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Cloud-based WAN provider Pertino released a handful of applications aimed at allowing IT departments to improve the operational control and visibility they now have with the provider's remote access technology.
The new applications include UsageMonitor, which relies on Pertino's back-end analytics to deliver near-real-time monitoring and reporting on how much bandwidth users consume when they connect to Pertino's cloud.
With UsageMonitor, admins "can see how much bandwidth the mobile sales force uses, which is useful for managing mobile plans," said Todd Krautkremer, vice president of marketing at Pertino. "With cloud servers, you have no visibility into traffic, usage and security. This can see that someone sent 20 gigabytes of data to your Amazon server on a Saturday. You can look into it with this application."
Another application, ADConnect, extends Microsoft Active Directory DNS resolution services to a Pertino network, which is beneficial to admins who want more control over who can access certain applications through the Pertino cloud.
George Moore, director of technology for PFO Global, a Dallas-based eyewear provider, saw the need for an application like ADConnect long before Pertino released it. In fact, he configured his Pertino network manually to achieve similar functionality.
"I had to build a network where I could get a bunch of developers into a development server," Moore said. "In the past, we didn't have it joined to Active Directory because they were cloud-based servers. I wanted some control over my developers, so that when I bring a developer online I could give them an ID and when I removed that ID I removed all their access to the cloud server."
The traditional method for connecting developers, some of whom were remote contractors, was for Moore to set up a VPN service to the cloud.
"That meant setting them up with an ID, installing the client and -- because I have three different data centers -- I'd have to set up three different VPN clients. That was a lot of trouble."
Instead, Moore signed up with Pertino, installed one Pertino client on each developer's PC, and added his Active Directory server and cloud servers to the Pertino network. Adding Active Directory to the Pertino network required some manual configuration and some professional services support from Pertino.
"I was able to use Pertino to join Active Directory to those servers and give single sign-on to those developers. It allowed me to manage more developers with the same amount of staff."
ADConnect, which Moore doesn't use, would have made the process easier, he said. And the application is a little more robust.
Additionally, Pertino released two applications to help IT set up and support users. NameStation eliminates the need to use an IP address to identify devices on a Pertino network. Instead, admins can name an endpoint for its user or name a server for the application running on it, making it easier for an admin to keep track of what's on the network. Pertino Desktop is a remote access application that allows admins to provide technical support to users by logging into endpoints through Pertino.
Pertino also released a premium version of GeoView, now called GeoView Pro. GeoView Pro maps the location of users and devices connected to a customer's network with street-level accuracy, which makes it useful for finding lost and stolen devices, Krautkremer said.
"I used it to see if any of my laptops had moved out of a particular region," Moore said. "If … my sales guy's … laptop shows up in Hawaii when he said he was supposed to be in Nebraska, that would be a bad thing. If I saw a laptop in Kazakhstan, I would just delete that off the network and make sure the credential is destroyed."
Pertino initially aimed its cloud-based WAN service at small companies, but the simplicity of its service is prompting larger, midmarket companies to start to adapt its service, said Lee Doyle, principal analyst for Doyle Research in Wellesley, Mass.
Many of those early midmarket adopters may have been "shadow IT" projects, examples of business users adopting technology on their own without involving the IT organization, Doyle said. Pertino's decision to add applications as add-on services on top of basic remote connectivity reflects a desire among IT organizations to regain control, or at least visibility, of these shadow IT efforts.
"It comes in as a shadow IT project, and then IT takes a look and they want to be able to monitor it and know where users are accessing the network from," Doyle said.
All applications, except for Pertino Desktop, are available now without charge to customers who use Pertino's upper tier Business and Enterprise service plans. Pertino Desktop pricing will be announced when it becomes available later this year.
Pertino enables virtual private cloud connectivity across multiple cloud providers