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Managed Services Mean Big Benefits for Small Businesses

March 8, 2012 at 10:13 am PST

Outsourcing IT support lets you reduce IT costs and focus your efforts on what your company does best

Small companies are proliferating in every industry, from health care to hospitality and financial services to technology. But regardless of their industry, all small companies face similar challenges when it comes to their IT networks. Despite a lack of in-house IT resources, small businesses must keep their networks running reliably at top speeds. At the same time, they need to watch their budgets by reining in IT operational costs and limiting IT investments. For an increasing number of small businesses, the answer to these problems is relatively simple: managed services.

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Making the Team: How VARsity Players use OnPlus to Score

February 27, 2012 at 11:24 am PST

We’ve seen many trends during the past year start to take hold in the market, with a significant number of value added resellers (VARs) implementing new technologies to better help and service customers. Notably, VARs are placing a strong focus around managed services offerings specific to network administration, virtualization and cloud computing.

As announced in December, Cisco’s OnPlus Service is a VAR-specific offering that helps minimize support costs and generate additional revenue while proactively managing customer network problems. With OnPlus, VARs can create or expand their managed service portfolio by providing remote visibility of a small business customer’s network, and the corresponding devices, regardless of location, through a scalable cloud-based service.

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5 Steps to Choosing a Videoconferencing Solution

The right system can connect employees, improve collaboration with partners, and enhance customer service

Videoconferencing, with entire conference rooms dedicated to the latest and greatest in audio and video broadcasting, may seem out of bounds for small businesses. But videoconferencing is useful for more than large-scale lecture-based training sessions or global executive announcements. Small businesses can use this communications technology to enable collaboration with employees and partners around the world, demonstrate products to potential customers at any time, and amp up their online customer service efforts. The bottom line is that videoconferencing offers a cost-effective way to hold face-to-face meetings with anyone, no travel required.

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Virtual LANs Can Offer Big Benefits for Small Businesses

Wireless VLANs can boost network security and protect business assets by segmenting traffic

Small business networks don’t have to be basic. In fact, they should apply some advanced networking technologies to their networks to get the same benefits as large enterprises, such as virtual LANs (VLANs). Just like larger companies, smaller businesses can use VLANs to bolster security, increase usability, and improve network performance. And with a wireless VLAN, you can segment wireless traffic on your network into groups that keep certain types of traffic separate from the rest of the traffic on your network.

A LAN is defined as all the devices that connect to each other in the same broadcast domain, whether that’s a wired or a wireless network. A VLAN uses software to create a virtual network of devices that are assigned to a broadcast domain; a wireless VLAN is like a separate, mini network within your wireless LAN. You can set up one or more wireless VLANs to support different groups of users, depending on their needs and the risks inherent to your company.

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Ask Cisco: What’s the difference between a warranty and service contract?

February 20, 2012 at 8:00 am PST

Q: I have a business with 150 employees and am looking into upgrading some of my IT hardware. When evaluating products, the availability of a service contract is sometimes mentioned. If the hardware I’m purchasing already has a warranty, why would I need a service contract? Aren’t they the same thing?

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