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How to Lead today's Hybrid Enterprise with Software-Defined Perimeter

Enterprises today are challenged with accessing resources that are not on-prem securely. IT professionals also struggle with today’s digital transformation where control is limited as companies migrate and manage remote users, applications and cloud systems. In addition, IT workloads have evolved dramatically where XaaS and cloud service providers have shifted the IT infrastructure that supports the enterprise away from its users. Enterprise applications and workloads are increasingly supported by distributed infrastructure and capabilities that often stretch across multiple cloud providers, data center providers and XaaS providers. In this shift, often times the security policies and solutions that are protecting critical data and applications remain on physical hardware.

 

The Need for Zero Trust

Zero Trust is a philosophy that changes the way businesses approach network security. The concept is that it’s a security model that redesigns networks into micro-perimeters. Zero trust is generated to limit risks associated with excessive user privileges by adopting these three main elements. First is the fact that zero trust ensures all resources accessed are secure regardless of the location or hosting model. Second, this model adopts a “least privledge” strategy to strictly enforce access control. Lastly, the zero trust model inspects and logs all traffic for suspicious activity.

“Zero Trust demands that CIOs and CISOs move away from legacy, perimeter-centric models of information security – which are useless for today’s digital businesses, no longer bounded by the four walls of their corporation – to a model that is both data- and identity centric and extends security across the entire business ecosystem.” – Forrester

 

What is Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) and how does will it help?

Software-defined perimeter is an open security architecture promoted by cloud security alliances comprised of vendors and practitioners that specialize in network security. SDP has three main elements for this type of architecture:

-          Identity-Centric: user- or device- based access control; bridges the gap between network security user roles, admin and application access tailored to the specific policies; enables the network to minimize the number of network access

-          Precise, Adaptive, Resilient Security: emphasizes authentication before connection where it can dynamically- provisioned for 1:1 connectivity where each individual will have a unique view of the network tailored to their policy

-          Designed for hybrid environments: Infrastructure-neutral and simplifies security for environments with a mix of cloud and on-prem environments

“By 2011, 60% of enterprises will phase out network VPNs for digital business communications in favor of software-defined perimeters.” – Gartner

 

A Better Approach to Secure Access

It’s virtually impossible to secure your distributed, hybrid IT infrastructure with perimeter security that hasn’t been updated in 20 years. Perimeter-based security solutions such as VPNs, next-gen firewalls and NACs are ineffective against malicious insiders and targeted attacks. These antiquated tools are also complex and expensive to operate.

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Our top colocation and security partner, Cyxtera, offers a top of the line solution called AppGate SDP that meet these zero trust elements. It is also resilient and massively scalable to support enterprise-grade, mission-critical and global environments. Learn more with Jim Anthony, Cyxtera’s VP of Cybersecurity Sales Engineering as we will be a guest speaker at our IT Executive Panel Discussion at our MR2 Porsche Driving Experience event. Learn more here.

 

 

4 Ways to Drive Productivity in your Workforce

Many modern organizations today are quickly discovering that cloud delivery of daily-use applications, like those constituent of Microsoft Office, is poised to fundamentally raise the bar for workforce activity. High availability, device-agnostic delivery of critical resources, and enhanced centralized control can all benefit organizations taking office apps to the cloud. There are, however, challenges that IT teams must be equipped to address. Vulnerable endpoint devices, a distinct lack of insight into mobile operations, compliance standards and cumbersome provisioning processes can lead to notable concerns. How can organizations safeguard mobile operations without hindering productivity? How can IT teams remedy these concerns with minimal cost to the organization? 

1. A strong foundation for IT teams - outsourcing management to an industry leading technology partner can delivery some of the most powerful and effective office tools, via the Cloud, with committed support from dedicated expert staff. Organizations can be rest assured of rapid alert issues with customized, real-time health check monitoring, and expedient response for resolution. Enable centralized control of permissions at the device and application level, compliance and policies and resource provisioning. By outsourcing these services can help work in concert to simplify IT's role in enabling a productive mobile workforce without increased CapEX, and leveraging a predicable OpEx structure with one destination for service and support. 

 

2. Centralizing Control Without Sacrificing Insight - choose the best technology partner to align your organization's business productivity goals with the essential controls and settings to your organization's IT teams and administrators. IT can efficiently enable end-users, workgroups, or the organization in its entirety without access to the endpoint device or complex server configurations. IT teams can then extend and enhance security and policy standards beyond the application suite, to the endpoint device, and user accounts with comprehensive EMM capabilities. Security standards and end-user permissions can be realized on-the-fly, without lengthy roll-out procedures or risking a lapse in compliance. 

 

3. Reliability and Security Built-in to every solution - Leverage a resource that had a deep and outstanding partnership with Microsoft and VMware to gain access to some of the most influential and resilient solutions for productivity and mobility. Your firm will have the capability to enhance their staff, customize solutions for distinct business and compliance needs and have application-level support readily available. Having a technology partner committed to responsiveness and proactive preparedness will allow IT teams to eliminate the question of support capacity in order to focus on the critical business technology goals. With strong Service Level Agreements and enterprise-class data centers, secure mobile productivity will elevate the standard for availability and resiliency. 

 

4. Work with MR2 Solutions & Navisite for your cloud, mobile, disaster recovery and security needs - Every client deserves world-class service and support - our team of highly experienced IT professionals is passionate about your business and dedicated to your success. MR2 Solutions works to ensure we continuously move toward your long-term business goals and deliver results. Our philosophy and commitment to service is deeply rooted in the depth of expertise we bring to every relationship. 

 

Learn more on how we can help at our EXCLUSIVE IT PANEL DISCUSSION at the PORSCHE EXPERIENCE CENTER. Listen to IT executives talk about today's IT mega trends of Cloud, Security, SD-WAN and UCaas that can help empower companies to leverage technology to drive company revenue. Afterwards, join us for lunch and a cocktail hour reception to network with fellow c-level executives and technology experts. Attendees will also have the opportunity to get behind the wheel at the Car Simulator lab and take a unique behind the scenes tour of the grand facility. With limited seats, REGISTER NOW!

 

PORSCHE DRIVING EXPERIENCE Powered by MR2 

Fri. July 27, 2018 | 9:30AM

Porsche Experience Center | 19800 S. Main St, Carson, CA 90745

>> REGISTER HERE <<

Making Business Communications Easy Again

CIO’s looking for ways to help employees stay connected and collaborate while working in different locations around the globe are faced with a complex variety of devices, applications, and collaboration technologies. While employees have access to many of these technologies on their personal devices, the traditional barriers of complexity and costs have limited deployment of business-class solutions to larger enterprises.

Enter unified cloud communications. A cloud communications solution offers businesses a unified telecommunications service that leverages newfound reliability and advanced technology, without the cost and complexity associated with larger enterprise solutions.

But not all unified communications solutions are created equal.

With a focus on providing maximum benefit with minimum impact on your company, 8x8 has built a single Cloud Communications and Contact Center platform that enhances the customer experience by harmonizing the employee experience. Here’s how the platform optimizes the communications experience:

1. Offloads complexities to the cloud

Bringing voice, collaboration tools, contact center and real-time analytics to the cloud removes the need to purchase, provision, manage and maintain on-premise equipment. It removes the expense of expert administrators, means fewer vendors, fewer bills and fewer apps, while connecting employees from across the street to around the globe, 8x8’s Cloud Communications and Contact Center platform makes it easier to meet customer needs and exceed their expectations.

2. One phone number, multiple devices 

In today’s communications-drenched work environment, both customers and employees demand immediate access via their preferred communication device. Problem is, switching between different devices leaves data behind and requires different passwords, protocols and too many apps and configurations to manage.

With 8x8’s Cloud Communications and Contact Center solution, your employees and customers can continue to engage one another using their preferred devices, but on a single, unified platform that allows a streamlined, consistent experience. Chat, mobile phones, softphones, desktop phones, instant messages and video chat are integrated from the ground up on one platform, removing the siloes that many businesses are currently contending with as they struggle to keep up with the changing landscape of communications.

3. 21st Century collaboration capabilities

With offices in multiple locations where employees can tap resources well beyond their physical locations, having a cloud-built unified communications platform that can integrate multiple devices into one number and offer advanced collaboration is critical. 8x8’s built-in collaboration allows for an extended reach to a broader pool of experts, improved decision making, and more engaged employees. This new dimension of business communications dials in productivity while creating a richer experience for employees and clients, allowing for more innovation and competitiveness, regardless of the size of business or the market you’re in.

In fact, that’s why 8x8 has spent the past half decade building and acquiring technology across two previously separate categories: unified communications and contact center solutions.  It is by no stroke of coincidence that 8x8 offers products that specifically enable organizations to leverage their employees, experts and data to innovate and serve customers in ways that build true business value.

4. Better Call Quality

8x8’s communications-as-a-service model affords companies with enhanced call quality on a supremely stable and reliable communications platform. By including seamless failover capability that requires no additional capital, rack space or servers to maintain, they’re able to deliver maximum communications uptime for clients. Where traditional infrastructure and premise-based systems can be configured for disaster recovery, this process can be complex and riddled with missteps that mean when disaster strikes, the phone systems take hours or days to recover. 8x8’s Cloud Communications and Contact Center assures maximum availability and rapid disaster recovery without the bottlenecks and single-points of failure that weigh down premise-based legacy systems, so your business can stay connected no matter what happens.

 

Contact our specialists to learn how 8x8’s Cloud Communications and Contact Center Platform can enrich the employee experience and deliver an exceptionally positive customer experience. 

The 8 Most-Asked Questions About Cloud Communications – Answered

81% of CIOs believe IT is entering a new era of customer-driven initiatives. Businesses are increasingly embracing cloud communications to craft better customer experiences. Some IT executives, failing to recognize the opportunities cloud solutions can bring to their businesses, are reluctant to adopt this new communications platform. Savvy CIOs view it as a key enabler of a more agile, connected employee and customer experience. They recognize that providing employees with a more aligned communications platform will empower them to deliver a superior experience for customers. As with any new technology, there are several misconceptions and questions to consider.

These 8 most-asked questions will shed some light on how transformative cloud communications can be for your business:

1. Is it cost-effective? Cloud is more agile and requires less infrastructure than its on-premises counterpart. You only pay for what you use, allowing most companies to reap the benefits of savings while gaining in highly desirable collaboration, mobility and customer engagement features for employees.

2. Is cloud right for my size business? Not all cloud solutions offer the robust capabilities and reliable platform to work as a successful communications model for companies. 8x8’s Cloud Communications and Contact Center platform supports 50,000 global businesses of all sizes, with a cloud solution that can grow with you, easily scaling up or down without compromising features.

3. How reliable is a cloud solution? Again, this depends on the solution you deploy, but cloud solutions are far more reliable than on-site hosted phone systems. 8x8’s Cloud Communications and Contact Center platform can increase your uptime significantly. Their agreements include a money-backed guarantee of 99.99% uptime.  Can your PBX provider offer the same? 

4. Will I get global call capabilities? With 15 redundant data centers distributed across the globe, 8x8’s Cloud Communications and Contact Center platform offers international local, toll-free and local number transfer services in over 80 countries. Plus, 8x8’s patented geo-routing algorithm delivers the highest call quality regardless of where the caller is in the world.

5. How accessible is it? If it is a complete cloud communications solution, the solution delivers the full breadth of UC and contact center capabilities with the flexibility to add capabilities and users as needed. This includes contact centers and calling platforms. With a cloud communications system from 8x8 everything is accessible anytime, anywhere from any device.

6. Can it do what my phone does now? Nobody wants you to give up capabilities. A cloud communications solution from 8x8 offers you the full breadth of capabilities you depend on today including voice, video, messaging, meetings and customer engagement tools to improve productivity and revenues for your company.

7. Is a cloud solution secure and compliant with government regulations? It should be! 8x8’s Cloud Communications and Contact Center platform is backed with industry-leading security and compliance standards and has passed third-party audits for compliance with HIPAA, PCI-DSS, FISMA and other U.S. regulations.

8. How do you pay for cloud? Cloud solutions are often more accessible to businesses of any size because instead of a capital outlay, they can be paid for monthly as an operating expense. 8x8‘s flexible mix of service packages provide more cost-effective solutions, while also reducing the amount of specialized IT skills and resources required to make the phones work.

Not all cloud communications solutions are created equal. A single Cloud Communications and Contact Center solution from 8x8 offers companies ONE platform that aligns and engages on all channels, creating a harmonized platform that empowers employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Everyone’s talking about cloud solutions. Get the facts first. Contact us to learn more.

Fear of Change in the Age of the Customer

Fear of Change in the Age of the Customer

Sometimes, we need to destroy the status quo to create a new model of engagement. Sometimes, the market does that for us and that can be even scarier. Change is always scary and overwhelming, especially when it comes to technology. But it is inevitable.

The Cloud is changing the way businesses communicate.  Businesses have a unique opportunity to capitalize on this major shift to offer a secure, seamless communications experience that is simpler to deploy and more intuitive to use. If you want to play the game, the siloed, broken communications of yesterday aren’t going to cut it any longer.

Regardless of what business you’re in, your customer’s experience is your top priority. Customers increasingly prefer human interaction over digital communications channels, positioning your communications systems as a key enabler for delivering superior customer experience. Cloud communications offers your company a unique opportunity to craft the ideal customer experience, creating a competitive advantage few companies have thought to seize upon. With shifting demands and perceptions, it comes down to the company that’s intrepid enough to pull the trigger first.

Here are a few mindsets that help your organization prioritize customer experience:

Every department is a service department

In today’s highly competitive market, customer loyalty is no longer entrenched as part of our social culture. In fact, 90% of customers today feel that businesses are too slow and unresponsive. 59% of those customers will try your competitor for a better experience, without hesitation. Legacy, premises-based phone systems offer siloed, fractured and inconsistent communications that reinforce breakdowns in employee and customer interactions and slow your ability to provide service. In short, they simply can’t compete with the cloud’s ability to seamlessly integrate communications systems with business applications and processes. The implication is businesses that more quickly adapt to this modern approach to communications will be the clear winner among customers.

Every conversation is an opportunity

Every conversation customers have with your employees provide an opportunity to deliver superior customer service. 20th century PBX systems were never designed to support the remote, distributed workforce of the 21st century. Employees increasingly demand the ability to work flexible schedules from the location of their choosing, across multiple devices. According to a 2015 Citrix and Forrester study in 2015, 85% of employees use a mobile device for work. And yet most traditional PBX systems, with their hardwired infrastructures, can’t easily accommodate needs of this increasingly wireless, mobile workforce.  When employees use tools like personal laptops, mobile devices, Google Hangouts, Skype and Facetime to accomplish this, information leaves company networks to unsecure devices, and collaboration becomes more difficult.   

Failure is not an option

Current business communications options, like traditional PBX phone systems, have many shortcomings. One of the most significant is the cost and complexity of ensuring your phones are one of the first services restored after any adverse event. While it is possible to develop an effective disaster recovery solution with a premises-based solution, it is not as seamless and cost-effective as a cloud solution. Moving to cloud-based business communications is a painless way to ensure a disaster doesn’t leave your phones down for hours or – worse yet – days.

New isn’t always better. However, when sweeping technology changes impact the expectations of customers, businesses must keep up. If the only thing holding you back is a fear of change, consider the risks and benefits. What would more accessible employees mean for your business? How could enhanced collaboration improve time to market? What would a 99.99% uptime mean for your profitability? The fact is you must leverage your communications effectively, if you want to remain competitive.

Don’t fear change. Embrace it.

Contact MR2 Solutions to find out how we can help you leverage better communications for the 21st century.

Also, stay tuned with our upcoming seminars and networking events and sign up here!

How to Handle IT Challenges for Today's Enterprise Storage

One of the biggest IT challenges in today's modern data center is dealing with short technology life cycles. Hardware upgrading has become a frustrating issue with fast and expensive advancements in storage media. As business grows, data rapidly increases with many organizations tasked to do even more with less resources. In addition, IT professionals struggle with complexities and risks of security breaches and ransomeware. To add even more difficulties, the latest technologies that can handle all of these issues are way too expensive. Luckily, MR2 Solutions is always up for the challenge of finding cost-efficient and the most optimized solutions for fellow IT professionals. Here are some ways to help alleviate some grievances when dealing with today's enterprise storage: 

 

1.) Adopt Storage Tiering within your storage solution

 

Storage tiering addresses performance and data availability while keeping costs reasonable and leveraging new media. There's no reason to spend on high performance storage for data not frequently used. As data grows, these expensive storage solutions will make you pay for 100% of the data while only 20% benefit from it. With limited budgets, many organizations need to realize that not all data is created equal, not all have the same access requirements. With Tier Abstraction, efficient tiering allows medium changes and adding & removing capabilities. It's crucial to analyze data to assure it resides in optimal tier. Flexibility is also important in how data moves allowing granular & build data movement between tiers. 

 

2.) Remember Efficient use of Storage

 

Just as efficient movement of data is critical, it's just as important to have efficient use of the storage medium. While storage tiering is a major strategy that helps IT professionals reach that goal, IT storage environments need in-line and in-memory global deduplication and compression that only comes from the most innovative storage manufacturers. Managers and directors should assure that no data blocks exist twice in any tier, maximizing efficiency and utilization of any media, from the least expensive external cloud storage to less expensive local hard disks, to the most expensive "prime real estate" of flash, DRAM, NVRAM and the like. 

 

3.) Save cost and space with embedded Data Protection

 

Security breaches and ransomeware while dealing with SLA requirements is another burden most IT professionals face today with their enterprise storage. While abstracting data from the physical location addresses the challenges of tiering, abstracting data from TIME addresses data protection. Accessing data from the past should be fast and simple with down-to-the-second foolproof data protection. Rather than looking for the capability of capturing snapshots for your storage solution, there is another way to protect your data. Through repeated cloning over time, unique and independent volume of data can be used for different data consumers and can be sent to remote locations or to internal customers to different locations. 

 

4.) Meet RTO & RPO without the High Cost

 

Access your data immediately with near-to zero RPO/RTO. Send data to any iSCSI target or any S3 compliant target in as low as a 5-minute RPO as data is deduped and compressed before transferring. All data appears as though it were local and hot data begins transferring back to the local volumes. Any blocks not local will be pulled and retrieved on demand. 

 

Now you may ask, "How do I get all of these capabilities and ensure these best practices without over spending?"

 

The answers are within our technology partner, Reduxio. Get simple, efficient, and effective enterprise storage that delivers performance, protection, flexibility and extensibility - a Reduxio guarantee. Want to discover more? MR2 Solutions is hosing multiple info sessions and events with Reduxio throughout this year. 

Learn from an educational technology brief and network with technology experts from MR2 Solutions & Reduxio as well as other industry peers. 

Refer to our calendar to see upcoming events and details. REGISTER NOW!

 

>> REDUXIO EVENTS HERE << 

 

Top 3 Use Cases for Database Performance with Kaminario

 

MR2 Solutions works with technology partners that can bring high performance and simplicity to our client's IT infrastructure so that our clients can solve critical challenges that include storage at capacity, expanding data types, performance, and budget. Kaminario aims to redefine the future of modern data centers. Delivering agility, scalability, performance and economics a data center requires to deal with today's cloud-first, dynamic world and provide real-time data access anywhere and anytime. Below are the top 3 use cases on how Kaminario's unique solution enables organizations to success in today's on-demand world and prepares them to seamlessly handle tomorrow's innovations. 

 

1.) Avantis Credit Union 

Advantis was looking for a next-generation all-flash storage array to reduce latency within their environment. Native replication was a requirement. 

 

Why Kaminario?

  • Consistently high database performance
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Ease of installation and simplicity of management (GUI, reporting)
  • Integrated native replication

 

2.) Arcadia

Their customer requirements include agile scale-out/Up architecture, VDI - Citrix XenDesktop, and Test / Dev Workloads. 

 

Why Kaminario?

  • Predictable scalability & performance
  • Unlimited scalability
  • Cost - Cheaper & faster than Dell AFA
  • Data Reduction Benefits - Thin Provisioning, Dedupe, Compression
  • Partner relationship with CDW

 

3.) Broadcom

Leading designer, developer and global supplier of a broad range of digital and analog semiconductor connectivity solutions, Broadcom used Kaminario for their test lab to provide a platform to test new software and capabilities of their hardware. 

 

Why Kaminario? 

  • Required for their test lab to validate future software releases

 

Want to learn more? Contact one of our solutions specialists to dive deeper into your specific business needs. Contact Us. OR

Attend our upcoming event where we'll talk about solving critical issues such as slow running SQL queries leading to slow online responses, not being able to meet SLAs, excessive locking and application time-outs, and more. Join us for lunch at Fleming's Steakhouse in Victoria Gardens and steak will be on us! 

 

MR2 & Kaminario Lunch & Learn: How to Supercharge your Applications and Databases in your Data Center

Thursday May 25, 2017 | 11AM 

Fleming's Steakhouse - Victoria Gardens

 >> RSVP HERE <<

 

 

 

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MR2 is in TechSeen with Reduxio

MR2 Solutions thrives on bringing success to our customers. For VCA Consultants, an engineering firm that creates structural engineering design and consulting services, they were in need of a solution that could handle enterprise workloads and simplify and streamline the IT infrastructure. To competitively meet their industry standards, VCA Consultants needed leverage technology in order to meet market demands. Building Information Models, 3-D modeling projects and AutoCAD Revit in structural design required storage capacity and performance. 

After several discovery meetings to understand their specific business needs and goals, MR2 was able to diagnose their IT challenges and present to them a solution that was cost-efficient. Reduxio had offered VCA Consultants enterprise flash hybrid storage technology with a revolutionary TimeOS storage operating system that also included breakthrough storage efficiency and performance. At the same time, the solution had the ability to recover data to any second, far exceeding anything available today. >> Learn more about it here

Posted by on in Uncategorized

As a local IT solutions integrator, we strive to provide the latest information on not only today's hottest data center trends, but also the most efficient technology. We understand that managing today's modern infrastructure isn't an easy task, especially if you are a one man shop, which is why MR2 continues to deliver the most optimized solution along with unrivaled implementation & support services at the most competitive cost. In order to promise this, we strategically partner up with only the best in the industry. Our MR2 seminar events with our partners provide an educational experience - no pushing product at all - simply to inform the IT community of the latest and greatest that's out there. Our event also provide opportunities to network with other IT professionals, along with seasoned engineers and experts from our vendor partners. That way you can build trusting business relationships. 

 

How do we get the information out there? We use ZiftSolutions to be able to deliver updates, information and announcements to our customer base. Their platform had helped us inform our community of the technologies that can best solve their specific IT challenges and meet their business needs. Check out our case study here! >> READ MORE HERE << 

MR2 HCI Partner Revolutionizes the IT World

MR2 Solutions is proud to announce that one of our Tier 1 technology partners for Hyperconverged Infrastructure of IT, SimpliVity, had made CNBC’s list of Disruptor Companies for 2016. The list consists of very successful private companies within 15 industries – ranging from aerospace, retail, technology to financial services – whose innovations are disrupting their industries. As “forward-thinking start-ups” these companies have grown tremendously (passing the billion-dollar mark) in a such a rapid rate. The ranking of these companies were based off of how they create new ecosystems for their products and services, while “raising $41 billion in venture capital at an implied Disruptor 50 list market valuation of $242 billion..”

 

SimpliIVty, launched bac in 2009, now values at $1 billion with $276 million in funding. Their ranking is also validated through how their customers also play a strong role in investing in the company. In this case, Waypoint Capital, having the SimpliVity’s platform within five of its global sites, also led a $175 million round of financing last year. With the company having 750 employees in 24 countries, SimpliVity had grown its customer base 2.5 times in the past year.

As MR2 Solutions continues to work with SimpliVity, we are providing our customers the relevant information and innovative technologies that can enable businesses to get ahead of their competitors.

Read more on the “Meet the 2016 CNBC Disruptor 50 Companies” article.

 

For more information on SimpliVity, learn more here.

Technology Partners