Archive for the ‘IT and Corporate Telecommunication’ Category

Can a remote employee work as security as one at Headquarters?

October 28, 2010

Cisco’s Jason Lackey certainly thinks so. In his blog post yesterday he has described a scenario where a mobile worker can work as securely as one at HQ.

Today, while we have seen that there is plenty of meat in Borderless Networks in the office, Borderless Networks has plenty of meat on the road as well. Bob, our enterprise worker, travels a lot, doing trade shows and customer visits and dispensing Kool-Aid of various types. When he knows he is going to have to do some heavy lifting with PowerPoint he is sure to take a laptop running AnyConnect, a secure VPN client that works with the Cisco ASA firewall back at HQ to give secure, encrypted remote access. Even if he is in a coffee shop using public Wi-Fi, he knows that his data is safe because everything is going back through that encrypted tunnel. But it is more than just connectivity that we are talking about here because traffic goes through a Cisco IronPort web security appliance, filtering spyware, trojans and the like. And, just like when he is in the office, TrustSec ensures that he has access to what he needs and can’t touch the things he doesn’t. Security is deeply integrated into the network itself, not just an afterthought or add-on appliance.

In today’s environment, security should be the number one priority of CIO’s, CSO’s, and CTO’s.  Mobile users are now one of the largest growing segments of the IT user groups. Mobile phones and more people working from home are necessitating the need for remote security solutions that are as robust as those at Head quarters.

CIO Movement from Cost to Profit and Social Media?

September 23, 2010

The concept of moving IT from a cost center to a profit center is still fairly new for most companies with the notable exceptions of Google, Facebook, Neilsen and the major telcos. But the role of the CIO is transcending its traditional function of automating and enabling other aspects of the business to driving profit utilizing the data that it is the steward of.

The CIO needs to possess strategic business smarts and superb operational ability. The ability to be able to work with the operational units in devising ways to look at the data that they have an monetize it effectively. Most business become aggregators of data, the ability to monetize those assets is becoming a crucial keeping a profitable business. The companies that understand this are looking at their CIOs and saying, “You own the data now help figure out how we can make money off this — or make more money off it.”

Wireless carriers are starting to realize they can monetize all matter of data collected from mobile users — specifically data that highlights their movement habits. According to MIT Technology Review, researchers and marketers are finding plenty of new uses for call detail records, or CDRs — which allow them to study a mountain of user behavior data. That data can be used by researchers or city planners to study travel behavior — but it’s likely going to be a gold mine on the marketing behavioral front.

The digitization of business assets– in concert with the rise of social media and networking as the vehicles of choice for reaching customers — increasingly puts IT at the center of the business’ marketing effort. It is now becoming very difficult in some organizations to tell the difference between the Chief Marketing Officer and the Chief Information Officer.

Cost saving idea for “overbloated” telecommunications costs

September 3, 2010

In North America, Enterprises spend upwards of 6% of an enterprise’s gross revenues on telecommunications expenses.  This is a sizable chunk of money especially when you consider that is anywhere on average between 15%-30% of the entire IT budget.

Many enterprises have begun to get on board to the Voice Over IP (VOIP) bandwagon along with Unified Communications as a way to reduce their telecommunications cost.

With globalization in full swing, multinational companies now have offices all around the world. Consequently, a significant amount of calling traffic exists between these offices as employees collaborate on projects together. This leads to high long distance call charges. Even though International calling rates have significantly come down in the recent years, they are still a significant source of expenses for multinational companies. With VOIP and least cost routing, these costs are significantly reduced. In addition, VOIP opens up new avenues for conferencing and collaboration.

1. Reduced Capital Expenditure (CapEx)

Moving to a single platform that handles both voice and data traffic reduces capital expenditure by a huge margin, both initially and for the long-term. VOIP allows the enterprise to consolidate separate voice and data infrastructures into a single converged network. In addition, by implementing IP-based services, branch offices can preserve their investments in legacy infrastructure and extend its useful life, while leveraging the IP-based services hosted at headquarters.

2. Lower Operational Expenditures (OpEx)

VOIP allows one converged network to transport data and voice services simultaneously. This convergence reduces the overhead required to operate and maintain two disparate systems. Moves, adds, and changes (MACs) are much easier and cheaper on an IP-based PBX and telephony platform. With legacy platforms, difficult configuration changes can be cumbersome and costly third-party consulting often comes into picture.

3. Enhanced Employee Productivity

Initially, enterprises began adopting VoIP technology applications as a means of reducing long distance bills. However, these technologies have evolved into a platform that enables such rich featured applications as Unified Communications, conferencing, and worker collaboration. With teams working across the globe, VOIP enables multimedia conferencing, which can be easily setup and operated independently from the service provider. In addition, VOIP presence features allow users to be notified when the other party is online, ready and available for interaction. It also supports such file sharing and business applications as Microsoft Office Suite on a single platform, enabling still higher levels of collaboration.

4. Reduced mobile phone bills

With to remote voice connectivity via VOIP, road warriors no longer need to mount their monthly expenses by using their mobile phones when they are globetrotting. With Internet access universally available, road warriors can use VOIP to be connected to all their phone numbers remotely. Furthermore, by using presence, VOIP allows a single number to be registered to a variety of devices, making staff members available to their customers even when they are traveling.

Overall VOIP solutions can save an enterprise anywhere between 40-70% on their office to office telecommunications costs. Obviously existing infrastructure and communications lines have to be taken into consideration when developing a successful VOIP solution.