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Raising the Bar: Cisco Managed Switches Outperform Competitors

March 27, 2012 at 8:00 am PST

Daily, we read about and experience the increasing importance of mobility and cloud offerings in the SMB market—and inherent in these trends is the capacity to configure appropriate switches. Tablets, smartphones and laptops are prevalent in the workplace and as SMBs often forgo funding an IT department, it is crucial that their hardware and solutions scale as business transforms.

That said, a recent testing report conducted by Miercom details how Cisco SMB Ethernet switches outperform those of HP and D-Link across the board. From overall performance and price to security, ease of use, and energy efficiency, Cisco’s switches are raising the bar. Highlights from the report include:

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Mythbusters: Cloud Computing Is a Deployment Model, Not a Point Product

Cloud computing gives you a new way to access many different types of software, no matter how small your company

It seems that everyone’s talking about how cloud computing is the answer to all your technology problems—and, depending on your problems, it may be. But before you can use the cloud, you need to understand what it is.

Cloud computing is not a product that you purchase; cloud computing is a deployment model. It is a new way to access and use software for your small company; it is also a new way for vendors to sell their products. How you use cloud computing is up to you.

Simply put, cloud computing allows you to use a vendor’s software over the Internet. Though the software is hosted on the provider’s server, it functions on users’ computers in the same way as installed software—your employees simply connect to it online. You do not purchase and install the application on your server or your desktops; depending on the cloud-based software (also referred to as Software-as-a-Service or SaaS), you might install a specialized client that people use to connect to the service or users might simply connect through their Web browser.

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Protect Data Shared Through Unified Communications

Lock down your UC system to prevent the theft or loss of sensitive business information

Companies large and small have embraced VoIP (voice over IP) and unified communications (UC), and malicious parties are there, too. In fact, some research firms estimate that targeted attacks on VoIP infrastructure account for as much as one third of all attacks around the world, in part because companies haven’t secured their VoIP and UC systems as well as other online applications like email. Unauthorized persons can use holes in UC systems to sneak onto your network, access stored business data like sensitive customer information, or commit toll fraud.

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Keep Videoconferencing Conversations Confidential

Follow these tips to secure critical company information from prying eyes

Videoconferencing—conducting meetings with anyone, at anytime, from anywhere—seems like a win-win solution. Videoconferencing both saves time and cuts down on travel costs. And it can help employees collaborate more efficiently and stay better connected.

What can go wrong? As it turns out, videoconferencing can open a giant security hole in your business. Like a tap on your CEO’s phone or a bug hidden under your conference table, videoconferencing can allow eavesdroppers access to your company’s confidential conversations.

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Five Key Questions for Your Wireless Device Usage Policy

Protect your small business from liability, security risk, and noncompliance by creating a few simple rules for employees and their smartphones

Take a poll of your employees. How many of them carry a smartphone in their pockets? How many are using them—or want to use them—to read and send work emails, text with colleagues, and even access cloud-based business applications?  Because so many people now use these remarkable handheld computers to get so much done, small companies are being forced to figure out how they fit into their networks. And that means developing a usage policy for wireless handheld devices that your employees use for work.

The very first element your policy should cover is whether or not you allow employees to connect to your business network with their personal devices, like smartphones and tablets. If you want to let them check their work email, use your cloud-based apps, and use your other productivity tools on their devices, then you’ll need to figure out the detailed specifics of what data and applications will be allowed on those devices—and how they can be used when connected and not connected to your network.

A wireless device usage policy is similar to an acceptable use policy (AUP) for your network. This post can help you write an AUP for your small business.

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