ComBrio Changes the Rules
by Rikki Kirzner, Partner and Carol Baroudi, Partner
The problem is ubiquitous and complex. The solutions are awkward, expensive and inadequate. Customer Service is well overdue for a revolution. We’ve just been trying to figure out how to make it happen.
In a world where commoditization drives margins to bare minimum, providing face-to-face service is all but unaffordable. In a world straight-jacketed by security concerns, preserving privacy and safety trumps convenience. In the complexity of today’s heterogeneous IT environments, in-house staff that can service everything is unthinkable. What’s our Industry to do?
While managed service providers are alleviating some of the pain, they aren’t solving all of it. Not all IT is outsourced, and every day, time and money are lost waiting for technicians to arrive. Every day, security vulnerabilities are opened in desperate attempts to resolve problems remotely. Every day, the complexity of our IT environments grows.
Existing Solutions Only Address Part of the Problem-At A Significant Price
Vendors that rely on maintenance income and have to deploy service technicians are highly vulnerable to local competition that can deliver service faster and cheaper. Vendors that use remote support rely on a variety of expensive solutions to identify, isolate, resolve problems, and update their systems. They use dial-up, private line or frame relay, and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) but each of these solutions has problems.
Dial-up is constrained by the available bandwidth that often limits the types of tools that can be used and the type of applications that can be sent to the remote device. Because it doesn’t scale every device can require its own line, making it very costly. Dial-up connections are also difficult to secure.
Leased lines and Frame Relay are more secure because they require fixed connections between the client and the operations center but they are typically more costly than dial up lines.
VPNs can utilize the Internet for transport and are more cost effective to use, but setting up remote support within a VPN architecture can be very daunting. VPNs require skilled professionals to install and maintain the connections between devices. The greatest risk is that VPNs allow too much access to the remote service provider, granting inadvertent access to proprietary assets while the connection is enabled.
IT departments that use VPNs must also use security solutions like access control lists, routing tables and other restrictive methodologies to maintain a level of protection around the devices on the LAN. This can drive up costs and complexity. Indeed, because VPN configuration and initiation are complicated, organizations often leave connections in place rather than having to go through the initiation every time it’s needed, and this in itself creates vulnerability.
ComBrio Inc.’s Virtual Service Infrastructure – The Way Things Need to Be
Relief comes from ComBrio Inc.’s Virtual Service Infrastructure (VSI), which provides a way to manage remote devices securely, easily, and cost-effectively, automatically providing a complete log useful for regulatory compliance. ComBrio’s agent-free technology requires no onsite configuration. VSI enables support organizations to dynamically create a virtual point-to-point connection over the Internet without opening a hole in the remote firewall. Once a service session is complete all traces of the connection are purged along with all rules and policies governing that device, leaving no holes in the customer’s private network.
ComBrio’s VSI infrastructure can deliver dynamic, on-demand, secure access to any device. The virtual network encompasses all of the standard provisioning that is normally required at a remote VPN location, including prohibiting unauthorized entry into a trusted network. In essence all the rules and policies for the security of a device are dynamically and automatically applied within the ComBrio VSI grid, eliminating any security breaches created by mis-configuration, from failing to properly remove a connection, or from failing to reinstate security levels upon completion of the service. ComBrio’s approach improves service levels, increases security, and reduces the total cost of owning and maintaining networks.
Hurwitz & Associates believes that remote customer support has been severely constrained by complexity, lack of security and high cost. ComBrio’s has made Internet-based remote support easy to use, secure, affordable, auditable and truly compelling.