Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Consider This about Unified Communications

Bringing integration and efficiency to your organization’s communications technologies? I recommend you keep these matters front-of-mind:

Your budget, your legacy. Older communications installations may not do well in Unified Communications (UC) architectures — so do you attempt to bring along what you already have or replace it?

This decision impacts your network. If you haven’t been keeping up with users’ demands for connectivity, a successful UC deployment may require more capacity than you currently possess.
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Planning Your Hybrid Cloud: 6 Key Steps (part 2)

Architecture blueprint as a model for cloud planning

In my last post I focused on the first two steps in planning for a hybrid cloud: Making sure your IT infrastructure is “cloudified” and assessing your current environment and workloads. In this post, I’ll lay out the final four steps:  Continue reading

Are you buying a service — or an illusion?

Handshake in gray

Imagine discovering that for the last 12 months none of your company data had been backed up at your designated co-lo.

Worse, you only found this out because your corporate site has suffered a catastrophic failure. All your data has been lost — and you have no way to retrieve it.

You’re outraged, of course, and you want answers. How could your co-lo provider fail to back up your data? What about your provider’s vaunted disaster recovery service? Who is responsible for allowing this to happen?  Continue reading

How Hosted IP PBX Solutions Can Keep Your Communications Competitive

Hosted IP PBX chart

The way you do business is changing fast.

It’s not just that you’re replacing your face-to-face interactions with a range of digital modes like email, instant messaging, and videoconferencing—now you need to insist that those modes be available anytime, anywhere on devices that are familiar, mobile and allow us to access and communicate any and all of your data at will.

Problem: How to keep up — affordably

You need communications capabilities that can stay apace of all this, which the plain old telephone system (POTS) cannot. The alternative has been IP PBXs that replace bundles of physical wires with a session initiation protocol (SIP) service called trunking.

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Prosperity in 2012: Best-performing organizations use cloud computing

I recently came across a cloud computing benefit/risk study conducted in the first half of 2011 by the IT Policy Compliance Group (ITPCG). It shows that best-performing organizations (which see higher profits and suffer fewer business disruptions and less data loss) use cloud computing significantly more than poor-performing organizations.

More than two-thirds of best performers use cloud computing — about half opting for private clouds, while 25% use hybrid clouds and another 25% use public clouds. By contrast, only 9% of worst performers use cloud computing.

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6 signs of network performance problems

In my experience, poor network performance can cause outages that cascade unpredictably through the business and cost you plenty. Are you experiencing any of these signs of trouble?

  1. Network-dependent applications have become sluggish — and your employees, customers, and suppliers are letting you know how unhappy they are.
  2. Network administrators struggle to isolate the cause of poor network performance.
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Trick or treat — or paradigm shift? What do you want to accomplish on your way to the cloud?

Anybody seeking to overcome the limits of traditional IT environments and streamline their business has to consider one of the most significant paradigm shifts of our time — cloud computing.

But take note: Cloud computing takes planning, because each move to the cloud is unique.

To figure out whether cloud computing will deliver what you need, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?”

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Essential SLA Elements #5: Protecting your data from the goblins

A service-level agreement works best when it’s the result of a collaborative effort between you and a service provider you can trust. This kind of trusted collaboration will uncover the most cost-effective ways your provider’s IT capabilities can be put to work for your business.

Part of that trust involves the fifth and last Essential SLA Element on my list: Procedures for the safe and prompt return of your data upon service termination.

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Essential SLA Elements #3 and #4: Monitoring, enforcement, and change mechanisms

A good service-level agreement looks simple — but that’s because it’s been conscientiously negotiated to meet the buyer’s needs. Of the five essential SLA elements that every managed and cloud services customer should focus on, I’ve described two — specifying service functionality and describing the infrastructure and standards to be maintained by the provider.

Essential SLA Elements #3 concerns SLA changes. Your SLA should include a mechanism by which you can regularly tune it in response to changing business conditions or new technologies. You’ll benefit from building in a formal review of your SLA (at least annually) in order to use experience and new information to revise it.

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Essential SLA Element #2: The devil’s in the details

I’ve already blogged about the importance of negotiating a service-level agreement that specifies the functionality of the managed and cloud services you engage.

Now I’m going to focus on Essential SLA Element #2: Including details about the system, network, and security infrastructure and standards to be maintained for your services by the provider.

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