The Importance of Telecom Cybersecurity

Considering our modern world relies so heavily on connectivity, and the telecom industry lies amid this domain, malicious attacks to security are bound to occur. Security systems for companies based in telecommunications are predominately threatened by cyber-attacks, due to the overwhelming amount of sensitive information available. In a few cases, telecom companies will act as intermediaries in the chain from supplier to subscriber, which opens even more vulnerabilities to the security of the architecture. Businesses often seek optimal security for all aspects within their IT sector including physical or virtual components, data, applications, networks, servers, or desktops.

At ITC2, our experienced advisors are here to help you navigate the increasingly complex realm of telecom cybersecurity programs and solutions available. A properly implemented security service for telecommunications will offer early detection of cyber-risks, decreased amounts of pointed attacks, rapid response rates for occurring incidents, and advanced overall protection. As cybercriminals continually modify their practices to adapt to changing opportunities, telecom cybersecurity solutions must evolve as well, with more predictive measures taken to mitigate threats before they have the opportunity to cause serious damage. Additionally, more companies are implementing the use of AI technology for the task of constant monitoring, as this responsibility is growing too quickly to be feasibly completed by human work effort. Due to these components, taking control of your company’s telecom cybersecurity is a critical step in the Digital Optimization™ process.

Largest Cybersecurity Threats in Telecommunications

With the additions of cloud computing, IOT, AI technology, and a growing number of connected devices, the perimeter of visibility is widening. An important key point when attempting to reduce overall risk is acknowledging the wide variety of possible threats to your telecom cybersecurity, which may include:

  • DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attacks: Cyber attackers intentionally overwhelm their target with a stream of Internet traffic to deplete their victim’s uptime and availability.
  • Data Breaches: Telecom providers continue to struggle with these attacks as they are prime targets due to their valuable data and the breadth of their services.
  • Internal Threats & Human Error: This type of risk is always present in a company, typically stemming from an employee who intentionally, or by mistake, compromises the security of the system, resulting in the loss or theft of data.
  • Indirect Client Attacks: Due to telecom companies often having a large client base, they are more at risk for attacks targeted to their customers from cybercriminals, such as identity theft, malware, and phishing attempts.

How to Strengthen Your Company’s Telecom Cybersecurity

understand iconUnderstand plausible threats to your system

recognize iconRecognize the perimeter of vital security boundaries

Implement robust security solutions to mitigate risk

Train personnel on protocol to reduce human error

How Does ITC2 Help Telecom Companies Solve Cybersecurity Issues?

At ITC2, we offer personalized solutions in telecom cybersecurity to meet your business’s goals for Digital Optimization™ and Digital Risk Management™. Our trusted advisors have over 300 years of combined IT experience in best practices in telecom cybersecurity. We’ll help in constructing a security strategy to defend your company’s telecom systems against identified cyberthreats. Through assessment, planning, and implementation, ITC2 will be there with your company every step of the way. Read all about how we successfully helped a company with telecom cybersecurity in this case study. In supporting your business’s unique needs, our experienced IT consultants will aid in the selection process of a telecom cybersecurity solution which will secure and streamline your company’s workforce into the future.

 

About ITC2

ITC2 is a Gartner recognized Minority Business Enterprise Supplier with a 94% customer satisfaction rating from Dunn & Bradstreet, a requirement to do business with Federal, State, County, and City Governments.

For more information, call (404) 507-2105, visit ITC2.net, follow us on Facebook (@DigitalOptimizationSolutions), LinkedIn (@ITC2), YouTube (@ITC2), and Twitter (@ITCtwo).

Streamline Your Network with SD-WAN

What is SD-WAN?

Networking has become extremely complex with cloud computing growth and the increasing amounts of connections through various devices and global locations. Having a WAN (Wide Area Network) integrated through MPLS connections is no longer an ideal architecture on which companies should operate. Networking and infrastructure must evolve with the ever-changing IT developments and with a business’s needs. SD-WAN, or in other words, Software Defined – Wide Area Network, offers numerous solutions to streamline your company’s workplace. Through a central management system and simplified operations process, this modernized structure will further your journey to Digital Optimization™.

Why Choose SD-WAN?

Although companies were looking to upgrade and optimize their MPLS-based WAN architecture for increased performance in the past few years, transitioning to a personalized SD-WAN network is a far more valuable solution looking forward. There are varying types of SD-WAN networking systems; however, they all provide similar benefits over any existing architecture. ITC2 advisors are here to help your company select the appropriate SD-WAN solution for your personal IT needs. The most common benefits experienced when an SD-WAN network is implemented include:

  • Connection to the Cloud: Dated network systems were designed when the idea of cloud computing was nonexistent. Currently, most companies have adopted cloud technology within their business operations in some form, and their preexisting solutions cannot support the growing requirements in this new environment. SD-WAN offers a contemporary fix to these issues while also granting advanced data security in the cloud’s borderless setting.
  • Efficiency: Compared to traditional WAN networking, SD-WAN does not require as much human interaction with the system, such as manually changing a router’s commands, for example. The centralized management process of SD-WAN offers a simplified networking method that allows employees to spend time on more critical tasks and decreases human errors. Companies can easily configure, manage, and define rules or policies within the network that are automatically implemented across the entire system.
  • Faster Network Performance: SD-WAN streamlines traffic by optimizing all paths across the network and diminishing the system’s downtime, which improves functionality and value in your business operations.
  • Cost Savings: The implementation of SD-WAN technology dramatically decreases IT costs by combining the previously mentioned components of increased performance and efficiency in the workplace. Companies may also use SD-WAN to reduce their number of costly MPLS connectivity lines and switch to primarily using broadband technologies.

How Can ITC2 Help?

At ITC2, we help our customers meet their Digital Optimization™ and Digital Risk Management™ goals by assisting with SD-WAN networking. Our trusted advisors have over 300 years of combined IT experience. They will plan to successfully transform this system with assessment, strategic planning, and a modernized approach to the implementation process. In supporting your business’s unique needs, our experienced IT consultants will aid in the selection process of SD-WAN technology, streamlining the company’s workforce into the future.

About ITC2

ITC2 is a Gartner recognized Minority Business Enterprise Supplier with a 94% customer satisfaction rating from Dunn & Bradstreet, a requirement to do business with Federal, State, County, and City Governments.

For more information, call (404) 507-2105, visit ITC2.net, follow us on Facebook (@DigitalOptimizationSolutions), LinkedIn (@ITC2), YouTube (@ITC2), and Twitter (@ITCtwo).

Doctor holding a tablet with technology and medical icons

With the surge in telehealth and telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers are transforming their service delivery model to help patients stay safe while getting the treatment they need.  Telemedicine empowers physicians to improve outcomes in many ways.  Telemedicine offers the flexibility of remote screening not only during regular business hours, but can expand to after hour calls, enabling providers to make more informed decisions about proceeding with treatment options or seeking emergency care.  Co-pays can be easily managed with secure payment storage options.  Technology transforms the options for primary care physicians and specialists to collaborate in real-time, and the flexibility offered by telehealth offers endless options for new patient care models to be served by a team of professionals in ways never imagined before.

Plus, patients are happy with the convenience of virtual healthcare.  According to a research study conducted by MGH, 79% of patients felt that telehealth appointments could be scheduled to a more convenient time than office visits, and “68 percent of patients rated virtual video visits at 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale.”  Telehealth has many benefits, but it does not come without security concerns and challenges.  Practitioners need to ensure they have ample cybersecurity in their healthcare networks and IT ecosystems.

 

“Cybersecurity is of utmost importance for any medical practice,” said Les Peterson, CEO, ITC2.  “Storage of sensitive patient data and network security are important areas to consider when leveraging security solutions for telemedicine and maintenance of patient records.”

 

Why are medical practices one of the largest targets for cyber attackers?

Because of the increased technological innovation in the healthcare field and rise of remote care via telehealth, systems are more vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the increase in potential points of entry.  According to Entrepreneur magazine, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, cybercriminals have been exploiting the strain of the healthcare crisis to deliver malware, compromising the infrastructure of hospitals, urgent care facilities, and other medical practices.  These security breaches are often followed by a demand ransom to restore the systems.  Additionally, cybercriminals target medical networks for unauthorized access to sensitive patient information and data.  Cybersecurity in healthcare is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be a headache for your medical practice.

Are you confident in your network connection?

Patients are seeking stability and effective care with their healthcare providers.  Telehealth is one way to encourage more collaboration and patient communication, especially during the time of COVID-19.  By focusing on network security, resilience is bolstered by maintaining quality of service and continuity of patient care despite typical cybersecurity threats to the healthcare industry.  Practitioners can feel confident in the quality and accuracy of the data transmitted over the network when appropriate steps are taken to ensure effective cybersecurity in healthcare.

Cybersecurity in healthcare is often thought about from a perspective of keeping data safe, but there is so much more to cybersecurity than one would typically think. Imagine the wide range of technological uses for cybersecurity in healthcare, ranging from patient files to remote surgeries assisted by artificial intelligence.  Quality of network connection and service is of upmost importance in all healthcare scenarios.  At ITC2, it isn’t something we take lightly.

Professionals at Healthcare IT Today and Health IT Security highlighted some important solutions to consider for effective cybersecurity in healthcare.  Here are some of our favorite tips:

  • Secure Wireless Connectivity- Full integration and configuration of secure wireless access within the provider’s network is an essential component of cybersecurity in healthcare.
  • Multifactor Authentication- Network security is enhanced by requiring more than just a password and maintaining best practices in password use.
  • Data Loss Prevention- Protected Health Information should be secure through this functionality.
  • Advanced Threat Protection- Local IT teams can analyze suspicious content such as malware before it becomes problematic.
  • Secure Telephony- Telephone calls with providers should be facilitated via solutions that secure and monitor the traffic.
  • Continuous Endpoint Posture Checking- Endpoints are vulnerable outside of the network’s perimeter security with remote options for employees. Therefore, organizations must implement endpoint privilege management to control access.
  • User Experience and Encryption- VPN solutions foster compliance by ensuring data is encrypted.
  • Load Balancing Tech- dynamic load balancing of application performance is important to ensure secure and improved application performance and delivery between systems and practitioners.

 

Are employees working remotely from secure devices?

Ask a consultant at ITC2 today for the best practices regarding remote cybersecurity in healthcare practices.  Employees need a strong network connection with secure devices that are shielded from an imminent cyberattack when working remote.

Employees and patients need to ensure cybersecurity in healthcare through best practices when using telemedicine.  Ensuring that employees are well-trained and are downloading components of their remote work site from reputable online stores or through links sent directly through the company’s portal is one way to prevent cybersecurity breaches.  Understand the telemedicine apps and how they store patient data with HIPAA compliance.  Look out for malicious telehealth links and fishing campaigns to ensure employees are downloading your healthcare portal only, and ensure they have the appropriate training for cybersecurity in healthcare from an end-user perspective.  Let ITC2 help you set up your remote workforce today to ensure the best practices for cybersecurity in healthcare.

Do you know what security risks and susceptibility your current network has?

The first step is to know and assess your existing network in order to provide recommendations for improvement and pinpoint vulnerabilities.  ITC2 can optimize your costs while implementing best practices for cybersecurity in healthcare through Digital Optimization™ of your practice.  We provide healthcare customers with access to an extensive range of carrier and cloud service through a carefully selected portfolio of trusted partners and service providers.  We can assist you in your network upgrade to ensure stronger cybersecurity within your healthcare practice.

What are ITC2’s Core Service Offerings for Healthcare?

Need more information?

ITC2 connects practitioners and patients through the world of telehealth.  With healthcare access at your fingertips, medical professionals are able to screen patients securely and prioritize urgent needs.

If cybersecurity in healthcare is a concern for your practice, let ITC2 help you!  ITC2’s diverse team of subject matter experts will assist you with your telemedicine ecosystem.

When planning for cybersecurity in healthcare, quality of bandwidth is crucial for network security.  We’ll increase your bandwidth capacity while optimizing costs.  Let ITC2 extend and support your IT and procurement teams of your medical practice without cost to you!

ITC2 is a Gartner recognized Minority Business Enterprise Supplier with a 94% customer satisfaction rating from Dunn & Bradstreet, a requirement to do business with Federal, State, County and City Governments.

For more information, call (404) 507-2105, visit ITC2.net, follow us on Facebook (@DigitalOptimizationSolutions), LinkedIn (@ITC2), and Twitter (@ITCtwo).

ITC2 is a proud partner of Resolve, the #1 IT automation platform in the industry. Resolve’s mission is to extend their advanced knowledge of AIOps and IT automation in order to improve simplicity, efficiency, agility, and resiliency in a client company’s operations. Their platform creates and incorporates new automated IT processes with your company’s current solutions to ensure a streamlined and manageable transition.

The following video features a partner from a telecommunications company discussing the two key benefits their business has experienced using Resolve’s automation process: hundreds of hours in time savings and standardization across their global operations.

 

 

Resolve’s progressive automation services allow companies to further their digital transformation journey through several components; a prominent example of this is utilizing AIOps, or artificial intelligence with automated actions, to save employees time performing manual tasks. This technology is able to accelerate repetitive operations, such as testing, monitoring, ticketing, and resolving incidents, as these tasks do not require human interaction with the system. Instead, this spare time is available for assignments that are considerably more valuable for the business. In addition, a fully implemented automation system introduces the concept of standardization for businesses that have centers across several global regions. Resolve’s services can benefit your workforce’s continuity by establishing a standard process that is automated and optimized for your company, rather than each employee or region completing tasks in a different manner and decreasing efficiency.

By implementing Resolve’s valuable service and expertise, your company’s operations will experience benefits across numerous areas. IT infrastructure is rapidly evolving and growing in the age of digital transformation, and Resolve is ready to assist by providing an integrated automation platform to support their customer’s individual needs.

ITC2 proudly partners with Resolve to streamline your business operations with automation while optimizing costs and connecting our clients to the world. ITC2 leverages over 300 combined years of thought leadership and industry experience to ensure that your business’s needs will be best served by streamlining automation and AIOps while saving valuable resources, time, and money. View the case study to learn how ITC2’s team utilized Resolve’s automation platform to help a global financial company automate their service desk. ITC2 to here to provide you with the automation solutions you need.

ITC2 is a Gartner recognized Minority Business Enterprise Supplier with a 94% customer satisfaction rating from Dunn & Bradstreet, a requirement to do business with Federal, State, County and City Governments.

For more information, call (404) 507-2105, visit ITC2.net, follow us on Facebook (@DigitalOptimizationSolutions), LinkedIn (@ITC2), YouTube (@ITC2), and Twitter (@ITCtwo).

Man holding a tablet with a digital cloud above it

What is Cloud Migration?

The “future” of cloud computing is here, and many companies are choosing to transform their IT operations by employing a cloud migration strategy to stay competitive in the industry. The process of cloud migration involves moving existing data and applications from their physical or virtual locations to a cloud environment. Although it is a significant, business-wide endeavor, cloud migration implementation using a tailored strategy ensures a multitude of benefits that considerably outweigh the transitional costs.

What Are the Various Cloud Migration Models?

Typically defined by Gartner as the 5 “R’s”, these varying strategies divide cloud migration into generalized methods. The following methods often act as baselines by which companies choose their specific course of action.

  • Rehost: This cloud migration strategy is also referred to as “lift-and-shift.” It is typically the quickest and most straightforward approach to cloud migration. Data and applications are simply “lifted” from their current virtual or physical storage setting and “shifted” to a new, cloud-based infrastructure. This form of migration does not require any change to the existing code or architecture of the system being moved; however, considerable planning must take place to properly conduct the shift and avoid errors in the process. Additionally, this method does not fully utilize cloud benefits, as the shifted applications are not optimized for the new environment. Rehosting is serviced through an IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) provider.
  • Refactor: Also named “lift, tinker, and shift,” this cloud migration strategy is similar to rehosting due to the fact that the main architecture is left unchanged. With refactoring, applications are adapted and optimized to employ certain features offered in the cloud. Many companies choose to use a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) provider for implementing this method.
  • Revise: Building on the complexity of the previous two methods of migrating to the cloud, revising involves making changes to the system’s existing code and architecture. When applications are optimized further to settle in the cloud environment, more features can be taken advantage of and used to their full potential.
  • Rebuild: When applying this cloud migration strategy, coded applications are entirely rebuilt or rewritten to fit the new cloud architecture while preserving the existing system’s framework overall. The consumer is also able to benefit from the many features the cloud platform has to offer. Although rebuilding may be very time-consuming, expensive, and risky, it can be extremely beneficial for the company’s standing in their information technology operations to meet their digital transformation
  • Replace: Replacing involves eliminating the existing applications in favor of taking on a commercial software system. In this migration, everything is new, other than the existing data that must be migrated over. Replacement as a strategy is similar to the previous method in its high cost and high reward perception. With this cloud migration strategy, companies have the option of switching to a third-party vendor and adopting SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications.

What Are the Factors to Consider When Planning a Cloud Migration Strategy?

If your company is looking to transition to the cloud, it is essential to appraise the internal workings of the business and external contact with customers to decide which cloud migration strategy is appropriate. Potential migrations to the cloud typically start with a general assessment of the company. Questions to consider when beginning this process include:

  • What is your company’s current standing in its IT operations, environment, and architecture?
  • Is your IT department running on a legacy system, or are the applications modernized and easily optimizable for the cloud platform?
  • Are there existing applications that must stay on-premise?
  • How much is your company willing to invest in the migration?
  • Which cloud platform would your company implement: Public, Private, or Hybrid?
  • Is growth in your company’s overall performance expected with the adoption of a cloud migration strategy?

Analyzing the possible complexity of your company’s transition to the cloud can deliver a better estimate of how much a custom cloud migration strategy may cost or how much labor to expect. In addition, considering the effects of the challenges that some consumers face in their transitional progress is crucial when creating a strategy. The following aspects are a few of the most common problem areas during migration:

  • Cloud migration failure: This can occur at varying times along the route to completion, commonly due to choosing the wrong cloud migration strategy, a lack of planning, or failing to test properly before implementation. It is also essential to have an exit strategy as insurance if the migration does not go as planned. However, this should only be used as a last resort as it negates any previous effort and cost.
  • Data security: With increasing amounts of data, applications, and features available in the public cloud environment, it can be challenging to maintain high security in this area. Important data and cloud services may be breached or hijacked by cyber-attackers if your company’s cloud program does not have a reliable security system in place.

Why Should Companies Look to Implement a Cloud Migration Strategy?

  • Cost savings: Transitioning to the cloud can be expensive upfront; however, by utilizing the proper cloud migration strategy and optimizing your system to the new environment, savings may present themselves in the long-term through various aspects of the business.
  • Work flexibility & cloud availability: With a cloud computing setting enabled in a company’s workplace, employees have the ability to answer calls or emails, access their team’s shared documents, or work flexibly from any connected, remote location.
  • Scalability & agility: Cloud storage is scalable to your company’s individual needs and can easily accommodate rapid growth or decline in information infrastructure.
  • Data recovery: Cloud backup services store copies of your data and applications on a server in a remote location so that they may be recovered in the case of a disaster. This is often easier and more secure than backup/recovery options for physical servers.
  • Security: Although having your company’s workplace function predominantly in the cloud makes it appealing to cyber-attackers, implementing a dependable cloud security service can outperform traditional IT security methods.

Application Migration to the Cloud whitepaper

Download “Application Migration to the Cloud”

How Can ITC2 Help with This Strategy?

At ITC2, we connect our customers to the world with cost optimization through a cloud migration strategy to meet your goals for Digital Optimization™. Our trusted advisors have over 300 years of combined IT experience. They will plan for a successful migration to the cloud with assessment, strategic planning, customized design, negotiation, and a modernized approach to the implementation process. In supporting your business’s unique needs, our experienced IT consultants will aid in the selection process of a cloud migration strategy that will streamline the company’s workforce into the future. This case study demonstrates how ITC2 successfully helped a company with their cloud migration strategy. Let us streamline your cloud migration strategy today.

About ITC2

ITC2 is a Gartner recognized Minority Business Enterprise Supplier with a 94% customer satisfaction rating from Dunn & Bradstreet, a requirement to do business with Federal, State, County and City Governments.

For more information, call (404) 507-2105, visit ITC2.net, follow us on Facebook (@DigitalOptimizationSolutions), LinkedIn (@ITC2), YouTube (@ITC2), and Twitter (@ITCtwo).

Man behind a graph drawing a line downward that says cost

The challenges presented by COVID-19 leave many business leaders and CIOs scratching their heads as they face tough decisions to reduce costs. Fears of downsizing are plaguing the industry right now, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Leadership can capitalize on utilizing a neutral 3rd party to effectively manage their telecom spend, saving up to millions of dollars in overhead costs*. Many businesses are forced to make sacrifices during this time, but by focusing on Digital Optimization™, you can save valuable human resources while focusing on cost optimization measures via telecom expense management. Don’t face these tough decisions alone; at ITC2, we’re here for you!

What Are the Unique Challenges of Telecom Expense Management with an Expanding Remote Workforce?

“A hefty portion of most businesses’ budgets include IT and Telecom costs,” said Russ Burd, a telecom expense management expert.  “Cost optimization is often an ongoing focus for many organizations, especially during challenging times.  With telecom expense management, we facilitate a reduction in telecom spend across your enterprise, so you can get back to business.”

According to Craig Riegelhaupt at Tangoe, an IDC survey reported that businesses face significant challenges with “rising costs, increasingly mobile workforces, and rapidly advancing technologies.” As a result, forecasting for the future, validating invoice accuracy, managing service inventory, and charging back to departments becomes particularly difficult to manage alone. Working around an existing IT ecosystem in a large, global enterprise presents unique challenges, especially as different departments deploy more IT, outside of the typical office structure. With COVID-19, many businesses were forced to run operations from home, expanding the remote workforce on a broader scale than ever before. IT systems must be prepared to integrate with new technology in ways never imagined before. Telecom expense management presents as a proactive approach to these rising challenges, so even in a crisis, your business can be a model of continuity. ITC2 has been able to reduce telecom spend through telecom expense management by over 50% for businesses*.

What Are the Components of Telecom Expense Management?

If telecom expense management were as simple as looking at your bills, everyone would do it!  Your business may have a preexisting software vendor for telecom expense management in place, yet you’re still experiencing loss in hidden fees or higher rates. With an effective managed services consultant, you maximize cost savings while finding more optimal, efficient, and effective ways to budget for services.

At ITC2, we stay updated on industry trends, allowing us to secure the most competitive quotes while acting as an extension of your procurement teams to manage RFPs, RFIs, and RFQs.  After receiving consultation on the contract, we bridge the service provider’s team with the staff to ensure success in the service delivery process while reporting on inventory, finances, and ticket escalation management.  Audit reviews ensure fairness and compliance in the telecom billing practice. We’re here for your staff in an ongoing and supportive manner to help you with all of your needs in telecom expense management.

Among many components, some key pillars of our telecom expense management process include:

  1. Goal Setting for Telecom & Wireless Services: ITC2 looks at existing telecom and wireless services with a focus on the client’s future business plans and technological needs for existing and/or new inventory.  We prepare for planning and budgeting through a thorough examination of invoicing, orders, and expenses.
  2. Telecom BenchmarkingCustomized benchmarking for telecom services provides the information necessary to optimize costs in your telecom spend. With benchmarking, you are better informed on SLAs through aggregated data about costs. By comparing current telecom spend and updated, best-in-market pricing, ITC2’s telecom benchmarking will inform your budget, negotiation, and Digital Optimization™ goals.
  3. Telecom Audit: By methodically auditing your telecom billing, ITC2 can ensure that telecom services are correctly aligned, in use, regulated, reconciled, and matched to your enterprise’s needs. Auditing informs future sourcing and implementation needs in order to accurately identify and make adjustments to your telecom plan.

Telecom auditing and benchmarking are only two of the essential components of the process ITC2 employs to inform data-based decisions to provide instant cost reduction for your business. CIO magazine identifies four common domains where telecom savings can be achieved: renegotiated service provider contracts, actual and forecasted usage, compliance monitoring for billing errors, and monthly management by usage demands. For immediate results, focusing on contract renegotiation in terms of actual and forecasted usage provides instant ROI. Through ITC2’s telecom expense management process, auditing and benchmarking are just a couple of components in a comprehensive review of your telecom spend for the full lifecycle of the technology. Our unique process enables us to target the areas where telecom savings can easily be achieved immediately.

Do I Really Need Someone Else to Negotiate for Me?

When looking to reduce costs, you’ll want an agnostic 3rd party who will work without cost to the client.  Creating a comprehensive, long-term expense management plan is challenging, time-consuming, and resource-intensive. Negotiation is just one of many steps. In order to streamline operations, optimize costs, allocate resources, and recoup lost profits, ITC2 will work for you! Valuable leadership and procurement teams can get back to business. You won’t have to suffer the headache of obtaining and negotiating RFQs from multiple vendors; let ITC2 do that for you!

How Often Should a Professional Conduct a Telecom Spend Analysis?

Terms of contracts vary, and a telecom spend analysis can pinpoint the opportunities for savings through renegotiation under your current providers as well as changes through alternative providers.  In essence, an effective telecom expense management plan is ongoing, and ITC2, as a supplier-neutral 3rd party, can help you every step of the way. By managing service providers throughout the full technology lifecycle, clients can get back to their most important business, their customers. In helping clients increase capacity through Digital Optimization™ while optimizing costs, we support you 100% of the way. ITC2 supports the technology management’s cyclic nature of initial pricing, contract consulting, service delivery, invoice audit, and review with ongoing support.

Want to know more about how ITC2 can manage your business’s Technology Lifecycle?

View the PDF

 

“Telecom Expense Management can be really overwhelming for a large enterprise with many moving parts and day-to-day concerns,” said Les Peterson, CEO, ITC2.  “By utilizing ITC2’s telecom expense management services throughout the full lifecycle of technology, business leaders are empowered to take on more collaborative, customer-focused projects, while we take care of the technology. We’ll help you by increasing capacity while optimizing costs.”

 

How ITC2 Can Help

At ITC2, we connect our customers to the world with cost optimization through telecom expense management. Our trusted advisors in the telecommunications industry provide a thorough analysis of telecom spend and support in an ongoing manner throughout the whole T-Lifecycle. ITC2 will supplement and enhance your procurement teams with over 300 years of thought leadership and industry experience at no cost to the client**. Do you want to see how ITC2 helped negotiate telecom spend, producing millions of dollars of savings? Check out our case study on our website. Let us streamline your telecom expense management process today.

ITC2 is a Gartner recognized Minority Business Enterprise Supplier with a 94% customer satisfaction rating from Dunn & Bradstreet, a requirement to do business with Federal, State, County, and City Governments.

For more information, call (404) 507-2105, visit ITC2.net, follow us on Facebook (@DigitalOptimizationSolutions), LinkedIn (@ITC2), and Twitter (@ITCtwo).

*Amount saved depends on business-specific factors, such as business size, current telecom contracts, and future network goals.

**ITC2 is supplier-neutral and works with master agents to expand options for the client’s business.

 

Person on a computer with data

A lot of confusion exists as companies navigate the difference between digital transformation and Digital Optimization™ and determine the right fit for their specific organizational needs. Below we dive into the differences, the strengths and weaknesses, and the particular considerations for businesses during the implementation of their IT transformation strategy.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation involves the use of new technology solutions designed to fundamentally shift a business, operations, or service delivery model. According to Bruce Rogers at Forbes, “84% of companies fail at digital transformation” due to the failure of the behavior and cultural shift that is imperative to accompany and drive such change, largely in part due to companies taking a haphazard approach and making blanket goal statements. A goal “to increase technology by 55% and productivity by 85%” is vague and can be interpreted in many ways. Although companies set out with the best intentions when crafting digital transformation goals, those intentions go awry when new systems are implemented without thorough consideration of the process and people currently in place.

A fundamental shift in your business does not have to be a headache when carefully planned by agents who take advantage of emerging technologies that are propelling businesses into the future.  Let ITC2 assure that by examining your current IT headaches and struggles, we can provide you with researched, data driven solutions that focus on current shifts and trends in technology to address these key areas of needs and opportunities for growth.  There’s no need to fear the ways that technology can shift a business into the future; rather, technology can create many more opportunities for quality growth beyond what we once imagined possible.  We’re here for you!

 

What Are the Considerations for Digital Transformation?

It’s essential for agents at Digital Transformation companies to know and understand your customer base or the heart of your business model.  Marc Benioff, Chairman and Co-CEO of Salesforce explained, “Every digital transformation is going to begin and end with the customer, and I can see that in the minds of every CEO I talk to.” Understanding the core of your business model is imperative in order to provide a digital transformation solution that best meets the needs of the business now and into the future.  Not only do agents need to understand the current business model, but also where your ideas are headed, so we can help you dream of a new model beyond your current expectations and beliefs about technology.  Think beyond a world of the current possibilities and limitations of your existing systems.

  • Digital Transformation by Innovation:  Sometimes businesses are looking to completely reinvent their service delivery models.  Technology can be utilized to deliver service in ways that were impossible before.  If your business transformation model includes an innovative, fundamental shift in the way you deliver customer service, we can help leverage technology solutions to accompany your unique plan and goals.
    Another way that businesses innovate when undergoing digital transformation, is by creating opportunities to expand their business into the digital world.  Digital transformation opens up new business opportunities that can co-exist and compliment your current products and services.  If you have grand plans to take advantage of innovative opportunities to expand your business, we’d love to help provide you with technology solutions for your enterprise to fit your goals.
  • Digital Transformation by Process: Tasks that seemed long and tedious in the past can be streamlined in new ways you’d never imagined before.  Important human capital can be positioned to drive thought leadership and business growth, rather than focusing on menial, time-consuming tasks limited by what we once thought were practical and necessary.  AIOps and automation provide solutions that foster opportunities for restructuring in new ways. Digital transformation is a complete overhaul into the future, saving you time and money with a gain in quality as you fundamentally change your business’s processes.
  • Digital Transformation by People:  Business processes go hand-in-hand with a company’s human capital and culture.  Culture must accompany a shift in digital transformation when embracing new technology in a business.  Often times, the people resources within the business are more equipped to handle digital transformation than they initially thought with the proper tools, resources, and training to adapt and grow with technological changes in our fast-paced digital world.  ITC2 can work with companies to match the technology to the culture.

 

What is Digital Optimization™?

Digital Optimization™ is a solution carefully designed to meet your business’s needs. It takes an even deeper dive into understanding the pain points of your business in order to optimize your technology solutions. Although this process is transformative in nature, it provides optimal results that mesh your business process with technology to increase value and productivity while providing an overall better experience for your staff as well as your customers.

Digital Optimization™ is a special type of solution.  Rather than undergoing a complete rip and replacement of existing systems, as is often needed for transformation, agents take advantage of current practices and technologies that are working for a business while driving change and innovation to manage the challenges being faced by a business.  Digital Optimization™ also supports the innovation, process, and people within the industry but without a fundamental shift to the entire business model.

  • Digital Optimization™ by Innovation, Process, and People:  When changes need to be made to facilitate a streamlined digital process for service delivery without undergoing a complete shift in the delivery model itself, network optimization solutions are offered to enhance the customer service delivery process.  Changes in network, infrastructure, security, AIOps, and automation can be leveraged with some aspects of the existing systems for an efficient, modernized, optimized approach to the digital components that support your business model.  Additionally, for maximum optimization potential, ITC2’s needs assessment approach considers the business’s process and people in place while offering innovative solutions to eliminate pain points and get down to business.

 

What Are the Strengths of Digital Optimization™?

When applying Digital Optimization™ as a strategy, not only will a business’s enterprise be optimized, engineered solutions geared toward optimizing your network bandwidth will be implemented. Your telecom needs will be assessed in order to reduce bandwidth usage while increasing capacity. Quality bandwidth begets better security, and the assessment of your service requirements will help you select the equipment and plan to meet your needs while optimizing cost.

Digital Optimization™ enables businesses to make the changes they need while envisioning the future without the risk of adopting a completely new fundamental approach to their business model.  Digital Optimization™ will push past the limits of what you once thought was possible, but in a very methodical and calculated way while optimizing cost.  ITC2 can optimize your business with solutions for connectivity, communications, infrastructure, cloud application migration, enterprise solutions, and more.

Let’s compare:

Image of the Digital optimization vs transformation blog comparison chart

 

Download Your Copy!

ITC2’s Digital Optimization™ Process

At ITC2, we connect our customers to the world. With our Digital Optimization™ strategy, we are assessment-focused on calibrating the needs of your businesses and exceeding your expectations. Our respected industry experts provide you with strategic analysis to achieve your IT digital transformation goals. Our clients look to us as an extension and enhancement of their procurement teams who will provide IT transformation strategies and solutions that work. We’ll take care of the technology so that you can focus on your customers.

For more information on how we can connect you to the world through Digital Optimization™, please contact us today: https://itc2.net/contact/.

Computer monitors with binary code with a skyline in the background

ITC2 is committed to providing Enterprise networking experts with insights as they ponder deployment of their applications in various Data Centers around the globe while preserving isolation, security, and mobility of their applications

As more companies move to remote and flexible environments while maintaining their employees’ ability to access their systems and protect critical data securely, the ITC2 experts strongly believe EVPN constitutes an essential solution. In this blog post, we are diving into EVPN as a new rich and flexible implementation for greenfield or evolving Enterprise virtual deployment and how it may positively impact your company.

 

What is EVPN?

EVPN stands for Ethernet VPN, which is a standards-based solution for Data Center Overlay networking allowing new flexible connectivity for multi-tenant virtual applications and workloads.

 

Why Implement EVPN?

EVPN can be used for tunneling over IP or MPLS. By deploying over IP, it eliminates the dependency on SP MPLS service in place. It uses the control plane for MAC learning, eliminating the need for flooding of Unicast and ARP traffic. It uses BGP to discover participating PE nodes in a VPN topology. EVPN can be used to build both Layer 2 and Layer 3 multi-tenancy and acts as an open standard that works between multiple vendors.

 

When is EVPN Beneficial?

EVPN is a growing trend for Data Center connectivity where L3 East-West communication is of paramount importance, and MPLS service is not a requirement.  Why is this a trend? More and more companies have moved to SD-WAN and control their own routing.

 

“As Leaf & Spine topology continues to grow in Data Center applications, there is a need to move to simpler and more flexible L3 tunneling. EVPN presents the best option currently with promising multi-vendor support and user adoption,” states Fowzy Shacker, Chief Technology Advisor for ITC2.

 

EVPN Considerations

What factors should you take into consideration when it comes to EVPN?

  • The separation of Overlay from Underlay infrastructure; end-users can design the overlay network while IT teams provide generalized transport.
  • Micro-segmentation of applications that gain the flexibility of private or cloud deployment with seamless integration.
  • Isolation, where single-homed or multi-homed applications can be isolated in tunnels, which also improves supportability.

 

How can ITC2 help?

ITC2 helps with the New Overlay and Underlay design consultations for your DC applications, Transport, DCI, and DIA connectivity. Additionally, ITC2 supports new and existing services audits, program management, facility cost negotiation, and more.

 

What Is the Turnaround Time?

Migration to EVPN-based topology can take place gradually without major disruption to current virtualized DC applications. EVPN also helps where L3VPN stops short in desirable routing and switching features.

Our team of experts would love to help answer any questions about EVPN and help you implement EVPN or other solutions to further connect and support your team. Please contact us today to learn more: https://itc2.net/contact/.

 

Resources:

Telephone tower in the sky at dusk

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Recent developments between major telecom providers and the Telecom Expense Management (TEM) service providers have created a wave of concern that is driving change among TEM service providers and their clients.

In this paper, we will explore:

  • What specifically has changed around payment acceptance?
  • Why have telecom carriers made these changes?
  • How do the changes affect the TEM providers?
  • What are the possible implications on the enterprise?

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Changes made by several major telecom carriers are likely to become industrywide.
  • Carrier changes in payment acceptance will likely have a significant impact on some TEM providers’ Operations.
  • Business profitability will be affected for some TEM providers
  • Enterprises utilizing TEM services are likely to be impacted

 

WHITE PAPER: Telecom Carriers Push Back on Payment Providers

 

CHANGE: THE ONE CONSTANT

The old adage that “nothing stays the same” is certainly true in the telecom billing and payments industry. Recent developments between major telecom providers and the Telecom Expense Management (TEM) service providers have created a wave of concern and change among TEM service providers and their clients.

To start, the legacy term, “telecom,” is a bit of a misnomer. The services now grouped as “telecom” are more expansive than the term might imply. Today, telecom services (and their costs) are inclusive of telephone, mobile devices, internet connectivity, and IT infrastructure. For most organizations these costs are significant and processing these payments is complex.

To manage this complexity, many corporations already utilize TEM service providers to manage the myriad of telecom services, contracts, invoices, and payments.  This trend is likely to increase.  In fact, a 2019 survey conducted by the market intelligence firm, IDC, revealed that enterprises challenged with expanding mobile workforces that increased investments in IoT devices and supporting IT services, are increasingly turning to TEM solution providers to track, manage, and pay for telecom services.

 

Recently, the payment side of the TEM industry has experienced pushback from the telecom providers and this resistance will have a profound impact on many of the TEM providers and the clients for whom they process telecom payments.

This paper will address these recent changes and explore their implications on the Telecom providers, the Telecom Expense Management service providers, and the companies who utilize TEM service providers.

 

THE SITUATION

Recently (early 2020) experts in the telecom industry’s Ordering and Billing Forum (OBF) exchanged much dialogue about payment practices between the TEM providers and the telecom carriers. Specifically, these discussions involved the OBF and two of the major carriers, Verizon and ATT. To be clear about the OBF’s role, the OBF creates the collaborative standards and solutions that ensure accurate billing for the industry’s core services as well as emerging innovations.  It is the industry’s go-to resource for resolving key issues and creating ordering, billing, provisioning, and exchange of information regarding solutions about access services as well as other connectivity between telecommunications customers and providers.

The OBF carrier dialog centered around the manner in which telecom payments were being processed by some of the leading TEM providers. But before providing the details of why this discussion even took place, it is important to establish a basic background on the telecom payment methods.

Generally, there are three primary ways for companies to pay their client’s phone bills:

  • IVR – Interactive Voice Response – which is essentially paying by phone
  • Web Portal – paying via the internet using a dedicated payment application
  • SFTP – payments routed as a secure structured settlement using a digitized card payment

Recent changes have been focused on this last payment method, SFTP.

 

PAYMENT FUNDAMENTALS

A large portion of the payments made by TEM providers on behalf of their clients are made using the SFTP method. These payments utilize payment card services with associated structured cash back rebates. (We will address the cash back payments later when we consider the TEM client implications.) In addition, not all card payment methods are the same. Card payments made for telecom expenses can generally be classified into two categories – business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C). One of the differences involves the cashback rate, which varies by card type:

  • B2B card payments – generally return cash back returns in the range of 2.8% to 3.5% of the payment amount
  • B2C card payment – generally return cash back rebate returns in the range of 3.5% to 5%

While the difference between B2B and B2C cash back returns at first look seems small, the percentage variations, between 25% to 43%, can have a significant effect on the card rebates and thus the merchant fees charged to vendors.

In an effort to maximize their carrier cash back returns, some TEM providers have been paying telecom bills on behalf of their clients utilizing B2C cards. In addition, some of these TEM providers routinely made payments using cards issued in their name (vs. the client’s name) and then held these cash back payments for themselves and did not share them with their clients. This fact has dramatically increased carrier costs and forced major carriers to implement changes in the ways that payments are permitted.

 

CARRIER PUSHBACK  

In response to some TEM provider practices which increase carrier costs, ATT and Verizon have implemented recent changes in the way card payments are handled. While there are differences between the carrier’s actions, their intentions are the same – to mitigate the costs of the TEM provider payments made by cards on behalf of the TEM provider’s clients.

Here’s a breakdown of the key carrier changes:

ATT’s Approach

  • ATT implemented changes in late January of 2020 and these changes were reportedly made with little public notification.
  • Card types used for payments are being reviewed, and B2C cards will no longer be accepted for payment.
  • B2B cards will be accepted; however, if the card submitted for payment does not match the company name on the account, the card will be rejected as a payment method.
  • Card policy changes apply to all billing and are not restricted to a single billing type, such as mobility.
  • As part of these changes, ATT is reportedly giving notice to their customers to inform them about the circumstances and resulting consequences.
  • The goal here is to move customers to the FFTPS structured payment model that costs ATT less but maintains rebate opportunities for their customer –just not the TEM provider.

Verizon’s Approach

  • Verizon’s key platforms are enterprise and mobility.
  • Verizon has placed a monthly cap of $100,000 on card payments made using their web portal.
  • There is no cap for payments made using the IVR payment mode.
  • For Mobility payments, Verizon is checking term cards (not ghost cards or vCards) to ensure that the cards have expiration terms greater than 8 months.
  • Verizon is encouraging FFTPS structured payments, but they want these payments to be made via term cards, not ghost cards or vCards.

 

TEM PROVIDER IMPLICATIONS

 To recap, the carriers are protecting their profit margins by preventing the use of higher cost B2C cards and limiting the use of card payments by implementing payment caps. The carriers are also encouraging those customers who continue to pay by card to do so using the electronic FTTPS payment method.

For the TEM service providers, the use of B2C or B2B cards will be an issue that may disrupt current bill pay processes and also have negative implications on the TEM provider’s profitability.  Some estimates from payment operators claim the process changes may take 12 to 18 months to fully resolve.

A potentially larger consequence may be the reaction of the TEM provider’s client when they become aware that certain TEM services were issuing client payments in the TEM provider’s name to obtain higher cash back returns WHILE KEEPING 100% OF THE CASH BACK PROCEEEDS.

This fact alone is likely to create a relationship rift between some TEM providers and their clients. Couple this with the payment process changes, along with the revenue impact the carrier changes bring, and it is clear that certain segments of the TEM industry may be facing a “perfect storm.”

 

ENTERPRISE IMPLICATIONS

Those businesses that utilize TEM services for the payment of their telecom services should contact their TEM providers and have a dialog about the recent carrier payment changes to determine the impact, if any, upon their TEM provider.

Enterprises contracting TEM services should also have a comprehensive understanding of how their TEM provider utilized card programs in the payment process and what cash back amounts are transacted as a component to their payment process.

If cashback revenue sharing is not a component of the operational model with their TEM provider, the businesses may be wise to explore this as an option. If rebates were shared with the enterprise, the enterprise should inquire with their TEM provider how rebates might be affected by these recent changes.

Of course, all of these considerations are likely to have contractual implications with the TEM provider, which will need to be understood or renegotiated. In addition, TEM customers would be prudent to consider the impact of future carrier restrictions on payments and how these might be addressed in their contractual agreements with their current or future TEM provider.

 

WRAP-UP

It’s true that change may be the only constant in business…and more changes in carrier payment practices are likely to follow. Recent changes in carrier payment practices are just one example of dramatic change in a mature and seemingly stable TEM business segment.

Given these facts, companies would be wise to have complete transparency in the payment processes used by their TEM service providers and consider how future changes or payment restrictions imposed by the carriers may effect the health of their TEM service provider.

 

Download the White Paper