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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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Prepare Your Network for Video Streaming and Telepresence Meetings

The right router can make all the difference between a smooth user experience and frustrating, choppy video

Small companies have found many compelling reasons to use video solutions and telepresence systems in their day-to-day operations: as a marketing tool, as a point of contact for customer service, and as a way to train employees. Internally, telepresence and its use of video technology is gaining traction among small businesses that want to conduct face-to-face meetings without the expense of travel. As advantageous as video can be, before you can successfully stream video broadcasts, you need to make sure the underlying network can handle the extra traffic.

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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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