[Infographic] Network Security: It Comes Down To Teams and Technology

New technology can offer all kinds of business benefits, but it can also expose a company’s network to new risks. There are two main areas that every business should check and recheck before implementing new tools.

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Use SIP Trunking to Maximize VoIP Performance

shutterstock_74978980Businesses are continuing to invest more heavily in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions as they enhance their telecom technologies. In order to reap the optimal benefits from this investment, companies need to use a solution such as SIP Trunking. It will ensure that thg>e underlying telecom infrastructure can accommodate the increased volume and speed requirements from VoIP traffic.

Benefits of SIP Trunking

SIP Trunking complements and enhances VoIP functionality in three specific ways.

  • Speed: As opposed to analog, SIP Trunks use digital signals, which are faster and less prone to transfer delays. Because SIP Trunks don’t use ISDN lines, they can provide a higher quality digital-based network connection and can perform to meet changing volume demands.
  • Service: Businesses leveraging both SIP and VoIP can further customize and guarantee their investment by establishing Quality of Service (QoS) agreements with their provider. They can also leverage solutions such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). By combining the joint power of SIP and VoIP with MPLS (or a similar solution), businesses can further customize the traffic, setup, and scale of the entire system.
  • Cost: Leveraging SIP Trunking with VoIP saves businesses money. There’s no need to pay for add-on lines or other infrastructure demands that a heavy VoIP volume places on an outdated infrastructure. It is also simply a more efficient and functional solution. Companies only pay one price for both a voice and data connection. And without time-consuming technical delays from an inadequate infrastructure, employees can be more efficient and productive.

Choosing the Right Solution

The efficiency and performance capabilities of SIP and VoIP make it a smart choice for many businesses, but it is especially ideal for businesses with the following characteristics:

  • Fluctuating or seasonal call capacities
  • Desire to limit onsite hardware
  • Need to merge multiple locations into a single network
  • Requirements to easily integrate Disaster Recovery (DR) planning into the phone system

Businesses that need a more efficient system to support their VoIP needs should consider SIP Trunking due to its speed, service, and cost-savings benefits. There is no excuse for VoIP inefficiencies due to an outdated infrastructure–SIP Trunking can solve performance problems while still saving time and money for IT stakeholders.

Cloud-size Fits All: The Benefit to Small and Medium Enterprises

shutterstock_220352173By now, most have witnessed the power of cloud firsthand. Using this technology for big data and housing applications has become much more commonplace due to its immense scalability and flexible nature.

Despite the growing popularity of cloud, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are slower to adopt than larger companies. Understanding how this powerful tool can fit into a smaller organization often helps with the decision to migrate.

Cost vs. Benefit

Companies must understand the payoff as well as the implementation process when making technology decisions. Cloud implementation is no exception so the team, along with key stakeholders, should perform a financial analysis to be sure this arrangement is a good fit.

During the cost-benefit analysis, it’s important to remember all of the advantages that cloud-based systems provide. Disaster recovery (DR) is vastly enhanced by this model since it is always on and accessible. This arrangement is an ideal environment for backup and storage of data for the same reason. Redundant hardware and software can be eliminated, saving operational costs. It can improve testing, making development more productive. Cloud arrangements can also be more simple to manage than their traditional counterparts, which reduces the strain on valuable human resources.

Security

One of the most common questions asked about cloud? Whether it is a secure place to store apps and data. The general rule of thumb is never to store sensitive information or code on the public side. That said, a hybrid arrangement of public and private can help reduce costs. General information can be inexpensively stored on the public cloud while sensitive data is hidden on the private side of the platform.

When planning for security in this new world, there are various points that must be included in the strategy. The local area network (LAN), the end-points, and all points from creation to termination and beyond must be locked down. Multiple points of encryption, firewalls, and secure tunnels—like a virtual private network (VPN)—are needed.

Once the pieces of the security puzzle are in place, it’s important that the IT team continues to monitor connections and links. Enforcing server and LAN policies is critical. Intrusion prevention and detection methods are monumentally helpful as part of a comprehensive security strategy. The overall plan should include common best practices as well as industry-specific lockdown or encryption methods.

Cloud allows rapid access to data and applications, making both more usable and effective. Today’s options are becoming more affordable and flexible, which means it is even more accessible for SMEs. Implementing cloud today can certainly provide a competitive edge tomorrow!

Get the Most Out of Unified Communications

shutterstock_274076369Companies that adopt unified communications (UC) solutions know they will enjoy many benefits, but some businesses end up missing the mark because they haven’t created a communication-enabled business process (CEBP). One way to make the most of UC in combination with an advanced telephony program is through a CEBP, which optimizes business processes through automation and technology.

Identifying Opportunities

With so many different operational processes that occur within a company, identifying those that could be improved through automation may be a challenge. One way to easily pick out potentials is through key performance indicators (KPIs). Software and KPIs are a natural symbiosis, since ranges can be set and a variety of data points monitored.

Exceptions to ranges should be set to send alerts to relevant personnel. These alerts should trigger an action plan to result in operational improvement. Alerts are real-time, which facilitates quick correction of KPIs that have deviated from acceptable standards. Call center sales are a great example of where CEBP makes UC a more powerful business tool.

Monitor and React

UC in conjunction with a solid CEBP also will help management professionals modify best practices or company policy if needed. Following a KPI alert, a quick response to employee needs engenders good will, retains competition, and minimizes loss of productivity. In the end, too, customers ultimately receive better service, which makes a positive impact on the business’s bottom line.

A Smart Approach to Change

Any time that a best practice, policy, or other critical company detail has been changed, these changes must be communicated in an effective and useful manner. UC in combination with CEBP help illustrate the need for the change in a factual manner, which minimizes employee resistance to change. Showing the positive results of the changes will strengthen confidence in management’s decision-making process and aid in future events.

Video conferencing, telephone conferencing, and IM are all essential parts of a UC solution. Information can be conveyed through these channels to promote quicker adoption of changes to policy. The varying methods of communication allow for multiple approaches to educating employees; the message then can be absorbed by all types of learners.

An organization should seek to reap all of the benefits a UC strategy. Using additional tools like CEBP will amplify the effectiveness of UC and afford the company greater success and competitiveness as a result.

9 Reasons to Drive Your Business to the Cloud

The cloud has become a critical component of countless businesses and new technologies. It has been quickly adopted due to its many benefits, and it’s important for the industry to stay ahead of this trend. It’s also important to ask: What can your business gain from the cloud?

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Ready, Set, Assess: Cloud Migration Readiness

shutterstock_171314090When a company decides to migrate its traditional hardware and software to the cloud, it’s tempting to take the plunge immediately. However, thorough preparation is essential to the success of the migration.

Companies best prepare themselves for cloud migration by undergoing a readiness assessment.

Vendor-Provided Assessment Resources

Many hosting and application vendors provide a readiness check as part of their services. This removes much of the burden of auditing systems from the company’s own IT staff, which is more than likely already allocated to multiple high-priority endeavors. A cloud migration is a huge undertaking that should not be under-allocated. Using a vendor assessment significantly reduces the risk of failure.

Using a vendor-provided readiness assessment to prepare for cloud migration has the added benefit of advancing the migration to the finish line more quickly. This, in turn, shortens the timeline until value is realized. Better preparedness can eliminate bumps in the road and help companies save money sooner.

In addition, using a vendor for the pre-migration assessment adds more specialized skill sets to the project than the company may have in its own human resource pool. These vendors are dedicated to migrations and have extensive experience with migrations. Their knowledge and experience present significant advantages in comparison to using personnel with only general knowledge of cloud environments. If troubleshooting is needed, the team of experts is sure to problem-solve more efficiently and accurately than a team of novices.

Migration Efficiency

Preparing for cloud migration with a vendor readiness assessment is imperative. Not only can poor preparation cost companies additional time, it also may have legal and financial ramifications if the project goes off-course. A failed or messy migration can sour employee confidence in the company and affect productivity, all of which makes a bad problem even worse.

With software-as-a-service becoming more popular, the impacts of a smart migration are widespread. Time-tracking software, data collection, interfaces, configurations, reporting, and nearly every piece of a business’s operations must be considered for a successful migration to occur. Analyzing where data comes from and must flow to between systems will aid in identifying necessary steps for conversion.

Using a cloud readiness vendor assessment is an investment that will reap large dividends. Resource preservation, more rapid implementation, improved processes, and expert execution are just a few of the benefits that the company will enjoy after procuring this essential work.