Doing mobility right

Planning for an efficient, effective mobile infrastructure

Mobility Blog ArtToday – whether by accident or design – virtually every business relies on mobile technology to get through the workday.

From a small business owner’s smartphone, to a retail associate’s line-busting mobile point-of-sale device, to a web-enabled delivery truck, mobile technology is changing how and where work gets done. But making sure all of those devices deliver the expected return on investment is no accident. It takes sound planning and design, backed by coordinated implementation and management, to do business mobility right.

The Zones mobility practice is committed to helping customers take business mobility from ad hoc to advanced. It begins with solution architects, systems engineers and product specialists assessing an organization’s business needs and existing mobile infrastructure.

Often – and sometimes at surprisingly large organizations – the team will find that the mobile “strategy” in place is a loosely assembled bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenario, with the organization perhaps picking up the carrier bill for employees. While such a system may keep people connected, it’s probably costing more than it should, and it does little to keep their devices – or the organization – protected.

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Understanding the software-defined data center

Virtualize the infrastructure to transform your business

0116-securityUntil about the year 2000, each server in a data center ran a single application. While this approach ensured application performance, as processing capability increased, it often left a lot of a server’s processing power sitting idle much of the time. This one application per server approach also uses up a lot of real estate in the data center, not to mention the attendant power and cooling costs.

Taking advantage of available excess capacity, software engineers adapted a concept from the world of supercomputers that provides a layer of abstraction between the hardware and the applications running on it. This allows for a single physical server to be divided into multiple “virtual” servers or virtual machines. This virtualization allows administrators to run multiple applications on a single physical server, recapturing underutilized processing capacity and reducing the data center footprint. It also allowed multiple virtual servers across multiple physical servers to be viewed, managed, and utilized as pooled resources.

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Who’s watching over your data?

data-securityTrouble may be lurking in your network

Data breaches are on the rise. According to a recent Ponemon Group/IBM study, the average cost of a data breach was nearly $3.79 million in 2015, and that amount is predicted to increase exponentially in the foreseeable future.

In the past year, we witnessed major commercial and government organizations receiving alarming cybersecurity breaches and attacks. Well-known organizations such as Home Depot, T-Mobile/ Experian, Ashley Madison, Sony Pictures, Anthem, Premera Blue Cross, the Democratic National Committee, and the Federal Government’s Office of Personnel Management experienced cybersecurity issues. Even the IRS wasn’t safe from attack. Despite the fact that these organizations had specialized degrees of preparedness and cyber protection in place, they still fell victim. Continue reading

UC systems are connecting the increasingly disconnected workforce

8-12-16_UC-Blog-graphic_800pxFor more than a decade, unified communications (UC) technologies from industry leaders like Cisco and Avaya have been helping businesses collaborate remotely while reducing telecom and infrastructure costs by merging voice and data into a single network.

Today’s on-premises and cloud-based UC platforms take savings and efficiency to a higher level, going beyond voice, email, web chat and instant messaging to include multimedia collaboration capabilities as well. Best of all, the cost of endpoint technology is coming down, enabling small and medium size businesses to deploy sophisticated UC systems more affordably than ever. Continue reading

Windows Server Datacenter now has more to offer

Win10-Logo-5 ExtWindows Server 2012 became generally available in September 2012 and came in two flavors through volume licensing: Windows Server Standard and Windows Server Datacenter.

You would expect technical differences between the Datacenter and Standard editions, yet Microsoft only addressed virtual machine entitlements – that’s it. Standard allows for two VMs per license, while Datacenter gives admins the opportunity to run an unlimited number of VMs, as long as the hardware could handle it. In regards to the software, there were no technical advantages in having Datacenter edition.

Windows Server 2016, which is rumored to be available this quarter, brings new features and technical advantages of having the Datacenter edition, as well as additional advantages of Software Assurance. Continue reading

Explore the benefits of Software Defined Networking

7-18-16-DataCtr-Blog-graphic-742x388Like server and storage virtualization, network virtualization abstracts existing resources and allows them be viewed and managed from a single pane of glass, using open protocols such as OpenFlow.

This allows for on-demand provisioning of resources without the need to physically configure cabling and switches with every network change. Software Defined Networking (SDN) takes things a step further, entirely separating the control plane from the data plane, and enabling administrators to spin up virtual components, virtually at will.

Zones teams with industry leaders like Cisco and Avaya, to bring the speed, flexibility and scalability of software defined networking to all kinds of organizations.

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Be the disruptor, not the disrupted.

It’s well-documented that companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Facebook have reaped huge rewards by tapping into massive markets made possible by emerging new business models. They were adept at quickly modernizing their networks to connect with their customers where their customer wanted to be, and with it came big benefits: engaged customers, innovative experiences, and new revenue streams.

To get ahead – and stay ahead – companies must realize it’s a whole new game now, and you don’t want to be left behind while all this digital disruption is taking place. Digitization requires IT functions to be thoroughly transformed, including sophisticated scaling to meet new demand fluctuation; increasing reliability; speeding time to market; and quickly getting digital innovations to consumers. Continue reading

Contact centers build solid connections

hp_windows_upgrade_3489896bWhen customers or prospects want to connect with your business, they want an immediate response and rapid results. It’s not always easy to keep up with those demands. Small companies can become especially frustrated because they do not employ enough workers to perform their routine duties effectively while interacting with customers at the same time.

Fortunately, there are solutions available to help people and businesses meet the challenge. Continue reading

Modernize your business with Zones Azure Complete

Zones-Azure_Complete-infographicPlanning and implementing a cloud computing platform can be complex and time consuming. Zones Azure Complete accelerates the adoption of your cloud computing platform, and allows you to discover new ways of optimizing the performance of your Azure environment.

Through a wide array of services to support your organization’s cloud-based functions, Zones Azure Complete provides help to enhance the utility and management of Azure in your organization.

Zones Azure Complete delivers best-in-class technologies and proven methodologies for thorough assessment, thoughtful design, seamless implementation, and consistent management of the Azure cloud platform. It’s an all-inclusive program that goes beyond cloud subscriptions to include reliable ongoing services for your cloud environment.

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Still Running SQL Server 2005?

It’s time to give your data the care it deserves

MicrosoftSQLServerOn April 12 Microsoft ended extended support for SQL Server 2005. That means security updates and hotfixes will no longer be available from Microsoft. And unsupported software means increasing vulnerability to data issues and exposing other devices and associated applications to these same vulnerabilities.

What’s new?

A lot has changed since the launch of SQL Server 2005. Back then, the common practice was to deploy software on-premises on physical hardware. End of story.

Today, you have a number of on-prem and cloud options, including SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, and Azure SQL Database.

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