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Cincinnati Bell Business Blog

4 Reasons Retailers Love NaaS

Posted by Gary Hilson on Mar 29, 2017 9:43:13 AM

Not only does NaaS support scalability and flexibility for businesses prone to seasonal fluctuations, but it also provides a platform to capture customer insights that drive revenue growth.

Just as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has made inroads into retail as a means of shifting IT responsibilities for applications to a third party, a similar model for networking is gaining popularity. The Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) paradigm reflects the reality that deploying a network in a store, regardless of size, adds complexity to IT — both in terms of installation and ongoing management.

Having internet connectivity and a wireless local area network (WLAN) at any location means a retailer must be responsible for security, administration, updates, modifications, scalability and troubleshooting. Factor in the various endpoints that require connectivity — including increasingly wireless point of sale (PoS) devices and kiosks, along with identity management — and running a network becomes a complicated proposition. NaaS transfers many of these responsibilities, including security monitoring, to a third-party provider that offers a centralized network (as opposed to a WLAN) while delivering improved access to cloud-based management services and mobile enterprise solutions like apps. That’s all in addition to the following benefits.

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Control Over Allocation and Bandwidth of the Network

NaaS enables retailers to cost-effectively shift network responsibilities to their NaaS service provider in alignment with this cloud-service approach to applications. This also increases the flexibility to support fluctuating numbers of users, mobile devices and endpoints.

Improved security is another major benefit of moving to a NaaS model. Recently, high-profile retailers such as Home Depot, Neiman Marcus and Target have been hacked and had customer data exposed. Cyberthreats such as malware, botnets and ransomware are increasing in frequency and ferocity, and NaaS places cybersecurity tasks in the provider’s hands instead of the retailer’s.

Less Time Managing the Network

Despite shifting responsibilities to a service provider, NaaS provides retailers with greater central control and visibility. This control means a retailer can have visibility across all networks from "a single pane of glass." The ability to see every location in one dashboard enables IT staff to make better-informed decisions about allocating network resources and bandwidth. They spend less time managing the network and focus on more strategic IT initiatives that support the customer experience and business growth.

Endless Scalability Options

Scalability is critical, and NaaS can provide the agility to scale up or down in a business environment prone to seasonal fluctuations. Not only is it simple to add or remove users from the network, but with the advent of the pop-up store, entire locations can easily be provisioned or decommissioned centrally in a replicable "cookie cutter" model.

Connecting Multiple Retail Locations

Connecting multiple locations provides a retailer with a bigger picture not just in terms of network traffic and bandwidth usage, but also in consumer behavior and customer feedback. NaaS provides a platform for capturing Big Data from various endpoints, including emerging Internet of Things (IoT) applications, making it easier to intelligently invest in retail strategies that drive revenue growth.

About the Author

Gary Hilson is an expert tech journalist with over 20 years experience contributing to North American technology publications. 

His specialties include memory and data storage technology, enterprise software, networking hardware, sustainable vehicles, green technology, technology standards, Internet of Things, B2B content, education and research.  His work has appeared in many leading technology publications including EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Network Computing and InformationWeek, as well as, Toronto Business Times, and Strategy Magazine.

CBB NaaS: Empowering Digital Superheroes

Posted by David Jean on Mar 14, 2017 9:04:05 AM

Cloud technologies are taking the world by storm.  More and more small businesses are taking advantage of the immense power available from shared applications to build and market their brand.  An interesting byproduct of this rapid adoption is that size is no longer a dominating factor in the digital age.  A small business can now have a customer portal that rivals the Fortune 500 websites of just 5 years ago as well as collaboration and communications solutions, which was unheard of previously.  This small business has the opportunity to become a digital superhero.  However as with most hero stories, great power comes with great responsibility, and at the center of any business are the customers and users who rely on the services and products the business offers.  Users expect services to be available at all times.  Without providing a powerful, reliable, secure and scalable network for users to access your services, your hero status fades while a new hero takes your place…in shiny spandex and a cape…and really, no one wants to be in that guy’s shadow.    

Ask yourself a question: “Does my business really need to switch to a cloud hosted service for networking?”

Yes, yes it does.

Your own private Batcave: Come on, you like that idea

CBB Network as a Service (NaaS) is the solution designed to solve this problem, and save your ego.  We understand that while many businesses may have the skills to wow their customers in the context of their own business, it is not always a priority to employ a staff of highly trained engineers to maintain an inventory of routers, switches, access points, firewalls, etc.  It’s simple: we’ll handle the technology while you go out and be a hero to your customers.  NaaS is not simply a hosted networking service, but THE Cloud Managed Network Solution for your SMB market business. 

Designed from the ground up as a fully featured, managed service offering and built atop industry leading Cisco-Meraki technology, NaaS offers features that are seldom seen at this market tier.  Our full stack NaaS offering incorporates security (IDS, malware protection, content filtering, and firewall), networking (SD-WAN, switching, VPN) and Wi-Fi. (Sorry, no Kryptonite.)  And all of this is managed from a world-class Enterprise Network Operations Center (ENOC) buried under a mountain in Ohio… Well O.K. maybe not a mountain, but it is dark and full of really smart people.  CBB NaaS is designed to keep your business running today and scale when growth arrives tomorrow.   

The unanswered question: Is hero work expensive?

Hero work comes with a cost, but in our world the cost does not include you looking like a Power Ranger.  NaaS is a solution that provides huge value-add for any business looking to provide reliable services to their customers.  In addition a high ROI allows your business to keep costs down and efficiency up.  Cost savings is achievable through a convenient operational expenditure (OpEx) model.  CBB offers the service at predictable monthly price points, which include all hardware, license and upgrade costs for the life of the contract as well as complete 24x7x365 management and support.  This allows your business to keep its most critical resources, people, focused on the areas that matter most to your business.  So go ahead and take that next step to be the digital superhero you always knew you could be.  CBB Network as a Service can help you get there.  Just please, no spandex.

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David Jean
Lead Architect, New Solutions Design

 

How We Live #CincyGive Everyday

Posted by Cincinnati Bell Business on Feb 7, 2017 1:44:37 PM

Cincinnati Bell Employees Giving BackCincinnati Bell employees donate their time on behalf of the United Way of Greater Cininnati

Cincinnati Bell believes it’s the people and places that make Greater Cincinnati such a special place to live. That’s why Cincinnati Bell employees donate their time to improve the places and spaces across the region. Here’s just one example: 

Last fall, an elderly woman with a walker was cleaning debris from the front of her house when a group of Cincinnati Bell employees, who were volunteering in Bond Hill on behalf of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, spotted her. They crossed the street and asked how they could help with chores
around the house. The employees cleared the woman’s sidewalk, trimmed bushes, and used a bucket truck to cut unruly branches away from the house.    

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How do you define a business’ commitment to the community? Is it the number of residents employed? The types of organizations it supports?  A demonstrated commitment to culture, arts, and education? Cincinnati Bell believes it’s all those things and more.

Youth Education is a Focus

On Wednesdays and Thursdays during the school year, about 50 Cincinnati Bell employees tutor and mentor students at Robert A. Taft Technology High School.   Students and employees spend an hour talking, studying, and learning from each other. These Cincinnati Bell employees all share a passion for helping the Taft students succeed.

Committed for More Than 140 Years

Cincinnati Bell has been in business for more than 140 years, during which time the company has consistently shown its commitment to being more than a communications provider. Leadership and empathy are core values at Cincinnati Bell, which is committed to the principles of corporate community responsibility and good corporate citizenship. 

Supporting Local Causes

In addition to the value Cincinnati Bell places on volunteer work, our investment in fiber, our relationships with organizations like the Cincinnati Reds, and our recent streetcar sponsorship are just a few additional examples of how we help make the region a better place for all residents. 

Here are some of the other ways Cincinnati Bell supports the region:

The Story Behind the Shirt

 Learn More About #CincyGive

 What causes are important to your business? 

3 Ways Local Support and Service Matters

Posted by Cincinnati Bell Business on Feb 2, 2017 2:33:01 PM

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Part of Cincinnati Bell’s commitment to providing outstanding customer service,  and to being a good corporate citizen, is supporting local jobs.   As the hometown communications provider, Cincinnati Bell employs   technicians, call center agents, sales employees, and support resources who   know the unique neighborhoods that make up Greater Cincinnati. There are about 3,000 people who work at Cincinnati Bell, which means there’s a good chance you know one of our employees.    

Local Dedicated Teams

Businesses that choose Cincinnati Bell work with local sales agents and dedicated account teams. Cincinnati based engineers help plan business’ technology solutions, and support agents are also located here. If you currently use a national telecommunications provider, and feel like you’re doing business with a faceless giant, know that switching to Cincinnati Bell means you’ll be working with a local company.

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 Problems are Solved Quickly

Many Cincinnati Bell employees work in Downtown Cincinnati.  Local technicians work from garages located throughout Greater Cincinnati neighborhoods to connect the network from one end of the Tri-state to the other. Problems are solved quickly, and solutions are provided with the perspective that only comes from being the local communications provider.

Commitment to Employing Locally

In January 2017, Cincinnati Bell announced that it is in the process of adding 300 local call center agents who will be based in Greater Cincinnati. This is one more example of how Cincinnati Bell is showing its commitment to employing locally and improving service for its customers.

How does your business stay connected to your local customers?