Vanguard Managed Solutions says it now can install, monitor and manage IP telephony networks for businesses, freeing up staff time to perform more critical functions.Vanguard Managed Solutions\u00a0says it now can install, monitor and manage IP telephony networks for businesses, freeing up staff time to perform more critical functions.The company's new VanguardMS Careguard Managed IP Telephony Solution, being introduced this week at\u00a0NetWorld+Interop 2004\u00a0Las Vegas, includes an assessment of customers' networks, design, configuration, installation, management and monitoring of the network.The provider is delivering the service in partnership with ShoreTel, which provides the phones and IP PBXs. If other network gear needs upgrading, Vanguard uses its own routers and HP-based LAN switches, or those of another vendor if the customer prefers.Turning the monitoring and management of its ShoreTel gear over to Vanguard saves Larry Woodall about a half hour per day, says the telecom analyst for National Commerce Financial in Durham, N.C. In most cases the trouble turns out to be that someone has unplugged an IP phone or turned off a power strip, he says.In these cases, Vanguard contacts National Commerce's help desk, which can generally talk the end user through resolving the problem, Woodall says. "I don't have to come in in the morning and look at the stuff," he says.In addition, Vanguard is monitoring CPU use of the ShoreTel telephony server, something National Commerce would not likely do on its own, Woodall says. The provider also monitors quality of service for voice traffic and bandwidth use, and provides a monthly performance report. It also conducts a quarterly review of the network to suggest changes to improve voice quality.With Careguard Managed IP Telephony, customers buy the hardware and pay a monthly fee based on how many services they opt for, the number of devices monitored and whether customers are using other Vanguard services.Vanguard also is announcing Careguard for Application Performance, which monitors specified software applications and makes adjustments to ensure they are performing up to set standards. The provider draws performance data from network switches, routers and servers, and from its own probes to analyze traffic flows and bandwidth consumption.The price of Careguard for Application Performance is based on the number of devices monitored and the number of applications managed.This new service is part of a broader grouping from Vanguard called CareWorks that includes monitoring of transactions, servers and operating systems, traffic flow, quality of service and network security.Vanguard sells its services directly to businesses and is the outsourced provider of some AT&T managed services. Vanguard specializes in serving retail and financial services companies and others that have large numbers of sites, but lack highly trained IT staff at each site.