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Seven Questions to Ask Your Partner About Service Plans

Guest Post by Contributing Author Ken Presti

With all the interest and decisions around the products and new capabilities involved in your next IT upgrade, it’s easy to have key questions about the service plans slip through the cracks. Don’t worry. I’ve got your back. Here are a few suggestions:

Who delivers the services?
In this wild, woolly world of contracting and subcontracting, you can’t necessarily assume that the company that closes the service contract will actually be the one that fulfills that contract. This is especially true if you have facilities in multiple locations. So if subcontractors are involved, you’ll want to know who those subcontractors are, what specializations, certifications, or other qualifications they have in place, and what their customer satisfaction scores look like.

Which organization is the point of contact for engaging the services?
If more than one provider is involved, does one organization serve as the entry point for access to services, or do you have to pinball around until you find the subcontractor who maps to the specific need?

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10 Ways to Improve Your Business’s Facebook Security

Brought to you by the Cisco Innovators Program

Small businesses are a growing fan base for Facebook. Seventy percent of U.S. local small businesses interested in online marketing now use Facebook for marketing, up from 50 percent one year ago, according to a February report by MerchantCircle. Many businesses consider Facebook their best friend for low-cost brand marketing. Some also enable shopping on their pages, using Storefront, Payvment, or another ecommerce application.

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Tailoring Unified Communications to Fit Your Small Business

These 3 steps will ensure you get the right solution to meet your needs now—and in the future.

A unified communications (UC) solution means different things to different people. In a broad sense, it integrates your voice and data networks. It can show up as a simple integration of your email with your voicemail into a single messaging inbox. It can be far more complex with presence and instant messaging technologies, fax, SMS, video and web conferencing applications all tying employees together. Or, you can have a UC solution somewhere in between—one that is tailored specifically to the needs of your small business.

No matter which components you choose, all unified communications solutions offer the same benefits to your employees: they can reach one another on the first try, they can be more productive, and they can collaborate more effectively. As a result, UC can reduce network and communications costs.

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Help Keep Company Data Safe on Employees’ Personal Devices

Securing smartphones and tablets used for work protects both the employee and the business.

More of your employees are using personal consumer devices for work than you may realize. The majority of them probably carry an Internet-enabled smartphone, like an iPhone, a BlackBerry, or an Android phone, and some may even be using an iPad for work, too. And employees are using these devices to access and work with the company data they need to do their jobs. Like the computers at your office, employees’ personal devices should be secured to protect both the business assets on your network and any sensitive data on employees’ personal devices.

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5 Workshops to Help Solve Your Business Challenges

Our friends at SCORE have produced 5 useful workshops, about how technology and the web can help you accelerate your small businesses. They are also hosting an in-person event in Anaheim on April 12, 2011!

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