Do You Love Your Technology? What do you think about the current technology that helps you run your business? Is it helping you and your employees improve productivity and efficiency on a daily basis? Is it helping you serve your customers and find new ones? Is it truly enabling you to grow, scale, and take your business to new heights? In today’s world, there’s a myriad of specialized hardware and software applications for almost every business function – from accounting to project management, to sales tracking – you name it! In addition, your network has to connect them all and enable sharing of resources. The key question is: what’s the right technology to use? That’s a loaded question, and it obviously depends on your organization. Since there are so many hardware, software, and networking services to choose from today, you have the option to choose what’s right for your employees and business needs. It may not always be best to settle for the “lowest cost” option. It’s important to think long-term when considering solutions. With technology, the lowest price up front may not always be the lowest cost long-term. Here are some essential technologies for security, mobility, and worker productivity you may want to consider. Managed Firewall Most organizations have a firewall, but not all of them are using their firewall to its full potential. A firewall is the foundation to protecting your network from unauthorized access. A business-class firewall can perform additional services like blocking dangerous or unproductive websites, running in-depth reports showing what websites your employees are visiting, bandwidth consumption, and other information that can impact productivity. Many organizations see the benefit to a managed security service because it can provide more time for internal resources to focus on core business functions and initiatives, and it also allows them to run everything through a single vendor. With the technology company constantly monitoring your network and performing essential maintenance and updates, this can lead to improve efficiency and productivity within your organization. Cloud Infrastructure According to IDG Enterprise, 48 percent of enterprises are moving their infrastructure to the cloud1. Why are they doing this? There are many reasons, but in general, cloud services remove the burden and expense of maintaining and managing IT infrastructure and applications. This allows a business to have more time to focus on its mission and key areas of expertise. In addition, cloud services offer more flexibility for staff, including remote workers, as well as benefits related to data security and business continuity. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery How you deal with an outage, recover from it, and the steps you take to keep that issue from ever occurring again are some very crucial factors for your organization. Infrascale reports that one hour of downtime can cost small businesses $8,000 and large companies $700,000 on average. These are big numbers, and it can be alarming to think this could happen to your organization at any time. If your business depends on system uptime and availability to serve clients and drive sales, then just running a daily backup may no longer be enough. Many organizations are seeking redundant internet connections and automated failover solutions should an outage occur within their primary systems or network. Having a business continuity plan and the associated technology can significantly help the bottom line. Fiber Connectivity The demand for bandwidth isn't getting any smaller. Twenty years ago, a company with its own website was practically avant-garde. Today, every company has an online presence and many of them are conducting business on the Web and in the cloud, creating a staggering demand for bandwidth. Sticking with a limited bandwidth or unreliable connection may lead to lost productivity and frustration for your company and your customers. Fiber optic Internet services have shown to be more reliable than copper wire. Fiber connections use light to transmit data and can maintain the integrity of the signal more efficiently. In addition, bigger pipes keep the data moving. One car can drive like crazy down a one-lane gravel road, but it would be ridiculously inefficient to send a million cars down that same road. Think of a Fiber Network as a multilane superhighway, capable of handling 100 Gigabits per second. Hosted Phone Systems Hosted PBX phone solutions have become extremely popular with businesses seeking mobility features, while eliminating capital investment expenses and reducing costs associated with traditional landline-based phone services. Leveraging a hosted PBX solution can eliminate a capital expenditure, simply because you’re not purchasing and owning physical equipment, and maintenance and upgrades are handled remotely by the service provider. Businesses can also save money on long-distance and international call fees. A hosted PBX running Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) eliminates the need for traditional telephone lines by delivering both voice and data over a single, private broadband connection. A true business grade solution will enable Quality of Service (QoS), which will prioritize voice traffic over data, so that your calls won’t sound choppy or get dropped. Scalability: Hosted PBX phone systems are also easy to scale up or down. Sometimes it’s hard to predict how many phones you’ll use over the next year. Hosted PBX solves the problem by allowing you to add an extension whenever you add an employee (or remote office), and you can remove users just as easily. These are just a few of the many technology options that you can consider implementing to make sure your technology works for you, not against you. Settling for less can lead to breaches, downtime, and headaches. Instead, aim for the best, and know that your technology is providing maximum value and benefit to your organization. On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you love your current technology? Bob Drake Based in Omaha, Bob has been a part of the technology community for 25+ years, from a customer IT Executive to 15 years with a major IT Manufacturer. As a Presidents Club member of Greater Omaha Chamber and also a Lincoln Chamber member, Bob is personally committed to this regional community and the services Aureon Technology can assist with for your on-going success.