VOIP and Unified Communications: Better Together

In an ever-connected world of technology, the best IT solutions often travel in pairs. One of the latest IT pairings is unified communications (UC) and voice over IP (VoIP). Since UC and VoIP involve similar technologies that are already integrated, the resulting single solution is a highly integrated and advanced ecosystem of communications.

Make Collaboration Easier

With new business and productivity apps and solutions released on a daily basis, business users want access to the broadest range of communication options in order to contact their colleagues. The benefits of pairing the diverse multimedia tools offered by unified communications (including combinations of email, voice mail, video and web conferencing, instant messaging, group messaging, fax, and more) with the convenience of VoIP are abundant for both IT and end users. Adopt these solutions simultaneously to produce a communications environment that is more flexible, user-friendly, and less resource-constrained.

  • More Opportunities for Communication: When paired, UC and VoIP provide all users, whether remote or on site, with the most options for contacting each other. UC tools enable employees to further leverage VoIP tools and vice versa. While each of these solutions provides a range of options for communications when adopted as a single platform, they are certainly more powerful when unified.
  • Improved Usability: Many tools offer a centralized platform for managing both UC and VoIP tools. Considering the plethora of COTS tools sitting on the virtual shelves of IT administrators and end users, integrated interfaces are beneficial for both parties. New technology is useful, but it can be complicated and expensive to manage multiple tools serving different purposes. Reduce the administrative burden for IT and the end-user learning curve by leveraging UC and VoIP in tandem.
  • Better Bandwidth: One of the most universal pain points in a communications environment is resource strain. Common complaints include overpowered cellular networks, slowInternet, or sluggish fax machines. A major benefit of pairing UC and VoIP is the ability to offer users maximum choice in their communications method. This helps ensure that employees have the instant ability to send a pricing quote, contact an important client, or access a relevant document — or perform all three of these tasks at once. No one has time to wait for a slow connection to go through or for an outage to be resolved. Spreading out multimedia communications over multiple protocols is a smart way to reduce the strain on individual networks.

UC and VoIP make a complementary and powerful pair, and it is no surprise that IT organizations are increasingly implementing platforms that combine these two concepts. In addition to being user- and budget-friendly, a single unified system can help businesses reach new levels of communication and collaboration.

 

Evolution: Business Growth and Our New Partner in UCaaS

Unified Communications at ROI Networks, LLC just got stronger.

Officially announced on Friday and in the works for some time now, we’re excited to finally share with you our good news. Evolution Capital Partners, a forward-thinking small business private equity fund, has joined forces with us.

There were two main drivers for the partnership.

1. Evolution recognized the need and growing demand for Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS). The demand for the integration of real-time communications, like voice, networking, data, wireless, text, and video collaboration, is on a global level. And what UCaaS does is place these mechanisms onto a consolidated architecture and offer access to devices connected to the network. The UCaaS market is expected to more than double – from $2.5 billion to more than $7.5 billion – by 2018, according to a recent report by Markets and Markets.

2. And most importantly, Evolution embraced the vision for our business.

What the Partnership Means For ROI

With Evolution’s help, we will be able to execute our vision. We are already starting to implement The Evolutionary Process, which will help us grow and become an industry leader.

ROI will build on our cloud-based Unified Communications platform and garner a stronger foothold in the UCaaS marketplace. In addition to strengthening our UCaaS offerings and infrastructure, ROI will continue to grow our overall business model, offering strategic consultation, planning and implementation for our clients.

Learn More 

The time for Evolution is here. We’re honored to be working hand-in-hand with Evolution and look forward to sharing more good news with you as it happens.

For more information on the ROI Networks and Evolution partnership, click here for the full announcement.

How to Manage the Risks of a BYOD Culture

ID-100207421The BYOD (bring your own device) trend enjoys popularity among both users and businesses, but IT leaders must recognize that the organization must still handle risk management when the user provides the device.

Every BYOD risk management strategy must balance the organizational needs of data protection and compliance efforts with the users’ needs of privacy and flexibility.

For risk prevention that protects the business without hampering work, consider these three elements of good BYOD security strategy.

1. Communicate Policy to Employees

Employees hate “fine print” when it comes to BYOD plans. Before being asked, be forthcoming and present information about privacy and security technologies to your team.

If personal information may be collected or stored, employees need to know. Also inform your staff of any restrictions beforehand so they know what kinds of tasks can be performed on their personal devices. If there are concerns about privacy, look into filters that can redact personal information from any company data records.

2. Craft Strategies to Suit the Business

Risk prevention plans must work for a wide variety of phones and tablets. Develop security features that solve the risk prevention needs of your industry and make them applicable to any device. For example, files can be locked from editing or copy and paste features can be disabled so that employees do not inadvertently transfer information to a non-approved environment.

Criminals target BYOD users, and the mix of personal and professional can lead to human error exposing company information. By establishing guidelines and limiting company data to specific apps with protected environments, the organization can contain information that should not be exposed.

3. Be Prepared to Respond

If company data gets exposed or stolen, the IT department must prepare to react appropriately. This requires monitoring to keep IT aware of potential leaks or attacks. The company can also decide on special measures like alerting others if a certain application gets downloaded or when a device’s operating system has been compromised.

If IT knows about a problem, the user can be contacted, or IT can potentially shut down the affected apps remotely. Remote wiping also lets businesses clear all data from user devices when employment ends.

Cover the Basics

Make sure that the organization clearly defines its BYOD policies. Different businesses—and even different departments within a business—have different needs for security and user flexibility.

If your BYOD strategy seems too much of a hindrance, go back to the beginning and create a policy that aligns with business goals and industry needs while satisfying employees:

  • Communicate with all departments. Legal, HR, and other departments should chime in and approve BYOD strategies.
  • Take time for training. Employees using their own devices need guidance on how to use it within the context of the business.
  • Stay flexible. Devices and software change rapidly, so avoid tethering your plan to the specific needs of one moment in time.
  • Use the cost savings. Put the money saved on device purchases to good use—such as cloud-based software and infrastructure services that enable a safe, productive BYOD environment.
  • Ensure accessibility. If a watertight security plan makes it difficult for employees to access accounts or perform job tasks, the plan needs reworking.

According to a recent survey, more than half of businesses lack a sufficient BYOD risk prevention strategy. If your organization wants to enjoy the efficiency and productivity benefits of BYOD, make sure you have plans in place to protect against the associated risk.

Evaluating the Security & Benefits of Cloud Service Models

ID-100215197There is much talk about the cloud these days and for good reason. Many enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses view cloud computing as an added value to their IT resources and to their ability to fulfill customers’ changing needs.

Preferred Options

Cloud service providers offer a variety of “as-a-service” models, but the most preferred choices today are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). These services offer effective solutions to increased pressures on chief information officers to balance the demand for improved quality of services and for reduced IT costs.

IaaS for lower cost of ownership – IaaS allows the delivery of servers, storage, and other IT resources as a service. This translates into a lower cost of ownership because businesses don’t need to buy their own hardware.

While small businesses stand to benefit most from this model, existing businesses also are using IaaS to test a new idea or application. An IaaS environment allows developers to have total control in provisioning, configuring, and deploying virtual machines. IaaS is also ideal for companies with rapidly fluctuating workloads because it can be scaled on demand.

SaaS for more efficient management of applications – SaaS allows for the delivery of specific applications as a service through the Internet. SaaS can work within or outside a cloud computing environment.

Cloud SaaS runs on dedicated cloud servers, where the applications reside. Cloud SaaS users are able to scale their applications to meet immediate needs such as capacity and storage expansion, faster accessibility, and improved flexibility.

Security Concerns

The shared and on-demand nature of cloud-based services is a breeding ground of abuse and negligence. Prudent cloud procurement dictates an in-depth risk analysis before entrusting company and customer information to third-party providers.

Data loss or corruption – Data loss or corruption can happen to data at rest and in transit, and during software interfaces. Encryption of stored data is a crucial security step, but it can only be foolproof if encryption keys are relegated to authorized custodians. Data traversing the Internet is also prone to malicious access unless it travels on secure channels. Application programming interfaces (APIs) are likewise vulnerable to hacking unless cloud providers integrate strong authentication and access control techniques.

Shared technology risks – To take advantage of the economies of scale, cloud providers allocate spaces on their servers for use by their customers. Although compartmentalization helps to strengthen security, cloud users must get assurance from their cloud providers that their virtual containers are impenetrable.

Denial of service (DoS) – This is an old threat that has been plaguing the Internet for years. Loss of service may be temporary or partial, but it can cause significant financial losses and damaged reputation. In extreme cases, DoS attacks have forced businesses to cease operation; hence, there is a need for solid web application firewalls or other web application security techniques.

Malicious insiders and third-party intruders – They can be disgruntled current or former employees, contractors, or business partners who are granted a level of access to critical systems and data. Even if encryption, authentication, and access controls are in place, the encryption key holder must have a high degree of trust, and authentication and access control should be tightened and monitored.

Cloud computing, including IaaS and SaaS, has its own security threats capable of wreaking havoc to an entire IT network. Data is the lifeblood of any automated system and allowing that data to be hacked, breached, or compromised is an unforgiveable security blunder. A comprehensive, defensive security approach is key to having a bulletproof network.

 

Think Long-term With Telecom Expense Management Partnerships

ID-10067380Telecom Expense Management (TEM) suppliers offer comprehensive solutions for enterprises looking to effectively manage their telecom assets, control costs and eliminate fraud. Given the invaluable outside support that TEM provides, as well as the initial financial savings, it is no surprise that many businesses are forging strategic TEMpartnerships.

Benefits of a Long-term TEM Relationship

While in-house Telecom Expense Management can seem like an attractive solution, most businesses simply don’t have the time, finances or personnel to commit to such a monumental task.

In addition to the initial benefits from working with a TEM supplier, the opportunity for long-term support and the potential for future savings cannot be overlooked. Nominating external experts to manage the moving parts and expenses of the typical telecom estate can help businesses remain focused, efficient and profitable.

There are several key benefits to partnering with an experienced TEM organization, many of which offer long-term efficiencies that go beyond the initial cost savings and boost in overall in-house productivity.

Billing is one area where external management can help. TEM suppliers are capable of managing and processing large amounts of billing data on behalf of a business – a task that many large organizations are willing to move away from due to the complexity involved. This is especially true when companies are dealing with data from multiple vendors across the globe. However, experienced suppliers have the expertise to handle challenging data with ease and offer businesses a clear and precise picture of their fixed line and telecom costs.

Future Savings and Greater Efficiency

The assets TEM suppliers manage on an ongoing basis can create long-term savings. For instance, the monthly telecom invoices TEM suppliers analyze on a regular basis ensure billing accuracy. Any errors are highlighted and corrected in order to reduce excess costs.

TEM suppliers may also maintain a running inventory of telecom devices and monitor internal usage. The inventory study can highlight redundancies, obsolete devices or contract abuse by employees. The TEM supplier can also help companies effectively manage data-hungry devices like tablets and smartphones, streamlining costs while promoting increased efficiency throughout the organization.

Through long-term support and vigilant cost monitoring, Telecom Expense Management suppliers offer immense financial savings to businesses with complex telecom assets.

 

The Case for the Hybrid Cloud

ID-100283454Cloud storage is gaining a mass appeal in this modern time as it is fast reliable and cost efficient. Out of public private and hybrid options available for cloud storage, cloud storage is gaining popularity as it has both advantages of public and private cloud systems. You can control your data at your own ease much easily and efficiently. By year 2016 most of the organizations will fly on this new cloud storage without paying a heavy price.

Read the full article here:
http://www.zdnet.com/the-case-for-the-hybrid-cloud-7000032925/

How to Unlock the Potential in Your Business Analytics

ID-10023375Business analytics tends to be an overlooked and underutilized way to determine the next steps that a business should take. They are the way that a business understands what is a profitable move and what isn’t, and leveraging these figures can make all the difference between keeping a business profitable and falling into financial difficulties.

Read the full article here:
http://smartdatacollective.com/ashasaxena1/230931/how-unlock-potential-your-business-analytics

Top 3 Worst IT Suggestions Ever

ID-10039207Not all suggestions from IT help desks are useful, and sometimes can be detrimental to a company’s ability to function. Many times, the advice given might be well-meaning, but the outcomes of following the suggestions could be data loss, privacy breaches, or just the loss of time and money in having to find a way to fix the nuisances that could arise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the full article here:
http://smartdatacollective.com/kyle-cebull/228166/bad-tech-advice-top-3-worst-it-suggestions-ever?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Smart+Data+Collective+(all+posts)

Three Major Forces Driving AMI

ID-10024061Advanced metering infrastructure, or AMI, helps organizations use their utility grids efficiently. Government mandates requiring such efficiency face every domestic organization. The demand for energy is increasing worldwide, despite green energy efforts. Deregulation means customers can choose their providers, making customer service a new priority. AMI works for all of these situations.

 

Read the full article here:
http://unified-communications.tmcnet.com/topics/unified-communications/articles/386606-three-major-forces-driving-ami.htm

Why You Need to Know About the Internet of Everything

ID-100282618With the introduction of the idea of the “Internet of Everything,” there are many aspects of computing and business that are going to be completely remade. In short, the idea of “IoE” holds that, as people become more interconnected through the Internet, business requirements will change as a way of connecting with consumers.

 

Read the full article here:
http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/voip-news/why-you-need-to-know-about-the-internet-of-everything-62692?rss=1