Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Your Wireless Network: Signs That the Tail has Begun to Wag the Dog

network management - wireless networks have become the primary network

In many companies, the wireless capability added on to their enterprise network a few years ago has become some employees’ primary network.

It’s a development that signals just how quickly mobile devices are proliferating the workplace. The so-called “consumerization of business” changes the way we work — and our data networks have to keep up.

This transformation has been in the works for a while. In 2011, market analyst firm Gartner predicted 80% of corporate wireless network technologies would be obsolete by 2015. Gartner may well be right, given the findings of more recent research. Continue reading

Getting the IT Staff You Need May Not be as Easy as You Think

Man contemplating a decision

According to Computer Economics’ 2014/2015 IT Spending & Staffing Benchmarks report, hiring of IT professionals is finally on the upswing — yet another indication that our long-declining economy continues to improve.

Even so, you may not have an easy time finding the right IT expertise when you need it. That’s because there’s something of a squeeze going on (you know, the one that puts you between a rock and a hard place):

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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

When It Comes to Security, Know Thyself

Data Security & Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

“If you don’t understand the risks, you don’t understand the costs,” security guru Bruce Schneier advised during a TED talk.

He was discussing security in the abstract — but it got me thinking about IT security in particular and the difficulty many executives face trying to determine if their organizations are safe from cyberattack.

The problem is that these conversations nearly always turn technical. Soon, a flurry of technology acronyms — confounding but apparently reassuring — begin flying around the room.

And, reports Schneier, it works. People, he says, will “respond to the feeling of security and not the reality.”

So what can a CEO do to understand the reality of security risk and grasp what the actual cost of security failure might do to the organization?  Continue reading

CEOs in the Crosshairs

Writing hand in crosshairs

When it comes to security breaches, CEOs stand in the crosshairs. More than their IT staffs, it’s a CEO who’ll take heat for a breach that exposes customer data or endangers relationships with business partners.

So, unlike plenty of other IT issues that don’t require C-level attention, information security ranks right up there alongside financial issues as something with which CEOs need to be familiar. Yes, information security can be daunting, but so are financial statements — and CEOs have to sign off on those.

Where to start? Here are three questions every CEO should be able to answer: Do you know who your security expert is? Do you have a security policy? Do you understand how it’s implemented, managed, enforced, monitored?

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Pay Attention to the Chain of Control

These days, you can buy Cloud services from just about anyone.

Some of these providers do it all themselves, from initial needs assessment through design, integration, customization, and implementation all the way to post-deployment support. Even if they provide capabilities via reselling products and services from others, they have deep technical knowledge of what they’ve provided and can stand by it.

So as a customer, your chain of control is unbroken — when you want help or information about your service, you’ll get what you need.

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What’s Happening to the IT Department?

Where once IT departments were the sole source when it came to technology implementation, today technology is finding its way into corporate America through nearly every department.

Marketing folks may have been among the first to leave the IT department fold when they ditched cumbersome CRM systems for easy-to-use, but they were just the tip of what has grown into a pretty big iceberg.

Virtually every day sees a new app available to help workers be more productive — and those workers aren’t hesitating to download those apps and get on with business.

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Getting the Best Technology Solutions

For 30 years, we at Quest have been listening to our customers, understanding their unique needs, and working with them to deliver the technology capabilities their businesses rely on.

Chief among the many things we’ve learned is this: The best technology solutions combine the cost advantages of mass-produced commodity products and services with customized design, configuration, and integration — and this combo should be provided by skilled, experienced technology specialists who have taken the time to study and understand the particular capability needs of a customer’s business.

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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 #1: Why specifying each service to be provided is critical

I see five essential elements that you absolutely need to pay attention to in your managed and cloud services SLAs. I’ll review each of them in my blog, starting with: Specifying each service to be provided.

This may seem obvious, and, in fact, it is. Yet too many service-level agreements are surprising vague about what exactly you’re buying.

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