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Why do IT Upgrades Make Me Nervous?

Guest Post by Contributing Author Ken Presti

Perhaps some of us are more trusting than others, but for many small business leaders the prospect of upgrading their IT infrastructure is only slightly less adventurous than bungee jumping over a lava pit. Yes, upgrading the technology can offer a host of advantages and cost savings. But concerns about interoperability, unforeseen complications, the ability to operate the enhanced infrastructure, and sheer uncertainty often turn technology upgrades into a heart-palpitating thrill ride that is best delayed, if not altogether avoided. For some it just seems better to leave well enough alone. Thus, among these people, there seems to be a direct correlation between the degree to which what you’ve got is good enough and the willingness to try something new.

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Simplicity: How The Right Partner Can Make Technology Perform for Your Business

March 15, 2011 at 8:03 am PST

A very wise man by the name of Albert Einstein once said, “Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.”

Much of Einstein’s wisdom could be applied to your business’s use of new technology.  We know this to be a fact; technology can really improve your business’ performance.  It can give your customers a better experience with your company’s products and services, and just make them happier.  Technology can also improve your employees’ productivity; allowing them to communicate more effectively, and to resolve problems faster.  But best of all, technology can improve the bottom line; your profits!

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A Virtual Private Network Can Fuel Cost-Effective Growth

With VPN, you can secure your network and also offer secure access to remote partners and employees.

Technology—no small business can succeed without it. Your network not only provides secure connectivity to your employees, but also to your community of partners, suppliers, and customers. Although your network is the lifeline of your business, you probably view it as a cost center, buying equipment as necessary—sometimes on the fly when a problem or immediate need arises. However, your network can be a source of cost-effective growth for your company.

If you installed a VPN as part of your infrastructure, it was most likely to provide employees with secure access to your network while working at home or on the road.  Apart from the obvious productivity gains that companies can achieve by providing employees with the ability to work from anywhere anytime, VPNs can also make it easier to expand your business and share pre-existing network resources and information.

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Public vs. Private IP-Based Voice Systems

Skype and Google Voice may seem like attractive, inexpensive options, but business-class IP phone systems offer secure service and investment protection.

I recently wrote about private IP PBX phone systems and the benefits they offer to small businesses, including cost savings compared to traditional PBX systems, easier deployment, and expandability. For small businesses on a tight budget, a free IP phone service, such as Skype or Google Voice, may seem like a more attractive option than having to shell out cash for a business-class IP phone system.

Similar to a private IP PBX, Skype and Google Voice are easy to deploy and offer a variety of voice and data features. In addition, there’s no cost involved up front; they’re free to download. However, both services use the public Internet to make and receive calls, and therefore pose risks in call quality and network security.

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6 Steps for Ensuring Small Business Network Security

Securing your network is a journey of ongoing vigilance to stay one step ahead of the latest threats, changing technologies.

There’s no such thing as a static network. Just as your company is evolving, your small business network is constantly changing—and your network security must be equally adaptable. Installing a firewall and anti-virus software is just the first step in keeping malicious traffic, hackers, and other security threats out of your network.

Security is a journey. You must continuously monitor your infrastructure so you can adjust to changes in your company’s business, changes in technology, and changes in employee behavior. It’s important to remember that any conversation about security doesn’t usually start with a security issue. It starts with your next business objective.

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