Until roughly six years ago, mobile computers and telephones were really separate things. "Mobile computing" meant laptops -- maybe with broadband wireless for some lucky executives. "Telephone" meant communication device. "Convergence" meant putting your cellphone into your computer bag to go through airport security.
With the increasing convenience and availability of mobile technology, small businesses are finding it easier to compete. The Small Business Mobility Report by CDW found that nearly all respondents -- 94% -- agreed that their use of mobile devices for work tasks has made them more efficient. This efficiency boost grants small businesses an opportunity to extend reach and increase productivity without emptying the piggy bank.
Data is more important to businesses today than it has ever been, doing everything from revealing trends in customer behavior to comparing sales performance across business units and regions. Comprehensive data collection provides the who, what, when and how associated with almost all organizational activity. This information is incredibly valuable to executives because it plays a critical role in strategic business decisions. As such, all businesses - big and small - must have a data backup strategy in place to protect against data loss.
Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are in a state of transition when it comes to juggling network needs with mobile device use. A recent CDW report on small-business mobility found that more than three-quarters of IT managers have deployed smartphones to their workforce, and more than half have deployed tablets. However, many employees prefer using their own devices: Almost 90% of IT managers recognized that employees are using personal devices for work.
Ever-evolving technology has drastically changed the way businesses manage their software assets. Software asset management (SAM) is a set of proven processes and procedures to manage and optimize your organization's IT assets. SAM helps companies protect software investments by enabling the organization to recognize what software it has, where the software is running and whether or not the organization is using all software assets efficiently.
Companies are always looking for new ways to cut costs, and two key strategies for saving on IT are to extract optimal value from your current contracts and to invest money now to reduce future expenses.
IT professionals implementing energy efficient solutions in the data center are realizing big savings, and many report it has been easier to do than they thought it would be. In its fourth year, the CDW Energy Efficient IT Report found that implementing energy efficient solutions is easier than the typical organization perceives. Even better, "green" initiatives are gaining respect in the IT world, with 43% of survey respondents identifying green initiatives as a top driver for data center consolidation.
Many small businesses with larger server needs are turning to blade servers to pack big power into a small space. But what exactly is a blade server, and how do you know if it's right for your small business?
Effective communications, many would argue, is the key to business. But finding the appropriate technologies to support effective communications can be challenging for IT professionals. Unified communications is a concept that encompasses a variety of technologies, all capable of working together, and, yes, while communication is a human process, technology can enhance and improve it.
Companies are on the path to cloud adoption. According to a recent report, 28% of U.S. organizations are using cloud computing today, with 73% reporting their first step was implementation of a single cloud application. Yet while 84% of organizations say they have employed at least one cloud application, most do not yet self-identify as "cloud users" who are "implementing or maintaining cloud computing."
No company wants to be the subject of the next headline about a cybersecurity attack or critical data loss. Losing business data or customer information takes a toll on your business' reputation and its pocketbook. While it is impossible to entirely avoid an attack, there are steps you can take to mitigate the effects.
Data center consolidation continues to be a hot topic, and with good reason. It has proven to be an effective way to reduce costs and complexity, setting organizations on a course for more efficient IT management. But while the benefits are proven, the path to success takes careful navigation.
Today's workers want faster computing speeds and more storage, management wants it all under budget, and IT professionals are scrambling to save money and improve productivity. The tools of choice to achieve these goals are typically virtualization, cloud computing and data center consolidation, but IT may be overlooking a simple but effective fix: storage area network (SAN) and local area network (LAN) convergence.
In data center upgrade planning, backup power is often among the last considerations and the first budget item redlined. Many companies purchase an uninterruptible power system (UPS) only as they add equipment -- what we call a segmented approach. Before long, data center managers can find themselves with an inefficient power system that is difficult to maintain and daunting to improve, yet doing so can offer big returns.
Many organizations are cautious when investing in anything new -- especially technology. Familiarity often leads companies to stick with what they know or have always used. Holding on to the past, however, can be costly. Stepping out of your comfort zone is crucial if you want your IT department, and your organization as a whole, to stay competitive in today's business world.
Modern energy efficient technologies are becoming the norm, and most businesses understand that implementing "green IT" helps the environment and the bottom line. But many IT professionals lack a tool that is critical to understanding the full impact of energy efficient practices.
In the 1995 film "Hackers" the lead character downloads sensitive information to a floppy disk. Today, of course, advances in technology have yielded equally advanced security threats. Consider news reports in the past year about computers compromised by botnets. Businesses face daily threats from these and other cybersecurity dangers that are further enhanced by increased reliance on new business communications and computing tools.
While many businesses tightened their IT budgets during the recent recession, a growing number of organizations are deploying unified communications solutions -- integrated voice, data, messaging, conferencing and collaboration services over converged networks -- as confidence creeps back and budgets expand. The driver? Return on investment.
Given the importance of telephone systems, refreshing the technology can be daunting. However, for small and midsized businesses who consider upgrading from a PBX to VoIP, the benefits are clear and, with proper planning, the implementation is not very frightening. Consider these three steps: