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March 29, 2022 |

Cytracom Unveils Secure Network Connectivity Solution for MSPs

A significant step beyond the vendor’s roots in unified communications, the new system aims to provide a comprehensive, unified platform for securely, centrally, and simply connecting offices and remote workers across multiple locations.

Cytracom, a vendor best known to date for unified communications solutions, has introduced an end-to-end secure network connectivity solution for MSPs.

The all-new platform, named ControlOne, meshes established but normally discrete technologies like SD-WAN, web content filtering, and intrusion prevention with a collection of proprietary capabilities that, according to Cytracom, aren’t available in competing products. The result, the vendor contends, is a comprehensive, unified solution for securely, centrally, and simply connecting offices and remote workers across multiple locations.

“ControlOne essentially combines all the needs that MSPs have into a single platform,” says Zane Conkle, Cytracom’s CEO. “It’s completely integrated and woven into the solution.”

The system includes a cloud-hosted foundation, custom-engineered bridge appliances for connecting that cloud to offices, and software-based agents for linking endpoints to the bridges or, in work-from-home settings, directly to the cloud.

Graphical, software-defined perimeter technology in the solution aims to make deploying a wide-area network a heavily automated, drag-and-drop process. “You’re essentially just drawing it in the platform,” Conkle says.

The system’s SD-WAN component connects sites across the network automatically and balances loads across redundant broadband links. 

“We’re interrogating each of those internet connections 10 times a second,” says John Tippett, Cytracom’s COO. “We control both sides of the connection, so we can truly see what latency and lag look like, and can make dynamic decisions about where traffic should be sent.” If a connection goes down, he adds, the system automatically fails traffic over to available ones without interrupting service.

To secure that traffic, ControlOne includes a unified threat management component equipped with a cloud firewall, intrusion prevention system, and data loss prevention tool, as well as zero-trust network access technology. An additional “device posture check” tool extends the solution’s zero trust capabilities by granting access only to devices that meet predefined rules regarding patch status, antivirus protection, geolocation, and other variables.

A security posture management component adds continuous policy enforcement functionality to prevent “configuration drift” and ensure compliance with regulatory and third-party mandates.

Technicians can manage networks through a multitenant console designed to provide a real-time view of the entire environment. “You have complete and total visibility for every session for every user, every device, and every site across your customer’s network,” Conkle says.

All of those features reflect a view of the connectivity and security landscape rooted in a belief that existing tools are ill-suited to the post-perimeter, hybrid work era of computing and too complex for most MSPs to integrate and administer.

“For MSPs to secure their clients today, they’ve got to use many different vendors, many different technologies,” Conkle says. Many of those systems were originally designed for corporate IT departments rather than managed service providers, he adds, and gaps between them make monitoring and protecting all the locations, devices, connections, cloud environments, and other resources MSPs are responsible for difficult.

“A lot of these tools say that they integrate, but there are a lot of challenges around interoperability,” Conkle says.

ControlOne, by contrast, is designed to provide a complete set of network connectivity tools in one pre-assembled package. “Early access partners that are looking at ControlOne are coming to the conclusion that they can displace four to six tools on average with this platform,” Conkle says. 

The system is also designed to be easy enough for almost anyone with basic technical skills to use. “The goal was for your junior level resources to be able to fully build, manage, and support your customer’s networks,” Conkle says. “There’s no syntax to learn. There are no integrations to think about or interoperability. You essentially can manage everything from one pane of glass.” 

The launch of ControlOne comes some six months after Cytracom’s acquisition of secure networking vendor OmniNet. Though ControlOne draws on OmniNet technology, Conkle notes, it’s more than a rebranded or updated edition of that company’s platform. “It’s a totally new code base,” he says.

Both the OmniNet transaction and the creation of ControlOne are directly tied to the expanded vision Cytracom has been pursuing since selling a majority stake in the company to private equity investor Sverica Capital Management some two years ago. 

“This is a part of our strategic roadmap,” Conkle says. “Our mission here is to connect the modern workforce.” 

ControlOne and Cytracom’s UCaaS platform are complementary elements of that mission, he continues. “We really believe these two products are highly synergistic,” Conkle says. “For voice to work well, you need a strong network.”

Cytracom is accepting pre-orders of ControlOne now. The product officially ships on April 25th. Pricing on the system is per user per month, except for the hardware, which users pay for per site.


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