Technology Trends for 2017

It’s that time of year when many businesses are setting goals and budgets for next year. This is a good time to reflect on the impact technology can have on your business. While Cloud Computing adoption remains strong, companies will increase migration from Public to Private Cloud and even migrate back “on premise.” Cloud adoption, digital transformation and streaming media will increase the demand for bulletproof networking. New technologies including SD-WAN will hit mainstream in 2017 to improve network performance in support of business requirements. Cyber threats will continue to keep business owners up at night with increased intrusions from ransomware and unplanned downtime from DDoS attacks. Here are a few takeaways to consider for your 2017 plan. More Choices for Cloud Computing In a recent study by the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA), 43% of those using Public Cloud are expected to migrate to another Public Cloud Provider. For example, companies using Hosted Exchange may find themselves adopting Office 365 or Google for Work to keep current on the latest version of these communications and collaborations applications. The CompTIA “Trends in Cloud Computing” research also revealed 21% of Cloud usage will move from Public Cloud to Private Clouds. This scenario is driven by the need for compliance with industry regulations, including HIPAA regulations for health care and SOX compliance for Financial Services, among other business requirements. Digital Transformation Will Emerge as Competitive Advantage for Business of All Sizes Businesses will adopt new strategies for reaching new customers and servicing existing customers in 2017. These new strategies will fuel the need for digital transformation. Reaching new buyers through digital...

Proactive Networking Monitoring: What & Why

Your business relies more and more on healthy network infrastructure. Migration to Cloud, Compliance and IT Security all fuel the case to proactively monitor your network health. By proactively scanning your network, you can identify bottlenecks and other irregularities that could impact your network performance and network security. Identifying network compromise in advance will save your business time and money in the long run. Here are some considerations of what to proactively monitor on your network and why: Monitor Your Network Performance Network performance monitoring may identify a number of issues impacting your employee productivity. In some cases it may be a hardware failure (network switch or router) that is causing intermittent outage. Data-intensive applications (e.g. remote backup, call center or VoIP) may need optimization to improve overall network performance. Regular proactive network monitoring will identify these issues that can easily be remediated to avoid any unnecessary downtime, loss of employee productivity, or other failures such as dropped calls and failed backups. Monitor Your Network Access A periodic scan of devices attached to your network will identify any unauthorized access to your network. You may identify devices including desktop, laptop and mobile access from terminated employees, unauthorized access on your wireless network, and other potential compromises to your network. A regular scan of your network helps you stay in compliance and avoid any security compromise. Monitor Your Network Utilization By monitoring your network utilization, you may identify usage patterns impacting your overall network performance. Social media and streaming technologies can chew up your company bandwidth. By monitoring your utilization you may need to implement internal policies on use of...

Are Public Cloud Services Right for Your Business?

Every day more companies realize the cloud offers them brand new ways to solve their business problems. Public Cloud services are available for a wide range of solutions, including Communications and Collaboration, CRM, Contact Center, Email, File Sharing, Network Management, Cloud Storage, and more. What to Expect from Public Cloud Services According to a 2015 Whitepaper on Cloud Definitions by IDC, “Public Cloud services are shared among unrelated enterprises and consumers; open to a largely unrestricted universe of potential users; and designed for a market, not a single enterprise.” Public Cloud Services offer an affordable alternative to Private Cloud Services dedicated to a single company or extended enterprise. According to the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Cloud Services include the following characteristics:   Shared, Standard Services – Build for Multitenancy, among or within the enterprise Solutions Packaged – A “turnkey” offering, pre-integrates required resources Self-service – Provisioning and management typically via a Web portal Elastic, Resource Scaling – Dynamic, rapid and fine-grained Ubiquitous (authorized) Network Access – Typically accessible via the Internet Standard UI Technologies – Browser, RIA clients, underlying technologies Published Service Interface/API – Web services other common internet APIs Considerations for Public vs. Private Cloud Private Cloud Solutions provide a company dedicated resources and additional access to the Cloud Infrastructure. This capability could be important for regulatory compliance or high availability solutions. Private Cloud tradeoff includes Cost versus Control over Public Cloud Services. Data residency may also be a factor in your decision for Public Cloud Services versus Private Cloud Services. With all these variables that will likely change over time, it is important to...

The Internet of Things (IoT) You Should Care About

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that describes everyday objects that have network connectivity, allowing them to send, receive and act on data. One day, everything that can be connected will be connected. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) the number of “things” connected to the Internet will reach 50.1 billion by 2020. As the Internet of Things makes its way into our lives, what do you need to know to take full advantage? Internet of Things (IoT) in the Workplace Devices connecting to the Internet can provide a number of benefits and savings to business.  Smart controllers can regulate heating, cooling, lighting and more. This technology may cut energy costs and save you money. Hospitals can keep better track of pharmaceuticals, avoiding shortages while minimizing inventory. The Internet of Things can even collect data from mobile devices to see if online shoppers make it into your store to check prices or buy. With all of this data being collected and acted upon, it raises a number of issues around security, privacy and connectivity. Internet of Things is Built on the Cloud Windows powered desktops and laptops, while Android and IOS powered tablets and smartphones. It is expected that the Internet of Things will run on the Cloud. Cloud Services will deliver functionality, collect data, and eventually connect machines to other machines to analyze and take action on data collected by Internet of Things. Your business will need robust connectivity and a secure network to take full advantage of the Internet of Things. Securing Internet of Things Articles have already emerged about zombie refrigerators attacking...

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining: Business Benefits of Cloud Computing

Moving to the Cloud is a strategic, business-driven decision. Cloud Computing can offer a range of solutions to help drive business performance. Many businesses are migrating to Cloud Computing already. To ensure you get the most from your investment, you need to be able to determine how cloud solutions can help your business grow revenue, scale, accommodate teleworkers, let you move faster than your competition, and help you make your technology infrastructure costs more predictable.  Read on to gain an understanding of the many business benefits of Cloud Computing. Cloud Computing Saves on Upfront Costs Many popular Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions are available on a subscription basis.  You won’t be paying for hardware, systems software, database or other upfront costs.  In most cases these recurring subscription fees move your capital expense to an operating expense.  However, you will need to plan for customization, migration and integration services to make Cloud Services that are robust and dynamic. Cloud Computing Provides a Faster Time to Market You won’t be waiting on hardware to deliver for your new Cloud Service.  In many cases you can deploy new Cloud Services on demand.  Additionally, your Cloud Service Provider (CSP) is responsible for keeping the systems up to date with the latest updates and upgrades.  SaaS providers can upgrade features and functionality during regularly planned maintenance windows. This keeps your systems up to date with the latest functionality and capability. The Predictable Cost of Cloud Computing Monthly subscription services provide business owners a predictable IT expense.  License policies based on number of users, usage and other predictable factors...
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