be the norm. 

Business need to continue to assess, plan, and adapt.  Here are 5 ways we can improve work from home and hybrid remote/in-office work environments.

1 Device-as-a-Service

Device-as-a-Service, particularly remote desktop and virtual desktop infrastructure solutions, have clear benefits for new office norms. You can:

  • Provide a secure access to applications and systems with consistency regardless of where your employees are working
  • Better manage the computing environment, separating your business’ computing from the local device
  • Use existing, older laptops and desktops, thereby reducing hardware upgrade costs driven by operating system and application upgrades
  • Leverage Chromebooks as end user devices, lowering your total cost of ownership

2 Pick a Video Conferencing Service

Picking a standard video conferencing service lets you manage how you communicate internally and with customers. The right choice can also save you hundreds of dollars per year per employee while giving you and your team the features and functions they need to manage meetings and work efficiently.  By selecting a preferred service, you can invest the time and effort to integrate the service with your productivity and collaboration suites. An small investment in teaching employees how to fully use the solution also pays dividends.

3 Improve Employees’ Internet

You would never allow your Internet service to slow down work at the office. You should not allow home Internet speeds to slow down your remote employees. Reimbursing employees for increasing their Internet speeds improves productivity and morale. Providing employees with better WiFi routers and access points ensures their connections are available and reliable. Note: a few states require employers to reimburse home Internet services based on the percentage used for work.

4 Secure Your Remote Workers

Unless you provide the equipment and services, you cannot control your employees’ home networks and systems. At the same time, you want and need to secure your applications, data, and network. To do so:

  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible to control network, system, and application access.  MFA and 2FA are the simplest means of preventing hackers from using compromised user identities or credentials.
  • Upgrade home computers with additional, advanced threat protection services.  Many of the next-gen solutions offer greater protection from modern attacks and are designed to work with existing anti-virus solutions that may be installed on the device. Some of these solutions also provide tools for remote support.
  • Consider using physical security keys that provide authentication codes without the need for a smartphone or other device.

5[/av_dropcap1 Protect Your Remote Resources

Whether using a company provided laptop or a personal computer, problems at home are disruptive and take longer to diagnose and repair than in-office problems. While Device-as-a Service solutions separate the risk from the physical device, employees using their local machines are at risk.  At a minimum, ensure that you are backing up and can recover applications and data on remote laptops and desktops. If an employee performs critical or time-sensitive tasks, consider a continuity solution that enable the employee to return to work within minutes rather than hours.

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Whether work from home, remote work, or hybrid work will be strategic or tactical for your business, you can improve the security and employee experience with minimal cost.  We are here to help you assess, plan, and update your IT services to best meet your needs — and budget.  Contact us for an initial consultation.

 

need to continue to assess, plan, and adapt.  Here are 5 ways we can improve work from home and hybrid remote/in-office work environments.

[av_dropcap1]1 Device-as-a-Service

Device-as-a-Service, particularly remote desktop and virtual desktop infrastructure solutions, have clear benefits for new office norms. You can:

  • Provide a secure access to applications and systems with consistency regardless of where your employees are working
  • Better manage the computing environment, separating your business’ computing from the local device
  • Use existing, older laptops and desktops, thereby reducing hardware upgrade costs driven by operating system and application upgrades
  • Leverage Chromebooks as end user devices, lowering your total cost of ownership

2 Pick a Video Conferencing Service

Picking a standard video conferencing service lets you manage how you communicate internally and with customers. The right choice can also save you hundreds of dollars per year per employee while giving you and your team the features and functions they need to manage meetings and work efficiently.  By selecting a preferred service, you can invest the time and effort to integrate the service with your productivity and collaboration suites. A small investment in teaching employees how to fully use the solution also pays dividends.

3 Improve Employees’ Internet

You would never allow your Internet service to slow down work at the office. You should not allow home Internet speeds to slow down your remote employees. Reimbursing employees for increasing their Internet speeds improves productivity and morale. Providing employees with better WiFi routers and access points ensures their connections are available and reliable. Note: a few states require employers to reimburse home Internet services based on the percentage used for work.

4 Secure Your Remote Workers

Unless you provide the equipment and services, you cannot control your employees’ home networks and systems. At the same time, you want and need to secure your applications, data, and network. To do so:

  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible to control network, system, and application access.  MFA and 2FA are the simplest means of preventing hackers from using compromised user identities or credentials.
  • Upgrade home computers with additional, advanced threat protection services.  Many of the next-gen solutions offer greater protection from modern attacks and are designed to work with existing anti-virus solutions that may be installed on the device. Some of these solutions also provide tools for remote support.
  • Consider using physical security keys that provide authentication codes without the need for a smartphone or other device.

5[/av_dropcap1 Protect Your Remote Resources

Whether using a company laptop or a personal computer, problems at home are disruptive and take longer to diagnose and repair than in-office problems. While Device-as-a Service solutions separate the risk from the physical device, employees using their local machines are at risk.  At a minimum, ensure that you are backing up and can recover applications and data on remote laptops and desktops. If an employee performs critical or time-sensitive tasks, consider a continuity solution that enables the employee to return to work within minutes rather than hours.

Whether work from home, remote work, or hybrid work will be strategic or tactical for your business, you can improve the security and employee experience with minimal cost.  We are here to help you assess, plan, and update your IT services to best meet your needs — and budget.  Contact us for an initial consultation.

 

5 Things You Don’t Know Are Killing Your WiFi

WiFi Performance

Bad WiFi service frustrates employees, hurts productivity, and can send customers to your competitors.  Even if you use your wireless access point (AP) vendor’s management tool, here are five (5) things that may be hurting your WiFi service quality without your knowledge:

  1. Network traffic actually transmitted over the air:
    APs know that they attempted to transmit  data to a client, but cannot detect if a malfunction prevented transmissions.  APs cannot detect their own transmission problems, such as dropped packets, chatter, and jitter.
  2. Clients consuming channel bandwidth that are not connected to your infrastructure:
    Not every device using channel bandwidth connects to your network. These devices often interfere with connected traffic, hurting performance for others.
  3. Misconfiguration within your infrastructure:
    APs cannot self-detect if they are configured improperly or if neighboring APs are creating interference. APs are not clients on the network, so they can only see what they transmit and what they receive.
  4. Clients connected to APs not managed by your AP controller:
    While your AP management tool may identify unmanaged or unauthorized APs on your network, they cannot detect or analyze clients connected to those APs and/or the impact these unmanaged devices have on your WiFi performance.
  5. Interference from devices and networks outside of your control:
    Vendor AP management tools are built to manage the vendor’s APs. These tools do not identify or analyze neighboring networks that interfere with yours. Bandwidth and channel conflicts go undetected and unresolved.

Your vendor AP manager misses these issues because your APs are not WiFi clients.

The best way to monitor and manage WiFi performance and reliability is to place a passive sensor client in your environment.  Unlike expensive WiFi assessments of the past, done by on-site technicians lugging around specially equipped computers and meters, innovative services like the Wyebot Wireless Intelligence Platform™ (WIP) give you a plug-and-go solution for about 1/10th the cost.  WIP is a vendor agnostic tool that can see and monitor your entire WiFi environment, analyze and prioritize issues with alerts, make knowledge-driven solution recommendations, and provide remote network testing tools.

Tools like Wyebot help you ensure your WiFi network best serves your business.


Please download our eBook, Understanding WiFi Quality, for more information, or contact us to arrange an initial WiFi Assessment.


 

WiFi Quality is About the User Experience

WiFi QualityAn ever increasing number of businesses are learning that WiFi is more than a convenient network connection.

  • Restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that want patrons to linger and spend more lose business when customers can’t check the score, answer an email, or scan their social apps.
  • When your mobile app doesn’t work in your establishment because of poor WiFi service quality, your patrons go elsewhere.
  • WiFi quality influences which conference rooms get booked, where teams choose to huddle, where individuals choose to sit and work, and where people choose to socialize.

WiFi service quality is becoming a competitive factor that can help or hurt your business.

Most network managers rely on vendor management tools to monitor and control their wireless Access Points (APs). These tools provide basic statistics on traffic volume and patterns.  The more sophisticated solutions provide cool looking color-coded heat mats that overlay WiFi signal strength onto blueprints of your business. Some tools even use APs to triangulate users’ locations within their business.

What vendor AP management tools do not show you, however, is the client experience. You can have great WiFi signal coverage, but applications time-out if client devices experience too much interference. Your network may be setup to support a high density of users, but if clients end AP-hopping for signal strength, management overhead can cripple performance.

To understand WiFi quality: Understand the user experience.

By definition, your Access Points are not and cannot be clients on your WiFi network. The data your APs gather represents only what goes in and out of (or is simulated by) each Access Point. WiFi clients will see your network performance and reliability differently than your APs.

Think of it this way.  A chef creates a new signature dish. The chef knows that she’s used the best, freshest ingredients. The chef has sampled dozens of variations to get the taste just right.  The chef believes that this her best new meal ever. Even so, a few, many, most, or all customers may not like the taste, texture, or presentation of the meal. Fortunately, WiFi quality and reliability is not subject to personal taste and preferences; WiFi service quality is determined by the client experience.

The only way to understand, monitor, and manage WiFi service quality is to monitor your network from a client.

Historically, this has meant expensive service engagements in which technicians bring in monitoring and analysis systems for a “point in time” assessment. These assessments, which can cost thousands of dollars and only capture one point in time, are beyond the budget of most small and midsize businesses and schools.

New solutions, however, provide vendor-agnostic analyses of your WiFi network using passive sensor WiFi clients, prioritize identification of service issues, and offer knowledge-driven recommended solutions.  With the Wyebot Wireless Intelligence Platform™ (WIP), for example, in most instances we can provide periodic WiFi Assessments for less than 1/10th the cost of a traditional assessments. Ongoing monitoring becomes affordable for nearly all businesses and schools, the the added value of historical data analysis, real-time alerts, and remote network testing.

If your business relies on WiFi, you can now afford to make sure your WiFi network is reliable and performs well.


For more information, download our eBook, Understanding WiFi Quality, or contact us about arranging an initial WiFi Assessment.


 

The QuickBooks Hosting Challenge

QuickbooksQuickBooks is the leading accounting package for small business. And yet, many businesses cannot run QuickBooks Online, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) version. Whether the online versions lack industry-specific features you need, or you have integrated third party tools/add-ons, staying with an on-premise version of QuickBooks remains the best solution for your business.

As you move to the cloud, hosting your QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or Enterprise system makes sense. You keep the version of QuickBooks you need and improve accessibility, reliability, security, and resiliency from system failures and disasters.

In general, we find two levels of common QuickBooks hosting options. Looking at these services more closely, we find these services often fail to meet basic needs without expensive upgrades.  Fortunately, we have a third option designed to deliver the business value you need and want.

Basic

Basic QuickBooks hosting services run between $27 and $30 per user per month, with you purchasing and providing the QuickBooks license key. These services start with 1 GB of storage with fees for added storage that add-up quickly. Adding storage you need for reports, exports, etc., can easily increase the cost to the $75-$90 per user per month range. More importantly, your instance of QuickBooks is running on shared servers and on a shared network. As such, you have greater risk for performance issues, security breaches, and outages. In this type of multi-tenant environment, the actions of other can impact your business. These services offer backup, usually once per day with a fixed retention period of 7, 14, 30, or 90 days, depending on the service.

Better

The better QuickBooks hosting services cost between $49 and $60 per user per month, with you purchasing and providing the QuickBooks license key.  These services also start with 1 GB of storage with fees that add up when you need more space. Typical fees quickly creep up to the $95 to $120 per user per month range.  The main difference is that these services generally run your version of QuickBooks on a dedicated server, but still run on a shared network. While this does reduce the chance of interference from other tenants, this model still has your service running in the same security envelope as other companies. You still have a risk. Like the basic services, you have a once per day backup with a fixed retention period that varies with each service provider.

Best

The best solution for hosting QuickBooks will use your license of QuickBooks in the following environment:

  • Dedicated server
  • Private network
  • A usable amount of storage included (100 GB or more)
  • Flexible backup schedules and retention plans
  • Easy access from desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones
  • Access to Excel (MS Office) in the hosted environment

We this type of setup, you are more secure, will have better performance, and greater reliability.

The good news is that we can build you this type of environment at a cost comparable to other services, and we can integrate your QuickBooks environment with your Office 365 or G Suite service.


If you are interested in learning more about QuickBooks hosting options, please contact us for a free Cloud Advisor session.


 

The Longest Yard: WiFi Solutions for SMBs

WiFi ServicesBusinesses depend on WiFi service. From employee laptops, tablets, and phones, to visitors in conference rooms, WiFi service is a critical component of your network infrastructure. And yet, for many small businesses, WiFi performance and reliability degrade over time. Most WiFi installations start with a focus on coverage — ensuring all areas and users have access to the service. Often neglected is capacity, the availability of bandwidth to ensure fast, reliable service for all users. For companies with small offices, and SMBs in general, the odds seem stacked against us.

  • Installations typically use default settings, placing WiFi traffic on slower bandwidth service and on channels most susceptible to interference
  • Wireless routers and access points sold to SMBs and small offices often lack settings (bandwidth steering, antennae power control, etc) needed to manage and tune performance
  • Most SMBs and small offices do not have active monitoring of WiFi performance, or even periodic reporting about the quality of WiFi service

When SMBs and small offices have WiFi connectivity or performance issues, the typical response is to add additional access points or to increase signal power, “solutions” that often exasperate the problem.

You can and should have the WiFi connectivity and performance you need.

Even if lower cost wireless routers and access points have been installed, SMBs and you can take steps to ensure WiFi connectivity and performance. And, you can do this without expensive equipment upgrades and installations. Take an approach recognizing that the quality of your WiFi service is not static. The environment in which your WiFi operates will change over time.

WiFi Assessments:

Historically, WiFi assessments have been expensive; most SMBs cannot afford a few thousand dollars for a one-time assessment. These one-time assessments capture a point in time and may not recognize shifting usage, demand, and interference patters. These types of assessments are often vendor-led and recommend significant equipment upgrades and installations.

New technologies and services allow for one-time assessments to be completed for hundreds, not thousands, of dollars.  Drop-in devices capture all WiFi traffic and feed the data to cloud-based, AI-driven analysis engines that diagnose and prioritize issues. The AI analysis engines are able to recommend specific solution actions addresses both your WiFi infrastructure and devices accessing the network. The drop-in devices capture all WiFi signals in the area, looking not only at your networks, but the behavior and impact of WiFi signals reaching your space from other locations. And, our recommendations focus on setting changes in existing equipment rather than upgrades and overhauls.

With this lower cost, SMBs can afford to run assessments as-needed when performance or connectivity issues arise, or on a periodic schedule. With periodic assessments, you capture and adapt to changes that occur over time, often preventing issues before they impact your business.

WiFi Monitoring:

Using the same intelligent technology and services, SMBs can now also afford on-going WiFi Monitoring. With continuous monitoring, the AI engine and analysis tools can look at historical trends and address changes to the WiFi environment. This service offers incredible value to restaurants, retail, warehouses, schools, and other locations where the number of WiFi connected devices (customer, employee, IoT, etc) and usage patterns change hour-to-hour, day-to-day, or over time. As the drop-in devices also provide remote network testing, the monitoring infrastructure saves valuable time and effort when testing or re-configuring WiFi services.

Because the monitoring is not depending on your existing infrastructure of vendors, the analysis is agnostic and the recommendations are not biased to any vendor solution.

Managed WiFi Service:

For the first time, SMBs can now afford to have a managed WiFi service. With a managed service, WiFi routers, access points, and (hopefully) attached physical switches are connected to central management console. The console allows for active performance and connectivity alerts that can trigger service tickets and responses. The console also provides remote access to manage configurations and settings, diagnose issues, and resolve problems in real time.

As a managed service, we configure, monitor, and maintain your WiFi network to ensure it meets the needs of your business.

When combined with WiFi monitoring, Managed WiFi Services provide a complete WiFi service that adapts to the changing needs of your environment, ensuring connectivity and performance.


We offer WiFi Assessments and Monitoring services powered by the Wyebot Wireless Intelligence Platform along with a range of Managed WiFi Service offerings.  Please contact us for more information.


 

The Last Mile: Internet Access in the Age of Cloud

The Last Mile

Internet access has changed radically in the past half decade. With greater availability of broadband service from cable providers, small and midsize businesses are no longer limited by legacy wide area network technologies offered by traditional telephone providers. The cost of service has also plummeted.  In our area, we have gone from paying $500 per month for a 1.5 Mbps circuit to paying $149 per month for 75 Mbps service. From $330 per Mpbs down to $2 Mbps in less than five years. The impact is profound and has spurred changes on how we use the Internet. We have moved from surfing web sites and email traffic to cloud computing, creating a new set of challenges for small and midsize businesses. High speed internet is not readily available in many rural, sub-rural, and urban areas. High speed internet is often built over aging infrastructure and lacks reliability. And, most importantly …

Many Broadband Services Fail to Meet the Needs of Small Business

Most business broadband services are asymmetrical, with different upload and download speeds. With uploads running at 10%-15% of download speeds, broadband fails to meet the needs of cloud users. Working with cloud systems, applications, and file services, as much data moves “up” to the cloud as “down” to user. Symmetric upload/download speeds are critical to reliable performance and productivity.

Fortunately, Solutions Exist.

By looking to other carriers and their agency networks, we can offer solutions that delivery bandwidth, reliability, access, and coverage.

For bandwidth, many carriers offer Fast Ethernet, Gig Ethernet, and other high speed fiber and coax services. These services deliver symmetrical service with a range of speeds, usually starting at 100 Mbps. Availability is generally good in urban and suburban areas. For buildings not pre-wired for service, installation may involve pulling new wires from the street network. In most cases, carriers will waive this construction cost, along with normal installation fees, when you sign a three (3) year agreement.

For reliability, a second, fail-over, Internet connection can provide business continuity when your primary service fails. As the failures are often on the last mile — the connection from the network to your business — alternate service should not be built over the same infrastructure as your primary connection. For many small businesses, cellular can provide reliable, affordable fail-over services with reasonable speeds. Solutions like the Datto Network Appliance connect to your local provider and offer automatic fail-over to the Verizon or AT&T cellular data networks for a low monthly fee.

For access and coverage in areas without high speed Internet service, broadband satellite is emerging as a viable solution, particularly in rural and sub-rural areas.  Speeds start at 20 Mbps. Service may not be symmetrical everywhere, but coverage areas continue to grow.

The solution you need for business will depend on your location, size, and use of cloud services. Taking time and picking the right Internet access will improve performance and productivity.


If you are interested in exploring options, contact us for a free consultation.


 

 

Wide Area Benefits from Going Cloud

Simplification String
Most of the businesses, nonprofits, and local governments we help move to the cloud see both tangible and intangible benefits shortly after deployment. Whether they focus on improved availability and reliability, easier secure access to files, or lower capital expenditures, or the benefits of improved collaboration and access to video conferencing services, very few businesses regret the move.

Many organizations, however, do not look beyond the scope of their cloud implementation for other, indirect or subsequent benefits. Cloud migrations often create opportunities for additional IT simplification that can improve the users’ experience as well as further lower costs.

Most common across our customer base is the ability to simplify wide area networks. Organizations with multiple locations rely on wide area networks to connect offices, servers, and people. We see several common architectures, each with limitations.

  • Centralized servers require all users not at the server location to access data remotely, at lower speeds.
  • Distributed servers provide performance, but require more complicated backup solutions and/or data synchronization.
  • Spoke and hub networks connect all sites, typically over leased/dedicated lines.  Bandwidth between sites is limited and relatively expensive, with a single path (or, hopefully, redundant paths) to the Internet.
  • MPLS (Multi-Protocol Layer Switch) networks provide a managed network, better security, and greater Internet bandwidth, but still rely on leased/dedicated bandwidth to the carrier.
  • Lan-to-Lan and PC-to-LAN VPNs can securely connect machines and sites over private or public lines, but VPN services add overhead that hurts performance, increases admin costs, and makes it more difficult for users to connect.

When files and other data are centrally located in the cloud, you can simplify your wide area networks and lower costs.

Because your data is centrally located, you may no longer need point-to-point connections between your offices. Replacing point-to-point, VPN, and MPLS links with Direct Internet Access Links can have up to a 100X benefit, as many carriers can provide you with up to 10x the speed at as little as 1/10th the cost. At these price points, building in redundancy is affordable and can protect your businesses from carrier outages.

As you move to the cloud, reassess the role of your wide area and Internet links. Simplification and modification of your architecture can save you time, money, and overhead, while providing faster, more reliable service.


If you would like to review your network for opportunities, or discuss the potential benefits from moving to the cloud, please contact us for a no-obligation discussion.


 

Video Streaming and Your ISP Performance

As you move to the cloud, you will be more dependent on reliable, well-performing, Internet service.

Video Quality ReportOne of the largest services that impacts Internet, and therefore cloud-based service, performance, is video streaming.  The Google Video Quality Report is a free tool that lets you look at the video streaming patterns for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and others in your area.  By comparing usage patterns, you can better understand your ISP’s performance and can determine if your ISP, or another, is best for you.

For general monitoring of Internet connection performance, we recommend Ookla’s Speedtest. This site will test Ping response, download speed, and upload speed, which you can then compare to your contract guarantees.  The site will test against the closest server; we recommend testing with several servers in your area to get a better assessment of your speed. Creating an account let’s you save and share your results.


 

 

 

Moving to the Cloud: Provider Reliability

 

Green_GaugeThis post is the third in a series addressing concerns organizations may have that prevent them from moving the cloud-based solutions.

One of the challenges in planning a move to the cloud remains the relative youth of the current industry.  While the concept of cloud computing is not new (tip your hat to Control Data in the 1980’s and their mainframe time-sharing service), most cloud computing services are relatively new.  Even services from long-standing, reliable vendors — like IBM and Dell — are relatively new ventures for these firms and have yet to be proven in a long-term market.

Organizations looking at any cloud service, be it SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS, must consider the reliability of the provider.  In doing so, it is the customer that must also understand the benchmarks being used by vendors when reporting their statistics.  Considerations include:

  • What is the availability of the service?  How well does the service provider meet their Service Level Agreement (SLA) benchmarks in terms of total downtime and/or service disruptions?
  • What is the reliability of the service?  How often does the service experience issues?  While most organizations tout availability, 6 disruptions lasting 10 minutes may have more impact on your operations than a single hour-long disruption.
  • Does the provider have performance benchmarks?  If so, how well does the provider meet the benchmarks?  In moving to the service provider, what expectations/needs will you have with respect to WiFi capacity, fixed network performance, and Internet capacity?   In many cases, the limiting factor on end-user performance is not the service provider or the Internet speed — it is the organization’s internal wired and wireless capacity.
  • What level of support do you expect?  Understanding how the provider delivers support — directly or through resellers/partners — is key to an organization’s long-term satisfaction with the service.
  • Does the vendor have the financial stability for the long-term?  With the number of start-ups in the cloud space, this factor may be the most difficult to ascertain.  Looking at the company’s financials, funding levels, and profitability can provide some insight.  Assessing whether the provider would be a good buy-out or merger target can also instill confidence that your provider will not go away unexpectedly.

With a modicum of due diligence, organizations can assess the reliability of cloud solution providers before making a commitment.  Reputable vendors will openly share their data and will not hesitate to discuss failures and how similar events will be prevented going forward.  And while, this type of discussion feels new, it is the same process CIOs and IT decision makers have been using for decades as they evaluate new technologies and vendors.  The players are new, but the process remains the same.

Next Post in the Series:  Privacy

Previous Post in the Series:  Moving to the Cloud: Cost Savings

 

Where is Your Cloud Bandwidth Bottleneck?

When speaking with companies and schools about moving to cloud solutions like Google Apps and Google Cloud Storage, we are often asked about bandwidth demands.  Many organizations worry that their current Internet connections are not sufficient for cloud computing.  While most organizations already have more than enough Internet bandwidth, they may still have performance bottlenecks from their internal network.

Many small and mid-size enterprises make infrastructure decisions, electing to save money with consumer grade and so-called “SMB” products.  In many instances, these products are not designed to handle business traffic.

WiFi Access Points: Low-end WiFi Access Points, or WAPs, are not designed for a large number, or large traffic, connections.  While these devices claim they can support dozens of devices, the reality is that their antennae systems, channel management, and software are not up  to the task.  These devices can bog down with collisions, reducing the effective bandwidth to near zero with as few as 5 or 10 active users.

Switches and Hubs: The same load considerations exist for low-end switches and hubs, particularly those with slower back-planes and less memory.  Traffic bursts can overload these devices, creating “collisions” that slow down your network.

Routers: Many entry level and SMB routers do not have the processor or back-plane speed needed to meet the traffic demands for today’s network.  The router between your network and the Internet needs to be fast, with the ability to buffer traffic, and provide network services.  While changing to cloud solutions may not dramatically alter the amount of traffic, it changes the pattern.  An underpowered router can slow traffic like a broken toll booth gate.

For most small and mid-size businesses, network performance planning for cloud solutions should start at the ends and work towards the middle.  Look at your Direct Internet Access capacity and your WiFi and move inwards to the router, hubs, and switches.  A well planned network will improve performance, reliability, and productivity.

 

 

Webcasts

Next Normal: WFH and Remote

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, April 20th at 3:00 PM

COVID-19 and the events of the past year have, and continue, to change the way we run our businesses.  While some of these changes are temporary, many will become part of our next normal.

Now part of the norm, Work From Home and remote work changes your IT service needs.

This month’s 3T@3 Webcast, is the third in our “Next Normal” series looking at how we adapt, prepare, and respond to economic, social, and business changes. To some extent — small or large — employees working remotely and from home will continue to be part of how we run our businesses.

With “WFH and Remote”, we explore how Work From Home and remote workers alters your IT service needs.  Taking a holistic view, we look beyond using apps and accessing files. In this session we look at factors that protect your business and support productivity.  We use our PARS model (performance, availability, reliability, and security) as a framework to explore how to effectively create, manage, and support your team — wherever they may be working.

Watch the recording on-demand



Data Protection & Security

Next Normal: Apps & Servers

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, Mar 16th at 3:00 PM

COVID-19 and the events of the past year have, and continue, to change the way we run our businesses.  While some of these changes are temporary, many will become part of our next normal. For many of us, these changes came in a scramble to work from home.

What IT changes best position your business for the future?

This month’s 3T@3 Webcast, is the second in our “Next Normal” series looking at how we adapt, prepare, and respond to economic, social, and business changes.  

With “Apps and Systems”, we explore how your team accesses the applications, systems, and data they need to succeed, whether in the office or working remotely. We will compare the pros and cons of on-site systems, hosted servers, and cloud solutions with respect to performance, availability, reliability, and security. In doing so, we will discuss options and roadmaps for modernizing your apps and systems infrastructure. 

Watch the recording on-demand



Data Protection & Security