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5 Steps to Improve Wireless Connectivity

Optimize your network to provide faster speeds and greater reliability for a variety of mobile devices

When you first built your company’s wireless network, you had to support just the desktop PCs and laptops you chose for your small business. Now, your wireless network is probably host to a more diverse array of mobile devices from different vendors. On any given day, you may have tablets, iPhones, and Android-enabled devices accessing your network. Instead of trying to control the personal devices that employees bring to work, it may be easier to optimize your wireless network to better support these devices. (If you’re just building a wireless network for the first time, this post can help.)

We offer five steps to help improve the performance of your wireless network and provide a better user experience regardless of the devices employees are using to access company data.

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Hosted vs. Installed VoIP: Which One is Right for You?

Business needs, growth plans, and in-house expertise will influence your decision

Once you’ve made the decision to replace your legacy phone system with a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution, you must decide whether a hosted service or an on-site installation is better for your small business. Both delivery methods have unique pros and cons, and, like most technologies, one type is not inherently better than the other. Some small businesses will prefer the ease and scalability of a hosted VoIP service, while others will opt for the greater control and customization of a premise-based VoIP phone system.

VoIP has become the new standard in voice communications, in part because it offers a richer set of features than analog phone systems. A range of call management, monitoring, reporting, messaging, conferencing, and security features is fairly standard among both hosted and installed solutions. Your choice between delivery methods will be determined by whether you treat your phone system as a capital expenditure (CapEx) or an operating expenditure (OpEx) as well as your company’s plans for growth and available in-house expertise.

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Technology Roundup: Unified Communications

These resources can help you choose the right UC solution to improve collaboration, productivity

In this always-on world, even small businesses are expected to be reachable anytime, anywhere. With unified communications (UC), you can be. UC makes it easier to communicate and collaborate with coworkers, customers, and partners in real time. It increases employee productivity and efficiency, and improves the ability to make accurate decisions and enhance customer service.

In this latest installment of our Technology Roundup series, we provide the resources to help you determine how UC can help your small business and which components might be most useful for your company.

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The Importance of Security in Switches

Smart and managed switches can help secure your network from the inside out

Managing who can hop on to your network from the inside has become more important than ever, now that almost everyone who enters your building is carrying a laptop with an Ethernet port, a Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone, or a tablet computer configured to locate the nearest wireless network. Likewise, you may want to give visiting partners or other guests an Internet connection without giving them access to all your network resources. Bottom line: you need to secure your network on the inside. A switch with built-in security features adds another layer of defense for your network, protecting the devices on your LAN from internal threats.

Switches are the foundation of your network, connecting computers, servers, printers, and other peripheral devices. There are three types of switches—unmanaged, smart, and managed. Smart and managed switches both include security features, but managed switches give you the most control over network traffic with more advanced security and features.

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Don’t Let Home Networks Compromise Your Business Network

Follow this basic checklist to ensure employees are safely connecting to your company LAN

When you combine almost ubiquitous high-speed Internet connections with affordable wireless networking gear and mobile devices such as laptops and smartphones, many of your employees will create home networks that allow them to work remotely. However, many people don’t have security on their personal networks. Before you allow your employees to access your business network remotely, you need to be sure their home networks are secured.

This isn’t as tricky as it seems. Many of the security measures you’re currently using on the local network can be applied to employees’ personal networks, such as requiring strong passwords on laptops, mobile phones, and home routers. Even if employees are using their own equipment to work remotely, you can enforce specific rules for accessing company resources. For instance, you can require that everyone use an encrypted virtual private network (VPN) to connect to your business network. Also stipulate that every computer, including smartphones and tablets, that accesses business data has antivirus and antimalware software installed and is working with the latest threat updates.

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