Tapping into the benefits of the cloud is a popular business move in today’s fast-paced environment. But getting the most out of a cloud deployment depends on asking the right questions from the start. Not all offerings are created equal, and not all types of files, applications, and data are suited for the cloud.
Failing to ask key questions can lead to implementation mistakes. Taking careful consideration of enterprise requirements and finding appropriate services to fit those needs is key to a successful cloud migration. Following are important questions to ask before making a purchase.
What existing capabilities and knowledge does the IT department currently have that will aid in a deployment?
As with most IT processes, the devil is in the details. Most companies understand that there are efficiencies to be gained by implementing cloud tools, but they also realize there is much they don’t know. This can lead to fear and reluctance to go forward with a cloud migration. Fears often center on compliance and security concerns.
Education is an effective counter to cloud fears. If the company has an in-house IT team, take stock of what knowledge and skills they bring to the table. Strategize about how the team will be used during and after migration. Plan ahead to provide training for in-house personnel or tap into third-party providers to fill in any knowledge gaps.
What services does the company need?
To avoid taking a potentially costly and time-consuming misstep, start off by understanding as much as possible about how the company will use the cloud. Consider how much data the company needs to store, what features are needed to enhance business processes, and what types of tasks the company needs the cloud service to support. Also take into account privacy and security requirements as well as any regulations or compliance issues that must be met.
What cloud service model makes the most sense for the company?
Cloud services come in three primary models — private, public, and hybrid — each with its own pros and cons. Private services are usually hosted in-house, which increases security but at a higher cost than shared services. Public cloud services, on the other hand, share resources and costs across multiple users, providing a cost-effective solution — but in a shared environment that some enterprises might deem too risky.
Hybrid models attempt to mesh the best of both worlds, providing the cost savings and shared advantages of the public cloud while maintaining private options for certain data and applications that require a high level of security and privacy.
Cloud services offer the potential for enormous efficiencies and business advantages, but choosing the wrong service could quickly nullify those benefits.
Asking a few key questions can yield answers the enterprise can use to shop for and ultimately buy the best cloud value for their investment. Contact Worldnet to learn more about implementing business cloud services.
Small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) face a unique set of challenges on a daily basis. These businesses must be creative and resourceful with their technology spending in order to continue to grow and flourish despite financial and human resource constraints. Following are a few of the main areas of concern experienced by SMBs.
Keeping Data Intact
Losing data can bring an SMB to its knees and, quite often, out of business altogether. Without a data integrity specialist on staff, it can be quite difficult to manage the complexities of data flow, storage, and security. Failing to have a solid backup process in place makes the situation worse by creating an unnecessary risk of business collapse should a loss occur.
Downtime is an expensive problem, costing hundreds to thousands of dollars per minute. SMBs are much more vulnerable to such a large financial loss than are bigger companies, especially when faced with prolonged outages. In addition, these smaller organizations typically lack the IT resources usually committed to system administration and maintenance. Those running the business without these critical resources are often unsure of how systems should be built and integrated, so may construct them in a less than stable architecture, leading to frequent downtime.
A wide variety of robust technologies exist today. Unfortunately, many SMB teams have limited knowledge of these new systems and fail to take advantage of their power, which can limit efficiency and productivity. As smaller companies must do more with less, this is an unfortunate obstacle to growth.
Using the Wrong Tools for Sales
Sales can be particularly challenging for SMBs, as they need both the right pitch and the right clientele. Lacking tools that can provide valuable information may mean that the sales staff is misdirecting its efforts. Modern data analytics can show trends, insights, and results in an extremely timely manner, but SMBs may not be capitalizing on these tools.
Enterprise-Sized Solutions Do Not Fit All
So many useful tools in the marketplace have been constructed to serve the big money forum: enterprises and major corporations. These applications and systems are complex and costly, which makes them out of range for most SMBs. Businesses of all sizes need workflow solutions, and SMBs must scour the landscape for affordable ways to handle everything from sales to HR, purchasing, and compliance.
SMBs have a particular set of needs since they may be limited by available resources. Acquiring affordable and easily managed IT solutions will help these smaller businesses succeed in an increasingly technical world.
Disasters come in many forms. But from a business perspective, it doesn’t matter if a flooded office is caused by faulty plumbing or a city-wide rain-pocalypse; the effects are the same, and they can be devastating. Natural disasters and extreme weather conditions cost American businesses billions of dollars every year.
According to FEMA, natural disasters result in the failure of 65% of affected businesses within one year of a disaster, and the lion’s share of these failures can be attributed to extended downtime. That is why having an effective and comprehensive business continuity plan in place is vital. By working with service providers and keeping a few key ideas firmly in mind, it’s possible for any business, including a small to medium sized business (SMB), to stay up and running.
Identify Mission Critical Elements
Certain elements of any business are vital to its operation. The first step in developing a business continuity plan is to identify which parts of the business are absolutely necessary for operation and which are not.
Evaluate the Risks
Businesses in different geographical locations face different potential disasters. Once armed with a comprehensive list of business critical elements, identify what types of natural disasters are most likely to affect those processes and how.
Develop a Strategy
Work through each disaster and develop a strategy to mitigate the effects of that disaster on critical aspects of the business. Common strategies include offsite data backup and secondary plans for internal communications should the regular network become unusable.
Physical Response Plan
Part of a comprehensive business continuity plan should involve what to do physically in case of a disaster. Consider the following:
- Which emergency services should be contacted by whom in what circumstances?
- Which exits should staff use under what conditions?
- What materials and hardware should be rescued and/or salvaged first?
Answering these questions before they arise and practicing the steps involved can make recovering from a disaster much easier than it might otherwise be.
Once the immediate danger has passed, it’s time to start assessing the damage and its effects on the business. How much downtime ensued, and how much did it cost the business? How much damage was inflicted upon facilities and infrastructure, and what is necessary to repair it?
The goal is to return to “business as usual” as quickly and efficiently as possible. Provided there was a solid business continuity plan in place before disaster struck, that should be quite feasible. Statistics show the devastating effects natural disasters can have on SMBs. A business continuity plan can prevent a business from becoming just another statistic.
As technology continues to develop in the business world, more companies are turning to their IT departments for ways to make operations more efficient by using technology wisely. There are multiple aspects that IT departments can assist with to help a business run more smoothly.
Effective Management of Mobile Users
A majority of businesses in the U.S. today allow for bring your own device (BYOD), giving employees the ability to access corporate data and tools on their personal smartphones and tablets. However, BYOD can put companies at risk if security is inadvertently or intentionally compromised, which is why it’s important to effectively manage all mobile users in the company. Strict policies should be developed that prevent the compromise of sensitive data. Some software actually allows employers to alter security levels when employees are on the corporate network.
Make the Transition to Cloud Technology
Although some business owners have preconceived notions that cloud technology isn’t secure, cloud service providers have proven that they can keep data more secure than companies relying on in-house data storage. Add to this the lowered operating costs associated with storing data off-site, and it becomes clear that moving applications to the cloud is ideal to help maximize efficiency.
Implement Certification for IT Processes
One of the best ways to make sure an IT department is in compliance with company guidelines is to add certification that helps IT processes remain efficient, allowing the company to save time and reduce internal costs. Certification will allow business owners to see more clearly how well their IT departments are performing, and determine if there’s anything else that they can do to improve.
Consider Remote IT Teams
Another way to save money and improve efficiency in IT operations is to hire an IT company that can perform on-site functions from a remote location, specifically a central data center. Using this strategy can save both time and money for those remaining on-site. Cloud technology makes this easy to do, and as cloud technology continues to develop, it will only become easier.
With these ideas in mind, a business can benefit from increased overall efficiency and reduced costs and redirect focus and expenses to core aspects of the company. Working with IT teams can ultimately improve business drastically, which is something more and more businesses are beginning to realize.
Many call centers are discovering the benefits of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking for Internet phone systems. Through the use of SIP trunking and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) technology is no longer necessary, thus making SIP trunking and VoIP more relevant in today’s call centers. In fact, PSTN technology is on its way out the door almost entirely, and SIP trunking is stepping in as the ideal replacement.
SIP trunking allows for the integration of multimedia technologies for various types of communication including voice, video, email, social media, and chat. With these solutions in place, businesses can communicate more effectively with customers and ensure their satisfaction. Unified communications (UC) has also helped increase productivity for many companies, and SIP trunking is one of the factors in its success.
There are a few specific benefits that come with SIP trunking telecom applications.
If businesses need to modify the scale of SIP trunking, they can do it simply without racking up costs. Changes made to SIP trunking services aren’t a hassle if an enterprise needs to accommodate for increased traffic and calls. Enterprises can take full advantage of their networks while experiencing higher voice quality in calls.
Unlike the quickly accumulated pricing that is seen with T1/PRI trunks, SIP trunking is priced per user or port, making it more scalable than those older models.
Reduced Overall Costs
Enterprises can find increased cost-effectiveness with SIP trunking as well. The reason for this is SIP trunking’s ability to combine data and voice, which helps reduce the collective price for these services.
Because of the lack of hardware, SIP trunking also allows remote alterations through providers, without the need for additional line cards and ports. The difference in the amount of time it takes to make these changes is hours versus days, increasing the overall efficiency of business operations. With lowered costs and higher speeds, companies can easily handle increased numbers of calls.
More International Reach
Another benefit to SIP trunking is the worldwide coverage it provides. Businesses can easily manage call centers from any location, which allows for more international staff and subsequently better communication with foreign customers. Enterprises can increase their overall spread by offering multilingual services, with native staff working with the company remotely.
Companies don’t have to limit themselves to local services when they can virtually expand their business anywhere in the world without concern for dangerously high expenses.
Call Centers that Actively Grow with the Company
The biggest difference between SIP trunking and outdated call center technology is its ultimate ability to accommodate for the expansion of a business. The lowered prices and increased scalability allow companies to grow without spending more than they have to in the long run, promoting profitability.
In the end, SIP trunking gives enterprises the ability to be as efficient as possible while improving the quality of customer communications.