Our Customers and Partners:
I know each of you is in the midst of planning, testing, and implementing portions and variations of your business continuity plans (BCP). Many of you are finding portions of your BCP were designed to handle disruption to local facilities or impacts from regional weather events but may not have anticipated the need for a large portion of your employees to work from home.
Further complicating this situation, trade issues related to geopolitics and productions issues linked to COVID-19 have all dramatically reduced the availability of many of the hardware assets that companies like yours would leverage to create this mass work-from-home capability.
I want to take this opportunity to let you know that TBL is here and is your partner. Our success is directly tied to the success of your company and that of your customers.
With that in mind, TBL has a few pieces of information and offers that may be beneficial to you.
First, we’re here to provide counsel. TBL has a wide field of view and our vantage point allows us to see how many local, regional, and global companies are addressing these needs. As has always been the case, our counsel and any brainstorming/strategy conversations therein are free of cost. We have maintained that practice for situations much like this and believe that when we can help a customer solve a problem, we will succeed for having done so.
Second, TBL has been working to develop a software and cloud-based solution that can enable you, our customers and partners, to quickly onboard VPN capabilities at a scale and capacity that may not exist today. Many of your firewalls have a hardware and license limit on the max concurrent VPN connection you can support. The most common limit is 250 concurrent connections.
You can find the license limit of your Cisco ASA firewall, by issuing a “show version” command and looking at the following two lines of the result:
AnyConnect Premium Peers : 250 perpetual
AnyConnect Essentials : Disabled perpetual
If AnyConnect Essentials is enabled, you can provide VPN access up to the limit of the hardware you have deployed. If you have AnyConnect Essentials disabled, the AnyConnect Premium Peers line likely displays the license limit you will run into.
The hardware limit for many common firewalls is listed below:
Another important consideration is the performance at-home users will experience. While there are aspects of the connection that will certainly be outside of your control, like someone’s home internet bandwidth, there are important decision points and considerations of which you should be aware.
It is common security practice to disallow split-tunnel, wherein all traffic from a VPN connected device traverses your network regardless of its ultimate destination. Said simply, traffic from your VPN clients to your internal servers as well as Netflix will all traverse your firewall and consume the bandwidth you have provisioned. The impact of this is and for your planning purposes in this situation, you should consider your effective bandwidth available to VPN users to be half of the provisioned bandwidth. If your data center’s internet circuit is 1Gbps, expect only having 500Mbps be available to your VPN clients.
You may consider enabling a split-tunnel design to improve performance, but you must consider how doing so might affect your security posture and underlying audit requirements.
Lastly, guidance from the CDC includes the implementation of purposeful and artificial limits on gatherings involving multiple people. If you are a subscriber to services like Cisco WebEx, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom, you can leverage those technologies in the continued operation of your business.
These services also have licensed limits. Many service providers like Cisco area offering responses to the COVID-19 pandemic by temporarily extending trials or license limits.
As you encounter needs to temporarily provide these services to your employees and customers, engage TBL where you see fit on helping bring those capabilities to fruition.
The communication to our team internal to TBL likely mimics much of what has been communicated within your organization. I want to highlight a few items that are unique to TBL and our messaging. Our internal communication included the following language:
What This Means for TBL
First, TBL is well capitalized and has the resources it needs to weather this pandemic. We’ll be putting this capital to work for both TBL’s needs as well as the needs of our customers. Rest assured, we will be called on to assist our customers in the execution and/or modification of their business continuity plans. We will provide any assistance within our abilities to our customers. Our success is directly tied to their success and we’ll stretch to meet their needs while not compromising the health of safety of our employees.
Do’s, Don’ts, and Asks
- …We’re fortunate to be a technology company and can leverage tools like Jabber, WebEx, and VPN to make our office almost anywhere. Having said that, for the time being, the TBL office will be open and you should feel free to continue to utilize it so long as you don’t meet any of the descriptions above.
- …[it will be our policy to limit] on-site installs or sales engagements wherever possible. If you feel the need …to engage in an in-person sales or technical activity, speak with your manager. The senior staff team will triage these requests and provide guidance on a case-by-case basis.
- Get outside. Enjoy the changing weather and the additional sunlight. This is not a virus that you should be relegating yourself to staying within the four walls of your home.
Should you wish to engage TBL in any capacity relative to the COVID-19 pandemic and your response, please do so by filling out the form on this page.
Chief Executive Officer
TBL Networks, Inc.