How Unified Communications Increase Company Visibility, Desirability for New Hires

Unified CommunicationsAs companies prepare for their next hiring wave, they should be focused on how to make themselves the most attractive potential employer to a tech-savvy job candidate. Unified communications (UC) is an effective way to lure in talent and is easy to implement.

A company that has made an investment in UC easily stands out to the highest quality job seekers.

BYOD and Remote Work

Today’s employees are increasingly virtual, accessing systems from a home office or bring-your-own-device (BYOD) arrangement. Not only is this beneficial to employee morale and output, but the company saves overhead and office space by facilitating such a culture.

It is imperative that both remote and in-house employees are able to fully collaborate with other team members. The BYOD and remote realms are truly where the strength of cloud computing and a solid UC program pays off. Devices can be enabled with all of the company’s necessary software for voice and data – a fantastic way to keep employees tied in to the organization from afar.

Productivity Perks

One of the best things about cloud is that it is always accessible, making it a reliable conduit for VoIP (voice-over Internet protocol). Think of the productivity saved if incidents such as major weather events did not force employee absenteeism and team members could remain fully functional through a private and secure channel.

With cloud solutions, business continuity becomes simple and effective since employees can operate from remote locations that were removed from the incident. Response time to a disaster can be reduced since teams have immediate access to systems and to one another.

Upgrade Communication

UC allows team members to stay in constant contact in the most protected manner possible, no matter where they are physically located. A strong UC program provides global instant message, phone, web conferencing, and email.

New employees will stay engaged and interact with other team members in a powerfully collaborative environment. For sales organizations, this could reduce the time to recognizing revenue. Customer service reaches new heights of excellence, and creativity is enabled through brainstorming and idea generation.

In an age when employees still indicate that communication can be a challenge for organizations, any effort to build a cohesive communication plan is well spent.

Overall UC Benefits

The world is becoming a smaller place through UC. Implementing a robust UC plan will help a company’s HR team attract and keep the best candidates. In doing so, the business can conquer immense strategic goals and grow toward greatness.

Speed Cloud Adoption with a “Security First” Approach

Information securityInformation security can be an obstacle in an organization’s progression to embracing cloud solutions. Even louder than the voices of procurement representatives or executives who are opposed to technology changes are, the daunting warnings of security-oriented stakeholders. Given news headlines full of data breaches and hackers, concern for the security of data in the cloud is understandable. Here are selling strategies to help quell the fears of the security-conscious.

Evaluate Security Concerns Early

With many threats to consider, ample planning time is crucial for a successful transition to a cloud solution. The following questions will help start the conversations around security for a new tool:

  • What kind of data will be stored in this solution?
  • How much protection is required for this data? Is the data sensitive?
  • Who are the stakeholders and what are their concerns?
  • What are the relevant legal and regulatory standards to consider?

Inquire about these questions (and their answers) to spark an ongoing dialogue both internally within the organization and with the cloud provider.

Use “CIA”

Fortunately, there are numerous standards for security that help provide a framework for both private and public security programs. Perhaps the most popular security framework is the “CIA Triad,” where CIA stands for “Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability.” These principles are an industry-proven way to ensure a comprehensive security approach for new cloud services and tools:

  • Confidentiality: Private enterprise data must be kept confidential. Confidentiality involves principles such as encryption (both in transit and at-rest) and encryption key management.
  • Integrity: Once data is in the cloud, it is important that controls are in place to make sure it is not modified or intercepted. A strong security approach requires some type of verification to protect data against man-in-the-middle attacks or tampering strategies.
  • Availability: One of the concerns about cloud-hosted data is its 24/7 availability. Verify that the data will always be accessible when needed and not subject to access failures such as denial-of-service attacks.

New security threats and data breaches are discovered on a daily basis, but this does not need to invoke fear in the enterprise. By using some foundational strategies and principles such as the “CIA Triad,” every organization can successfully implement cloud technologies while maintaining data security.

The Never-Ending Battle for Bandwidth Management Solutions

BandwidthIT professionals have struggled for years with the challenge of how to provide the appropriate amount of bandwidth to support the business while staying within budget. Bandwidth on Demand (BoD) is an appealing concept, but it must be implemented correctly to be an effective solution, and that has prompted IT to doubt its efficacy.

The need for optimal bandwidth management solutions will continue to grow as the demand for bandwidth increases–and the demand for more bandwidth is only predicted to escalate. Therefore, it is important that organizations understand the key factors and strategies involved in successful bandwidth management.

Here are a few factors that will help companies win the ongoing “bandwidth war”– one battle at a time.

Evaluate the Sources

Companies need to understand where the need for bandwidth is coming from. Usually, these sources are the culprits:

  • A growing number of applications are now hosted in the cloud; this results in an increased bandwidth need to run everyday business apps.
  • IT, then, needs to allocate ample bandwidth to support performance levels for these applications.

Track Spending

Companies should avoid making the mistake of paying for network resources that won’t be needed.

  • Remember the key advantage of BoD: The goal is to pay only for the bandwidth used.
  • While buying for an abundance of bandwidth is a seemingly simple solution, it can result in paying for unneeded and unused bandwidth.
  • Businesses should consider only for the bandwidth they use now–but for the bandwidth that they need now and into the future.

Understand the Options

The two primary strategies to enable on-demand bandwidth are these: “scheduled“ bandwidth and “always on” bandwidth.

Scheduled bandwidth: If IT is aware of high-capacity periods when more bandwidth will be needed, the team can reserve additional bandwidth directly from the service provider.

  • This strategy is useful if there is a known event (e.g., new application rollout or high-user load) for which additional bandwidth will be needed.
  • Each bandwidth purchase is a scheduled and separate transaction.

The “always-on” method does not require any advance planning; it enables open access to a stream of bandwidth at any time.

  • Typically, the customer is charged only for the bandwidth used (with some minimal commitments required), and the network can handle peak traffic loads at any time.
  • Service providers may prioritize “reservoir” bandwidth differently, so contractual agreements are key for a successful “always-on” bandwidth approach.

A Class of Service Approach

An alternative method for efficiently fulfilling bandwidth requirements is the application aware approach (application aware networking) from a class of service (CoS) perspective.

  • Most providers already offer CoS options, which associates specific applications with the appropriate service and performance levels.
  • Application aware networking requires a nuanced level of knowledge of how applications use bandwidth and where bandwidth is most needed.

The Best of Both Worlds

Scheduling bandwidth usage can be inconvenient and time-consuming, so some choose to customize their approach.

  • To ensure bandwidth flexibility, the “always-on” bandwidth approach is the best option.
  • For optimal benefits, the bandwidth-seeking organization should consider combining “always-on” bandwidth with the CoS approach.

In conclusion, the combination of “always-on” bandwidth with CoS management results in what could be the bandwidth mecca that every IT professional dreams about: a readily available bandwidth solution that provides cost-effective flexibility.

SIP Trunking – An easy sale with the right approach

SIPTechnology sales organizations have barely scratched the surface selling SIP trunking. While powerful features and available cost savings strike interest in customers both large and small, selling SIP trunking can meet resistance.

Here are some tips on turning skeptics of SIP trunking into customers.

Cheap Alternatives

Since older options such as T1 lines can be inexpensively acquired, the method for selling SIP trunking is to focus on the value-add provided. This includes less redundant connections, trunk aggregation allowing calls from one location to use idle connections from another, and enhanced quality of video or voice.

Vulnerability

SIP uses an open channel data network to operate, which is a potential security risk. However, with additional network protection in place, this risk is neutralized.

Working With Other Comm Companies

SIP trunking standards follow a basic set of rules, however SIP trunking can differ slightly between vendors. This means that there may be issues integrating with some PBX companies. To alleviate any interoperability issues, make sure the SIP trunking provider has certified interoperability with leading PBX providers.

Contracts

For clients with an existing legacy service, start by using SIP trunking as a solution for new connections. Then, gradually transition other services over once legacy contracts have been completed.

Hosted Solution

Many potential customers may not think they need SIP trunking, especially if those potential customers use a hosted service. For customers with satellite locations that need to communicate with a main facility however, SIP trunking can help bridge the gap between locations at a cost savings over hosted solutions.

Fax

Faxing using SIP can be a challenge, which may be an obstacle in selling SIP trunking to companies that still fax in volume. Retaining a basic telephone line will solve this problem. A sales person may also suggest creative solutions such as secure document upload or secure email as alternatives as well.

Educating customers on the strengths and advantages of SIP trunking can open the door to larger opportunities and hardware sales – with a little information and influence, customers will become receptive to purchasing.