1. Video:In our office, video calls are the rule, not the exception. We’ve found meetings are shorter with video and more engaged--no one is interrupting or talking over each other, as is common with audio-only conference calls.
Full disclosure, I’m writing this blog in G Suite...however we’re still a blended family seeing as some of our people prefer to use MS Office for their day to day needs. It seems this isn’t unusual either! According to Okta's Business@Work 2016 Report, over 40% of its customers use Google Apps AND Office 365
1. Slow connection—perception or problem? “It’s slow”…what does that really mean? Candidly, it means something different to everyone, but more importantly where is the real problem? Circuit monitoring can easily identify if and where problems spots exist, compressing time for IT professionals.
2. Is it your network or the internet connection?
Sometimes the problem is a failing piece of equipment on your network (such as an old switch) that even the best IT guy will miss. Without proper data, we’re just guessing and most internet service providers will tell you, “everything’s fine on our end”. Well, what if this time the internet really is working properly? Wouldn’t you rather know for certain than continue being frustrated?
3. Sometimes stuff just breaks...
And usually, we don’t know until Monday morning, when everyone is at work, ready to be productive. With paid circuit monitoring, the moment the link breaks, a ticket can be opened with the internet service provider and the process of fixing it can start sooner, hopefully reducing downtime for your company.
Let’s talk about it…we’ve got years of experience with each of these situations and we’d like to help.
SD-WAN, or software defined wide area network, is a specific application method of software defined network applied to WAN connections. SD-WAN allows companies to build higher performing WANs. They do this by using lower cost internet, allowing businesses to replace some (or all) of their costly private WAN connection technologies.
WANs are great at taking enterprise networks that span a large geographic area and connecting them. For instance, if you needed to connect two branch offices to the central corporate location, WANs are great! They used to need technology that used special hardware owned by the company. There are other downfalls to traditional WANs. The bandwidth is very expensive since you will need to keep every branch office connected (not too mention how time-consuming it is to be upgrading as you add new branches). You are also very dependent on the data center, which is frankly, archaic (think many single function devices, in other words, you could experience major lulls). The infrastructure needed to implement them is also overly complex. The SD-WAN is moving forward in our cloud age and making the technology available without dedicated hardware and with many more benefits. Including decreased expenses since you don’t need expensive equipment and they offer pay-as-you-go models.
The primary goal of SD-WAN is to utilize open software-based technology to offer businesses a secure and simple cloud-based WAN connection. It simplifies the way branch offices network; ensures the best performance; increases network agility and offers more predictability. This can also offer premium services to businesses, such as VPN, WAN optimization, and ADC.
What began as a simple solution to connect data centers and branch offices using less proprietary hardware, is fast turning into a trend that will no doubt expand and blow up over the next several years.
"You have zero privacy anyway," Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems on January 26, 1999 Unfortunately, he was correct, 20 years ago, 8 years before the iPhone tracked everything we do.
Recently, I experienced this myself, after applying for a new mortgage, I received a call a few hours later, from my current mortgage company asking if they could help.
I almost dropped the phone, until I realized that at some point during my refinance with them, I must have agreed to them monitoring my credit for that type of inquiry.
Another friend of mine posted to Facebook that she was deleting Facebook because while looking for vacations on her computer, suddenly she was seeing ads for the same places on her iPhone Facebook.
If you haven’t realized it yet, everything you do on the internet is being tracked, collected, stored, to predict your behavior and sell you stuff.
A realtor friend of mine told me about an email that was intercepted, wiring instructions changed and hundreds of thousands of dollars disappeared into the dark net. Litigation is ongoing because insurance doesn’t cover the loss.
Even in our business, my employees have received fake emails (THAT LOOK LIKE THEY CAME FROM ME) instructing my finance people to wire money to accounts.
If you don’t think it can happen to you...see this article:
(also, don’t click links in emails...unless you know and trust the sender)
So...what can you do to protect yourself and your business?
1. Monitor your personal and business credit through one of the various services. 2. Talk to your insurance person to assess your “cyber” risk. 3. Establish a bitcoin account, so if you are hacked you’ve got one. (If you haven’t secured your business, you’re probably going to need it) 4. Talk to us about different security steps to protect your business.
“That’s a horse of a different color!”-The Wizard of Oz when presented with new information…
Business intelligence can be used in a variety of ways, including staffing decisions.
For example, we had a client that “knew” they didn’t get many phone calls on Friday, “It just doesn’t seem that busy”, they told us. By using their hosted phone system’s included call analytics, they discovered they only averaged 5-6 inbound calls per day on Fridays with a staff of 30 people, but still had the expense of opening the office for a full business day. After meeting with staff, the company happily converted to a 4 day work week, with EVERYONE having Friday’s, except one staff member who took calls at home, on a mobile device. No one received a pay cut and the company still saved thousands by opening the office one less day per week. As Deming said…”Without data…you’re just another person with an opinion.”
If you need a software that combines the various methods for conference calls (i.e., audio, video, text, virtual whiteboards) then you need Unified Communications and Collaborations, or UCC. If you need to communicate with an audience, especially where engagement and interaction are encouraged, UCC will help this go smoothly. You will want to make sure your network isn’t outdated since that can create some serious latency. Using Unified Communications and Collaborations solutions, businesses can greatly improve the way they interact. It makes you more flexible AND adaptable. It also allows for speedier communications and decisions and cuts down excessive spending. UCC uses internet protocol, Voice over IP, video/audio/web conferencing, voice mails, instant messaging, and unified messaging.
To recap the benefits, you will be more flexible; improve productivity; be more responsive; increase employee flexibility; cut expenses in IT admin, travel, and telecom; and better collaboration between employees/customers.
At one point the cloud was just some mysterious thing everyone talked about it was a trend. But that is no longer true. It is now the reality. The cloud is an important consideration and could alter your company. So how could cloud benefit and change your business?
Firstly we should keep in my mind, the cloud is far more simplified than we imagine it to be. In a nutshell, it’s the internet. It hosts applications, stores data, allows you access your server remotely… all via the… you guessed it… internet! Moving to the cloud will improve efficiency in your company.
The role your IT department plays will change when you move to the cloud. Your cloud provider will most likely take on a huge chunk of a traditional IT department’s responsibilities. This could mean potential savings!
Your accessibility will also increase, as well as your mobility. You will be able to access your documents, spreadsheets, data, applications and network from ANYWHERE. This means remote employees (again possibly saving money), as well as allowing the business owners freedom to travel and work on the road. Collaborations are also easier than ever with the cloud since all team members (no matter their location) can easily access the same information.
And because this is a universal concern, as mentioned, the cloud can lower your costs. You don’t have the cost of storing data and racks in-house. You have less overhead since you can employ out-of-office employees. And your IT team will be productive since the cloud provider handles a lot of this for you!
These are just a few examples of what the cloud can do for your business.
We decided to do this roundup just in case you missed some of our most popular post from 2016. Click the title to go the full post. Hosted PBX vs On-Premise PBX Both hosted PBX and on-premise PBX have positives and negatives. But before we can begin comparing and contrasting, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of each of these systems before we launch into the face off. Hosted PBX puts a lot of the burden of managing a phone system on the provider since they are housing the equipment and tech necessary to make your phones work. Your phones will plug into a router/switch and from there everything is handled through your provider... Click here to see more
The Power of Big Data So… what is big data? Wikipedia (the fountain of crowd-sourced definitions) states… Big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, querying and information privacy... Click here to see more
SD-WAN Explained In Games We Played As Kids SD-Wan is a complex technology that can often be very difficult to understand, but here at TQI we think technology should be simple to understand. “Hide and Go Seek” Remember counting to 25 with your eyes closed (but your ears WIDE open) and the last 15 seconds were counted much faster than the first 10? That’s what SD-Wan does, it listens for its partner(s) on the internet, automatically choosing the best/fastest route for your data. This allows businesses to use (preferably) two inexpensive internet connections (such as a cable modem and DSL line) instead of more expensive dedicated bandwidth with MPLS to create a stable network... Click here to see more
The Good and The Bad of Video Conferencing Traveling is expensive but your business has to run! And when you have offices or branches across the country (dare I say… world!) you need solutions that don’t require the burden and expense of travel. Technology is our friend, and rapidly growing in a way that helps facilitate connection and makes it easier than ever. Video conferencing has really come along and is a great tool to connect your remote employees and branches... Click here to see more
Business Intelligence and How it Affect Businesses Having data is great, but unless we understand it, what good is it? That is where business intelligence comes in. BI isn’t just for large corporations, it can be used for small-medium sized companies and it’s changing the way those companies make decisions. Intelligence analysts have been trying to make data clear and understandable so they can match their readings to an actionable end result. These are also called ‘business architects’. They are creating the software necessary to perfectly use Business Intelligence to refine the ways their respective companies do things... Click here to see more
Your cloud is only as good as your network! While the cloud has many, many benefits, much of its potential can be unmet if there are issues with your network such as delays, interruptions, congestion, or downtime. Which is why we are going to talk about the steps you need to take to take to ensure your network is cloud-ready.
Planning your network should be a preliminary step, BEFORE implementing your cloud solutions. The network infrastructure should be suited to the cloud. There are three basic things your network should be able to uphold: integrated management tools, the ability to connect with minimal latency, and it should be able to compute elements. In other words, security, dependability, performance/bandwidth! Upgrading or reframing your network is usually necessary.
A few steps to take:
- Assess your current network. Think about its design, capacity, devices and capability.
- Assess your security, integrated security may be the way to go.
- Start integrating your network and optimizing for your cloud.
- Can your network handle the increase in workload?
- Is your network flexible and capable of automation? Consider maintenance and management as an approach.
Assessing if your network is cloud ready is an important thing to do to ensure you don’t have issues with lag or connectivity once you deploy the cloud. Your experience with the cloud is greatly dependent on how prepared your network is!