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The Year in Review: the Top 10 Posts of 2011

It’s hard to believe another year has come and (almost) gone. Every year seems to speed by ever faster, much like the pace of technological advancements. We understand that it’s a challenge keeping up with the latest technologies that impact your small business. So we were curious to find out what topics caught your eye this past year on the Small Business Blog.

Security was by far the most popular topic; and security in all forms—from your core network to personal devices to the cloud. That’s not surprising when you consider all the ways in which you can now access data.

Here’s the list of top 10 posts for 2011:

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High-Performing Virtual Private Network Makes Life Easier

In the second installment of our Valley Sleep Center case study, we witness the importance of installing a robust, secure virtual private network (VPN). As a medical clinic, Valley Sleep Center needs to maintain HIPAA compliance and also allow employees to review confidential patient records. Overhauling its antiquated VPN technology, the company implemented a high-performance Cisco VPN solution. Now, employees have reliable connections and can efficiently transfer files among the business’s five locations. Perhaps the best benefit, however, is the peace of mind that comes from the security provided by the right network.

Part One of the Valley Sleep Center

Watch Part Two>>

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Don’t Get Caught by These Phone System Pitfalls

Watch out for unexpected costs, tricky contracts, and poor customer service

When you’re purchasing a new phone system, your research shouldn’t stop with your company’s list of must-have features and functionality. Although a VoIP solution has many benefits, whether you choose an on-premise solution that you install on your local network or subscribe to an Internet-based hosted voice service, you should be aware of potential ”gotchas“ that can increase costs and hinder the phone system’s performance. Phone system pitfalls most often involve budget, contract, and customer service issues.

(See this post to learn more about how to find the right phone system for your small business.)

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The Right Network Helps Cut Costs by 50 Percent

Today, we’re debuting a four-part customer case study on sleep disorder clinic Valley Sleep Center. Located in the metropolitan Phoenix area, the business was looking to expand from two to five locations within a year. Struggling with slow VPN connections and an outdated phone system, the company decided to upgrade its network. The result? A 50% reduction in costs. Watch the video below to see how upgrading to the right network benefited Valley Sleep Center’s bottom line.

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Mythbusters: More Bandwidth Doesn’t Always Improve Performance

Combine an increase in the type of traffic running over your network—such as voice, video, and data—with an increase in the users accessing that data, and your network could easily get bogged down. When that happens, your first instinct may be to throw more bandwidth at the problem. In this second installment of our Mythbusters series, we dispel the myth that faster networking gear will solve your performance woes.

Installing faster equipment may improve your network’s performance, but it may not entirely unclog your data bottlenecks. Before you spend money upgrading your network with faster devices, look to see if the switches you already have offer network intelligence features. If not, your switches are handling traffic on a first-come, first-served basis, which means voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls can still drop, video streams can still hang, and data can slow to a crawl.

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