Unchecked Tunneling Into Corporate Networks – Who Allows That?

As Audiovisual Integrators research different options for remote monitoring they need to be leery of products that promote unchecked tunneling through corporate firewalls. In today’s climate of robust data security to suggest that someone can access a secure network by tunneling through a device via HTTPS is reckless. Although it may sound like a good idea for easy remote management, telling corpono-access-71232_640rate IT you can gain access to their network through a device no one can track isn’t something they’re going to celebrate.

Understanding the differences in Residential and Corporate network security should be a straight forward conversation when selling AV in both markets. Residential is low to medium security that offers easy access to AV and home security systems. Asking for residential level access into a corporate customer’s network is unprofessional at the very least.

Best practice is to have a secure solution in place when offering remote monitoring to corporate customers. IT departments are very aware of monitoring their entire infrastructure and do not waiver on security. Bring IT a secure solution that allows you to see AV system details from the outside posing no threat to the IT infrastructure what-so-ever. That will help put the IT people at ease knowing you have knowledge about network security and the product to back it.

The ultimate goal is to have better customer service and generate more recurring revenue. Remote monitoring is designed to augment service sales and support by bringing a proactive solution to the table. No one needs to tunnel into a customers network to update a program. That’s not a good selling point. Trying to eliminate important customer visits should never be the target. Providing better service is the bulls eye and will ultimately yield the biggest rewards through more customer satisfaction.

AVNOC® is dedicated to providing secure remote monitoring solutions and delivering the confidence IT professionals expect. Put AVNOC® in your toolbox and the confidence of a secure monitoring solution.

AVNOC® Partners with Bravo Audiovisual

AVNOC®
partners with
Bravo Audiovisual

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AVNOC®, an AV/IT industry software developer and manufacturer, with offices in Williamsburg, VA and Reno, NV, has partnered with Bravo Audiovisual in Oslo, Norway to deliver remote audiovisual monitoring for their customers. AVNOC® reports on device and network availability plus detailed system metrics keeping help desks, service centers and customers in-touch with audiovisual systems.

AVNOC® software is a service management platform complete with an Executive Interface, Operations Dashboard, Field Service Software and Website Plug-in. Features include remote power management, device control, and API for leading room control systems. AVNOC® remote monitoring continually delivers usage data plus diagnostic accuracy for commercial audiovisual systems. The combination of AVNOC® cloud software and remote monitoring creates an end-to-end managed services offering.

Partnering with Bravo Audiovisual is a wonderful opportunity for both companies, ”says AVNOC® Managing Partner, Scott Allard. “Providing our solutions for Bravo Audiovisual helps them bring new support services to their customers throughout the Nordics. Expanding our business footprint Internationally with Bravo moves us in to new markets and is consistent with the rapid growth we’re having in the U.S.”

Bravo’s main focus is to deliver total AV solutions tailored to the specific needs of each customer. The company’s vision is to transform the way clients communicate and interact through new and innovative solutions developed with creativity and the best product knowledge in the business.

“We are truly looking forward to launching this product in the Nordics”, says Trond Christensen, Bravo Audiovisual Managing Director. We are impressed by the AVNOC® team and their products and believe that their remote monitoring solutions will be an attractive offering in the Nordic market.”

Bravo Audiovisual is a leading AV integrator in Norway. The company designs, builds and supports AV systems for video conferencing and commercial audiovisual installations and was established by a group of people with more than 50 years of industry experience.

For further information on Bravo Audiovisual and their products and services, please visit www.bravoav.no

For further information on AVNOC®and their remote monitoring solutions, please visit www.avnoc.com

AVNOC® API for Leading Room Control Systems – Remote Audiovisual Monitoring

AVNOC Develops API for Room Control Systems

Remote AV monitoring has become a hot topic and the focus of AV service providers. Having a proactive service delivery system in place adds real value to an audiovisual company’s total offerings. The leading room control systems have established the ability to manage and monitor devices from inside a customers network. This standard leaves a gap in service as gaining access to multiple customers with different systems becomes unmanageable.

AVNOC® provides API for the major room control systems like Fusion, GVE, and RMS. Our software platform takes those 1000’s of emails generated by usage and turns them in to meaningful data. Using AVNOC® remote audiovisual monitoring, equipment connected by RS232 like projectors report detailed status information directly to our software. Our multi-user platform has 6 different points of view for the executive, operations, engineering and the customer assignable by User or PIN.

Tying multiple systems together is done in the AVNOC® Cloud. Customer’s are displayed on the AVNOC® Dashboard individually making every system and customer location a breeze to manage. Automated ticketing creates a more manageable workflow that reveals points of failure for accurate diagnosis and proper service dispatch. All activity is available to generate reports filtered by customer, billing, rooms, service, and more. 

AVNOC® is used by leading service providers across the nation and around the globe. Our system brings remote monitoring to any customers network without VPN. AVNOC® is a HIPAA compliant solution that delivers reliable data to your Service Help Desk with real-time performance for proactive results.


For more information about AVNOC® API for Fusion, GVE and RMS go to avnoc.com 

AVNOC® VM Hosting at AWS

AVNOC® VM hosting with

 AWS

Helping integration partners to offer higher levels of support, AVNOC® Virtual Machine now deploys to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The IT infrastructure to handle growth and scalability when developing AV network support centers can be streamlined using Amazon services. Having more flexibility is one of the conveniences of using AWS, being able to move forward now with a more powerful support services model that includes AVNOC® remote monitoring is the primary benefit.

Using the AVNOC® VM provides a scalable backbone for expanding remote monitoring to reach more customers locations. Combined with AWS the opportunity to rapidly develop large scale service solutions becomes easier. The AVNOC® VM includes the AVNOC® Dashboard and the Service Console that creates complete end-to-end remote monitoring and a proactive services offering.

Offering remote monitoring and cloud services to customers with unlimited scalability involves IT engineering, hardware and software. AVNOC® supports integration partners with IT services, software and training. AWS can provide the infrastructure for developing advanced audiovisual support services allowing businesses to focus more on developing customer service and less on IT.

For information about how AVNOC® products help integration partners with remote monitoring and proactive service solutions visit avnoc.com

SNMP Monitoring and Audiovisual – AVNOC®

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Anatomy of SNMPAVNOC®

History

Over the years, Simple Network Monitoring Protocol (SNMP) has been used to manage and monitor IT devices on a network. Many devices support SNMP, including routers, switches, servers, workstations, printers, power systems, and even audiovisual gear. The primary use of SNMP is to monitor network-attached devices for conditions that warrant attention. SNMP is a part of the Internet Protocol Suite that is defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The IETF defined a set of standards for network management and includes an application layer protocol, database schema and a set of data objects defined and used by the vendors.

SNMP exposes Management Information Base (MIB) data in the form of variables that can be queried and/or trapped.

Concepts

Typical SNMP uses a Manager to manage or collect information from a group of hosts or devices on a computer network. SNMP agents on the managed/monitored devices expose management data as variables. The variables are accessible via SNMP (Queried or Trapped) and are organized in hierarchies defined by MIB’s. There are three components:

  • Managed Device – is a network node that implements SNMP (MD)
  • Agent – software that runs on the managed/monitored devices (AGENT)
  • Management Station – software that processes SNMP Traps / Queries (MS)

MIB

SNMP does not define which information a managed system should offer. It is up to the manufacturer to expose SNMP data in a manner which is appropriate for the device. SNMP does offer a means of communication of the variables. A hierarchical name-space containing Object Identifies (OID) identifies the variables which the manufacturer chooses to expose.

SNMP Version 1

SNMP Version 1 is the initial implementation of the protocol. It operates over protocols such as User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Internet Protocol (IP), OSI Connectionless Network Service (CLNS), Apple Talk Datagram Delivery Protocol (DDP), and Novell Internet Packet Exchange (IPX).

Version 1 has been criticized for its poor security. Authentication of clients is performed only by a community string which is transmitted via clear text.

SNMP Version 2c

SNMP Version 2c extends version 1 and includes improvements over Version 1. This version was not highly accepted and was replaced by Version 3.

SNMP Version 3

SNMP Version 3 added cryptographic security.

Security

Since most devices support Version 1, it is important to deploy these devices within a Secure Computing Environment (SCE). Such rules-of-thumb as never expose a SNMP Version 1 to the public internet is a good starting point for a successful SNMP implementation.

Queries can be processed within the SCE safely, it is when the data is required to be transported out of the SCE that an encrypted solution becomes apparent. The Management Station (MS) sends out queries to the Agents running on the devices and processes the data according to rules set forth in the query. Since the MS resides within the SCE all data is restricted to the SCE making for a secure environment to process traps.

Traps can also be processed in the same manner as long as the AGENT and the MS are in the same SCE.

It gets a little tricky when trying to access and use the data generated from SNMP. The latest HIPPA and Best use Practices are limiting the methods for data retrieval. While many solutions are great if all the devices and users are within the same SCE, however, this is the exception rather than the rule.

HIPAA Compliance

Health Information Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996 as a standard for insuring the privacy of health information, including digital information.


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&hipaa-cloud
SNMP

 

Accessing SNMP Data

While there may be many different Network Implementation Scenarios there is one thing for sure, there will be private within private networks that will not allow ingress to retrieve the information. Network security is implemented by a team to insure safety of the network, plug any holes, and remain compliant with any internal or external standards that may apply. There are two methods of accessing the SNMP Data:

  • Use an MS that has access to all devices within the SCE
  • Use an MS that translates the data and transmits it securely to an accessible manager.

In the first scenario there are many products that accomplish this task, the second scenario is where innovative thinking must be applied.
Isolation and compartmentalization makes using an SNMP system much more difficult.

Bridging the Gap

AVNOC® an AV/IT remote monitoring company, starts with security as the foundation by using a Management Station Hardware Solution which fits easily into any network (private within private), while securely communicating its data to a host for processing. The host processes the data into alerts and metrics that can be retrieved using a secure web interface. The solution is extremely effective in HIPAA compliant network environments.

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SNMP and Audiovisual

Using SNMP in audiovisual systems creates a Layer 3 management solution for the AV network and the hardware on the network. The SNMP data can be translated into useful information from video conferencing details and audiovisual system status for remote management. Available API can be used for software applications that are already deployed in technology help desks and support centers for receiving remote data directly into an existing platform.

Applying SNMP

During the initial engineering of audiovisual networks SNMP should always be a consideration. SNMP is generally an option on most modern audiovisual devices but in most cases it requires specific network information to be added to the device set-up. Making sure all of the correct parameters are detailed is key to SNMP Layer 3 implementation. A destination to receive the SNMP data like a monitoring agent tied to a cloud host can be used for secure data transfer.

Making Monitoring Happen Easily

Combining AVNOC® with today’s networked audiovisual and telepresence installations commercial integrators can deliver proactive customer support services readily. Recurring revenue has never been easier to obtain than by applying remote monitoring technology. By applying SNMP monitoring to all new networked audiovisual builds now, the growth of remote support services that create recurring revenue have the opportunity to flourish sooner.

Staying connected in the rapidly moving world of AV/IT  is easier when you have the network monitoring products that are used by  AV industry leaders.

Put AVNOC® in your toolbox to really connect with customers.

 

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For more on AVNOC® monitoring solutions visit avnoc.com

Selling annual service plans gets a much needed facelift

Call-in customer service plans are getting much harder to sell these days.

 

Here’s valuable information for service agreement sales that’s proven to generate more recurring annual revenue.

For today’s audiovisual integrator there are more opportunities than ever before to become a better service provider and charge for it. With the increased demand in AV networking customers are ripe for new service opportunities. Being a provider of UC technology is a wise choice in today’s economy, attaching a few more services to complete the package is where integrators can turn AV service in to a value-added resource if the right approach is taken.

Some of the best business opportunities can result from offering annual service agreements. Not the plumbers service model either where customers call-in with system failures and a detectable attitude because it’s your company’s installation. Good salesmanship is certainly a part of cultivating new services but it’s a bit easier to sell a performance-based product than one that just takes revenue from your customers budgets as a just-in-case policy. Before focusing on increasing service yield a few more steps should be taken to capitalize on what can really be some sweet low-hanging fruit.

LowHangingFruit

Things to consider for better services:

  • Asset management software that includes customer service analytics

  • Remote monitoring with notifications sent to a help desk or service center

  • Cloud-based remote updating for device changes and asset updates

  • Automatic ticketing with customer demographics and failed device details

  • Monitoring appliances (not servers) for the customers AV networks

  • Scalability for unlimited IP addresses, network devices and multiple users

  • Easy installation that requires minimal interaction with IT departments

  • Qualified help desk personnel that know your customers technology

  • Mobile device compliant ticket application for field service technicians

     

It has been written and blogged many times that “service” is a key to long-term survival for system integrators. And lets not forget technology service is a billion dollar global industry too. The AV integration leaders realized all of this a decade ago and today they’re capitalizing on a new generation of customers by having services in place that’s been used by the IT industry for decades.

 

Offering remote AV monitoring is the surest way to positively impact future sales and services. As audiovisual systems become more IT centric so should the service model attached to those customers. Applying remote AV monitoring can generate new source of revenue through better services while simultaneously creating a stronger future for businesses to thrive in.

 

AVNOC® develops the ideal solutions for remote AV monitoring being offered by integrators across the nation. Our systems are specifically designed for audiovisual users and integrators to receive active system metrics through SNMP monitoring and to prevent excessive downtime. Today it’s easier than ever to have better customer services that include remote AV monitoring and service-based recurring revenue.

For more information go to www.avnoc.com

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AVNOC Acquires CyberEd Corporation Software Firm

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Last month October 2012, AVNOC, LLC acquired Cyber Ed Corporation. This move is to consolidate the software and hardware divisions of AVNOC in to one company.

Cyber Ed Corp, a software firm developing products for state education and private businesses for over 15 years developed the core software interface for AVNOC monitoring products. In late 2010 AVNOC co-founders, Ed Lang and P. Scott Allard, designed the backbone of AVNOC monitoring platform using the CyberObjects framework developed by Cyber Ed Corporation.

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Our decision to merge AVNOC and Cyber Ed Corp brings on new opportunities and growth for AVNOC as a technology provider.

AVNOC now offers a wide variety of software and hardware technology products including network device monitoring and NOC development systems. We are continuing to grow in the direction that has been our focus since the inception of AVNOC. A provider of software and hardware solutions for data resource and asset management, plus a full service technology support center and NOC.

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Visit us at www.avnoc.com