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August 27, 2014

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How a Hosted Firewall Boosts Security while Reducing Costs

It seems like stories of high profile security breaches are being reported in the news every week. Major retailers, supermarket chains, medical facilities and other organizations have been victimized by cyber attacks. Modern threats are frighteningly sophisticated and originate from all corners of the globe. They identify vulnerabilities and strike quickly. To make matters worse, security breaches often go undetected for weeks or months, costing organizations millions and severely damaging their reputation.


Traditionally, organizations have relied upon in-house IT personnel to manage security and maintain regulatory compliance. However, the rapid growth of mobility and cloud-based services, along with new threats that emerge every day, have made it virtually impossible for already strained IT departments to deliver adequate security. Most organizations just don’t have the resources or budget to hire and retain security specialists and keep them up to date on the latest security threats.


A hosted firewall, also called a managed firewall, helps organizations protect their network and data without the cost and complexity of an in-house solution. Like a traditional firewall, a hosted firewall uses a combination of hardware and software to enforce security, but a hosted firewall is hosted and managed by a third-party service provider. This enables organizations to prevent data loss, guard against viruses and malware, set policies for file sharing, and control network access without bogging down in-house IT personnel.

August 20, 2014

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Why More SMBs are turning to Cloud-Based Data Backup



How lax are small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) when it comes to data backup? According to a study by AVG Technologies, owners and managers spend more time straightening up their desks or ordering business cards than they do on backing up data. Although 30 percent believe more than half of their data is sensitive, one in four don’t even require a weekly backup.


Another study found that 53 percent of organizations don’t conduct daily backups. Approximately one-third of administrators feel this is not an efficient use of their time. These are the people organizations rely upon to protect their data.


Finally, a large percentage of SMBs don’t implement a data backup and disaster recovery plan until after disaster strikes, according to the 2013 State of Cloud Backup study from Itronis. That’s like buying homeowners insurance after your house burns to the ground.

August 15, 2014

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Hosted Exchange or Managed On-Premises Exchange Server?



While text messaging, videoconferencing, instant messaging and other forms of communication have a come a long way, good old email continues to lead the pack as the most essential corporate communication tool. Think about how lost you would be without a properly functioning email service and all of the administrative tools that come with it.


First introduced in 1996, Microsoft Exchange Server continues to be the de facto standard for business-grade email service, with more than 170 million users around the world. However, Exchange presents a number of challenges for organizations that host their own Exchange Server, particularly for small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs).


The in-house IT resources required to implement, maintain and manage Exchange Server can be cost-prohibitive for smaller organizations. Because these IT resources are typically in short supply, many organizations are turning to a hosted Exchange model to reduce costs and simplify management. Hosted Exchange shifts the management and maintenance burden of all backend services to a third-party service provider.

August 7, 2014

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Why a High-Performance WLAN Is Critical



The modern workplace is quickly evolving to better serve an increasingly mobile workforce and customer base. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives are introducing about three wireless devices per employee into the workplace. Mobile unified communications has improved the quality and speed of collaboration and customer service. With today’s smartphones and tablets and Wi-Fi connectivity, organizations have the opportunity to engage customers in new and personal ways. None of these trends would be possible without the emergence of high-performance wireless LANs (WLANs).


WLANs based upon the 802.11n standard deliver raw data speeds of up to 450Mbps. Because 802.11n doubles channel width to 40MHz and uses more of the wireless spectrum than older standards, organizations can use high-bandwidth applications such as video and Voice over IP (VoIP) with minimal interference. 802.11n also incorporates MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology, which uses multiple paths to transfer more data simultaneously. MIMO also boosts bandwidth and increases the Wi-Fi coverage area to 150 feet or more.

August 7, 2014

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The Business Case for Custom App Development



There is no question that Software-as-a-Service has changed the IT industry. Rather than purchasing perpetual licenses for business software, more and more organizations are “renting” those applications on a monthly, per-user basis and accessing them via the cloud. According to projections by Juniper Research, enterprise SaaS revenues will reach $53.5 billion in 2018, up from $23.2 billion in 2013.


The growth of the SaaS market signifies the value and convenience the concept brings to businesses. SaaS enables organizations to avoid the upfront costs associated with traditional software licenses, and to readily take advantage of new applications without IT infrastructure upgrades or disruptive implementations. With SaaS you can generally try an application with limited commitment, and roll it out to users as needed regardless of location. It is inherently resilient, flexible, scalable and agile.