How to select a VoIP solution

Selecting a VoIP solution for an organization encompasses an array of decision making regarding cost and serviceability.

Cost Considerations
Small businesses often don’t have the same options in adopting new technologies as large businesses do. Funds and resources restrict decision making for small businesses. VoIP can offer significant cost reduction and a number of other features that are otherwise unaffordable. Traditional phone services cost a small business around three times more per employee. VoIP service providers recognize this emerging market in SMB and now offer packages tailored to SMBs. The initial investment in VoIP remains the most important challenge.

There are four cost sources:
• IP phone terminals
• Core infrastructure for call handling
• Service
• License fees (ongoing)

IP phones today are the most expensive element of the overall solution. However, many vendors are emerging with cheaper alternatives that fit the bill for small business.

Hybrid PBX & VoIP Gateway

Hybrid PBX & VoIP Gateway: Enables your office to communicate through both telephone and VoIP lines.

The core infrastructure for today’s VoIP is heading towards a bundle offering, where one box contains multiple call-handling elements plus inherited features from a traditional PBX. An IP PBX, such as ours, could provide an optimal solution that is cost effective and efficient.

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Video Case Study: Eisner Pediatrics

This is the third (and last) in a series of posts about our communications and infrastructure technologies.

The CIO of Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center discusses how we helped upgrade his twenty-year-old infrastructure and communications system. Using a Cisco platform, we implemented a reliable and scalable solution that “makes my life much easier and my IT staff much happier.” Now he can focus on what really matters—a better work environment to provide quality care for patients.

The truth about MPLS security

Organizations often use private networks such as MPLS service for data transfer because they offer clear advantages in speed, delay/jitter, and availability compared to the Internet.  As convenient as these networks are, however, they leave data vulnerable. Here are two myths of MPLS security:

Myth #1: “We use a private network” is often stated as the reason for not protecting data as it travels over third party networks.
Truth#1: MPLS isn’t really private. Organizations using a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network may believe that encryption is not needed because the network is marketed as “private.” Because MPLS is really a shared network that mimics privacy by logically separating data with labels, the logical separation offered by MPLS isn’t secure and isn’t adequate for data protection. A “private” MPLS link actually traverses a network that also carries traffic from thousands of other users, including traffic from other carriers.

Myth #2: MPLS provides some level of security.
Truth #2: The truth is that MPLS offers no protection against misconfigurations. Human and machine errors as well as OS bugs can result in MPLS traffic being misrouted. It also don’t protect from attacks within the core. MPLS is vulnerable to all traditional WAN attack vectors. Additionally, there is no detection of sniffing/snooping. Think an alarm will go off when a high-tech hit man is stealing your data? Think again. This data is left in the clear and can be access, replicated, or used by anyone who gains access to it.

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How do you compare to other executives in the cloud, social, and mobile frontiers?

For the second year in a row, Black Box made the InformationWeek 500 list of the nation’s most innovative users of business technology.

In the latest issue of their magazine, InformationWeek surveyed over 500 executives. Through this survey they were able to identify the top IT initiatives from 2011 to 2012.

In terms of cloud adoption, 85% of executives said they’re using software-as-a-service (SSaS), as opposed to just 79% in 2011. In 2011, 19% we’re using platform-as-a-service (Microsoft Windows Azure, Google App Engine, etc.). That number increased to 27% in 2012.

Also growing is social strategy. 55% of executives allow unfiltered customer comments via social networks or a website. Sentiment analytics programs used to track comments on social networks are now used by 29% of executives. Close to 70% of executives said they have, or are in pilot testing for, an internal social network for employee use only. Three quarters of those surveyed said they have no plans to block employees’ access to public social networking sites.

The survey also broke down the top three areas of innovation in 2012: Making business processes more efficient (49%), introducing new IT-led products and services for customers (46%), and getting better business intelligence to more employees, more quickly (40%).

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