Connecting Latitudes: Moving Towards a Secure and Efficient Digital Future in Latin America

Connecting Latitudes: Moving Towards a Secure and Efficient Digital Future in Latin America

 

May 17 is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, a propitious time to reflect on the advances and perspectives of this critical area in our lives. On this occasion, it is crucial to turn our attention to the specific dynamics and challenges facing Latin America in the field of telecommunications, especially at a time when connectivity and digitalization are rapidly transforming our society and economy.

One of the most hopeful developments on the horizon for the region is the implementation of 5G technology. This next generation of mobile networks promises to revolutionize the way we connect, offering ultra-fast speeds, lower latency, and massive connection capabilities. In several countries in the region where pilot tests and limited deployments are already underway, while in others there are already a significant number of connections to this network, 5G has the potential to drive innovation in key sectors such as health, education, manufacturing and agriculture, generating economic opportunities and improving citizens’ quality of life.

However, moving towards a successful and secure 5G ecosystem requires a comprehensive approach that includes not only the expansion of network infrastructure, but also the implementation of robust cybersecurity and data protection measures. The vast majority of Latin American countries have made progress in initiatives focused on redefining and conceptually updating their regulations on the protection of personal data.

The interconnection of an increasing number of devices and systems in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT) poses new challenges in terms of privacy and cybersecurity. Therefore, it is critical that governments and businesses work closely together to establish clear standards and regulations that protect the integrity of networks and the confidentiality of personal information.

In addition to 5G, another key element that is shaping the telecommunications landscape in the region is artificial intelligence (AI). From virtual assistants to predictive analytics to process automation, AI is transforming the way we interact with technology and how businesses operate. In Latin America, the adoption of AI solutions is on the rise, especially in sectors such as e-commerce, healthcare, and financial services. However, skills gaps need to be addressed and digital inclusion promoted to ensure that all segments of society can benefit from the opportunities offered by this technology.

Ultimately, the success of digital transformation in Latin America will depend to a large extent on collaboration between different players: governments, businesses, civil and academic society. It is essential that policies and programs are established that encourage investment in infrastructure, technological innovation and the development of human talent. At the same time, we must ensure that this progress is made ethically and responsibly, protecting individual rights and promoting inclusion and equity.

On this World Telecommunication Day, let us celebrate the progress made so far and renew our commitment to building a safe, inclusive and prosperous digital future for all in Latin America. It’s an exciting time to stay connected and witness how technology continues to transform our lives and create new opportunities for development and progress. Let’s move forward with determination and vision towards a tomorrow where connectivity is truly universal and beneficial to all.

 

Author:
Leonardo Barbero
President, Fiber Business Unit
Cirion Technologies

What are quantum networks and how close are they to transforming business?

What are quantum networks and how close are they to transforming business?

Technology, highlighted as one of the most promising for the upcoming years, reflects the new frontier of corporate connectivity. 

In an increasingly interconnected world, emerging technologies have taken the lead in shaping the future of corporations.  Within this technological revolution, one term has captured the attention of experts and business leaders alike: quantum networking.  Essentially, these networks represent a new frontier in information transmission, harnessing the principles of quantum mechanics to revolutionize corporate connectivity.  Featured in Gartner’s report “Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking 2023”, it’s important to pause for a second and understand their scope. 

Quantum networks, in simple terms, involve the transmission of information between connected devices, using the unique properties of subatomic particles to store and transfer data.  Through the superposition and interweaving of particles, a highly secure and efficient connection, capable of overcoming the limitations of classical networks, is established. 

These networks are used in various corporate applications, from quantum cryptography, which guarantees robust security when transmitting confidential data, to distributed quantum computing, which allows companies to perform complex calculations faster, more efficiently than ever before.  In addition, quantum networks have the potential to transform sectors

Business benefits and the corporate landscape

The integration of quantum networks with corporate operations entails a number of significant benefits.  First, improved security guarantees that sensitive data is secured, which is key in a world where privacy and information protection are essential.  By providing an additional layer of security through quantum cryptography, quantum networks can protect companies against advanced cyber threats and malicious attacks. 

In addition, the ability to perform complex calculations more efficiently can increase productivity and innovation in various sectors.  Companies can perform advanced data analysis more quickly, allowing them to make informed decisions in real time and adapt quickly to dynamic market conditions.  This agility and responsiveness can be the key to remaining competitive in a changing and constantly evolving corporate  environment. 

Looking towards the future 

Quantum networks are still in their early stages before widespread adoption.  But there’s no doubt that they represent a crucial evolution in corporate infrastructure, offering a unique combination of enhanced security and advanced processing capabilities.  According to Gartner’s market analysis, the promise is real, and we should see this technology come to fruition within the next 10 years, which, in terms of technology and business, is just the blink of an eye.  

Limited deadline! Cirion offers you the opportunity to access Gartner’s exclusive report  “Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking 2023”, by clicking here.

Author:
Alejandro Girardotti
Senior Director of Product, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships
Cirion Technologies

CDN: key to increased streaming in Venezuela and Latin America

CDN: key to increased streaming in Venezuela and Latin America

Content distribution networks (CDNs), are responsible for 71% of online content traffic 

The demand for home internet has increased exponentially in recent years. One of the reasons was the pandemic, which brought significant changes to routines at work and in education, such as teleworking, leading to a high consumption of entertainment. In this context, social networks and video streaming services are the fastest growing platforms in Venezuela and throughout the region. 

The accessibility and convenience offered by platforms such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Disney or Fox Play have led increasingly more people to choose this form of entertainment, which offers a catalog of programs for all audiences and can be accessed from any device with Internet access.  For streaming, the CDN plays a key role in ensuring a smooth, seamless viewer experience that supports high consumption.  When a user requests content via the streaming platform, the CDN searches for the server that is closest to the user and delivers the content from there, bringing several benefits.

Let’s not forget that a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a set of geographically distributed servers smartly working together to deliver Internet content quickly and securely.  This network allows for a more agile and optimized transmission of the data needed to load online content, which includes videos, images, HTML pages or JavaScript files.  Today, most streaming traffic is distributed by CDN – approximately 71% of the total flow in 2021, according to a Cisco study. 

Here are some of the advantages of the CDN for users and streaming providers:

  1. Improves the speed of content loading: The CDN distributes content across different servers, allowing users to access content faster.
  2. Reduces latency: With the servers closer to users, the CDN reduces latency and avoids buffering problems or slow loading times.
  3. Improves streaming quality: The CDN can automatically adjust the streaming quality to the user’s connection speed, which guarantees a seamless viewing experience.
  4. Reduces operating costs: By distributing the traffic load across different servers, the CDN reduces streaming platforms’ bandwidth costs, reducing the load on any individual server.
  5. Enables greater scalability: CDN allows streaming platforms to manage large amounts of traffic without affecting the quality of service.

People are spending more time connected to the internet – and not just in Latin America, but worldwideenjoying different content such as video, music playback, games, online shopping, news, etc. This makes CDN services essential when it comes to dealing with the ever-increasing demand and globalization of online platforms.

Cirion Technologies’ CDN is a solution that operates over the internet and optimizes its resources to achieve reliable data massification around the world.  This technology helps content creators maintain the stability of their service with international connections, guaranteeing a good, faster and more reliable user experience.

Author:
Wilmer Puerta
Senior Product Manager Connectivity & Content for Ecuador and Venezuela
Cirion Technologies.

Network Infrastructure: luxury ship or leaky boat?

Network Infrastructure: luxury ship or leaky boat?

Data network infrastructure is an essential part of modern business.  It is the basis to acquiring, storing, and processing information in a fast and efficient manner, making productivity and competitiveness possible in a digital-imperative scenario.  

With rare exceptions, no business model today is capable of surviving without digital.  For the convenience of users – and insomnia of the IT teams – customers, employees, and operations’ financial data are encrypted in bits and bytes, which are stored in servers, notebooks, mobiles, or spread across the cloud. 

Is your infrastructure reliable?

Network infrastructure is the vessel which companies rely on to navigate through an ocean of information and connections.  Luxury ship or leaky boat? To understand which one your company is boarding, there are some signals you need to pay attention to: 

  • Performance: The team’s performance is directly related to the performance of the communications’ infrastructure. Allow me to explain: if your company has video conferences in which half of the participants is unable to connect and the other half spends most of the time repeating choppy sentences, or reports are overdue because graphics are too heavy to download, or customers are abandoning your site due to slowness, then poor network infrastructure could be holding back your business success.
  • Security: Unapplied patches, discontinued or unsupported equipment are some examples of potential security gaps exploited by hackers who wish to carry out scams or activate Ramsonware in your network.
  • Governance: Structural weaknesses can also affect governance, due to incomplete documentation or poor visibility of equipment. Having professionals travel to execute maintenance in remote locations can also be a problem, as it means that the network technologies deployed aren’t as modern as before. 

How can I recover my network’s performance? 

If you are worried about these scenarios, maybe the time has come to update your infrastructure and apply SD-WAN to your network.  This technology, which means Software Defined Wide Area Network, is a powerful solution to improve the infrastructure of companies of all sizes. SD-WAN is an architecture which uses a software layer to control and manage the data network.  As a result, it simplifies the efforts of both IT teams and users, enabling:

Flexibility: SD-WAN allows locations that have different provider links or technologies to be connected and managed remotely.  This represents less travel, increased agility, and lower maintenance costs – reason enough to satisfy the CFO and validate the choices made by the IT team.  

Performance: SD-WAN enables a better management of data traffic, improving network and team performance.  It’s also worth remembering that satisfied users mean quality sleep for support teams.

Security: This technology adds extra layers of software-deployed security, such as encryption and traffic filters, in addition to assisting in maintaining better documentation and visualization of the network and active equipment.  All of these ensure less headaches and more peaceful weekends for the IT teams and business leaders. 

So, is it just a matter of activating software? 

SD-WAN can be an important ally for the infrastructure teams, but it comes with a cost. It demands skilled and specialized professionals to guarantee maximum performance.  Key attention points are:

  • Planning: Identifying which business demands will require network support and defining the scaling of equipment and links to meet these demands. 
  • Technology selection: SD-WAN is a blanket name under which many manufacturers and providers develop their solutions. Some products can be better adapted to low-cost scenarios, while others require specific security conditions or are divided into hundreds of features, charging for the complexity of their management.  Identifying the cost/benefit for your business requires a deep understanding of manufacturers and their details.  For some teams, this is a huge challenge, as it demands time and commitment from employees who are already drowning in day-to-day operations.  
  • Deployment: Proper execution of this stage will bring long-term benefits. Here, knowledge and experience are key to ensuring that the best configurations are used in daily operations. 
  • Operations and Support: While SD-WAN is responsible for a great portion of the network’s operation, it is critical to count on the supervision of experienced, technology-savvy professionals to ensure the network’s security and performance throughout its lifecycle. 

In the operations stage, demand may potentially grow beyond planned and require the replacement of equipment when peak performance is reached.  To avoid this, a difficult decision should be made in the planning stage: purchase equipment that may be oversized for your current needs or risk paying future costs when an upgrade is needed?   

SD-WAN as a Service 

SD-WAN technology has been in the market for quite a while, so many people thought that the software layer would solve most operational difficulties. However, they soon found out that this couldn’t be further from the truth. To make the most of SD-WAN, an option might be to place the service above the software. 

The market offers SD-WAN-as-a-Service.  This includes the expertise and support of qualified professionals and the security that comes from knowing that potential performance upgrades do not imply large investments to change hardware or the loss of what had been previously installed. 

Therefore, SD-WAN-as-a-Service solutions combine the benefits of technology with a financial alternative that can enable upgrades of infrastructures that are on the path to obsolescence.  They are practical and safe, both for large businesses that demand agility and capacity to grow and for smaller companies, which unfortunately have a hard time finding professionals and information to select the ideal equipment for their realities.

Author:
Yuri Menck
Marketing Manager
Cirion, Brasil 

Yuri holds a degree in Electrical Industrial Engineering (UTFPR), a postgraduate degree in IT Management (Unicenp) and an MBA in Executive Management (Insper/SP). He has always worked in the information technology and telecommunications market. In the company since 2000, he has held positions in technical and product areas and, since 2008, has led the Strategic Marketing and Communications team in Brazil.

SD-WAN: a profitable way to protect your remote network

SD-WAN: a profitable way to protect your remote network

The SD-WAN market is expected to reach $30.9 billion by 2030[1]

Digital transformation is all about the use and integration of new technologies as part of a company’s processes, allowing it to respond to changes and adapt to new customer demands as well as to a digitally skilled workforce, while generating new business models and corporate structures. 

Among these transformative technologies are the software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN), which have grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Proof of this is that this market is expected to reach $30.9 billion by 2030.  The software-based overlay network improves management, functionality, and security.  However, several misleading myths have distorted the SD-WAN‘s capabilities and its role within a robust and flexible network strategy, preventing companies from leveraging its full potential.  Thus, it is important to clear up these myths and grant SD-WAN its due place. 

Let’s start by pointing out that while SD-WAN adds value in many ways, you can’t simply ignore the underlying network.  Think of the latter as the road on which your data traffic travels, while the SD-WAN is the traffic management system.  Regardless of the number of dedicated lanes, detours, traffic analysis, and real-time routing offered by SD-WAN, a congested and potholed road will continue to cause a slow and jolting journey.  This example will help explain the ideas set out below. 

Focus on the basics 

Simply put, SD-WAN can utilize its links in the most efficient way possible by defining directives per application and choosing the WAN that best suits it.  However, it cannot resolve bad internet connections; as an overlay it relies on the underlying network – MPLS, broadband, internet, or a combination of these – to manage routing rules, handle failure scenarios and prioritize traffic.  Given that the end-user experience depends on the quality of the underlying network, no “smart” traffic management solution can fix a bad route. 

Not all internet connections are the same 

There is a fundamental difference between broadband delivered over cable and a dedicated internet access service delivered over fiber.  Tapping into the traffic analogy, imagine cable broadband as a public highway: it is a shared service where users compete for available bandwidth on the same local infrastructure.  Furthermore, cable-delivered Internet and former broadband services are generally asymmetric, meaning there is less bandwidth upstream than downstream. In times of VoIP, UCaaS, and other hosted SaaS offerings which rely on reliable internet bandwidth (in both directions), this becomes more important than ever. 

It’s all in the backbone network 

In addition to the differences in access, such as cable versus dedicated fiber, your ISP’s backbone network and the extent of its interconnections with other networks (also known as peering) will affect the end-user experience. 

Security as an Imperative 

It is very important to consider security when it comes to implementing an SD-WAN solution. As we add equipment to a network, it becomes more difficult to control, visibility is lost, and the attack surface is expanded. Secure SD-WAN allows us to add to and enhance SD-WAN’s network features, such as: 

  • Integration of authentication and authorization to control network access.
  • Use of encrypted tunnels to secure network traffic travelling through the Internet.
  • Next-generation firewall (NG-FW) functionalities in CPEs.
  • Network segmentation to limit the scope of potential security breaches.
  • Integration of endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions to protect endpoint devices, in addition to zero-trust network access (ZTNA).
  • LAN security: enables integration of LAN visibility (Switches, APs) to control equipment and user access and turn a Secure SD-WAN into a Secure SD-BRANCH.

Room to scale 

SD-WAN implementations carried out by system integrators (i.e., DIY), often combine several types of Internet, provided by different service providers. However, as the number of network sites increases, problems can arise due to varying Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and performance fluctuations across the locations. 

Businesses are turning to managed SD-WAN solutions for a variety of reasons and a Frost & Sullivan survey showed that organizations rely on service providers to:  

  • Combine and manage multiple network providers (75%)
  • Centralize communications for all providers (73%)
  • Manage all aspects of the network, including voice, data, access, and security (71%)
  • Leverage the flexibility of buying and paying for the service through a subscription billing model (71%)
  • Speed up decision making, since managed vendors have previously validated the SD-WAN providers (67%)

As companies roll out new business-critical applications across all their affiliates, – from Internet of Things to cloud analytics – they need access to flexible, secure, and cost-effective network options.  Increasingly, enterprises choose SD-WAN managed services to help them optimize deployments, make decisions that are best suited to their specific needs, and accelerate time to value. 

In short, SD-WAN allows traffic to be sent automatically over the most adequate WAN route while respecting security conditions, circuit costs, and quality of service requirements.  Its benefits enable companies to adapt to meet the growing demands of an increasingly digital world.

[1] PS Market Research

Author:
Javier Colucci,
Regional Manager, SD-WAN and Cloud Connectivity Products
Cirion Technologies

 

Gamification at work:  Turning routine into an amusing challenge

Gamification at work:  Turning routine into an amusing challenge

The digital transformation that the world is experiencing has brought some challenges to companies, especially considering that the new generations of digital natives are the ones joining the business life of corporations. Generation Z along with the millennials, today represent 80% of the workforce present in work environments, and are the groups redefining consumption and hiring trends, since their virtual digital identity is completely intertwined with their daily lives, and this applies to the way they work, buy, and socialize.

This is why businesses need to renew and improve work standards while keeping their teams motivated and focused on achieving goals. This is the origin of Gamification – a new trend related to including game or videogame elements in work environments, a very useful resource when motivation and behavior are key to success.

With gamification strategies, we can foster and improve employee satisfaction while achieving a better culture in the workplace. According to a recent report by Qualtrics and ServiceNow, during the pandemic 3 out of 5 call center agents reported that customers were becoming ruder and more aggressive. As a result, every week 1 in 5 considered resigning their job.  This isn’t sustainable for any business or anyone, and it’s something tougher to address when employees are working remotely/home office.

Gamification has a disruptive focus that challenges employees daily through a series of interactive gaming experiences aiming to increase motivation, improve skills and optimize performance. Individuals become players, rewarded for their progress and achievements in an attractive and fun work environment, while meeting their company’s goals.

This way, gamification leads to a better customer experience and delivery of added work value, as it increases employee motivation and retention, speeds up the employee training process, and promotes positive competition and staff loyalty in the company. Both, employees and companies are benefited from the implementation of these strategies, as they are able to achieve goals and improve performance, therefore obtaining a better work experience.

Author:
Fernando Riedel
Voice and Collaboration product specialist
Cirion Technologies