COVID-19 BUSINESS RESOURCES (SPONSORED)
Business as usual is anything but these days given the unprecedented challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis. Nonetheless, a number of technologies are enabling businesses to continue operating — even if it means working differently. The cloud is one of them.
Telemedicine and advanced analytics
Right now, staying healthy is at the forefront of our minds. Yet strained healthcare resources and social distancing measures are preventing people from having physical consultations with doctors or therapists. This has made cloud-based telemedicine and teletherapy crucial for providers and patients.
To underscore this point, during one week in April, a Midwest mental health service provider conducted almost 1,000 outpatient telemedicine visits per day. That’s more than a twenty-fold increase from the previous week. US Signal’s connectivity and this customer’s cloud-based EMR platform have allowed them to coordinate and provide this much-needed remote support and care during the pandemic. We’ve also been able to help other healthcare sector clients keep up and running by implementing cloud-based business continuity and disaster recovery solutions.
The role of cloud and network connectivity in today’s business
Applications running in the cloud are enabling the collaboration and conferencing tools pressed into urgent COVID-19 duty by companies that have suddenly found themselves with almost entirely remote workforces. US Signal’s rapid bandwidth upgrades for clients ensures employees can work remotely, communicate effectively, and maintain the same efficiency levels. We have recently had clients praise the pace with which we were able to roll out remote networking capabilities due to the network architecture that we supply.
We’ve all witnessed the robustness of streaming and shopping platforms such as Netflix and eBay. They demonstrate the importance of having access to a network infrastructure with the ability to scale securely and handle extraordinary usage levels without latency. US Signal’s switched and routed services do just that—enabling our customers to quickly and safely deliver traffic to where they need it. We have a robust, secure fiber network spanning over 14,000 miles across 10 states.
If you’re delivering large amounts of content but want to avoid latency, it also helps to select a data center provider with facilities that are close to your users. Perhaps that’s
why our 2020 State of Data Center Offerings survey found 91 percent of respondents were likely to select a data center provider based on that criteria.
Adjusting to changing markets
The cloud offers a solution to businesses that are dealing with huge swings in demand or trying to cope with supply chain disruptions. We've all seen headlines about the plight of global airlines and large manufacturers, but small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the economic downturn brought about by COVID-19. JP Morgan Chase's research suggests 50 percent of small businesses are currently operating with fewer than 15 days in buffer cash. With other factors including a smaller supplier base (for manufacturers) and a significant drop in global demand (for example, in hospitality and tourism), OECD data suggests COVID-19 will impact SMEs even more than the 2008 financial crisis.
Businesses of all sizes are using cloud-based analytics software to support current future planning to cope with changes in demand or supply chain disruption. But they need to check that their cloud service provider has the necessary network connectivity and plenty of redundant architecture for maximum response and uptime, even at times of peak demand.
US Signal’s Enterprise Cloud services are always up, always available, and always secure. That’s because we exclusively own and operate our carrier-grade network, which is designed with redundant architecture for maximum network speed and security. It’s also worth investigating if your cloud service provider can deliver additional optimizing website performance tools such as image compression, network prioritization, edge caching, route, and optimization.
More cloud usage means more potential crime
The increase in cybercrime is one of the few downsides to a heavy reliance on the cloud—and no one is immune to the threat. In mid-April, San Francisco International Airport disclosed that it had suffered a double website hack that may have allowed attackers to harvest employee and visitor Windows login credentials.
This reminds us that security teams must adjust their threat detection to combat the recent rise in cyberattacks. Maintaining fully up-to-date antivirus software, a secure firewall, and deploying continuous automated network monitoring are good places to start. Each is vital for managing and mitigating security issues before they become significant problems.
But it’s also essential to educate employees on how to spot emails that could contain ransomware. Simple things such as not opening emails from people you don’t know—even if they look like they’ve come from someone in the same company—and hovering over links in emails to check they’re genuine before clicking on them are highly effective in reducing the chances of getting stung.
At US Signal, we can help you with these challenges, as we have security built into the heart of our network and operations. Our managed security services include website and application security, protection against content scraping, SQL injection attacks, and all forms of DDoS attacks. And it doesn't matter whether your websites and applications are hosted on-premise, in colocation, or on cloud-hosted servers—we’ve got your back.
Protect your data
Your data center provider should incorporate current security protocols and technologies to ensure compliance with data protection directives such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, CCPA, and GDPR. Businesses risk prosecutions and fines if they fail to protect customer data. And cybercriminals seek to exploit those fears with the threat of obtaining sensitive data and releasing it into the public domain.
Businesses should also consider the geodiversity offered by their data center provider. US Signal’s 8 data centers are strategically located throughout America’s heartland, which is considered one of the country’s safest geographical regions due to the lack of natural disasters and strong network connectivity. Most of our facilities are at least 200 miles apart and run on separate power grids to minimize the impact of natural disasters.
Act Now—Don’t wait for a COVID-free world
Don’t wait until the COVID-19 crisis is over before reviewing how effectively your cloud architecture can scale and how much protection it affords you from cybersecurity threats. The current climate allows for accelerated growth if you can ensure to meet your customers’ needs effectively.
This pandemic has pushed the fast-forward button on the plans that many organizations had for their digital transformation. It has caused them to adapt to the new business environment faster and in ways that many CIOs would not have believed. For that reason, it’s vital to ensure your cloud and network provider has the financial security to weather the storm—and can offer highly available, secure solutions to meet your needs. US Signal was founded in 2001, and today we're the largest debt-free, privately-held data center services provider in the Midwest. That means, if you’re with us, you’re in safe, experienced hands.