Network Security 101

What is network security?Network Security

What are the threats?

How does it protect you?

How does it work?

What are the business benefits?

You may think you know the answers to these seemingly basic questions; even still, it’s a good idea to ask them of your network administrator or trusted IT partner. Why? Unless you are a network security professional, you most likely lack the resources and knowledge to protect your business (or personal devices) from today’s sophisticated Internet threats.

What is Network Security?

In answering the question, “What is network security?” it should be explained that network security refers to any activities designed to protect your network. Specifically, these activities protect the usability, reliability, integrity, and safety of your network and data. Effective network security targets a variety of threats and stops them from entering or spreading on your network. Read more of this post

Healthcare Mergers: Bigger Buildings, Bigger Bandwidth

Bigger Bandwidth_Bigger BuildingsClose to 50% of the healthcare providers with which we meet request pricing for additional locations they are attempting to acquire. You might guess the other half don’t mention it because they are the ones being acquired. That very well may be the case, but some things are better left unsaid! It does beg the question though: “Why is this consolidation happening now?”

An article posted in the New York Times last August states the following:

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has unleashed a merger frenzy, with hospitals scrambling to shore up their market positions, improve operational efficiency, and create organizations capable of managing population health. The figures are impressive: 105 deals were reported in 2012 alone, up from 50 to 60 annually in the pre-ACA, pre-recession years of 2005–2007.”1

In a different article by Christopher Pope from The Heritage Foundation website this August he states:

“The national health care law reinforces the trend of providers, including doctors and hospitals, to merge into large regional health systems that dominate local markets.” He goes on further to state: “This growth of monopoly power is not the result of free-market forces, but the deliberate product of public policy.”2

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Shifting Gears Towards a Modern E-rate

Gear ShiftWith school back in session, K-12 district IT staff are busy supporting day-to-day instructional needs, providing the equipment and services needed to teach. At the same time, it is never too early to think about needs and budgets for next school year, especially when the technological landscape is evolving daily. Having built scores of fiber networks for school districts under the FCC E-Rate initiative, we follow changes and modifications to the program very closely.

With the release of its E-Rate Modernization Order on August 12th, the FCC introduced new goals for the program, many of which are timely in light of the ConnectED and SETDA initiatives. Specific policy changes support the following objectives. Read more of this post

How Bright is your City?

Smart CityIn some industries, it’s easy to see the footprint you leave. In the glamorous world of advertising and telecomm it’s often not so clear-cut. Cue, “Smart Cities.” Smart cities are defined as “cities of the future – they invest in information and communications technology (ICT), such as broadband networks and analytics software, to become more attractive places for Americans to live and work.”1 In our business, this is the day-to-day impact we are making on the world.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, people working in U.S. cities contribute up to 90% of the nation’s GDP and compose 83% of the population.1 In a smart city model, multiple entities coordinate to leverage technology investments across an entire department, organization, city and city ecosystem (with utilities, schools and universities, and even other cities). That’s where companies like ours come in; with such a large percentage of the population situated in these metro markets, we are their broadband backbone. Read more of this post

A Non-Engineer’s Take on Wide Area Networks

Wide Area Network PortWide Area Networks (WANs) have been designed to address the specific needs of varying types of organizations, businesses and consumers. Business type, number of employees, data security level, geographical distance between sites, file transfer size and requirements, and user profile are just some of the factors that dictate what type of WAN technology will be the most cost-effective and efficient. Often, organizations may implement a hybrid combination of network solutions.

Five main types of Wide Area Networks exist:

  1. Domestic MPLS  (Multi-Protocol Label Switching)
  2. International MPLS
  3. Carrier (Switched) Ethernet
  4. Carrier (Private) Ethernet
  5. Optical Carrier Private Line

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