Cyberawareness Managed IT Services Chicago SD WAN

10 Everyday Technology Myths That Could Cost You Your Job

1.) MYTH: The more bandwidth I add, the better my voice quality and cloud performance should be… I will just change my COMCAST cable modem from 50 to 100 without spending a lot of extra money. It’s a cost-savings win.

If only we had a dollar for every time we have been told that a business decision maker (even in the IT department) decided to save money by relying on public cable (like COMCAST) to power their Internet and cloud applications by making a simple modem change from 50 to 100 without spending a lot of extra money. The problem with this thinking is simply that the quality of Internet that powers your business is often dependent upon the regulation of traffic on the network. In many of the situations, the first inclination is to go out and purchase the next tier of Internet speeds available. There are two fallacies with this statement:

  • Increased Internet speeds will improve your cloud and voice performance.
  • You will save money by using a public Internet provider in the process.

First, whether you are using 1 or 100 Megs of bandwidth, the call performance will be exactly the same regardless of the amount of speed you purchase. Why? Think of your Internet pipe as a street. There can only be so many cars on the street at one time or else the street becomes congested, bottlenecks occur, and everything comes to a halt. If your network is oversold—more Internet won’t help.

Secondly, once you hit the public Internet, all bets are off. While the public Internet can guarantee a certain Internet speed, those of you who rely on COMCAST during busy periods know that the speed of your Internet may vary by time of day and that’s simply because there are many users trying to access the same source. Comcast will claim that the speed is high, but the quality of your Internet is something different.

That’s when you head on over to and run a speed test. Here’s another secret, if you are located near the source (data center) that Comcast uses to push out Internet, then your connection may be good. The farther you are from that source, or if there is other congestion on the Internet, your speed with vary.

You can solve this problem by implementing a traffic controller on the network that will monitor and maintain consistency for near and far locations and regulate the amount of bandwidth that your boss consumes while at work listening to Spotify. Let us know if you would like more information on how to do this. 

2.) MYTH: VoIP does not use a lot of bandwidth.

One of the first problems you will experience – out of the gates—if you choose to move your traditional PBX (on premises) phone system to the cloud is performance. Why? Because, contrary to widespread belief, VoIP does use bandwidth. One of the biggest challenges you will have to overcome is how to allocate the right amount of bandwidth to your Internet phone service.

But the real issue is not an abundance or deficiency in the quantity of bandwidth. The real issue is quality. When you are working with voice, it is important to prioritize quality over quantity. Adding more quantity will not change when what you are really looking for is a consistent, high-quality supply of Internet without interruption. Learn more.

Begin by asking any VoIP provider how they guarantee the quality of a call. Decide if you will have other services and applications running on the network that will require bandwidth and then work with a professional who can help you configure the right Quality of Service (QoS) settings so that you optimize your performance because VoIP uses a lot of bandwidth.”

3.) MYTH: I’m going to save money by ripping out my phone system and using a free version of Lync…

…My CFO and I both agree this is an effective way to save money.

While the individual price of products like Lync come in considerably lower than maybe a cloud-based phone system, performance of applications and voice calls over the Internet come at a price. To demonstrate, we recently worked with a client who had a solid network that was regularly monitored. The CIO wanted to reduce cost, so he/she decided to rip out the existing phone system and replace it with a less expensive version of Lync. What they did not account for was the Monday morning 1,000 employees who opened facebook right when the CEO was on an important call…long story short, the router could not save inferior quality voice performance; the network could not support and regulate the bandwidth to allocate the right amount to the CEO’s call. When the call is choppy or drops, the boss does not realize that its associated with the cloud performance because shortcuts and other inexpensive technologies cost you in performance when you least expect it.

4.) MYTH: Mac runs on a very secure operating system by Apple. For that reason, I don’t think I need any antivirus for my Mac.

The questions around whether Macs need antivirus software is not a new one, but the answer is changing. Long and short, while Macs are generally more secure than Windows, they are far from being immune to email and security hacks. Bottom line, there is no reason why a Mac cannot be targeted by cybercriminals.

The most obvious target is email. Cryptolocker and other cyber-attacks encrypt your system gaining access through (yep, you guessed it) email. Even more alarming is the fact that once access is gained, a cybercriminal can monitor your PC through your email and lock, steal or corrupt your data. At the end of the day, it seems smart to be safe rather than sorry.

5.) MYTH: I’m an Amazon Prime user, and I plan to save money by buying my computer from Amazon. I’ll just load my business applications on it when it arrives.

Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Daily we encounter smart technical people that purchase equipment like computers, routers, and firewalls at discounts shops like Best Buy and Amazon to earn points or save dollars. What those individuals don’t realize is that these items do not always come with the right version of Windows to work on your business network or lacks the ports and security software to ensure your system is secure. In fact, the money saved on equipment costs you down the road when you must hire an hourly IT professional to route VPN at home so that you can access QuickBooks on your server from the Internet. Technology must all work together.

6.) MYTH: Upper Management told us to migrate our servers and back-up to the cloud. That should be easy, right?

But here’s the rest of that statement: they don’t want to hear what infrastructure changes and cost are required to make this happen.

The cloud is cool, and it is a part of our future, but the cloud requires a retooling of existing infrastructure and systems to get top performance from high-quality Internet service, routers, and switches that can handle intelligent network management including things like bandwidth management, QoS, and proper security.

7.) MYTH: I work from home. I will just use my own WIFI router and provide visitors with the password only when needed…

…besides, it is such a pain to change the default passwords on routers, access points. It’s also worth remembering that the end user is always the weakest link. A hacked or compromised router (any device on the network) can be attacked in every known way. It can be used to spy, steal data, collect passwords and trick you into installing encrypted software. Now, image your companies network is being fed into your home WIFI router… just because something is working, doesn’t mean it is working right, or securely.

8.) MYTH: I got a great deal from COMCAST by adding security surveillance to the office.

In one innocent move, you have just made it more difficult for your IT guy to identify what not working when one of your many systems goes down.

For example, if you have Comcast managing the Internet, another resource managing your wireless, and yet another outside company managing your printers.

What happens when the printer stops working? Is it because…

  • …the printer is broken?
  • Maybe the Internet bandwidth is slow and that is impacting printing?
  • Maybe your Comcast service is allowing non-critical traffic that could be opening a security hole in your network?
  • Maybe you are experiencing DHCP conflicts on the network?

Whatever the case, this is no longer a quick fix. You have three different resources that must be called in and paid to troubleshoot the problem. We suggest you use one outsourced IT organization that can monitor, detect and prevent any and all the above from ever happening. Who wouldn’t want one call to make instead of three?  The best course of action is always to simplify with good products that are easy to use from a trusted provider.

9.) MYTH: I thought MPLS was included in the price.

Nope, you declined this offer when you changed your Internet providers and implemented your cloud network. This now means that once your Internet hits the public cloud, the performance of your cloud applications and all online systems are at the mercy of your local provider. If the network is overloaded, there is no quality assurance that the majority of your bandwidth will not be eaten up by employees using apps during working hours like Spotify, facebook, and Youtube. If you would have chosen the cloud Quality of Service overlay and added a cloud dashboard that monitors speeds and feeds, you would not be in this pickle. Going back to management and justifying costs because you declined an offer during implementation can be awkward.

10.) MYTH: I’m saving a lot of money by buying my printer and toner supplies at Office Depot.

Well… only at first. Consider this: If you buy a business printer at $1,200 with replacement toner at $300, you will not need to replace your toner until after 40,000 prints.

In option two, you buy the cheaper printer and toner at Office Depot, giving you 1,200 prints before you need to replace your toner at $99. Seems cheaper, right?

Wrong. After 120,000 prints, the Office Depot printer, while cheaper initially, would cost you a total of $7,899 over time ($99 printer; 100 toner replacements at $78 each). The business printer, for the same number of prints, will cost you $2,100 ($1,200 printer; 3 toner replacements at $300/each).

Do the math, the cheaper printer will eventually cost you $6,699 more. Your total cost of ownership should always be taken into consideration.

We hope you have found many of these myths useful in making your own future decision about technology. 2018 is right around the corner and if you would like to sit down with our team and plan your own 2018 Technology Roadmap, we are here to help. Many businesses find that the planning of resources and technology will save them thousands of dollars in unforeseen emergencies and unnecessary purchases.

Let us help you get the most out of your technology investment.


Time for SD-WAN: Why MPLS Costs More than Money

The only truly scarce commodity in business is time. You can’t create time, so it must be spent wisely. The most successful organizations are ones that always find ways to be more efficient and productive with their time; leading to a low cost structure, high customer satisfaction and good employee morale.

Over the past 20 years, MPLS became entrenched as the gold-standard of WAN transport and many organizations have found a way to absorb the high cost and inefficiencies inherent in MPLS. Why? Because with technology, there’s a strong tendency to stay with what you already know so it’s no surprise that most organizations have not spent time looking to escape their MPLS WAN. But things are changing quickly.

The rise of cloud computing has exposed “real world” limitations of MPLS and created a new reality where it is draining knowledge worker productivity. Whether it’s a new site deployment, an employee running cloud applications, or an IT engineer configuring the network, MPLS is wasting your time. Successful organizations may be able to spend twice as much money to maintain the status quo with MPLS, but when you consider the new SD-WAN math, you save time and money. So the question is, What are you waiting for?

SD-WAN is about accelerating productivity.  SD-WAN enables your organization to collaborate and innovate at 10 times the speed of MPLS. Putting aside the 50% TCO savings from SD-WAN, the fact is cloud-driven organizations can’t afford to waste another minute waiting on MPLS.  Given the efficiency of SD-WAN it is no wonder that late 2017 marks the tipping point; according to IDC, the SD-WAN market is projected to grow to $8 billion in annual revenues by the year 2021.

3 Key Areas Where MPLS Is Wasting Your Time

1.) Site Deployments  First, MPLS circuits have notoriously long provisioning times. This delays new branch deployments hugely.  “There’s simply no fast way to deploy MPLS,” explains Futuriom Founder and Chief Analyst, Scott Raynovich, during a recent webinar presentation of his SD-WAN Growth Outlook. “It often takes months, not weeks or days.”

2.) Worker Productivity — With cloud applications on the rise, MPLS is unnecessarily slowing down day-to-day worker productivity. Cloud applications running over MPLS can be sluggish, disrupting the flow of productivity by causing workers to waste time waiting on their network instead of focusing on their tasks.  The two primary causes of slow cloud performance are relatively low MPLS bandwidth speeds, which is exacerbated by indirect routes connecting users to their cloud applications. “MPLS is designed to support point-to-point data centers, not cloud,” describes Raynovich. “Now you have people going out to the cloud with applications like Salesforce CRM, Box and Office365 and the performance of these applications is really the productivity of your business.”3.) Network Engineering Time — These MPLS deficiencies didn’t just spring up overnight, they are part of MPLS’s DNA. IT teams have been spending precious time combating these issues for years. Branch router complexity has been increasing and WAN optimization appliances are often inserted to overcome MPLS limitations. Maintaining the old WAN model requires specialized knowledge and hands-on configuration. Bottom line, your IT team is spending too much time supporting your MPLS network. An engineer’s time and expertise is highly valuable, so according to Raynovich the question is, “as a corporation, do you want this person spending their time on manual router configurations, or do you want to free them up to service customers or for projects that create even more value?”

SD-WAN Accelerates Innovation

Technology is now driving the business ecosystem, from internal teams, to supply chains, to customer interactions. At some level, every major business initiative relies on skilled IT personnel to connect, integrate and operate the software and systems that help you compete and win in the market.  To accelerate key initiatives, organizations must shift their best and brightest technology minds away from basic network operations functionality so they can focus on strategic, revenue-impacting technology initiatives.

SD-WAN simplifies branch networking through network function virtualization.  Centralized orchestration brings network automation and efficiency to a new level. SD-WAN performance and resiliency radically reduces the amount of IT time spent reacting to network outages and trouble tickets.  Network-as-a-Service offerings maximize IT time savings, providing a fully managed SD-WAN solution including solution design, network integration, ongoing branch orchestration and even the SDN overlay transport network to connect all your sites, users and applications.

SD-WAN Accelerates Productivity

When application performance is sluggish, it can interrupt the user’s stream-of-consciousness which brings productivity and innovation to a screeching halt. SD-WAN eliminates last-mile MPLS bottlenecks that leave users starving for bandwidth, enhancing throughput and productivity for everyone including remote offices, mobile workers and even IoT devices.

SD-WAN is an overlay technology that works with your existing technology ecosystem, powering the software, systems and connections you already use to run way, way faster. From the employee perspective, SD-WAN is a seamless and transparent productivity boost.  Existing employee workflows are accelerated because SD-WAN provides faster access to business-critical cloud services, with 10X the bandwidth speed and more direct, low-latency routes to power cloud applications.

SD-WAN Accelerates Growth

When multi-site organizations look to expand, they need to enter new markets and that leads to opening new sites in new territories. SD-WAN eliminates the long wait times for MPLS circuit deployments, so you won’t need to wait months to turn-up a new site.

SD-WAN provides customers the freedom to connect using any locally available circuits and/or carriers in the last-mile.  Versatility to use any Cable, DSL or even 4G/LTE connections allows new sites to be online in days. Once the last mile loops are installed, SD-WAN CPE are shipped overnight and remotely provisioned through a centralized orchestration portal in the time it that takes to grab a cup of coffee!


IT Forecast Calls for Digital Disruption

Driving Transformation with Software-Defined Networking

IT personnel and network engineers have a palpable feeling of uncertainty as a new set of challenges confront them. Digital transformation is turning business models on their heads. While enterprises take measures to bolster IT departments and gear up to adapt to the latest technologies, they face fundamental resistance from within.  Hardware-centric enterprise networks are based on static deployments, which makes configuration changes too slow and too costly.  These legacy networks were never designed to evolve at the pace which business requirements are changing today.

Security, staffing and skills training continuously weigh on IT budgets for all organizations, big and small. Now overlapping layers of emerging technologies such as the cloud and IoT have further added to the woes. It’s clear that enterprise networks have evolved beyond the basic mandate of connecting the head office to branches networks and data centers. CIOs and IT leaders are seeking innovative solutions that will consolidate and resolve some of the biggest IT challenges without increasing their budgets. Enterprises must align technology innovation with cloud performance and network security to preserve customer trust and brand reputation while building shareholder equity through this era of digital disruption.

The quest for foundational innovation is leading CIOs on a Journey to an SD-WAN (free white paper series!) where software-defined networking provides agility, security and cloud integration that propels the entire business ecosystem to a higher level of efficiency and performance. SD-WAN builds dynamic, scalable networks that simplify branch complexity while accelerating cloud applications.  This creates a strategic advantage that boosts worker productivity and empowers enterprise innovation, all without increasing IT spend.

Here’s a quick look at some of the top issues faced by enterprises and how SD-WAN is helping IT leaders to address them:

Migrating to Public and Private Clouds

Cloud networking continues to fundamentally transform the enterprise. According to a recent article based on a Forrester Research survey of enterprise decision makers, all enterprises report they are implementing some form of cloud technology this year. While the survey indicates that 38% report they are focused on private clouds, and 32% are focused on public clouds, the majority of respondents (59%) say they’re adopting the hybrid cloud model. Conceptually, hybrid clouds combine the security and control of private clouds with the cost efficiency and scalability of public clouds.

The good news is that your users are evolving with new tools that make your organization more competitive and productive. The challenge is that IT departments are dealing with tremendous amounts of data as a seemingly endless supply of new devices and cloud-based applications continuously appear on the network. Hardware-based enterprise networks are not well suited for connecting users to the public cloud, and moving workloads into private clouds requires careful planning and skilled IT time. To make matters worse, those costly MPLS circuits seem to create a giant sucking sound on your IT budget every time someone even mentions the cloud.  In order to deliver optimal cloud user Quality of Experience (QoE), CIO’s need a solution that cost-effectively scales cloud access while providing granular control of bandwidth resources and application policies.

Where hardware-based networks struggle to adapt, cloud-delivered SD-WAN architectures handle network changes and application performance issues with ease and control. SD-WAN brings your network to the cloud, empowering the enterprise with the agility to dynamically migrate applications and workloads to whichever cloud computing model is the best fit.

Cloud Security and Performance

VINO SD-WAN provides a virtual overlay for the enterprise network, where centralized orchestration is based on business policy intent.  This gives IT leaders the flexibility to implement changes across the entire ecosystem without those costly delays they would face with a traditional hardware approach.  SD-WAN also leverages multiple low-cost broadband connections in ways that drastically boost the speeds, reliability and performance of cloud applications.

As new applications join the network ecosystem, VINO SD-WAN identifies them on-the-fly and automatically applies user-defined policy templates.  Traffic shaping and security rules are instantly enforced throughout your ecosystem to ensure that users get an optimized cloud experience.  Branch network resources can even be orchestrated by VINO SD-WAN to ensure all users and applications get their fair share of bandwidth according to your business intent.

VINO SD-WAN consolidates security policies into a single pane of glass.  All SD-WAN end points are authenticated and SD-WAN traffic is automatically encrypted from end-to-end.  Branch office networks can be securely segmented into VLANs that isolate traffic as required for regulatory compliance. VINO offers branch firewalls which are managed as Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), creating a Software-Defined Perimeter where security policies are centrally updated and dynamically distributed across your entire estate in just a few clicks.

Whether your applications are hosted in public or private clouds, VINO SD-WAN helps you deliver more bandwidth with lower TCO and embedded tools to boost quality, policy control and security.

Branch Network Efficiency

Traditional MPLS networks are carrier-dependent, which usually leads to long wait times as circuits are provisioned. Once your MPLS circuits are finally deployed, several hours of skilled IT time is usually required to configure the routers, firewalls and any WAN optimization appliances. The result is that new sites are costly to set up and deployment cycles take weeks or even months.

SD-WAN can reduce deployment times to about one week or even less.  The flexibility to use any broadband access connections means you’re no longer held hostage to carrier MPLS deployments timetables.  Most sites can get local broadband circuits turned up within a week, and the SD-WAN CPE device can be shipped overnight.  From there, the SD-WAN provisioning is a matter of minutes with centralized and automated installation that requires minimal skilled IT time on-site.

Cloud orchestration also enhances branch network visibility and control.  SD-WAN brings consistency to monitoring and management across all your sites regardless of the local carrier or access connection type.  SD-WAN orchestration provides analytics and visualizations that show real-time network and application performance.  As discussed in a related blog, Cisco ISR customers have big TCO savings potential in the 80% to 90% range with SD-WAN, which is partly due to the operational efficiency gains.  While all SD-WAN solutions can help accelerate site deployments and network management efficiency, the best way to free up skilled IT resources is through Network-as-a-Service solutions like VINO SD-WAN which include professional design and ongoing 24/7/365 support.

Secure Access for Mobile Workers and IoT

Smartphones and tablets are blurring the line between work and play, and new workforce collaboration tools are enabling higher productivity from remote and mobile workers. While legacy networks can provide secure access for these workers, the manual VPN configurations tend to drain IT resources. Beyond the basic challenge of keeping up with the rapid turnover rate of employee devices, the VPN tunnels are back-hauled which creates bandwidth wastage while crushing productivity and performance.

Meanwhile, analyst are projecting several billion internet connected “things” will be deployed within the next few years, which means IT teams need a network strategy that provides secure connections and bandwidth capacity at IoT scale. Talk of IoT may sound futuristic, but enterprise networks are already struggling to connect all the things that are here today. The first generation of things were computers, printers, VoIP phones and IP cameras. More recently, a new generation of WiFi enabled things have appeared in the form of various BYOD smartphones and wearable electronics than any employee, consultant or customer brings within range of your network SSID.

As these workforce mobility and IoT trends continue to accelerate, IT teams will need the agility and security of SD-WAN to meet the connectivity challenge. Through a secure cloud-overlay network architecture, VINO SD-WAN provides more direct access for remote workers and mobile IoT devices. For on-prem IoT deployments where many things connect to a local IoT gateway hub, SD-WAN provides high scalable bandwidth to backhaul traffic to the cloud.

Next Steps

Digital transformation is driving changes in applications and user behavior, which is in turn placing strain on IT leaders to quickly adapt the enterprise network to meet rapidly shifting requirements. This cycle is accelerating and legacy networks do not provide the scalability or agility necessary to meet the challenges and keep your workforce competitive.

Whichever way your cloud, workforce and IoT requirements evolve, the bandwidth requirements and the number of connected endpoints will continue to increase. It’s time to create a game plan for SD-WAN. Ideal solutions will support mobile workers and IoT devices while optimizing application quality-of-experience for both public and private clouds.  While SD-WAN orchestration enhances operational efficiency, consider Network-as-a-Service solutions to free up skilled IT resources to pursue your strategic digital transformation initiatives.

Bandwidth SD WAN

Demystifying the Value of SD-WAN Orchestration

In a digital world, technology is at the center of what we do and network performance has become inextricably linked with organizational productivity. On the surface the idea of SD-WAN Orchestration is pretty simple; use a centralized cloud portal to improve network visibility and management.  The benefit is much bigger than lower IT support costs, it’s a more agile and responsive network that accelerates innovation and drives higher productivity across the board.

The challenge is that every SD-WAN solution makes sweeping claims about orchestration, and the marketing jargon can be quite confusing.  Once you cut through the SEO catch phrases like “extensible networks” and “policy abstraction”, what are the tangible benefits of SD-WAN orchestration?

What’s different about SD-WAN Orchestration?

We must adapt in order to survive. In a technology-driven world, the ability to adapt is limited by how fast network updates can be deployed.  Legacy networks are slow to adapt because hardware installations and router re-configurations take time.  Skilled IT workers typically roll-out network changes on a site-by-site basis, a costly endeavor which is done on a timetable that takes weeks or even months.

SD-WAN Orchestration provides greater network agility, where centralized software updates can be deployed across all SD-WAN sites at the same time.  A recent Gartner report comparison on TCO for Cisco ISR routers shows that SD-WAN solutions cuts labor and management time by and estimated 90%.  This efficiency gain on router maintenance enables your skilled IT workers to focus on more important tasks like serving customers or pursuing strategic technology initiatives.

What applications are Orchestrated?

All SD-WANs are not created equal, and the architecture of your SD-WAN will dictate what type of network traffic can actually be orchestrated. Premise-based SD-WAN solutions are deployed through branch CPEs and data centers, which limits their scope to only orchestrate WAN applications in private clouds and WAN traffic moving between SD-WAN sites. The challenge is cloud adoption is shifting traffic patterns to the point where about 70% of your branch traffic is likely moving beyond the WAN toward the internet and public cloud applications.

When your mission-critical applications run in the cloud, network access becomes a prerequisite for knowledge worker productivity. This means orchestrating WAN traffic alone is not enough, organizations need a solution that orchestrates both private and public cloud applications.  Optimizing cloud applications requires more than just SD-WAN branch appliance, it requires an SDN overlay network architecture with cloud gateway controllers that bring your network to the cloud. Third party hosted applications like Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business are often considered mission-critical, SD-WAN orchestration should provide visibility and control across all these types of applications which are deliver through public clouds.

What network functions are Orchestrated?

Centralized network configuration is not a new phenomenon, but SD-WAN orchestration expands this concept through Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).  Depending on your SD-WAN solution, various Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) can all be managed through a single SD-WAN orchestration platform. Common functions include cloud provisioning for branch CPEs, multi-link WAN routing and WAN encryption, but some vendors offer a whole lot more.  SD-WAN orchestration should enable custom configurations for application QoS priority, link failover sensitivity, and even traffic compression to optimize your SD-WAN experience.

SD-WAN overlay networks with SDN gateway controllers provide work like cloud on-ramps with additional VNFs that manage inbound traffic moving toward the branch and long-haul transport moving between distant sites. At the branch, SD-WAN CPEs can include VNFs for NAT policies, branch firewalls, VLAN configurations, and even WiFi or VoIP provisioning. In rare cases, soluton like VINO SD-WAN even extend orchestration to remote workers, mobile users and IoT devices.

Who does the Orchestration?

Selecting the right SD-WAN solution can be a challenge, but the list of potential vendors gets much shorter once you choose between the Do-it-Yourself (DIY) and Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) options. DIY solutions are geared toward larger enterprise IT teams with the depth of resources to deploy and manage their own SD-WAN.  In this model, the internal IT team will need to install and manage the orchestration platform, in addition to the ongoing monitoring and management of the SD-WAN.  There are other hidden DIY costs to consider, such as SD-WAN certification training, installation and management of the SD-WAN cloud infrastructure, and WAN transport between distant sites is usually sold separately.

The NaaS option is on the other end of the spectrum, offering a comprehensive managed SD-WAN solution in a pure OPEX model.  The service provider takes accountability for the SD-WAN orchestration, which frees up additional IT resources.  VINO SD-WAN is NaaS solution that simplifies and accelerates SD-WAN deployments by leveraging service provider expertise to professionally design and install a customized SD-WAN solution.  NaaS also includes the SDN cloud infrastructure and backbone WAN transport, and some even offer network SLAs to ensure customer success.  In the NaaS model, CIOs will still rely on SD-WAN orchestration to provide network analytics and reporting for site availability, application usage, security threats and user quality-of-experience.

Key Takeaways

Underneath the catchy marketing jargon you can uncover plenty of value in SD-WAN Orchestration, but it does vary based on your implementation. Choosing between DIY and NaaS will dictate whether you’ll need to deploy the SD-WAN orchestration platform yourself, and how much IT time will be spent using it.

Operational efficiency can be increased by a wide range of VNFs that enable orchestration of branch networks and even cloud gateway controllers. Don’t underestimate the importance of SD-WAN remote access solutions for home office, mobile workers and IoT devices since these are all trending upward. While all SD-WAN solutions address WAN traffic, organizations running mission-critical applications in public clouds will require a solution that orchestrates both WAN traffic and SaaS applications delivered from public clouds.

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What does downtime cost and how to avoid it


I love to read. One of my favorite authors is Malcom Gladwell who is renowned for explaining human nature and why we behave the way we do and why we make decisions. However, when it comes to phone services, it seems as if so many people make decisions based on a few narrow factors. Price, the charm of the salesperson and the inertia of staying with a current provider seem to be the qualities most common to business clients staying with a poor performing hosted voice provider. I read their horror stories – when the primary motive was saving money or they did a “plug and play” install – which turned out to be “plug and pray“.

In order to find out what is happening in real time to those people that make poor decisions, I went to It is an interesting website where you can see outages from a variety of providers in real time. You can see maps of where outages are occurring and you can also read comments from people posting throughout the outages. It was astounding to see the comments and the shear misery of the downed businesses.

How much does misery cost? A simple method to calculate the cost of an outage is: what is the amount of fixed monthly expense you have per hour for the people that are most affected by the outage and cannot do their job. For example, if I have a call center taking inbound sales calls with seven agents and I am paying the agents each $12.00 per hour, my fixed direct cost is $84. An outage of 4 hours costs me $ 84 x 4= $336.  That is the lowest estimate of what that four hour outage cost – speak to your accountant on how your indirect costs will increase your cost (for most businesses) to almost double that amount. If I factor in the cost of lost business- people that were trying to reach me during those four down hours, my costs are further increased due to the lost revenue.

If I look at the heat map of the outages on, I see that I live in a sea of red for my Internet service provider- the worst place to be. How can I mitigate the costs of an outage? As my father has taught me, the best way out of a critical situation is never to be in one.

Technology is supposed to help us. Right? Well, that is why we have the latest and greatest development called SD WAN (software defined wide area network). The best way to make sure that your provider doesn’t go down is to make sure that you have multiple providers and multiple ways of reaching the Internet. That is the rationale behind SD-WAN. Basically, it means that you have a device on your premise that enables you to plug in multiple connections to the Internet into one device to make one big connection to the Internet. When service is not down due to an outage, you are able to aggregate your services. When service on one of the component connections is down, the SD WAN provider routes all of your traffic to the other connections. So if I have a cable modem, a fiber connection and a wireless LTE connection, the probability of all of them going down simultaneously is virtually null. If I couple that with a hosted service that is housed in a Level III data center and a portal that allows me to route incoming calls to other devices or locations, I have eliminated the chance of an outage.

If you look at 99% reliability, that means approximately 20 hours of down time a year. Even 99.9 % reliability can cost 2 hours of downtime. You can’t choose when that downtime is going to happen. It can happen at a low impact time – or it can happen at the worst possible moment.

Lessons Learned:

  • Go onto and see if there are lots of outages with your provider
  • If you want to avoid the risk of downtime, diversify your bandwidth
  • Make sure that your cloud phone provider is housed in the best possible data center
  • Make sure your cloud phone provider is completely virtualized with redundancy.
  • Make sure that you have access to a portal and know how to re-route your calls immediately.
  • Make sure that you use SD WAN as part of your total solution.