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Investing In IP Phones

Brought to you by the Cisco Innovators Program.

How to control costs, now and later.

Businesses that use voice over IP (VoIP) service and IP phones gain many advantages. No wonder desktop IP phones are used by more than a third of small and medium-sized businesses surveyed in Europe and North America.

Prices of IP phones can differ by hundreds of dollars. If you have multiple phones to buy, smart shopping can bring your company exponential savings.

To make the best investment—for now and the years ahead—answer seven key questions:

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Helping Small Business Customers Succeed

Cisco offers a variety of resources to help you use technology to your advantage.

Technology can have a significant impact on the success of your business. It can make all the difference in how productive your employees are, how well your customers are served, and whether you’re connected to your partners and suppliers. But in the fast-paced world of technology, staying on top of new products and developments can be tough—especially when you already have so many other priorities. Whether it’s information, service, or support you need, you need a reliable source you can turn for help.

At Cisco, our goal is to help small businesses like yours succeed, providing a variety of resources to help you make the most of technology. One way we do that is with the blog you’re reading right now, where our subject matter experts offer their insight on products and technologies as well as advice on how to select and implement them. (In fact, it was a comment from a reader of this very blog that inspired this post.)

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Partners and their Subcontractors: Who’s Really Responsible?

Guest Post by Contributing Author Ken Presti

Question: Who’s really responsible when things go wrong on a project that involves contractors and sub-contractors? Is it the prime contractor, or the sub?

Answer: That’s for the judge to decide.

Save→ Close→ Exit→ Attach→ Send→ Crack open a cold one. My job here is done.

The truth is that I’m only half-joking. Because so much of the outcome depends on how the contract is written. If you have serious questions around this, you should talk to a lawyer. I’m not one, so I don’t dispense legal advice. I don’t even own a pair of tasseled loafers. But a few things that fall under the general category of conventional wisdom have surfaced over the years.

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The Top 5 Security Risks of Cloud Computing

Evaluate potential providers based on their responses to these key concerns.

More and more, small businesses are moving to cloud computing, signing up with private providers that make sophisticated applications more affordable as well as setting up their own accounts with public social media sites like Facebook. The trend is confirmed by Microsoft in its global SMB Cloud Adoption Study 2011, which found that 49 percent of small businesses expect to sign up for at least one cloud service in the next three years.

Private and public clouds function in the same way: Applications are hosted on a server and accessed over the Internet. Whether you’re using a Software as a Service (SaaS) version of customer relationship management (CRM) software, creating offsite backups of your company data, or setting up a social media marketing page, you’re trusting a third-party company with information about your business and, most likely, your customers.

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Talkin’ Tech: Switches

A new series that defines the terms behind the technologies that run your business.

When it comes to technology, there’s so much to know that it’s often overwhelming. As a small business owner, your brain is already overflowing with the myriad details and tasks involved in running your company. With our new Talkin’ Tech series, we define the basic terms behind a product category so that you can more easily understand and make decisions about the technologies that run your business.

In this first Talkin’ Tech, we tackle switches. The cornerstone of any reliable network, switches are the glue that connect your business to your employees, giving them access to the resources they need to do their jobs, including laptops, servers, printers, and storage devices. Switches are used to create a local area network (LAN). Although there are many different types of switches, the list below provides a glossary of the essential terms common to this category.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Talkin’ Tech series next month, when we’ll take a look at the terms behind unified communications. If there’s a product category you’re interested in having defined, we’d love to hear from you.

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