Tag Archives: Network Infrastructure


Unified Communications Can Help Remote Workers Collaborate

With working from home more and more common, companies benefit from their workers collaborating and communicating easily with each other. One solution to consider is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)–an integrated, Internet-based platform that helps workers access videoconferencing, chat, file sharing and more. Remote work is potentially easier and more efficient. Read on to learn more about this cloud-based technology.


The Benefits of Unified Communications for Remote Work


The tools workers need to be efficient and productive are inherently part of this cloud-based solution. With Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), all that is needed to access the integrated system is an Internet connection. Workers can then use video conferencing tools like Teams, Webex and Zoom, can share files via email, and can even access customer information almost instantly to quickly serve clients. Voice mails are converted to emails, making it easy to access messages anywhere. The consistent reliability of UCaaS is provided by redundancy, with data in numerous data centers; if one goes offline, others can provide failover to keep communication running smoothly. 


Considerations for Unified Communications in Remote Work


When looking for a provider for this cloud platform, security protocol is one primary concern. What security features do they have to protect your critical communications and conversations? Is the data encrypted in transit and at rest? How many users can be accommodated? Another thing to ask about is whether the provider offers training in the different tools that UCaaS provides. You might also need to train your workers in collaboration skills like clear verbal and written communication; managing time, projects and deadlines; and the ability to adapt when problems occur (such as outages and login problems). Do your workers’ cyber security awareness skills need refreshing, so they know how to protect themselves and your network? 


Unified Communications as a Service can be a great offering for your remote workers, with its integrated platform and capacity for real-time response. For assistance with using this capability, contact us today. 

Cloud Security

Review Your Strategy For Cloud Security

Many businesses have taken advantage of cloud computing for its benefits–its flexibility, ability to help companies scale use according to demand, and a subscription-based pricing model, among others. When migrating to the Cloud it is important that you develop a cloud security strategy. Your company can exert a good deal of control over cloud security concerns with proper policy, training and technology. Read on to learn more about what to include in your cloud security strategy in order to protect technology assets.


Assessing Your Strategy for Cloud Security


Reacting to problems is vital, of course. But what if you could prevent many problems before they even occur? Powerful technologies like Cloud Computing can also create complexity, so it is important to have a strategy that includes policies for protecting your applications and their data. If you already have a security strategy, it’s not too soon to assess it and to adjust accordingly. 


Implementing your Cloud Security Strategy

According to an article on cloud security mitigation by CompTIA, access control is a top cause of problems. Examples include lack of specification of who can have access to your business applications, or holes in security that could leave you vulnerable to a full-blown data breach. It may be time to update your security policies, using the “zero-trust” model to authenticate every single request for access to the network. Setting policy to limit administrative access minimizes risks and avoids unexpected consequences. Other considerations in your cloud security strategy deal with handling a data breach or loss, and the role and how to quickly revoke access as needed (e.g. revoking access of a past employee). 


No single tool can prevent all problems. When these tools are part of an overall strategy that supports your company’s goals, many attacks can be prevented. For help with your cloud security strategy, contact us today.


IT worker

Consider Managed Services for Help with Your IT Workload

It’s said that few can get along without some help from others. If your business has grown, and your technology needs along with it, managing IT on a daily basis may be more challenging. Now may be the time to consider outside assistance. Read on to learn how supplemental IT support via managed services can help save time and money, not to mention help you reach your business goals. 


Benefits of Supplemental IT Support


Supplemental support (also called “outsourcing” or “co-managed IT”), is the practice of partnering with a managed service provider (MSP), one that can provide help with one or more of a company’s IT functions. For companies with no IT department, or those with a small department overloaded with daily tasks, managed services offers numerous benefits. First, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help a company make the most of their technology investment by taking on responsibility for a company’s IT infrastructure via a flat fee subscription model. 


What to expect from IT Managed Services

Indeed, according to a CompTIA buying guide, more than 6% of surveyed of companies using MSPs reduce their internal IT staff. These services–including helpdesk, data protection and network monitoring–can free up internal IT staff to help reach your company’s strategic goals. Network monitoring can be done remotely 24-7, detecting and solving issues before they become major problems. Monitoring also produces data analytics in real time, showing how the company’s network is functioning. With all these benefits, your business also needs to consider its goals, and work with an MSP to develop a service level agreement.


Considerations in Using Managed Services


Even with the real benefits (and perceived benefits like peace of mind), your company needs to take a close look at a managed service provider to determine if the MSP provides these benefits. How do they protect data and help your company comply with industry compliance regulations? What if a problem crops up — how will the MSP work to solve it? How much flexibility and control might your company need to give up in exchange for peace of mind? These are important questions to consider in formulating the service level agreement with the managed service provider. 


If you have reached the point of needing supplemental IT support, and you don’t know where to start, contact us today. 


Prepare Your Network for Unified Communications with Software-Defined Wide Area Networking

Over the past several years, both Unified Communications (UC) and Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) have grown more popular. Even a few years ago, IDC predicted that the SD-WAN market would grow to $8.05 billion by this year. Together, Unified Communications and SD-WAN allow your company to stay connected at all times. Read on to learn more about the connections between these two technologies, and to discover whether your company’s network is up to the task.


Software-Defined Wide Area Networks Support Unified Communications Performance


Unified Communications is technology that allows workers to work from anywhere, at any time.  Unified Communications, or UC, supports the ability to communicate by voice or email and send information back and forth. This technology brings together various modes of communication–phone, text, web conferencing and email–providing a streamlined way to keep businesses connected, using Voice-Over IP (VoIP) technology. 

Employees can hold video conferences, share data with other workers, and handle customer service tasks–even from remote offices. However, UC depends on a robust and secure network to keep traffic moving. This is where Software-Defined Wide Area Networks come in. 


SD-WAN Provides Performance at Competitive Cost


Unified Communication can test your network. Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) can provide a mix-and-match solution, using multiple carriers so that if one carrier goes offline another can keep traffic moving. A company can fall back on this robust network to keep workers communicating with each other and with customers. What’s more, SD-WAN can help a company transition from legacy systems and enjoy more flexibility.  At its best, SD-WAN can provide excellent performance at a competitive price. 


Considerations for Your Network


All of this sounds wonderful, and it is. However, your network needs to be ready. On the technology side, your network needs to have current anti-virus and anti-malware definitions. While SD-WAN can supply failover and dependable connectivity, it also needs a strong, secure network. What’s more, your workers need to be trained in cybersecurity policies and best practices. This, along with network monitoring, can help your network remain secure.


To learn more about the potential of SD-WANs to support Unified Communication, and to assess your network’s readiness, contact us today. 

Consider Infrastructure as a Service in Budget Planning

It’s about time for businesses to be setting up their 2019 budget and deciding what their IT expenditure will be. According to Forbes, a significant portion of IT budgets will be committed to the cloud. But what option will your business choose? Public, private, or hybrid cloud? And what services are best for your business? IaaS is a popular choice; read on to learn more about this option and its benefits.

Infrastructure as a Service and its Benefits

Infrastructure as a service is a class of cloud computing wherein the consumer can provision fundamental computing resources over the Internet without having to manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure. They reap the benefits of cloud computing–broad-based networking access, rapid elasticity, scalability, and on-demand access–without having to manage and update on-site infrastructure. The consumer enjoys cost-saving benefits because the utility-based pricing allows them to use as much or as little of the computing resources as needed.


With Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS) and the Cloud Computing Model, the capital expense of managing and controlling on-site infrastructure is converted to an operating expense. According to COMPTIA, IaaS has technical, operational and even competitive benefits for small and medium-sized businesses. But how do you know if IaaS is right for your business?

Is IaaS Right for Your Business?

This particular class of cloud computing may be just right for your business, and a good first step is assessing which of your business needs that IaaS can satisfy. If your business is small and has a limited IT budget, you pay based on what resources you use. With the infrastructure under the control of the provider, there is no need to pay for on-site equipment. If your company is trying new or experimental technical initiatives, you can provision access to computing resources as needed. Even with all these benefits, cybersecurity is still very much a consideration. Within IaaS, you would still need to decide if a public or private cloud environment is best for your business. For example, private cloud might be best if your business is subject to industry regulations such as HIPAA.

Infrastructure as a Service provides many benefits. If you need help determining whether it is the right class of cloud computing for your business, contact your technology advisor today.

Technology Trends

Is Your Network Ready for Business?

Your network is under continuous pressure to keep up with the growth of your business. Broadband networks providing instant connectivity are a core requirement for most businesses.  Your network needs to provide fast access to Cloud Services including Email, Online Backup, Unified Communications, Call Center and other applications.  Business systems will be expected to be constantly accessible by customers and employees alike, and your network needs to be ready for this demand. Not only does your network need to be efficient and flexible, it needs to be secure.

Consider SD-WAN for Efficiency and Flexibility

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology, which has been a recently emerging technology, is expected to become common in the next few years. Research firm IDC expects this technology to grow by 69% by 2021. Revenue from this technology is expected to reach $2.3 billion in 2018 alone. Companies pursuing SD-WAN can mix and match networking solutions to get the most efficient and effective wide area connectivity.  Customers and employees have constant access to the Internet. With this access, however, monitoring and network security are vital.

The Role of Network Monitoring and Security

To have your network ready for business, it needs to be safe and secure. Not only does the network need constant monitoring, industry standards require rigorous compliance. For instance, online retailers need to keep their customers’ credit card information secure. Hospitals and doctors’ offices are required to comply with HIPAA. Even if your business is headquartered in the United States, you may need to comply with General Protection Data Regulation (GDPR). Endpoint security concerns include keeping anti-virus and anti-malware protections up-to-date.

Employees are the Front Line of Defense for Network Security

And don’t forget the human element. Train your employees to identify scam emails and phishing schemes, and not to click on unfamiliar links. Emphasize the importance of reporting malware, so you can keep your system secure.

If you are uncertain about whether your network is ready for business, contact your trusted technology advisor today for a network assessment.

What’s Driving Digital Transformation of Business: Hello – Cloud Contact Center

Contact CentersDigital Transformation of Business is a critical component of maintaining competitive advantage in many industries. Rapid response to customer inquires, automated responses to self-service inquires, and ability to communicate across digital channels accelerate the buyer journey, solidifies customer loyalty and can take cost out of operations. According to a recent report by Frost and Sullivan on Contact Center Modernization, the Cloud Contact Center market is expected to grow to over $3 billion by 2017. Given the rapid growth of the Cloud Contact Center Solutions, it is no surprise businesses of all sizes are adopting this technology to accelerate Digital Transformation.

Your network and IT infrastructure is critical to the success of a Cloud Contact Center deployment. Here are three considerations to ensure you get the most from your Cloud Contact Center:

Using Cloud Contact Center for Competitive Advantage

By shifting the workloads of your Contact Center to the Cloud, you are leveraging the reliability and availability of the infrastructure to your Cloud Contact Center supplier. This supplier can take on the responsibility of repairing hardware failures, software glitches and other configuration errors. This allows your operations staff to focus on process improvement, call center efficiency, compliance and more. You should expect improved margins, while improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Bullet-Proof Network Infrastructure and Your Cloud Contact Center

It is critical to your success to have your network optimized to handle voice traffic. Using affordable technologies, including Software Defined Networks, you can prioritize Voice Traffic over other activities. Setting network policy for priority and usage of Voice over streaming video and other bandwidth-consuming activities will help ensure your calls are clear. Having multi-path capability to instantly establish a connection in the event of a bottleneck will help you avoid dropped calls.

Cloud Backup for Efficient Data Storage

“Your call is being recorded to improve customer service.” Recording calls for compliance, training and customer satisfaction excellence creates lots of data. Your Cloud Contact Center will need robust and affordable backup and data retrieval to archive all of that information and make it available for future use. Make sure you have a reliable system for backing up this valuable information, and periodically test your Cloud Backup to ensure rapid recovery.

Cloud Contact Center, CRM and Marketing Automation can all drive digital transformation of your business. Using the Cloud to manage these workloads makes these solutions more affordable and easier to deploy than ever before. If you are interested in digitally transforming your business, contact your technology consultant today!