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How Should Your Business Approach Virtual Desktops?

b2ap3_thumbnail_your_virtual_desktop_400.jpgYour business’s desktop infrastructure is an imperative part of operations, but thanks to the latest virtualization technology, there are easier ways to manage multiple desktops. For example, you can take advantage of an in-house virtual desktop infrastructure, or implement a dynamic outsourced Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

One of the most important aspects of your IT infrastructure that you need to keep in mind when implementing new solutions, is that you should always be striving to do more with less. The simpler your IT infrastructure, the less complicated it is to administer maintenance, and the more efficient it is to handle. How do virtual desktop infrastructures and Desktop as a Service aid in this mission-critical task?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
When you consider a virtual desktop infrastructure, you should be imagining the deployment of all of your business’s desktops from a centralized location on your infrastructure. Because all of your desktops are virtualized, you can apply patches and updates to your entire network at the same time. This minimizes the time spent updating every single machine, as well as the costs of operating expensive hardware. More than anything, though, a VDI is an in-house solution to your desktop infrastructure management needs. This means that your in-house technicians (or Total Networks’s remote technicians) would be responsible for monitoring and maintaining it. If your infrastructure isn’t properly maintained, it could lead to security discrepancies that can potentially cost your business in the long. These costs come in the form of downtime and overhead.

Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
Compared to an in-house VDI, the most notable aspect of a DaaS system is the fact that your internal operations aren’t responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your hosted desktop infrastructure. Instead, this responsibility is placed on your outsourced IT provider, as the solution is hosted out in the cloud. The benefit of this is that you have proven experts handling your technology, so you can focus on your business’s operations. You can consider your DaaS provider as the “heavy lifter” that does all of the computing hard work for you. This arrangement allows your business to maximize its technology potential.

The Primary Difference
Ultimately, the main difference between VDI and DaaS is the same as other crucial technology management tasks when compared to their outsourced counterparts: up-front expenses and the amount of time necessary for the deployment of critical solutions. If your business has an in-house team that is capable and qualified to handle the management of a virtual desktop infrastructure, it’s quite possible to handle it yourself; however, know that it’s a very intensive task that can be easily outsourced to free up time and budget costs.

Total Networks can help your business implement and manage a DaaS infrastructure that can simplify your business’s desktop deployment. To learn more, give us a call at (602)412-5025.

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3 Precautions You Need to Take Before Migrating to the Cloud

b2ap3_thumbnail_cloud_risk_400.jpgCloud computing grows more popular by the day, and it continues to show its value to a modern business world. Being able to dynamically access content while online is a great asset, but of course, this doesn’t come without taking some risks and gambling your data’s security. Thankfully, there are some ways in which you can tip the odds in your favor.

To help you successfully leverage your technology to meet the needs of your business, without compromising your data’s security, we’ve assembled three common risks that are typically associated with cloud solutions, and how to successfully avoid them.

Number 1: Data Theft
The most obvious risk to your business’s data, and any information that’s stored online, is data theft, and other types of hacks that could compromise or even corrupt your mission-critical information. No matter how small or large your business is, it’s a target for hackers and threats of all kinds, especially in the online business environment.

It’s important that you understand that there’s no way to ensure that your business’s data is 100 percent protected from all types of threats found on the Internet. It’s just not feasible. As long as your business’s data is stored in an online environment, there’s always going to be a possibility (no matter how slim) that a hacker will get their hands on your data. What you can do, however, is optimize your network and cloud security to ensure that this possibility is minimal at best. To find out more information about online data security, contact Total Networks and ask us about our comprehensive security solutions for the online environment.

Number 2: Compliance Violation
Many businesses in specific industries are subject to compliance laws pertaining to the storage and sharing of sensitive information. Due to the nature of cloud storage, using it to store sensitive information in an online environment can have unexpected complications. For example, if this information were to be compromised, what would you do? Depending on the situation, you will be required to inform the victim of the breach, and/or be subject to a costly fine.

Naturally, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your systems are meeting the compliance standards set by your industry. Depending on what type of business you run, there are specific criteria that must be met for any kind of sensitive information stored online. Chances are that if your business collects this information, you’re subject to compliance laws that are often convoluted and difficult to understand. Total Networks can help make this easier.

Number 3: Immense Downtime
If your business only stores information in the cloud, what would happen if that information were suddenly unavailable due to downtime? Hosting your data in the cloud demands that you need an Internet connection; if this is lost, you’ll be staring downtime in the eyes. This, in essence, is major roadblock that can set your business behind schedule, break your operations budget, and overall, become quite a nuisance.

This is the reason why you want your information stored in multiple locations; you should be able to access your business’s data and mission-critical applications from both online and offline systems. This minimizes downtime and improves mobility, which is invaluable for remote workers.

For more information about how Total Networks can help your business fully leverage cloud solutions, give us a call at (602)412-5025.

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Tip of the Week: How to Grow Your Professional Network Using Facebook

b2ap3_thumbnail_social_media_networking_400.jpgFacebook is a powerful networking tool that can help you build relationships with new professionals and introduce your product or service to entirely new markets and groups of people. That is if you know how to use it. Here are five steps you can take to get started with Facebook and use it to build a professional network.

Understand Facebook’s Informal Tone
Before you dive into Facebook, first understand that it’s a little more of an informal platform than other well-recognized online networking tools designed exclusively for professionals, like LinkedIn. Granted, if you wish for your Facebook posts to be straight-laced and by the book, then you’re perfectly within your right to do so. However, just be aware that Facebook gives you more freedom to let your personality shine, which could work to your advantage (if you’re a likeable human being). Therefore, when interacting on Facebook, be yourself. You never know, authentic interactions could lead to much more than making professional acquaintances–you might end up making a new friend.

Take Advantage of Facebook Groups
The advantage of Facebook’s sheer size and user involvement is that it’s relatively easy to find Groups that are very much attuned to what you’re looking for. Also, if you can’t find a Group that fits your networking needs, it’s a simple enough process to create one.

If you’re new to Facebook Groups, then you must first understand that they’re different than your company’s Facebook page and your personal page. If you find a Group that you want to join, then you must make a request to join it so that the administrator will have a chance to approve you. Also, realize that there are two different types of Groups: public and closed. The content of a public group can be viewed by anyone, while the content of a closed group can only be seen by its members.

To find a Group for your professional networking needs, start by using Facebook’s search bar. Enter something like, “Phoenix Small Businesses” and see what results come up. You can even refine your search to find a group that’s specific to your industry, both locally and nationally.

Once You Join a Group, Introduce Yourself
Just like joining any social group, it’s good to first introduce yourself before sharing. In Groups, it’s totally acceptable for your first post to tell everyone who you are, what your business is about, and what you’re looking to get out of the Group. Again, remember our first piece of advice and be your friendly self.

Get to Know the Group and Then Share Away!
It’s good to actively post to the Group, but before you do, take time to scroll down the Group’s timeline and get a feel for what kind of topics people post about, and how often people post. Get a sense of the Group’s culture and then post with this information in mind. The challenge of what you post is that it should be content that’s valuable to the Group, instead of something that’s overly self-promoting.

Create Local Events to Meet Each Other in Real Life
Facebook is great for interacting online, but that shouldn’t be the end goal of your Facebook interactions. To actually connect with your online peers in real life, look for and promote opportunities where this can happen. Facebook makes this easy by allowing users to make and promote Events. To meet with your Facebook network pals in real life, simply create an event, invite each of your online friends to it, and posit the Event URL to the Facebook group in order to draw Group members whom you haven’t yet “friended.”

By following these tips you’ll be well on your way to growing a vibrant professional network using Facebook. Do you have any more tips to share on how you’ve used Facebook to find networking success? Let us know in the comments.

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3 Modern Technologies Used By Every Political Campaign

b2ap3_thumbnail_campaign_it_400.jpgIn 19th century America, the hottest innovation for political campaigns was the exposed stump from a fallen tree, thus the stump speech. This technology revolutionized politics by allowing the candidate to elevate himself above the crowd for greater visibility and to better project one’s voice. Today, the political stump speech is obsolete, having its usefulness far surpassed by the technologies of the modern age.

Here are three technologies that are changing the way that today’s political candidates are getting their message out to the voters.

That’s One Vote For Social Media
The power of social media to change a political landscape shouldn’t be underestimated, take for example the recent “Arab Spring,” which saw the overthrow of multiple Middle Eastern governments by populations connected by social media. Reasons like this are why it’s mandatory for a candidate to have a page on each social media platform, especially Facebook and Twitter.

One advantage of social media is that it provides the candidate with a somewhat accurate sense of where the public stands on hot-button issues–as they’re trending. And judging by the reactions to a post, they can quickly get feedback from their supporters, as well as easily scan their opponent’s social media pages in order to see where they stand on the issues. Forums like Reddit also provide a valuable way to interact with voters, and many traditional media outlets include a candidate’s social media postings in their reporting.

The Smartphone For Four More Years
With so many people having a smartphone in their pocket, the game has changed for how candidates behave and what they say. Thanks to today’s sound-bite society, a politician has to assume that their actions and words are always being recorded by a nearby smartphone user, which adds an increased amount of pressure to the already-stressful task of campaigning–but this is just the norm for life in today’s public eye.

However, a savvy politician knows how to leverage smartphones to get a leg up over the competition. A candidate seeking a high office will often have a large team of volunteers drumming up grassroots support, and a team armed with smartphones makes it easier than ever before to stay connected and pass on tips to headquarters.

Today’s candidates also must make use of every precious moment of campaigning and take advantage of every opportunity. Smartphones afford candidates this luxury with robust scheduling features and the ability to call in for interviews–whilst between interviews. Many of today’s major candidates utilize their own mobile app to stay connected to a voter’s phone.

Promises So Lofty You’ll Swear You’re in the Cloud
Cloud computing essentially eliminates the geographical limitations of any campaign. Thanks to the cloud providing users with anytime/anywhere access to important files, a candidate can organize a campaign across great distances. In a way, this kind of takes the romance out of campaigning by not technically requiring a candidate to visit every community, but it’s still good form to do.

The cloud also provides politicians with an affordable computing solution. This comes in handy because they’re often on a tight budget. And in the same way that a candidate will rent office space instead of buying property, the cloud provides the candidate the option to lease computing space instead of purchasing an IT infrastructure.

Whether you’re into politics or not, it’s obvious that these three technologies can enhance your business in the same way that it enhances a campaign. By taking advantage of social media, mobile technology, and cloud computing, your business can leave a favorable impression on your market that would make any politician green with envy. To find out what our platform can do for you, call Total Networks today at (602)412-5025.

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