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What’s Considered “Acceptable Use” For Your Small Business?

Creating an acceptable use policy establishes rules for everyone using the company network

All small companies need an acceptable use policy (AUP). An integral part of any company’s network security program, an AUP is a set of rules that describes how everyone may use the company’s network and network resources, including the Internet. An AUP also spells out the consequences for not following these rules. With an AUP in place, you can protect your company from dangerous behavior online and hold those responsible for their actions. It’s relatively easy to create an acceptable use policy. To be truly useful, though, it must be tailored to your company’s specific needs and business operations.

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Should I invest in IT When the Economy is Down?

Guest Post by Contributing Author Ken Presti

There are times when budgets are relatively flush, and the decision to invest in the business comes relatively easily. Then there are times like we’ve seen recently. “Do we really need to buy this box of paper clips? Hmm. Better call a meeting.”

And with plenty of speculation about the direction of economic things to come, IT purchase decisions are being made as carefully as ever. To a certain extent, pent-up demand has loosened the flood gates. But sales and refresh cycles are still a bit long in certain circles, and the emphasis is constantly upon how the recommended investments will either pump up the revenues or trim back the expenses. That’s not a bad thing. That’s just good business in the post-bubble world.

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Talkin’ Tech: Storage

Understanding the terms associated with network storage is the first step to making sure your critical data is protected

Storage may not be top of mind for many small businesses, but it should be. Small businesses are built on data—intellectual property, financial records, marketing materials, and more—and losing that data can cost your company in lost revenue, reputation, and customers. Your company’s continued success depends on protecting that business-critical information.

In this installment of our Talkin’ Tech series, we define key terms to help you understand the basics of network storage so you ensure your data’s protected in the event of a disaster.

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Secure Networking for (Really) Small Businesses

Today, Cisco came out with a new wireless VPN firewall specifically designed for the smallest of small businesses. In fact, the router is built for offices with one to five people that need remote access on a secure connection. The new router has what we call “business class” performance without the complexity often found in larger-scale products. Since the Cisco RV110W is designed with the “do-it-yourselfer” in mind, it’s very easy to use, and at $99 it’s affordable, even for extremely small companies.

It’s easy to set up, and requires no IT resources. You just plug it into the network. Partners can put it in place quickly so that you can stay focused on your business and not lose any time. The four-port switch that is integrated into the product lets you connect securely to computers, printers, IP phones, cameras, and other devices.  It works on both Windows and Mac OS-X for remote access to data anytime, anywhere. Also, the high-speed, wireless-N access points give you a faster file transfer time, which increases performance and the coverage area, helping employees to stay productive even if they are not at their desks.

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Hosted Voice Service Easily Connects Remote Offices, Mobile Workers

With hosted VoIP, small businesses can reduce telecommunication costs and enhance collaboration between employees.

Smaller businesses are turning to cloud-based services for a variety of applications, especially hosted voice over IP (VoIP). According to AMI-Partners, 30 percent of small businesses and 50 percent of medium businesses believe VoIP will become critical to their business operations in the near future. Hosted voice services offer many benefits, from reducing upfront costs to accessing advanced communications technologies, and they’re no longer considered a risky way to acquire business applications. Because hosted VoIP removes the burden of maintaining separate phone systems, it offers particular advantages to small businesses with remote offices or mobile employees.

A hosted voice service, such as Cisco Hosted Small Business (HSB) Communications, is the great equalizer. It can lower the cost of remote employees communicating with colleagues. It can also help a mobile sales force stay in touch both with their contacts in the field and back at headquarters. All employees, no matter where they’re working, have access to the same calling and messaging features through the hosted voice service, including extension dialing and conferencing.

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