Why make the switch to cloud phone systems?

If you are considering a cost-efficient and easy option for communications, moving your business to the cloud may be the best solution.

A cloud phone system is like a regular phone system. The difference is that in cloud phone systems, all the systems reside in the cloud. The phone on your desk connects to the internet connection you already have.

Also, an auto-attendant will greet your callers, and direct them to the appropriate extensions, making your company look big.

Here is a look at the benefits of using a cloud-based phone system in your business.

  • Additional flexibility
  • Quick and smooth set up
  • Expense reduction
  • Frees up your time
  • Cloud telephones and business mobility
  • Data Security
  • Compatibility with previous technologies
  • More features available in cloud solutions
  • Scaling both up and down
  • Reduction in IT expense

Jive’s cloud-based phone system enables small companies to focus on increasing sales and satisfying customers. Because a cloud-based phone system is straightforward and efficient, there’s no need to spend a lot of time learning the ropes. It also doesn’t require a lot of time and effort to maintain it.

Cloud telephony offers greater flexibility, greater control, and lower total cost of operation, which is good news for small businesses.

To find out more about our great partner Jive, CLICK HERE to download a two page data sheet, and then watch the featured video below. 

Great People Follow Great People

 John DeLozier - Global Channel Chief, 8X8

John DeLozier - Global Channel Chief, 8X8

There was no break for John DeLozier who spent his last day as Channel Chief at CenturyLink on Friday, June 1, 2018 and then jumped in feet first as 8x8’s new Global Channel Chief on Monday, June 4, 2018. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

John grew up implementing unified communications, collaboration and contact-center solutions all over the world for the biggest names, and “all we’re doing now is putting them in the cloud,” DeLozier told Channel Partners. So it’s really what I know, really where I’m from. I couldn’t be more super-excited to go to market again with these solutions at 8x8.”

DeLozier spent more than two years as Vice President at CenturyLink, where he and the channel team there performed a major overhaul of the telco giant’s partner program, offering tiers for the first time. At 8×8, he’ll be reunited with Bill Corbin, his former boss at CenturyLink, who is the Senior Vice President of channels and alliances at the communications provider.

DeLozier comes to 8×8 during a time of significant success and growth for the company. It’s been a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for UCaaS six years’ running. It just reported a 19 percent year-over-year jump in revenue for the company’s recently concluded fiscal year. Service revenue from mid-market and enterprise customers was up 29 percent over that same time period.

DeLozier wants partners to get an increasing share of that pie.

“We have more than 130 patents and basically own our IP. So we’ve got a vaunted cast of development personnel … the hard part is getting to that point,” he said. “The easy part is getting the word out to our partner community and make sure they’re able to maximize the program and put money in their pockets.”

(Above copied from an article in Channel Partners Online written by Craig Galbraith June 4, 2018)  

All of us at Top Speed Data Communications are excited that we are partners with 8x8. Some of the best people we dealt with at Century Link have followed John over to 8x8. It’s really an all-star cast.  

Does Experience Matter?

doctor pic.png

Does Experience Matter?

Would you like someone to perform open heart surgery on you that has a quota to meet and “thinks he can” perform the surgery?

Your network topography is the heart of your business.

Do you want to find someone with cloud experience?

Which cloud services provider…

  • Is the cofounder of OpenStack® with NASA with over 1 billion managed service hours?
  • 2018 Gartner® Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed Service Providers?
  • Is the first managed services support partner of Google Cloud Platform?
  • Has 10 years experience with Alibaba Cloud Global Managed Service Provider?
  • For 10 years is the VMware® Experience & Partner Innovation Award Winner?
  • 5 times winner of the Microsoft® Hosting Partner of the Year?
  • #1 Hosting Provider for the Internet Retailer Top 1,000?
  • Has a team of employees that has earned:
    • Over 1,000 AWS® certifications?
    • Over 750 Azure® certifications?
    • Over 150 Google Cloud Platform certifications?
    • Over 165 Cisco® certifications?
    • Over 2,500 Microsoft® certifications?
    • Over 3,000 cloud engineers across Linux®, Windows®, and VMware®?

The answer is….

Our featured Supplier of the Month…. RACKSPACE offers complete services in public, private, Hybrid, Dedicated, and Virtualized cloud platforms.

To find out more about this great partner of ours, CLICK HERE to download their one page portfolio, and then watch the featured video down below.

Before you buy Cloud!

dont sell 2pic.jpg

BEFORE YOU BUY CLOUD, READ THIS!

If a supplier walks into your office and tries to sell you a cloud solution, just say “no.”  Cloud solutions are not to be sold.  They are to be discovered.  

The reason that CEOs of major corporations are giving the direction to “go to the cloud” is because it makes good business sense.  It makes sense on a competitive front to utilize cloud solution technology to deliver better services to your clients faster than your competition.  It makes sense economically to pay as you grow (operational expense) and not pay for unused capacity (capital expenditures).

In today’s market, moving to the cloud is not just about migration, or which vendor, carrier or supplier to use – it’s about a ‘Strategy’. 

How will you move your relative services to the cloud? 

What are the critical applications you need on premise, and what will be best managed by someone else in another cloud environment? 

The May featured Supplier of the Month is Evolve IP.  They ARE a ‘Strategy’ company. Think of them as Unified Communications as a Strategy. Desktop as a Strategy, X as a Strategy. They can help you create & develop a customized strategy for your business needs.

If you would like more information about Top Speed Data's Supplier of the Month EvolveIP,  click Download Now »  to find out more.

Don't Be A Server Hugger

Server-Hugger.png

DON’T BE A SERVER HUGGER

According to Gartner, by 2019 30% of enterprises will connect to clouds via direct connect solutions (WAN and cloud interconnect), up from 5% today. That’s a 600% shift in only two years!

Many leading cloud providers recognize the need for enterprises to connect their hybrid infrastructure, and have started to productize a direct, dedicated connection between private and public cloud environments. Rather than connecting to a cloud provider over the public Internet, direct cloud interconnect allows a company to establish private connectivity between a data center colocation environment and their cloud provider through a cross connect within the same environment.

In addition to a standard one-to-one direct connection, select colocation providers are now offering cloud exchanges. Cloud exchanges allow an enterprise to establish a single connection to multiple clouds through an Ethernet switch. This brings further efficiencies to a multi-cloud hybrid environment.

The relationship between enterprises and the cloud is constantly changing. What does not change is the need to measure the value technology investments bring to the business. Cloud interconnect provides several advantages to connecting over the public Internet. This is most easily broken down to five key indicators.

The 5 advantages to direct connect solutions are security, performance, reduced costs, reliability, and ease of doing business. To find out more, please click HERE to download a free e-book.

CoreSite offers private data center space with direct cloud interconnect solutions to all 4 of the major public providers – AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM Bluemix. This solution provides dedicated access to these platforms, reducing costs and increasing performance of your hybrid cloud system. To find out more about CoreSite, our CARRIER OF THE MONTH please see the two-minute video below…

Worst Words to Hear

hear.jpg

What are the worst words you can hear in business?

Let’s face it, ALL of us are in sales.  Everyone….no matter what your position is at any company.  Maybe not in the traditional realm, but everyone is selling something.  Surely, the person that leaves the office or their home each day with samples and an order pad is in sales.  But even if you have a job filing paperwork or answering the phones, you have to sell yourself every day.  You have to convince your customer, boss, and colleagues that you are adding value to the company by keeping up on your workload and by being a good team player consistent with the corporate culture.

Additionally, everyone is on commission. Don’t kid yourself if you have a salary. If your company doesn’t make money, or if your company’s efforts don’t produce enough cash flow, you will be gone. This is even true for the non-profit industries.

“Nothing happens until something is sold.”

Since sales are the lifeblood of any organization, what are the worst words to hear in the sales?

Here they are….

“I didn’t know you sold that!”

Your customers know that you sell (insert your main product), but whose fault is it if they go to your competitor to buy other things that your company offers? It’s your fault!

It is your responsibility to let people/organizations know what you can do for them. If you truly have a competitive advantage over your competition, then let it be known. If you don’t have a competitive advantage, then get out of the way and let those that do have that market share.

If you believe in what you offer, and if you believe that your competitive advantage benefits the buyer, then don’t be satisfied with part time customers. I’ve heard sales people say “I don’t want to rock the boat,” or “I don’t want to be too aggressive.” That’s nonsense. By letting your customer purchase from a competitor that provides less value or a higher price, you are doing your customer a disservice.  

It all boils down to your own belief in your individual and company value proposition.

Amazing Service

ServicePic.jpg

AMAZING SERVICE™

As a survivor of the October 2017 firestorm, I have a new perspective on customer service. Over the years I’ve read books and listened to some great speakers on the subject. I have a new perspective – empowerment.

My wife and I were renters in a nice area of Northeast Santa Rosa. After the fire consumed our entire neighborhood, belongings, and family heirlooms, we were forced to find a new rental and start over from scratch. We quickly learned to abandon our ego and ask stores if they offered fire victim discounts.

We quickly discovered a deeper truth of customer service. Here are two true stories….

There is a local deli near my office. When my wife and I went in there, the manager of the store motioned to the cashier that there would be no charge for our lunches. We ate there a few times over the next few weeks. Each time, the manager would take care of our bill. We didn’t ask, he just overheard us talking the first time we came in to eat in the first days after the fire.

The owner of the deli hired good people, and trained them to do the right thing – take care of the customer.

Next story…

My wife and I were wine club members of two of our favorite wineries. We lost our little stash of wine from each recent wine club shipment. So, I called the first winery. I told the manager about our loss and asked if they were doing anything for wine club members to help us out with our loss. He told me that he was allowed to give me a 30% discount. I was already getting a 25% discount from my wine club membership. I said “thank you” and never went in to use it.

I called the second winery and asked the same question. The tasting room employee told me to just come to winery and they would take care of us. So, we went the following weekend.  The owner of the winery came out and greeted us. He was aware of our story. He personally filled out an order form of what he thought we would enjoy. He set aside two assorted cases of wine that was hand selected by him. He did not charge us a penny, but insisted that we enjoy his wines as part of our recovery.

The next day I called and cancelled the membership to the first winery. 

True customer service is about empowerment. Treating customers as you would want to be treated is the hallmark of amazing customer service. Business owners that get it create a culture where the people interacting with the customer have the confidence to do the right thing. They don’t have to get approval. They don’t have to check the policy manual. They are simply empowered.

Forget about the nice words written in your policy manual or on your lobby wall about how important your customers are to your company. Are your employees empowered to make a decision to take care of your customers?

Our Carrier of the Month – NEXTIVA – truly provides AMAZING SERVICE. Check out their video below.

Contact Top Speed Data today to see how you can get AMAZING SERVICE from your phone company!!!

Cyber Security- Protection or Detection

Cyber Security .jpg

Cyber Security - Protection or Detection

Cybercrime is growing for the same reason online services have become so popular with consumers and business alike – ever more accessible technology. Hacking is easier than ever thanks to the ever growing number of off the shelf attack software.  With access to the dark web, three guys in a room halfway around the world can cripple computers in hundreds of countries.

It has become abundantly clear that no network is completely safe. Where once companies thought they could defend themselves against an onslaught, they’re now realizing that resistance is less important than having a plan in place to detect and neutralize intruders when they strike.  It’s no longer good enough to try to keep them out. Network monitoring and detection services are increasingly a vital component of business survival.

In one survey, 66% of security and IT professionals replied that they weren’t confident that their organization could recover from an attack. I believe that number is probably on the low side. Since the majority of cyber attacks are allowed in from friendly fire (employees emails, mobile phones, USB sticks), it only underscores the need for organizations to find out how professional and affordable network monitoring can be a part of their security strategy.

Tape vs. Disk vs. Cloud: A Comparison of Data Backup Options

510231412

November 20, 2017 / Evolve IP 

Business continuity plans are a must in today’s environment, where even a few hours of downtime could be very costly in lost revenue. Data backup procedures are a critical part of these business continuity plans. But as the menu of backup options increases with the introduction of new technologies it can be difficult to pick criteria around which to base your data backup decisions.

Whether you are looking to replace aging infrastructure, have suffered from faulty or incomplete backups, or are just planning for the future, here is a comparison of the three most common options—tape, disk and cloud backup—along with criteria of price, labor, efficiency, and longevity.

Tape-based backup
Tape was the primary method for data backup beginning in the 1960s and 1970s. Since it has been around so long, it has evolved and grown with businesses for more than four decades. A decision to go with (or stick with) tape-based backup, therefore, means few, if any, infrastructure improvements are necessary assuming your company has previously used this method.

A lack of infrastructure improvements is one area from which cost savings are derived. The other is the cost of the tapes themselves. Tapes are generally a cheap alternative to other storage methods, though this also depends on the amount and type of data your organization will regularly need to back up.

Tapes also enable the opportunity for multi-site data storage. As with any business continuity plan, it is a good idea to ensure multi-site data redundancy so that a catastrophe in one location does not run the risk of wiping out mission-critical data. However, this method of multi-site tape storage can be inefficient and costly once you factor in expenditures for secure tape transit and storage in data centers or other external facilities.

Tapes also suffer from some of the expected shortcomings of older technologies. Reading from and writing to tapes takes longer than other backup methods. There is a higher chance of data corruption or problems reading data from tapes than, say, disk-based backup. Further, data restoration from tapes needs to be completed in the correct sequence, just as if you were going through playlists in a certain sequence on an audio tape. Needless to say, that sequence necessity can complicate backup and restoration processes.

Though tapes have indeed been around the longest, they are also subject to change. Backup tapes come in many shapes and sizes—literally—so you may also encounter some unforeseen infrastructure costs to support the physical media.

Disk-based backup
Generally speaking, disk-based backup is significantly quicker and more reliable for data restoration than tape-based backup. Instead of writing from disk (such as your hard drives or servers) to a tape, a disk-to-disk backup is simply a more efficient method of data transfer.

Similarly, restoration from disk is a relatively efficient process. You’ll avoid the hassles of retrieving, sequencing and then replicating tapes one by one. Disk-based backup is thus a quicker restoration method.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is that disk-based backups still reside in your on-site data location. For multi-location data redundancy, you would need to use a third-party provider for off-site backup, or a replication of the on-site disk. If you opt to circumvent the need for an off-site provider, it can become expensive to continue buying disk space, not to mention the extra process of doing it yourself.

Of course, you could also take your disk replicas and back them up to tape. This is a hybrid of a tape and disk-based backup and is an alternative to paying high prices for disk space. Those costs could still add up, though, in the extra labor and infrastructure costs associated with maintaining the tape-based backup along with disks.

Cloud-based (online) backup
Cloud-based or online backup refers to off-site backup to a third party service provider (or your own cloud infrastructure) via cloud enablement technologies and/or on-site appliances.

Per gig, you can generally store data with greater cost efficiency in a cloud, which eliminates the need to buy and refresh tapes or disks. Online backup is also a less labor-intensive process, as replication is handled as a managed service. This eliminates the need to spend hours each week physically managing backups or securing and transporting tapes.

Cloud-based backup inherently includes multi-site data redundancy, as well. A local data copy can live in an on-site appliance like the SmartFrame, while that enablement technology also replicates data to your off-site provider or data center. Such appliances and enablement technologies continually run in the background of your IT operations, eliminating some of the headaches of manual IT processes. Administrators can also provision VMs on such appliances, simultaneously using the appliance to back up the VMs off-site.

Of course, you’ll need the appropriate bandwidth to support the off-site replication of changes in your data. Depending on your current capabilities, it may mean you need to replicate less data or, more realistically, spend money on network optimization. Additionally, there will be some time and effort as you transition to a new cloud deployment, though this will vary depending on the amount of data you’re looking to transition to the cloud. Online backup is, then, a flexible backup option since you may choose to move only some of your more critical data to the cloud.

Since it is a newer technology, some perceived security concerns linger around the cloud. Many wonder whether off-site data backup will open their data streams to breaches from a third party or some unintended mingling of data with other customers residing in a given data center. However, newer cloud infrastructures are built securely and can actually avoid many of the potential pitfalls associated with, for example, transporting and storing tapes or disks in colocation facilities.

How to make your decision
Every backup model will have its benefits and drawbacks—it is indicative of the imperfect nature of technology that we are continually making progress in speed, efficiency and security. As you make decisions regarding your company’s backup methods, take a close look at:

  • The amount of data that is regularly updated in your organization
  • Your current bandwidth capabilities
  • Your current backup-related costs and overall IT budget
  • Hardware considerations, including your current infrastructure and any necessary upgrades
  • The number of locations from which you’ll need to back up and transport any backup tools
  • Your long-term IT strategy and the potential longevity of various backup methods
  • Your internal resources, both in terms of time and labor, and if those resources are sufficient to manage do-it-yourself projects or would benefit from managed services

You should also consider timing. If your infrastructure is in good shape and your backup processes are sustainable, you can probably hold off on pursuing immediate changes to your backup architecture. But if your company is looking at a necessary update to back up infrastructure, a transfer of data centers, or general company expansions or acquisitions, it will be worthwhile to reconsider your business continuity plans and how each backup option might serve your organization’s future needs.