Beacons are revolutionizing customer experiences

GettyImages-629507966Picture this: You enter a museum and your eye is drawn to a painting that looks interesting. As you wander closer, your smartphone alerts you with a message that includes the painting’s title, artist’s name, the date of its creation, and a short background history about the piece – and reminds you that a print is available for purchase at the museum’s gift shop.

When you consider all the potential benefits of beacon technology – interacting with visitors, customers, travelers, and employees in spaces like museums, stores, transit hubs, and offices to deliver highly contextual, hyper-local and meaningful messages – it’s time to take a closer look at beacons in your environment. Continue reading

On-prem vs. hybrid vs. Cloud – Which UC deployment model is best for your business?

8-12-16_UC-Blog-graphic_800pxA recent industry report states that more than 54% of surveyed large enterprises (defined as 5,000+ employees) still operate an outdated TDM PBX voice infrastructure; if not at all locations, at least at some. One might be surprised that that there is a such a relatively high percentage of legacy-based, on-prem voice solutions still in the market, given the success of Microsoft Office 365 and general buzz surrounding hosted UC solutions.

But if you are considering upgrading your existing voice or UC capabilities, should these percentages or trends play a role in your decision making? And is there a single UC deployment model that definitively makes sense for every business?

The short answers are ‘no’ and ‘no’. The best deployment model depends on the unique requirements and circumstances of your business. Continue reading

An ounce of prevention for the healthcare industry

Security assessments for hospitals, clinics, and practices

0116-securityCyber criminals are increasingly targeting the $3 trillion U.S. healthcare industry. Unfortunately, many hospitals, clinics and practices still rely on aging computer systems that lack the latest security features.

Last year, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center became the poster child for vulnerability when a malware attack resulted in a $17,000 ransom being paid to hackers in order to regain control of their systems.

Phishing scams are also on the rise, putting billing information, social security numbers, birth dates, policy numbers, and diagnosis codes at risk. That data can be used to forge fake IDs to buy medical equipment or prescription drugs that can be resold. Taken a step further, it can be used to file phony claims with insurers.

To make matters worse, medical identity theft isn’t as easily detected as fraudulent credit card transactions, which are often flagged and canceled by banks before a cardholder is even aware of the incident.

We have to assume that cybercrime isn’t going away anytime soon, but Zones can help you with a number of tools that improve the safety, compliancy, and security of your systems. Continue reading

A better way to secure the cloud

CASB – The smart solution for cloud security

12-5-16_Core-Security_Blog-image_600pxThe most common concern around the cloud is data security. Companies need to be continuously aware of how and where their data is stored in the cloud, all while ensuring they’re compliant with any regulations which apply to them.

Enterprises are struggling to understand the data security and compliance impact of organizational, departmental, and especially rogue or “shadow” adoption of cloud applications. This is where a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) comes into play.

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VMware Cloud on AWS

logo-vmware-aws-partnership-grey_600x118Radically simplifying hybrid cloud environments

Most enterprises rely on VMware to run applications in their vSphere-based private clouds. Many of these same customers also run applications on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Increasingly, customers have asked both companies to make it easier to run their existing on-premises environments alongside AWS, using the VMware software and tools they’ve come to rely on.

With the recent announcement of VMware Cloud on AWS, the strategic alliance between VMware and AWS formed in response to this obvious demand is beginning to bear fruit.

Currently in Technology Preview, VMware Cloud on AWS is a vSphere-based cloud service that will bring VMware’s enterprise-class Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) software to the AWS cloud. VMware Cloud on AWS will give customers the full SDDC experience from the leader in the private cloud, running on the world’s most popular, trusted, and robust public cloud. Zones will begin offering VMware Cloud on AWS in mid-2017, with pricing available closer to the general availability date. Continue reading

The state and future of hyper-converged infrastructure

Data Center BlogHyper-converged appliances simplify the design, deployment and management of complex infrastructures, easing pressure on IT staff and leadership. With components designed and built from the ground up to function as a pre-validated system, hyper-converged appliances eliminate the risk of incompatibility you run when rolling out a converged infrastructure.

Hyper-convergence delivers three key benefits:

Faster Deployment – You’re acquiring a single appliance from a single vendor. That means no finger-pointing among component manufacturers when you need support.

Simplified Management – A hyper-converged system provides true single-pane-of-glass management for the entire system.

Rapid Scalability – When you need to scale, you simply deploy additional building blocks.

An excellent example of state-of-the-art hyper-converged appliances is Cisco’s HyperFlex System. These appliances evolved to bring new levels of efficiency and adaptability to the data center, allowing IT to deploy in less than an hour, create clones in seconds, and save on data storage day after day, year after year.

What’s next?

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Raise your voice and amplify your vision

Unified communications improves connections with your customers, prospects, and workforce

UCA comprehensive UC solution helps you enhance customer experience and team collaboration while reducing travel costs, speeding product development cycles, and simplifying IT administration activities.

For more than a decade, unified communications (UC) and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) have been seen as ways businesses can reduce 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.

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Getting to the core of Microsoft’s new licensing model

Navigating the move from per-processor to per-core licensing

new-microsoft-logoWith the arrival of Windows Server 2016, customers can soon be running a cloud optimized operating system that supports current workloads, and offers new technologies to simplify the transition to cloud computing.

In addition to the many networking, compute and storage advances included in Windows Server 2016, Microsoft is also transitioning from per-processor to per-core licensing.

Moving Windows Server and Microsoft System Center 2016 to per-core licensing aligns the servers to a common and consistent licensing denomination that is already a standard measure for capacity across environments: cores. This also brings Windows Server into alignment with the per-core licensing model that applies to Microsoft’s SQL Server 2016 and Azure products.

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Zones acquires nfrastructure

On October 21, we announced our acquisition of nfrastructure Technologies, a provider of core-to-edge technical and managed services.

By acquiring nfrastructure, we’re extending our robust solutions and services capabilities. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zones, nfrastructure will expand globally and nationally, significantly enhancing its product fulfillment and technical capabilities.

“Acquiring nfrastructure accelerates Zones’ evolution as a services-led solutions provider with deep customer relationships and global capabilities,” said Firoz Lalji, chairman, president and CEO of Zones. “We welcome nfrastructure’s talented team to our organization. With similar cultures squarely focused on delivering a positive customer experience, we’re well-aligned to seize growth in the market.”

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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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