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4 Business Goals that Virtualization Improves Upon

b2ap3_thumbnail_virtualization_for_business_400.jpgImplementing virtualization for your network can provide your business with several benefits, like saving money and streamlining operations. Business executives from a variety of different backgrounds are taking advantage of virtualization to meet their goals.

WorkIntelligent.ly cites the demands of the modern work environment as fueling the adaptation of virtualization. “At the speed that information travels these days, businesses have to move fast and make decisions that improve the customer experience. So it’s not surprising to see service levels, responsiveness and overall satisfaction top the list of reasons for adopting virtualization.”

This list comes from a study of CIOs and virtualization by VMware. Here are four CIO goals identified that virtualization improves upon.

42%: SLAs Met By IT
Virtualization improves the efficiency of IT. A big reason for this is due to increased simplicity. By having basic terminals running off of a server, you will minimize the amount of maintenance required compared to using a fleet of high-end workstations. With virtualization, your network will need fewer machines. This consolidation of hardware frees up time for your IT provider to better meet SLAs and to spend more time on technology initiatives.

39%: LOB (Line of Business) Satisfaction with IT
Naturally, if your IT provider is meeting SLAs and has more time freed up, then you will be more satisfied as a business owner. If adopting a technology like virtualization can improve the goals of your line of business, then it’s worth doing. After all, isn’t the improvement of operations the overall purpose of business technology?

37%: IT Responsiveness to Requests
With virtualization, network maintenance and the deployment of applications can be achieved much faster. A quicker response time from your IT provider minimizes downtime. Any technology that minimizes downtime and improves response time can potentially pay for itself with the money saved by averting an IT disaster.

26%: Money Generated by LOB
For over a quarter of CIOs surveyed, virtualization helped to achieve the most important goal of every business: generating more revenue. Generating money is one step beyond saving money, and virtualization has been proven to do that, too. One way this works is in terms of idle assets. As GE’s Jeff Liedel, executive director of the company’s global IT operations, told CIO Journal. “From a cost perspective, virtualization allows us to better leverage the hardware that we have across a variety of domains. We see the utilization of capital go up, and that is a good thing for any company.”

What are the goals of your business? Whatever your company is working towards, we’re sure that virtualization can be of great assistance to you and even your bottom line. Find out more about how virtualization can help your business by calling Total Networks at (602)412-5025.

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Information Technology at the Movies

b2ap3_thumbnail_cinema_it_400.jpgThe history of movies is rooted in technological advancement. After all, there are well over 100,000 still photographs in any feature length motion picture. The persistence of vision allows for these images to be strung together by our perception to form the images we see. It didn’t take long after the discovery of this phenomenon for it to be utilized as entertainment, and giving birth to cinema as we’ve come to know it.

Decades later, the advent of the television would bring the cinema into our homes, which created the largest financial alteration economies around the world had seen since the introduction of the steam engine. Advertising soon became the largest industry on the planet, currently surpassing $500 billion annually. This shift has altered the face of modern entertainment and has set up a situation where film, the major medium used to produce motion pictures, has been roundly replaced by high definition video.

Filmed entertainment is currently an $88 billion a year industry, and is expected to increase to over $100 billion as soon as 2016. With this much money being allocated to mostly digital productions, as is true with any other digital system, these productions need the computing power, storage, and support to keep their projects running as efficiently as possible. Just what IT services does a production need?

IT Support
Today’s productions, whether they be feature films, television shows, or advertisements rely heavily on the proliferation of complex computer systems. From the computers needed to manage and write the material, to the systems that capture the video stream, to the systems used to edit the material, the entertainment industry relies heavily on IT systems. Where there are IT systems, there are sure to be faulty IT components. The cost of downtime due to a computer problem on a film or television production is many times higher than your typical business, since producers are paying individuals freelance rates of pay. To keep costs down, it’s imperative that each production experiences as little downtime as possible.

Cloud Computing
Cloud systems used to be reserved for large corporations; but now, they can be used by just about anyone. This shift has changed the game for filmmakers and videographers. The cloud allows people from all over the world to collaborate on projects and this is changing the way entertainment is made. Studios, who once owned all the capital assets needed for a film or video production, including:

  • Storage space for media
  • Video effects hardware and software
  • Editing hardware and software
  • Transcoding software for dissemination.

Increasingly, however, studios are turning to cloud computing systems that are scalable and powerful and are able to be shut down permanently when the production ends, saving millions of dollars in capital expenses, while promoting flexibility and efficiency.

The cloud also allows for people to consume the entertainment in ways that were simply not possible only a short time ago. The popularity of cloud-based services like YouTube and Netflix is proof that more people believe streaming media is becoming one of the most viable ways to watch the entertainment they enjoy. You have begun to see retail giants Walmart (Vudu) and Amazon (Amazon Prime) begin to shift their strategies to correlate with demand from users.

Technology and motion pictures have gone hand-in-hand for over a century. With the shift towards digital media, the symbiotic nature of the relationship has never been more apparent. Whether it be full length feature films, television programs, or simple advertisements for a product or service, digital systems are likely behind all of your visual entertainment.

Total Networks manages IT systems and provides comprehensive remote support to small and mid-sized businesses in the Phoenix area. We can present business-minded solutions to help you improve your organization’s processes and limit your company downtime. For more information about Total Networks, and the services we provide, call us at (602)412-5025.

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How BYOD Neglect Can Ruin Your Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_byod_can_be_bad_400.jpgEmployees bringing their own mobile devices into the workplace (BYOD) is one of the hottest business technology trends. BYOD has been shown to increase productivity, but when it’s implemented improperly, it can leave your business vulnerable to security threats. How do you motivate employees to stick to your BYOD policy in order to ensure the safety of your company’s data?

Unfortunately, just creating an airtight BYOD security policy isn’t enough. As a manager, you will have to convince and motivate your staff on the importance of following the policy. This may be more challenging than you realize because studies point to a portion of workers not caring about following BYOD security policies.

Many employees just want to connect whatever device they’re using to the company network so they can quickly access the files they need without being bothered with security measures. This nonchalant attitude about BYOD security is at the heart of most security breaches caused by mobile devices. In a survey by Centrify of more than 500 employees at mid-to-large companies, it was discovered that 15 percent of employees believe they should have little-to-no responsibility to protect the data stored on their device. 15 percent may seem like a low figure, but all it takes is one compromised device to corrupt your entire network.

In the same survey, almost half of the respondents admitted to having more than six third-party apps on their BYOD device, and more than 15 percent admitted that they have had their personal account or password compromised. To make matters worse, 43 percent of employees admitted to accessing sensitive corporate data while on an unsecured public network.

In a separate study, CIO.com reported that, “AdaptiveMobile surveyed 500 companies (and employees), with 80 percent supporting BYOD, and found that half of all companies experienced a breach within the last 12 months. One company in the study lost $80,000 when its financial database was hacked last year via a mobile device.” These are scary figures to consider for any business allowing BYOD.

The answer to meet these security risks of BYOD is to educate your staff about the importance of BYOD security, and to motivate them to follow BYOD security measures that you’ve implemented. If they don’t fully understand why BYOD security is a vital piece of your company’s overall network security, then they will ignore your BYOD protocols.

Depending on your leadership style, you can either motivate your team to comply with BYOD with either threats or rewards. On the negative side, you can tell everybody that BYOD is a privilege and noncompliance will get the privilege revoked. This can be accomplished on a per-user/per-device basis with a solution called a “kill switch” that essentially renders the device unusable. Or, you can motivate by reward and help pay an employee’s phone bill as long as they’re compliant with your company’s BYOD policy. Whether you choose to motivate with a carrot or a paddle, it’s essential that every staff member accessing your company’s network with their personal device is on-board with your BYOD policy.

To learn about more ways to strengthen BYOD security for your business and have the mobility offered by BYOD be a help and not a hindrance, call Total Networks at (602)412-5025.

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Scam Artists Turn to ID Spoofing to Get You to Answer the Phone

b2ap3_thumbnail_phone_fraud_400.jpgWith all the attention given today to scams over the Internet, it’s easy to neglect classic scams like con artists using the phone to exploit people. You may think that you’re safe because you have a smartphone with caller ID, but thanks to new spoofing tactics, reliable defenses like caller ID can no longer be depended upon to safeguard you from telemarketer scum.

The problem is that scammers have figured out how to spoof caller ID by using phone numbers and names of trusted organizations when their call shows up on your phone. This tactic is on the rise and is one reason why there’s a recent increase in unsolicited telemarketing calls. In fact, just last year USA Today reported that in a six month period fraudulent phone calls surged to over 1 million calls made–an increase of over 50 percent.

In some cases, scammers have even figured out how make the name of your bank show up on your caller ID. Once you pick up the phone the con is on. They will pose as a representative from your bank in an attempt to get you to divulge your sensitive financial information, which they will then use to clean out your account.

With this new phone spoofing technology at their disposal, scam artists are finding new ins to get you on the horn. Whereas previously, a phone scammer’s call would be quickly disregarded by a simple glance of your phone because of the two words “unknown number,” now scam artists are able to select a name for their phone number that they think will get them past your defenses. Coupled with how easy it is for a scammer to research you over social media and find out what you’re into, and you can see why phone spoofing needs to be taken as a serious threat for modern businesses.

For example, one favorite phone scam is for the con artist to pose as a charity. Remember that press release you published about how your company supported such-and-such Phoenix charity? It wouldn’t take much for the con artist to come across the article and then call your office posing as your favorite charity. They would then be so bold as to ask your business for a follow-up donation (just make the check out “To Cash”).

Phone spoofing is also a favorite tactic for scammers looking to rip off major corporations. When a company is so big that a local manager may not know anyone at the district level, then a scammer may be able to pull off a con by calling the local manager with a spoofed number of the district office. They would then pose as an important executive that the local manager has likely never talked to before.

How can you protect yourself from phone spoofing scams? As with any scam, if something doesn’t feel right in your gut, then it’s okay to back out and hang up–better safe than sorry. If the call comes from an organization that you work with and you have their official phone number on record, then tell the caller that you have to go and that you will call them back. You can then return their call on the official phone number, and if the person on the other line has no idea what you’re talking about, then you’re previous caller was a scam artist.

You can also protect yourself by using technology that gives you analytics tools so that you can know more about who’s on the other line. With solutions like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) you can find out where exactly in the world the person is calling you from, and if it doesn’t match up, then you should hang up.

Be on your guard; because these days, you never know if the person calling you is who they claim to be.

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