5 Timely Factors to Consider in Your IT Budget

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Dec 06, 2016 @ 09:45 AM

There is a clear relationship between an organization’s investments in technology and its business performance. In a recent study, SMB Group found that organizations that credit technology with improving business outcomes were also 18% more likely to anticipate revenue growth than organizations that did not view technology as a means to improve business outcomes.

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Topics: Workforce Productivity

5 Traits of a Highly Successful Cloud Strategy

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

Cloud adoption rates continue to rise as barriers to its acceptance fall. For instance, as we detailed in a previous blog, companies no longer consider security to be a top concern for cloud adoption. Gartner predicts the global public cloud market will grow 16.5% this year to reach $204 billion. Compare the Cloud cites studies that show 90% of enterprises plan to increase yearly spending on the cloud. 

The growing popularity of the cloud is no reason to put caution to the wind. Before migrating data and services to the cloud, companies need to develop a sound strategy. As Donna Scott of Gartner points out, “A cloud strategy clearly defines the business outcomes you seek, and how you are going to get there.” 

In developing a cloud strategy, companies should consider a list of traits that will help them meet their business goals. 

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Topics: Security, IT Investment, Cloud

SMB’s Tech Survival Guide for Cyber Monday (and Black Friday)

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

For retailers, the holiday shopping season can generate as much as one third of total sales for the year, according to the National Retail Federation. On average, holiday sales make up almost 20% of annual retail industry sales. This is true for big retailers like Amazon as well as smaller, niche retailers, like jewelers, boutiques, or other specialty shops.

Retail outlets often add extra customer service and sales representatives to make sure they do not miss out on revenue opportunities during peak shopping days. While staffing is an important consideration going into the holidays, there are other considerations that retailers should take into account ahead of the holiday rush.

With each passing year, more people are going online to do their holiday shopping. The National Retail Federation is predicting a 3.6% jump in overall sales, and a 7% increase in online sales for the 2016 holiday shopping season.

Technology is an important detail that smaller retailers often overlook. Retailers may need to add capacity to their websites, mobile apps and backend tools to handle increased seasonal demand. If there is a large spike in demand on a peak shopping day, like Cyber Monday, or Black Friday, it could take down a retailer’s website and mobile apps.

In addition, customers expect 100% uptime from retailers, no matter how big or small they are, and will not wait for a site that is unavailable. With the anticipated increase in online sales, and the expectations of your customers, it makes good business sense to ensure that your IT infrastructure is ready to handle an uptick in demand.

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Topics: Technology Trends, Cyber Monday, Black Friday

How Cloud Options Keep Your Data Secure

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Nov 15, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

In the past, concerns about security used to be a barrier to cloud adoption for many companies. They worried about surrendering control of their sensitive and mission-critical data once it moved outside of their firewall. Putting sensitive information in a multi-tenanted cloud environment raised concerns that an attack on another company might threaten their company’s data. 

But that attitude has been changing. According to the Cloud Security Alliance, 64.9% of IT leaders find the cloud either equally or even more secure than in-house solutions. The RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Survey found that less than 30% of companies list security as a major cloud challenge. As the cloud market matures, organizations find that the right cloud provider offers strong, multi-faceted security measures. 

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Topics: Security, Cloud

3 Critical Factors to Consider for Your 2017 IT Budget

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Nov 08, 2016 @ 09:38 AM

 

If your business is anything like most SMBs, then you have to accomplish several important objectives with a tight technology budget for 2017. Maybe you cannot have everything you want next year, but with careful planning, you might just get what you need. This article will show you how to plan a cost-effective and goal-oriented budget for next year. 

Prioritize Your Goals and Technology Needs 

There are 3 main buckets that your IT budget falls into: security, cloud, and storage. How much of your IT budget belongs in each bucket depends on your business goals, your technology requirements, and your security needs. 

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Topics: Security, Cloud, Storage, Budget

Top 4 Cybersecurity Threats to Watch in 2017

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Nov 01, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

SMBs to Face Serious Security Risks in 2017 

Since 2011, cyber criminals have started to focus more attention on SMBs. According to cyber-security company, Symantec, attacks on small businesses rose from 18% of all cyber-attacks in 2011, to a whopping 43% in 2015. If the difference between those 4 years are any indication, SMBs will be facing increasing numbers of cyber-threats in 2017 and beyond. 

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Topics: Security

Case Study: Startup Switches Cloud Providers Just Weeks before Launch

Posted by Rob Williams on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

 

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4 Compelling Reasons to Move to Hosted Voice

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

According to business research firm Infonetics, the global market for VoIP grew 5% in 2015 for a total of $73 billion. The VoIP sector is forecasted to continue its growth for the next 4 years to reach almost $85 billion by the year 2020. In 2015, hosted business VoIP services held the most shares in the VoIP services market, according to a 2016 Zion Research Analysis.

Why Are So Many Businesses Moving to Hosted Voice?

Scalability is a top motive for many businesses, along with flexibility, productivity, and cost-savings. Hosted voice offers gains over traditional phone systems in all of these categories. This article takes a deeper look at 4 of the reasons that hosted voice can greatly benefit your business.

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Topics: VoIP

5 Ways Oxford Networks’ Cloud May Be More Secure Than Your Data Center

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 @ 09:45 AM

Many SMB owners underestimate their data-security risk because they believe their business does not collect enough data to draw the attention of hackers or cyber-criminals. Yet, in many cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Often, SMBs collect a great deal of valuable data.

Cyber-criminals are well aware of the value of the data collected by SMBs and they are specifically targeting small and medium-sized businesses. According to a recent research report from Keeper and Ponemon, around 50% of small-to-medium businesses had their security compromised in the past year. In fact, the problem is significant enough that cyber security is now a top priority for the House Committee on Small Business.

SMBs are not just vulnerable to hackers and cyber-criminals. Like most other businesses, they are also at risk for a physical break-in or a natural disaster. Whatever the immediate risk, your on-location data center is likely less secure than Oxford Networks’ Cloud.

Our data center is built for security, monitored around-the-clock, and backed up with redundant power and network connectivity. This article will take a look at a specific few of the many reasons why our data center might be more secure than a typical SMB’s data center.

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Topics: Data Center

Your Firewall Could Be Failing You

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

If you have your own data center, your firewall is one of the best security tools in your arsenal. However, your firewall will only protect you if you keep it up-to-date with the latest patches and updates. Failure to do so will compromise your firewall and leave you virtually defenseless.

Firewall Maintenance Is Critical for Your Business

Cyber criminals are targeting SMBs more than ever. Most SMBs lack the resources to protect themselves, which makes them an attractive target. The stakes are getting higher too, because hackers may seek to gain access to larger companies through smaller businesses. Big companies are aware of the trend and are starting to hold smaller businesses accountable for data breaches.

For example, Target suffered a high-profile data breach in 2013. The hackers were able to penetrate Target’s corporate network by way of some smaller businesses, a third-party refrigeration contractor, and an HVAC vendor. Experts speculate that hackers were then able to access Target’s data through their contractor portal. It is not known whether Target will sue the vendors, but it is clear that the vendors’ security deficiencies contributed to the breach.

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Topics: Security