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Posted on: November 12, 2019 By: Sage Tourigny

Sales Tips To Help You Dominate The Final Months Of 2019

We’re about halfway through the fourth quarter, which means the pressure is on to close as many year-end deals as possible.

Related: UCaaS: A Great Way To Mobilize Your Business

Check out these tips to get you through the rest of 2019 and start 2020 on the right foot:

Trust In The Cloud

Let’s face it: the fourth quarter isn’t much fun when you’re selling a product that nobody wants.

When you offer a product that’s in high-demand, though—like the cloud— you can basically let the service sell itself. It helps to remember that more and more businesses are making the switch and also want to start the next decade off with a head start! According to a recent study, the cloud now accounts for one-quarter of overall IT spending.

Related: The Benefits Of A Departmental Contact Center

Since you and your customers are on the same team, it’s just a matter of identifying companies that are in a position to migrate to the cloud or switch vendors, and having the right portfolio to deliver.

Go Heavy On UC

Businesses of all sizes and vertical markets can benefit from unified communications (UC)—from small companies with 10 users to large, multi-site enterprises. It’s a flexible technology that should absolutely be in your portfolio.

Related: How A Scalable VoIP Solution Can Help Your Business

To start a conversation, you may want to ask customers whether their communications system is up to par heading into the busy holiday rush—and whether they think they could do better. Tell customers that UC can boost backend productivity, and it can improve the customer experience. There’s no reason why companies today should be using disparate communications services when everything can run over a single platform.

Focus On Cost Efficiency

Many organizations are currently struggling to manage costs and overall IT spending. So, look for an opportunity to discuss finances when approaching them about cloud services. Help form a cost reduction plan, and look for legacy services that can be moved off-site.

Related: What VoIP & UCaaS Can Do For Your Customers

Make sure to tell your customers about how VoIP can maximize cost efficiency, through services like pooling and bursting. VoIP is also highly scalable.

Under Promise, Over Deliver

Remember: You’re not the only one approaching customers this time of year. Customers are getting contacted left and right, including associates who are promising the world in hopes of getting them to sign up for their services.

Related: UCaaS: A Critical Customer Service Component

Whatever you do, don’t make empty promises that you won’t be able to fulfill down the line. The better approach is to make an honest offer, and to have a vendor that will step in and impress the customer along every step of the process. In the midst of many too-good-to-be-true promises, keeping it real with your customers can be just what they needed to hear.

Think Long-term

The fourth quarter isn’t just about closing deals. It’s also about setting yourself up for success throughout the following year.

Related: Why You Should Update Your Business Phone Service

Now is a great time to reflect on own your own portfolio of solutions, to see if you can improve it. Perhaps it’s time to consolidate your offerings down to a single vendor—one offering a Full Spectrum portfolio of end-to-end solutions.

Posted on: By: Sage Tourigny

Everyone knows that search engine optimization is essential to digital marketing success. Without it, the likelihood that your website will rank on the first page of relevant keyword searches is minimal. And with 95% of searchers clicking on one of the links on the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page), you need your brand to be visible. SEO tactics will get you there. But is that enough to ensure digital marketing success?

The X-Factor

You have only 50 milliseconds (.05 seconds) to make a good impression on a user. Having an attractive, well laid-out website is vital. However, that is just the start. The user’s experience is critical in determining if a viewer will continue to engage on your site.

Website UX Statistics

These trends are why Google continually updates its algorithm; putting a heavier emphasis on content relevancy and user experience. “As engagement metrics are becoming more important for search engines as a ranking factor, companies cannot ignore UX (user experience). It moves beyond simply ‘good content’ and moves into thoughtfulness of content and site structure. We must keep users engaged on our websites and put ourselves in the visitor’s shoes,” explains Vivial’s Senior SEO Strategist, Matt Cioffi.

Being intentional and strategic about your users’ experience can raise conversion rates by as much as 400% – this is where SXO comes in.

What is SXO?

Search Experience Optimization (SXO) is the combination of traditional search engine optimization tactics and user experience best practices.

“You should write for people, and then optimize for search engines,” explains Eugene Farber, Vivial’s Senior Digital Strategist. “Too often, I see people writing for the search engines first, which results in content that isn’t helpful to the reader, doesn’t read naturally and turns them off instead of grabbing their attention and enticing them to take action.”

Focusing on increasing engagement and tailoring the content for the people first. Then put typical SEO best practices in place. This method will help you rank above your competition and convert viewers into customers.

5 Areas of SXO: Search Experience Optimization

There are many factors to consider to improve a user’s search experience; however, there are five main buckets under which they fall into:

1. Usefulness

Is your site helpful to your intended audience? Is the content in line with what the user was initially searching for, and did they find it useful?

2. Usability

Does your site meet the expectations of your audience? You need to ensure it is intuitive, easy to navigate, loads quickly, and has clear call-to-actions.

3. Findability

Are your pages optimized to help Google match your page with the right audience? Headers and clear navigation to make sure your products and content are quick and easy for viewers and web crawlers to find.

4. Accessibility

This point is two-fold. First, is your site easily viewable via desktop and mobile devices? Second, is it optimized to meet Web Connect Accessibility Guidelines(WCAG)?

5. Credibility

You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Clean aesthetics and the utilization of badges of trustworthiness, such as testimonials, industry recognitions, and affiliations, will help you gain users’ trust.

Marketing strategies must evolve to meet the needs of their intended audience. Users want to find the information they are looking for quickly and have a seamless experience online. SXO is the way to go!

Want help managing your business’ search experience? Contact Vivial for a no-obligation audit and discussion.

Posted on: November 8, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

These days it seems as though everybody’s got their head in the clouds. Organizations large and small around the world rely on cloud computing to maintain day-to-day operations. In fact, use of cloud technology has become nearly ubiquitous throughout enterprises across all industries. Following a survey of 997 technical professionals across a broad cross-section of organizations, RightScale, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider that offers cloud management and analytics tools, reported that 96 percent of respondents rely on cloud technology. Furthermore, 81 percent employ a multi-cloud hybrid model that combines both public and private cloud strategies.

Enterprise Cloud: How Businesses Get Stuff Done

So how did enterprise cloud computing become so popular? Essentially, the cloud has changed how businesses operate at the most fundamental level, enabling many to access mission-critical data and application software over high-speed internet connections. All of this occurs without the need for investing in advanced computer software or hardware. Effective enterprise cloud computing strategies are designed with individual business goals in mind, helping organizations enhance performance, reduce cost, and provide superior security to legacy data storage, content transmission, and business application delivery models. Cloud strategies are also designed to scale and evolve with a business, making enterprise growth easier than ever before.

A Better Connection to the Cloud

Identifying the most effective cloud provider and deployment logistics is critical, but it’s not the be-all-end-all when it comes to designing a successful enterprise cloud strategy. With FiberLight Cloud Connect businesses receive a more direct connection to their public cloud that provides reliable and scalable connections between commercial locations and to cloud computing service providers.

Enterprises can maximize their cloud via a private connection either through direct connection or cloud exchange partners to preferred cloud destinations, including AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, IBM, and many more. With carrier-grade fiber infrastructure, combined with high-capacity Ethernet, Wave and Dark Fiber solutions, businesses can access the necessary network infrastructure for seamless data transmission both to and from cloud platforms. At the end of the day, without high quality connectivity, the most advanced cloud strategy is rendered useless. In a nutshell—FiberLight makes the cloud work better for you.

Save on Egress Fees: Introducing FiberLight’s Cloud Savings Calculator

Many businesses that employ the use of public cloud platforms rely on a public internet connection to access their data and applications. Unfortunately, that means that they are often spending far more on egress fees than necessary. To put it simply, most public cloud providers allow users to push data into the cloud (ingress) for free, but pulling data out (egress) is an entirely different story.

Managing cloud spend is a challenge for businesses across all industries, and 50 percent of organizations spend more than 1.2 million annually on public cloud use alone. Egress fees are par for the course when it comes to using a public cloud service—there’s no escaping them. But what many business leaders may not realize is that use of a direct connection can save them tens of thousands of dollars in egress fees every year. According to RightScale’s 2019 State of the Cloud Survey, optimizing cloud cost was a top initiative among 84 percent of respondents. However, many still don’t know how.

To help users identify how much they could save by employing a private connection such as Cloud Connect, we’ve developed an online Cloud Egress Savings Calculator that outlines specific cost-savings for individual organizations based on their cloud transfer usage and preferred cloud provider platform. For example, customers can save up to 77 percent of egress charges with the unlimited data plan and up to 57 percent with a metered plan by switching from public internet connection to a private connection with Microsoft Azure. Furthermore, customers can save up to 78 percent on monthly egress charges with a private connection to AWS.

Find out how much you can save by switching to a direct connection to the cloud. Check out the cloud savings calculator now.

Posted on: By: Sage Tourigny

Expedient Enterprise Cloud (EEC) was recently featured in an ExpertROI Spotlight report by IDC. The report provides a deep-dive analysis of the EEC platform and explores the vision that Expedient shared with VMware to create a cloud services offering that enables businesses to leverage existing VMware investments and expertise. This shared vision and partnership created a unique cloud platform (EEC) that provides a much-needed alternative path to the cloud.

With EEC, enterprises with legacy applications running on VMware infrastructure don’t have to endure the costly and inefficient re-platforming process required for optimal performance on public clouds like AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform. By providing a managed cloud experience within the familiar confines of the VMware universe, Expedient has filled a sizeable gap in the cloud services marketplace according to the IDC Report.

Homes.com, a leading online real estate platform, is a case in point. To streamline its cloud operations and control costs, Homes.com consolidated all its workloads on to the EEC platform. Watch Homes.com President, Dave Mele, discuss the business outcomes the company has realized since its migration to EEC:

Strong demand for EEC’s differentiated functionality has transformed Expedient’s business in the year since it was launched. John White, Expedient’s Chief Innovation Officer and the lead visionary behind EEC, said in the report:

“With companies understanding that a lift and shift to public cloud may not be feasible, whether it’s financial or from technical debt, that’s driving a lot of business our way, because our services are very differentiated. We’re one of the only companies in the market that has this VMware-based cloud offering, so we’re benefiting from being a first mover.”

Download a copy here to read the full report.

Expedient, a CNSG Platinum Supplier, helps companies transform their IT operations through award-winning cloud infrastructure solutions and managed services including disaster recovery, security and compliance. Learn more at expedient.com.

 

Posted on: November 5, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Wireless Watchdogs Q4 2019 Features Release

At Wireless Watchdogs, it’s our mission to always be working on behalf of our customers to give you more savings and greater efficiencies. In line with that mission, we’re proud to announce that we’ve just released several platform enhancements designed to take your mobility management to a whole new level, starting with a new dashboard interface that you can access by clicking the Dashboard menu item on the left of your portal.

The dashboard incorporates a variety of new features, the most significant of which are listed here.

Dashboard Defaults and Features

The initial view of the dashboard is designed to provide you with high-level information about your company’s current bill cycle, with information from all of your wireless carriers. Need more specific information about a particular carrier, or previous billing cycles? You can drill down on those areas as need be. This default view can also be easily changed according to your preferences.

Group Usage

The Group Usage area shows how many devices are in your group, how many of those devices are unused, and the costs related to your devices.

Bill Comparison

The Bill Comparison area provides you information on your current costs compared to the previous month’s costs, to help ensure your billing stays in line.

My Devices

The My Devices area will show you all your lines, which can be filtered to show lines with no exceptions, line with exceptions (more on that in the next section), and lines that have had no usage in the given period. You can also click any phone number to get detailed usage information on that line, including what numbers were called and for how long.

Usage Rules Manager

The Usage Rules Manager, accessed from the Settings menu on the left of your portal, allows you to create usage rules for different departments, categories, device and usage types, and more. When a line violates a rule — by using more than 2GB of data during a given period, for example — an exception is generated and the device will be shown in My Devices with a color-coded flag indicating the exception. This feature is designed to give you a way to visually see all devices that are outside of your chosen parameters, as well as to flag possible device misuse for your attention.

Learn More

As with any new feature release, it’s possible that you’ll have questions on how specific features of the dashboard work, or how best to use them. If so, we’re here to help — just contact your account manager, and we’ll work with you to be sure that you’re getting the most out of all of the new features.

Not a current Wireless Watchdogs customer, but intrigued by what you see and curious as to how you might be able to use our mobility management services to potentially save more than $10 per month, per device? Request a demo, and we’ll get you on the road to better efficiency and reduced costs in your company’s mobility implementations:

REQUEST A DEMO

Posted on: November 4, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

By: Dan Barlow, Product Manager
Cloud Connect and Ethernet

Support for multiple locations is simplified with one network and one provider

An array of learning facilities spread across several counties keeps a Texas nonprofit’s IT department — and network — busy.

The nonprofit operates, at minimal to no cost to participants, a charter high school where adults earn diplomas, a remote-learning diploma program for prison inmates and a career academy with accelerated training and professional certifications. Many of the students have disabilities, criminal backgrounds, or a lack of education and stable housing. Funding for the programs is covered by revenue generated from dozens of retail sites, services such as temporary staffing, and an online storefront.

However, the nonprofit’s technology approach at the various locations proved to be an obstacle for continued growth. So when a new IT director took stock of the network and determined it wasn’t configured efficiently or performing as well as it should, he knew it was time to take action. The organization had a multi-provider network that was “a complete mishmash,” he recalls, “with fiber into our main building, and everything from DSL modems to T1 lines to microwave antennas to cable modems.”

Streamlining network operations with one partner

To simplify operations and connect locations, the organization switched to Spectrum Enterprise Ethernet and Fiber Internet Access (FIA) service. “Because of Spectrum Enterprise, I’m not running around trying to maintain disparate and unreliable systems,” says the IT director.

Now, the nonprofit can better support its mission to give the underserved a leg up in life with access to the latest technology in the many facilities connected to the network. Inside the classrooms, teachers use interactive “smart boards” that enable students who miss a class to see what was written on the board, hear the instruction and interact with videos. Every classroom has WiFi-enabled Internet, and the school has an integrated video message board showing updates, club information and schedules.

The single, reliable network also links the main office, learning facilities and retail locations, and enables digital state testing, processing of online orders and more.

Better serving the mission with a single technology approach

Because the nonprofit no longer has to manage multiple IT vendors and systems, staff can now focus more time on developing new digital ways to drive revenue. This allows the organization to continue empower thousands of participants each year through free, or nearly free, educational services and training.

The organization’s IT director observes that they’ve helped a large number of people not just find jobs, but embark on well-paying careers. “Technology and connectedness have allowed us to achieve those successes,” he says. “Spectrum Enterprise has been an active participant in all of it.”

Learn more about your network connectivity needs for multiple locations.

Posted on: By: Carolyn Kuczynski

By: Bryan Daugherty

What would it cost your business to lose Internet connectivity—even for a short time?

Consider, for instance, the inaccessibility of your digital phone system and your contact center’s inability to process credit cards.

Who can help—quickly? The outside IT guy? Your Internet service provider (ISP)? You go for the ISP. But where’s that telephone number again?

As you gather the information you’ll need to navigate the service request, you realize that each minute your business is offline means a potential hit to your bottom line.

Time passes

You tackle the pre-human telephone questionnaire on your cell phone like it was a battle of keypad jujitsu. Total time: 6 minutes.

While you’re happy to be one step closer to speaking with a fellow human, you are, nevertheless, frustrated to look up and observe additional signs of lost productivity: employees just standing around, unable to carry out their assigned tasks—and getting paid for it.

Help arrives?

Tom’s on the phone. He’s ready to assist you—but, first, he has to confirm your information. It should only take a moment, he says.

As you describe your problem with growing urgency, Tom determines that he is unable to immediately help and must transfer you to someone who can. Please hold.

The rest all seems like a blur, up to the point when the tech support rep says that he’ll try to schedule a visit for today—sometime before the close of business. The nightmare scenario continues with no end in sight.

Sound familiar?

Costs pile up

According to IHS, IT downtime costs $1 million a year for a typical midsize company and over $60 million for a large enterprise. If your business’s success is tied to Internet connectivity, then you should make every effort to ensure you have the most reliable connection available.

Unfortunately, some organizations overlook this key component of their business model—usually as a presumed money-saving tactic.

A new hope

From meetings in enterprise boardrooms to riding shotgun down camp roads on a golf cart, I meet with a variety of business owners and IT directors frequently. They all have similar mission-critical business tasks.

Outages happen. To gain the confidence that your network can overcome them, deliver on your business objectives and help you capture opportunities, there are three key indicators of a solid ISP:

  1. U.S.-based experts, certified by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), who proactively monitor, support and secure a fiber-based network 24/7/365. The MEF certification is the ISP’s third-party guarantee that its employees are held to a high standard.
  2. End-to-end service-level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee uptime and timely restoration of your services if a problem does arise.
  3. The ability to quickly scale your connection as your organization encounters new operational demands (e.g., the addition of bandwidth-intensive apps) that can slow a network down.

I’ve seen growth in confidence happen with Hagadone Corporation, a multifaceted business serving numerous industries. Hagadone enhanced its clients’ experiences, benefited from streamlined network services from their ISP, improved productivity and experienced growth thanks to the right network partner. See how Hagadone worked with an ISP to gain this added business value.

Posted on: October 28, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Jes Shiflet discusses his experience and FiberLight’s unique value in the channel 

FiberLight is pleased to welcome Jes Shiflet as Vice President, Strategic Partners, and Alliances. We recently sat down with Jes to discuss his experience, the newly renamed channel program, and his outlook on FiberLight’s position in the industry.

FBL: You just joined the team as the new Vice President of Strategic Partners and Alliances. Tell us a bit about your background in the industry and what brought you to FiberLight?

Jes: Most recently, I spent a couple of years with Digital Realty where I focused on the network sector business through direct and channel relationships. Those two years allowed me to gain invaluable knowledge and understanding of the data center connectivity, ecosystems, and hybrid cloud strategies. My experience at Digital, as well as the 12 years I spent with XO Communications/Verizon, inspired me to seek out a company focused on driving solutions for those ecosystems and connectivity requirements. FiberLight has a 20-year history of building high density and mission-critical networks, and we are only in the beginning phase of the massive amounts of data-driven by 5G, cloud computing, AI, etc.  It’s an exciting time to be part of FiberLight—the company has a leadership team with the willingness to be nimble and scrappy and build fiber to accommodate this growth.

FBL: Would you explain a bit more about FiberLight’s Strategic Partners and Alliances program? What are the benefits of being a Strategic or Alliance Partner and how does this differ or align with the traditional channel?

Jes: FiberLight understands how critical the traditional channel is and will continue to support the success of their overall business. We continue to support the channel through the adaption and support of location-based resources like Connected2Fiber, MasterStream, and FiberLocator. We will continue to support our strategic partners and alliance relationships by having local presence in all our markets for joint sales calls, regional training events, and strategy sessions on how best to partner and drive business. FiberLight doesn’t intend to be everything to everybody—we are focused in the area of fiber construction, high bandwidth, dark fiber, and conduit services. With that said, we understand that, in some cases, these types of services require a more of strategic a focus: metro diversity, building entrances, types of dark fiber services (IRU, lease, managed, etc), so we have aligned our organization to support our partners with a dedicated Sales Engineer, Solution Architect, and customer relationship manager.

FBL: What does FiberLight uniquely bring to the channel partner industry?

Jes: In a world where customers need access to data and information that’s no longer contained in their office on-site, the type of fiber infrastructure selected to access that data is mission-critical.  FiberLight uniquely offers the critical network components to support the infrastructure required to truly enable a customer’s digital transformation strategy:

  • Density
    • High-count fiber and strands in the ground—lit or dark
    • Up to 1728-count strands in key metros and routes
    • Connected to 120+ data centers
    • Key metro market overbuilds completed to expand density
  • Diversity
    • Existing network is completely diverse from ILEC and MSO routes
    • Ability to construct direct, custom-built paths
    • Diverse entrances into building
    • Multiple diverse backbone paths to data centers
  • Depth
    • Nearly 90 percent of our fiber is 3.5’ underground vs just under the surface or aerial like ILEC or MSO providers
    • Increases security and reliability of customer’s network

FBL: What is on the horizon for FiberLight? 

Jes: We’re excited to launch our first SPIFF for 2019 running now through end of the year. For any new dark fiber or lit service logo, subagents will earn $1,000 or $500 based on closed-won status in salesforce (signed and approved deal). See our SPIFF program flyer for more information.

FiberLight is also continuing to grow organically through new fiber construction. We’re in the process of adding approximately 500 miles of new network in the Texas Valley and Hill Country. The network expansion we’re seeing from the growth of hyperscaler and mobile network operator networks adds density to our already well-covered Texas network and creates even more on- and near-net availability for our partners.

FBL: What is the best way for someone to get in touch if they’re interested in the Strategic Partners and Alliances program or other services from FiberLight?

Jes: Please reach out to your Channel Manager as we are proud to be geographically aligned to support the Channel. Also, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me as well—I am always open to conversation.

We also have many tools to support our partners including our cloud savings calculator that can help demonstrate the impact of cloud egress savings when your customers switch from a public to private connection to their public cloud. Check out the cloud savings calculator now.

Looking forward to seeing you all in the field!

Posted on: October 22, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

If it weren’t for data, most organizations wouldn’t even care about transforming into a digital business. The bottom-line growth and revenue potential of efficiently acquiring, analyzing and acting on data is the digital business’s primary driver.

When organizations set goals to reduce development cycles and accelerate time to market for products and services, and revamp business processes to increase efficiencies and enhance the customer experience, they need a well-defined, meticulously executed data strategy.

To make it all happen, IT plays an inescapable role. Organizations no longer view IT as some invisible entity hidden in the background that is called upon only for problems. IT touches everything, from the security badge to enter an office building, to each employee’s daily tasks, to every digital interaction with partners and customers—and a myriad of day-to-day touch points in between.

As part of its broad set of responsibilities, IT runs the infrastructure and apps that support data strategies, enabling data capture and security, and working with line-of-business managers to make smart data-driven decisions. IT needs the support of leadership. IT needs the right tools and knowhow. This means investing in technology, infrastructure, security and third-party expert contracts to execute a data strategy.

Achieving IT Agility

Currently, 48% of businesses are making substantial investments in digital capabilities, and another 57% will be doing the same in two years, according to IDC. These investments are essential for leveraging data to connect with customers in exciting new ways, adding new revenue streams and improving operational efficiency.

Competing in the new digital world order requires greater IT agility. Many IT teams struggle with legacy systems and inconsistent configurations that hinder reliability while driving up costs, inflexible deployment options that lead to overprovisioning and under-utilized assets and limited platforms that hamper development of new services, according to IDC. Teams also struggle with limited skills availability, the need to develop new applications, cloud migrations, network latency issues and lack of automation.

Thankfully, new tools, platforms and applications are giving IT the means to help organizations harness the power of data. Tools driven by analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are making it easier to manage IT resources, cloud services are giving companies more access to new technology and automation tools are simplifying management of multi-cloud environments.

Building An Adaptive Network

To achieve IT agility, organizations need adaptive networks as the foundation. Even though companies increasingly rely on the cloud for their workloads, they still need robust networks to support data collection and digital interactions with partners and customers.

But not all network assets reside either in the cloud or on premise. To achieve the agility organizations need to make real-time decisions, many are deploying sites at the network edge for data processing and analysis. This approach eliminates the latency that occurs when data has to travel to and from a cloud infrastructure. Edge computing, therefore, enables real-time decisions by making it possible to process data closer to its source.

As such, edge computing improves operational efficiency, allowing organizations to leverage a hybrid-cloud approach alongside an adaptive network infrastructure. Ultimately, the edge will make it possible for organizations to optimize the efficiency of their data and application so they can take advantage of emerging technologies.

But for that to happen, the network has to be highly available. It requires a dynamic, flexible architecture to support connectivity and interaction between multiple clouds—both private and public—in hybrid environments. Many companies have moved workloads such as website management and email to the cloud, while keeping business-critical applications such as inventory systems and data warehousing on premise.

Software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) are lending functionality and flexibility to adaptive networks, automating functions that traditionally have been time-consuming and costly. Network managers can provision managed services from a network provider, including firewalls and routers. SDN and NFV also enable load balancing and traffic rerouting, both in a programmable way and on the fly, to ease network bottlenecking.

Protecting Data

As data moves in, out and within adaptive networks, it requires protection. A single data breach can cost millions of dollars in lost productivity, recovery, mitigation and the erosion of partner and customer trust. Protecting data is fundamental to the success of a digital business strategy.

But security is a complicated affair, as data flows in from multiple sources in various formats. Connections between the network and the cloud must be secured. And as networks grow, they are increasingly distributed across dozens, hundreds or thousands of locations, and millions of network devices, often crossing borders and continents.

It’s hard for organizations to manage security on their own, considering all the security layers that must be in place. As companies become increasingly reliant on digital resources, they must protect their physical and virtual assets—whether on premise in the cloud or at the edge—with a comprehensive security approach. While cloud providers are in charge of protecting data within their environments, organizations are responsible for data on premise or traveling back and forth.

Finding Trusted Partners

More and more organizations are engaging managed security providers to help them manage the complexity of securing their networks and data. Partners bring skills that are in short supply and advanced tools, including AI and machine learning techniques, to secure hybrid environments.

The right security partner can deliver a holistic set of services that includes advanced detection techniques, threat intelligence to spot new hazards, vulnerability testing, access and authentication protocols and protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

But partners can deliver more than security, including managed services that bring efficiency and visibility into network management, as well as consulting services to help with the planning and execution of digital business strategies. Partners also help organizations make sense of the data they capture and guide them in making smart data-driven decisions.

Companies that combine internal and external resources to develop their data strategies find a smoother path into their digital future. This allows them to perfect business operations processes, eliminate effort duplication, cut costs and deliver personalized customer experiences. And that’s why data is at the heart of every digital business strategy.

Read the full IDC Harnessing Your Data to Deliver Better Experiences and Drive Digital Transformation Report

Read the Report

Posted on: October 18, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

The Difference Between Managed Mobility Services and Mobile Device Management

 

Mobile device usage in business continues to be a growth market. And as that usage continues to grow, so too do business challenges that center around effective mobility management. How does a business ensure device security? How does it know that it’s getting the most cost-effective pricing from its mobile device carriers? And how does it cope with the added strains imposed on IT departments required to support the growing number of mobile devices?

The situation that confronts a business with growing mobile device usage is that these questions need to be addressed in order for their mobility initiatives to be cost-effective – but with little experience in mobility management, pulling all of the necessary management and support together can be extremely challenging. The solution for a business plagued with these challenges is very often to turn to an experienced third-party provider of managed mobility services (MMS) and mobile device management (MDM).

But finding a qualified provider can pose its own challenges to a business not familiar with the mobility landscape – including understanding, in the first instance, what it is they need to look for, as well as the vocabulary needed to understand the different solutions on offer from various providers.

With that in mind, we offer this look at exactly what MMS and MDM are, and how they differ from each other.

Managed Mobility Services (MMS)

Managed mobility services are concerned with managing the entire lifecycle of a company’s mobile device fleet, and have a somewhat (but not exclusively) account-based focus. At Wireless Watchdogs, for example, we can be involved with a company before the first device is ever purchased, helping them to understand what their needs and goals are and then helping them to create the policies needed to achieve those goals. We then help with the procurement, provision, and deployment of the devices they need, as well as act on their behalf as an authorized agent to the mobile carriers in order to ensure that they get the best structure and pricing available.

Once the mobile accounts are set up and the devices in place, we then provide continual monitoring in order to achieve two basic goals: That the company’s policies are adhered to, and that the accounts for those devices are always optimal in terms of price. In order to do that, we provide real-time analytics and reporting to our customers so that decision-makers always have the information they need to make informed decisions. They are the same analytics and reports that we use as we manage the accounts to ensure continual cost efficiency, and guarantee synchronicity between a company, its policies and goals, and our MMS efforts on their behalf.

As part of managing the entire device lifecycle, there’s another important service that is provided in order to optimize our customers’ mobility initiatives: Ongoing Help Desk support.

The Help Desk support is a key MMS feature because it removes the burden from a customer’s internal IT staff of having to support a potentially large number of mobile devices. Because the IT department is unlikely to be expert at supporting the mobile devices in use, supporting the devices themselves can chew up large amounts of time and resources. Further, IT departments are typically staffed and funded to support a company’s IT infrastructure, not its new mobile devices, leading to a vicious cycle whereby support all across the board suffers. By including Help Desk support as a part of mobility management services, we remove those burdens and costs from internal IT departments. It’s a win for both the IT department and the device users themselves.

Just as with ongoing Help Desk support, making sure that all mobile devices are always patched and updated is likewise an important aspect of managed mobility services. Keeping devices up to date is important in ensuring that they are always functioning as intended. But it’s especially important for securing devices– and thus, potentially, a business’s network and data – against hacking and malware attacks directed at vulnerabilities known in unpatched devices. And again, ensuring that updates reach all mobile devices could potentially place undue burdens on a company’s internal IT staff. By handing this responsibility off as part of ongoing MMS, companies again save time and money – and are more secure in the bargain.

And finally, because MMS should cover the entire device lifecycle, a device’s end of life is also an important part of those services. Our approach to device end of life as part of our managed mobility services includes ensuring that lost, stolen, or retired devices are no longer able to access networks – an important part of keeping data safe. To further ensure security, we also perform pre-recycle factory resets on retired devices, wiping them of any potentially sensitive data and applications.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

As you will have gathered, managed mobility services must necessarily have some connection to the devices themselves – but in the bigger picture, MMS is about the lifecycle as a whole.

Mobile Device Management (MDM), on the other hand, directly involves the devices themselves. MDM is typically client-server software; the MDM server is centralized and controlled by administrators, while the mobile devices are provisioned with MDM agent software – the client.

Because the MDM software sits on the device, it offers capabilities that MMS in and of itself doesn’t provide. The details vary by the particular MDM software, of course, but typically they provide enhanced security of the device itself. MDM software may, for example, allow for a device to be partitioned into personal-use and business-use silos. Partitioning a device in this manner prevents users from sharing company data on their personal accounts – and likewise prevents a user’s personal data from being shared to the company network.

Access management and identity management – and thus corporate network authentication and access – are also readily controlled through MDM software. And because proper access management is readily achievable, other features can safely be provided to end users. For example, secure file synching and sharing is an important tool with many business use cases – and is readily achievable via MDM software.

Finally, the client-server nature of MDM software allows administrators to have granular control of devices and users across their network. This is especially important in mobile deployments where different users have need of different levels of access to the company network and its resources, because it can ensure that the right users have the right access at the right time – simultaneously increasing efficiency and security.

The Sum is Greater than Its Parts

Thus, MMS is process-centric, while MDM is device-centric. It’s entirely possible to have MMS without MDM software. Likewise, some companies will choose to do an MDM implementation on their own without any other managed mobility services. But the true potential power of MMS and MDM – decreasing costs while simultaneously increasing security – is only fully unlocked when MDM software is an integrated part of managed mobility services.

At Wireless Watchdogs, we’re happy to talk with you further about the various features of both MMS and MDM. You can request a demo of our platform at any time, and see for yourself the kinds of insights that our analytics and reporting can provide.

We also offer a free, no-obligation audit of your wireless accounts. You provide us your cellular bills for the last three months, and we’ll input them into our system and then show you – again, at no cost to you – how you could be saving money every month through our managed mobility services. The savings are real – tens of thousands of dollars a month, for some of our clients. To get started and see where you could be saving, request your free audit here:

REQUEST YOUR FREE AUDIT

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