Small Business / Enterprise / Networking / Cybersecurity

The Best Telecom / Cloud Promos We've Found Amid Coronavirus Transition

Rob Rodier
I hope that everyone reading this post is safe, avoiding others, and taking necessary precautions to help stop the transmission of this terrible disease ravaging our society. Before getting into the post, I’d like to offer my team as a resource to anyone going through IT-related difficulties in this time of significant transition for many companies. We have decades of experience across all facets of IT and expertise in implementation of all types of technologies. If you need anything at all, please email me at rob AT lightyear DOT ai. Not trying to sell anything here, just want to help.

In this time of widespread panic and social distancing, “business as usual” is almost impossible. Many companies are transitioning to enable WFH (work from home) for almost all employees, and this is much easier for some than for others. If you’re a newer, public cloud-borne company with a partially remote team, this transition may have had no impact to you at all. If you’re operating with a private / hybrid cloud setup or completely on-prem systems, this may be an extremely difficult time for you.

All that matters here is that you 1) identify mission critical applications for your business productivity, and 2) create mechanisms for employees to effectively access them.

Here are the biggest challenges companies might face here, and some considerations:
  1. Private cloud / on-premises setup. Companies without a public cloud presence may have a hard time supporting remote workers if they don’t have proper bandwidth and systems in place. If you don’t have adequate bandwidth, you should strongly consider a dedicated internet connection (if not on one already), increasing bandwidth on your DIA connection, or even bonding multiple broadband links with SD-WAN. Unfortunately, fixing an issue of inadequate bandwidth takes time (close to a month in the best case). Temporarily, companies in this position can identify applications that can be easily migrated to a public cloud to free up WAN resources. This can help make a future transition easier as well.
  2. Cyber security resilience. Hackers, attackers, and fraudsters will try and take advantage of a lack of user focus and weakened security perimeters. Good security hygiene is critical and organizations should be increasing their defenses by mandating proven technologies like multi-factor authentication. We’ve seen an increase in cyber attacks.
  3. Deployment of new technologies to support remote teams. Right now, tons of companies are rolling out new technologies to support remote collaboration and sales efficiency. This includes telecom products like VoIP / UCaaS / meeting solutions to easily support video calling / call forwarding and collaboration tools like Slack / Teams for internal communication. These are the right moves to be making at this time, but organizations cannot simply be throwing new applications into clouds without thinking through the longer term ramifications of leveraging such tools. Some services may not be HIPAA compliant for example.
Some good news is that lots of vendors are offering special promotions right now to help! We have put together a list below of the best deals we’ve seen recently that represent great values with limited to no strings attached.

VoIP/ UCaaS:
  • 3CX is offering 3 years VoIP software to organizations for free. The 3CX software deploys as an IP-PBX, on premise, or in your cloud and runs on Linux which is widely available, easy to use and free. Just add SIP trunking which can be provisioned very quickly for less than $10/trunk/mo and this system is ready to support hundreds of remote users.
  • Nextiva and many other UCaaS carriers are running promotions that either allow users to opt in with no long term commitments, or provide month(s) of free service to those who are willing to enter into multi-year terms. Should your situation call for something fully managed these are cost effective and very easy and quick to deploy.
Internet Access:
  • As they have done during recent natural disasters, both Comcast and AT&T have opened up their nationwide network of public WiFi hotspots to the public. These hotspots are nearly ubiquitous in many parts of the country and offer robust connectivity for those in a pinch. See detail on Comcast’s offering here. See detail on AT&T’s offering here.
  • If you’re considering a dedicated or shared office connection, we can validate your address and see if promos are available with on-net / near-net providers for free. Fill out our questionnaire and we’ll find pricing for you.
Cloud Resources/Compute:
VPN/Secure Remote Access:
  • Tempered is offering their next gen VPN for 90 days / 5,000 devices for free with support and provisioning assistance. While free service in times like this is one thing, free support and expertise is another. If your legacy VPN is crippled or cumbersome, or you don't have a VPN, this next gen solution can be spun up quickly and easily and offers robust security features like Zero Trust.
Cloud Security / Identity and Access Management:
If you find something exciting that we’ve missed, let us know (rob AT lightyear DOT ai)! Hope this was helpful.

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