When “phoning it in” is good for business.

Driving remote worker productivity and engagement.

Remote working. Love it or hate it, working from home (WFH) is here to stay.

Sure, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer brought (almost) everyone back on campus when she took the reins in 2013, but there’s little evidence that the move slowed the company’s decline. And for every Yahoo, there’s a Ctrip, the Chinese travel website that measured a 13.5 percent increase in calls made by its remote workers, versus its on-site office workers. Continue reading

Introducing Zones CloudDirect for Skype for Business

Hardly a day goes by without us noticing the profound change and impact that the drive to the cloud is having within many technology industries – including the Unified Communications market. One of the key drivers behind this change is Microsoft Office 365 (O365) which is generally agreed to be the most widely used cloud service by user account.

Many folks know that Skype for Business (SfB) is purchased and used with an O365 subscription plan and offers the potential to be a complete collaboration solution for businesses. And a complete collaboration solution is really important to IT departments, since they can consolidate all of their legacy point-UC-related systems such as IM, Voice, Conferencing, and Video onto a single platform – saving them time, money, and resources. Such a complete collaboration solution also enables employees to have a single, common experience to find and connect with co-workers across platforms and devices, anywhere and anytime – making them more productive. Continue reading

When it comes to cybersecurity, the best offense is a good defense.

Every 40 seconds a company is hit with ransomware, and the WannaCry outbreak is a perfect example. WannaCry demonstrates how ransomware attacks can quickly spread across and cripple environments by exploiting critical vulnerabilities in Windows computers – at least in those not updated with the patch Microsoft issued in March of this year (MS17-010) or the emergency update issued for XP on May 13, 2017.

Of course, running out-of-support operating systems such as XP is risky. But, XP by itself is not the biggest problem. The larger issue is complacency around security updates, operating system updates, and OS upgrades across the infrastructure. Continue reading

The engineered system that’s simple, optimized, and affordable

Oracle Database Appliance

Whether you’re running a small-to-medium sized business or operating a remote or branch location, field office, or clinic, Oracle now has a better way to manage your database: Oracle Database Appliance (ODA).

ODA is a highly-configured, easy-to-deploy, all-in-one package of software, servers, storage, and networking in a single box. It’s optimized to help you run your Oracle Database and applications, with all hardware and software components engineered and supported by Oracle. That means maximum reliability, efficiency, and security. Continue reading

“I want to get out of the phone business”

Top real-world UC requests we hear from our customers

We’ve made it through the 2017 technology prediction cycle that marks the begining of each year. I’m simplifying… but the general market trends that have been predicted for UC in 2017 have been along the lines of: 1) Continued advance to the cloud (agreed); 2) IM replaces email (it depends – on the company, use cases, and the groups and demographics within that company); 3) UC begins to be integrated into existing business apps to enhance business workflows/processes (not quite yet); 4) Is 2017 finally the year WebRTC delivers on its potential? (nope). Continue reading

Meet the challenges of digital business

Cisco Digital Network Architecture

Legacy business processes are becoming increasingly digital, requiring fast and flexible network services to facilitate and support them. On top of that, business leaders and the IT professionals who run them are under pressure to accelerate adoption of big data, mobile, cloud, video, and IoT technologies.

Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) gives you a clear and efficient way forward. DNA centers around a network infrastructure that is not only fully programmable and open to third-party innovation, but can also fully and seamlessly integrate the cloud as an infrastructure component. Continue reading

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

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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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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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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