Navigating 3rd Party Connectivity Options

Today, virtually every piece of equipment or device requires internet access. Though there are various options to get connectivity for your equipment or device, one of the riskiest options for businesses is 3rd party connectivity.

Being a third party on an already existing network can open your connection up to security threats. In the cases of both the Target and Home Depot security breaches, the hackers initially infiltrated both store’s networks by gaining access through an outside vendor’s system that was connected to their main network. Once they entered the network, they were able to pilfer customer’s payment card information systematically.

Specifically, in the Target breach, the hackers were able to get into Target’s systems by first sneaking through the back door and hacking into the account of their HVAC company. In Home Depot’s case, the hackers used a third-party vendor’s credentials to enter the perimeter of the Home Depot network.

It is because of these cases and many more like them that IT departments everywhere refuse to let 3rd parties obtain internet access through their business network.

So what are the most viable options of getting internet access when you are operating as a third party in a business location? In this post, we will discuss the risks of not getting on your own private connection and what options you have to overcome those risks when your equipment requires reliable connectivity.

So What Are Your Options Aside from 3rd Party Connectivity?

Dedicated Internet Line. One option is getting a dedicated internet line from either the local telephone company or cable provider. One downside is that the installation costs for a new line to an existing building can sometimes cost over a thousand dollars. The other issue is that their installation usually only includes a connection to the inside just adjacent to the exterior of the building. If your equipment is located well to the inside of a large facility, getting the internet connection run through a building will most likely require assistance from the building owner and facilities management. Some may be more accommodating than others on this request.

Local Wi-Fi. A second option for getting internet access is utilizing the local Wi-Fi network if one is available. The upside is that there is generally no cost to use a Wi-Fi network. There are, however, several downsides to this practice. The first downside is that Wi-Fi is not the most reliable technology. Connection drops are common, and data speeds tend to slow as the number of users increases. If your equipment is handling any type of financial data, it is essential to know that Wi-Fi communication may not be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. Additionally, if the business decides to change the WI-Fi SSID name or password, keeping current with those updates may be difficult and may contribute to service interruptions.

Mobile Hotspot. A third option is purchasing a mobile hotspot like a Jetpack, MiFi, or Aircard. These are quick and easy to install and are readily available at the retail stores of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. They come with monthly data costs and, depending on the plan, sometimes have an upfront purchase cost. One of the main downsides is their design is for personal and not commercial use. When the data connections are periodically lost, the reset comes from performing a manual power cycle to the mobile hotspot. This practice can be troublesome when your equipment is unattended and sending someone out to the location to simply turn it off and then back on again can be inconvenient.

Sourcing Your Own Hardware and Data Plan. A fourth option is to purchase the cellular hardware and source your own data plan. The upside is that it gives you full control of both the hardware and data plans. The downside is that it takes a lot of resources to manage all of the pieces to this communications puzzle. The various array of the different makes, models, types (3G, 4G, 5G) of cellular modems/routers range in their complexity of set-up and their user interface. Besides the initial provisioning and activation of the cellular modems/routers, in some cases, they may require navigating complex menus to program the specific settings to work with your equipment. Also, going forward, it may be necessary to maintain and update software versions as security threats arise.

Managed Connectivity. One of the last and best options would be going with a Managed Solution. It is one entity that handles both the hardware and data plan communication needs. It allows you to focus on running your core business and letting a professional communications company focus on its core strength. One that has 24/7 support and will take care of the problems, whether they are hardware or carrier-related issues. Someone that can make the equipment plug and play out of the box. When special settings or configurations are needed, technical support reps are able to quickly and easily program the hardware as needed. A managed connectivity solutions provider can install all the needed firmware updates or security patches as threats arise.

What’s Best For Your Business?

As you evaluate your device connectivity needs, OptConnect is ready to provide you the most reliable connectivity with the industry’s best customer service in a complete and fully managed solution. Additionally, we provide you with a private network, so you never have to worry about security or traffic interfering with your connection. If your equipment requires the greatest uptime possible, you can trust the experts at OptConnect to make sure your mission-critical application runs efficiently.

To learn more about how to get connected with OptConnect, visit www.optconnect.com.

One comment

Leave a Reply