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Posted on: September 6, 2018 By: admin

By: Eric Hester, Green Cloud Technologies 

 

Complex IT scenarios used to be the stuff of NASA, militaries and Fortune 500 companies. Small businesses were immune to the complexities of highly available, multi-platform, multi-vendor, compliant, distributed, vulnerable IT systems. Those days are long gone, as we all well know. The complexity of IT was highlighted ironically by the coining of the term “cloud” itself. The “cloud” obscured the complexity of these systems into a generic term meant to say, “a network of systems and platforms maintained outside of one’s own environment” (my off the cuff definition; like many of you, I simply remember drawing clouds in the ‘90s to show complex network designs of which I didn’t want to draw all the components).

 

I am certainly not the first person to expound on the evolution of Information Technology over the last half century, nor do I believe I will be the last. That’s not why I am writing this post. I am writing to provide a case for the modern managed cloud service provider. Business can no longer operate without participating in these complex interconnected systems. However, small businesses have not changed – they do not have the ability to manage this complexity. They are good at what they set out to do with their enterprise, but not necessarily with the IT required to do so. Sure, MSPs of the 2.0 variety exist to fill this need, but they also are not evolved enough.

 

Outsourced IT is not a new concept, but it’s not enough. Outsourced cloud service mediation, outsourced service mobility and agility, outsourced compliance, outsourced security, ubiquitous service access must all be combined into a solution. MSP 1.0 was about turning break fix into opex. MSP 2.0 added consultancy and more services. MSP 3.0 (or what I call managed cloud service providers or MCSPs) must be about making IT disappear into the background.

 

Imagine selling (insert vertical here) as a service. A customer no longer worries about what system they are logging into, what software licenses they are paying for or whose cloud services they are using. They simply consume the services that you, as the MCSP, have selected for their needs. You may be saying, “What does that even mean? What platform(s) are you talking about? What products?” The point isn’t how yet, it is what. Now the time is right for holistic solutions made up of many vendors, products and providers. We need to put the simplification of the cloud drawing over that complexity as well. Modern MSPs or MCSPs must be focused on selling a solution that does not have the customer wondering why AWS is better than Azure or why o365 is better than gSuite, etc. Modern solutions must solve a problem and work in a way agnostic to the underlying components. Customers want to run their business and they WANT to pay you to make IT easier.

 

Services like SD-WAN, DDoS Protection, AI Based IDS/AMP, SaaS utilization management, Identity Management, snapshot recovery, long term archiving, abstractions like published apps or workspace platforms like AirWatch must ALL be managed to differentiate your services and create these solutions. Just as concepts like PSA, RMM, vCIO and QBRs became terms and concepts inherent in MSP 2.0 solutions, so too must these concepts now become second nature.

Posted on: August 30, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

The #1 competitor to agents selling unified communications is the status quo – customers staying with their current on premise solution. We take a look at three points that you can use in your next discussion on why to migrate to the cloud.

By John Dickson, Momentum Telecom

Many enterprises are facing a key decision: keep their aging, antiquated on-premise solution or embrace the future and move to a hosted solution.

There is a lot of natural hesitancy towards being an early adopter of a technology. Questions like “will this work?”, “how does this help our bottom line” and “is this right decision?” can be heard rattling around the skulls of IT executives from miles away. This is why many offices for companies around the globe, there are arguments being made about hosted or cloud voice solutions and on-premise options.

When that discussion takes place, there are a lot of factors to consider, and each of the following are topics that are important enough that should both be considered and should drive that conversation:

Technology

Can you imagine using a computer from the 1990s to do your work? Or how about using a trusty car phone to make calls while driving into work? If the thought of relying on either of those relics to do business scared you, then you need to ask yourself why you’re relying on today’s work to be done using telephone technology from decades past. Cloud voice has firmly entrenched itself as the technology of tomorrow that is both affordable and available today. Analog and on-premise systems will soon be as rare as a telegraph, and thank goodness you’re not using one of those for your office memos.

Scalability

A traditional on-premise system allows you to have a predetermined maximum number of users, and this model can function well for companies that don’t add or remove users on a regular basis. However, for those enterprises that do add and remove users more often, the moment you pass the available threshold (even if by a single user) you have to upgrade the system and pay for the next maximum number of seats available, even though you won’t be using all of them. The benefit a hosted solution provides is the ability to with a few mere clicks, you can add or remove seat and you only pay for the seats you’re actually using. For companies that are growing or need the ability to scale up or down at a moment’s notice, a hosted solution is much more streamlined and cost friendly.

Cost

Hosted solutions can reduce upfront expenditures such as hardware and save costs in a number of ways; beginning with reducing costly maintenance fees and allowing organizations to pay only for the number of users using the technology. In a very tangible way, hosted solutions provide savings and furthermore, allow enterprises to switch from a capital expenditure to a operational expense.

While your debate doesn’t need to end to with these three topics (it could certainly extend the conversation to include customization, maintenance, disaster recovery, mobility and on and on), but technology, scalability and cost are certainly driving factors that every business needs to consider. And as current trends show, companies that are ready to lead in their industry will continue to pick hosted voice over solutions on-premise options.

Posted on: August 28, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

Static IP & SD-WAN / Why it’s a Critical Consideration is brought to you by BCN Telecom.

In today’s crowded landscape of SD-WAN solutions, sourcing the best option for your customers can be daunting. As always, asking the right questions, understanding the customer’s business environment and the outcomes they desire are the best place to start.  In your discovery process you may not have considered the importance of your customer’s need to support Static IP requirements within the SD-WAN environment. In fact, it is a critical need for many customers and you’ll want to ensure that the SD-WAN solution you recommend is able to offer that support.

 

Ricardo Villa, BCN Director of IT & Managed Services explores it in  more detail.

Why is full support for Static IP requirements so critical in an SD-WAN solution?

RV: Without full support for Static IPs, the SD-WAN solution becomes effectively a one-way session solution.  Without Static IP support, your customer can only benefit from the full suite of SD-WAN features on outbound-sessions.

What is the downside of an SD-WAN solution that doesn’t support Static IP requirements?

RV: Without Static IP support, there is no way to perform inbound sessions over the SD-WAN overlay.  If an SD-WAN solution doesn’t offer Static IP support, it in essence limits the possible features and services that your customer can eventually run over the SD-WAN.

How does support for Static IP in the SD-WAN overlay impact the need for your customer to re-number Static IP addresses?

RV: The availability of Static-IP at the SD-WAN level will eliminate the hassle that your customers can face in changing Static IP addresses when there is a change in the underlying access provider. When the Static IP is at the SD-WAN overlay level they won’t be faced with re-numbering Static IPs.  Even if your customer physically moves to a new location, they will still be able to preserve their Static IPs via the SD-WAN overlay.

What specific customer environments/situations are successfully addressed with Static IP support?

RV: Static IP support enables a customer to host services from their location within the SD-WAN environment.  For example, they may have an IP PBX, security camera, web server, email server, VPN concentrator, etc.  Let’s take the case of a customer with an IP PBX system. If the SD-WAN solution is able to utilize the Static IP on their IP PBX, remote office workers will be able to connect their phones via the SD-WAN overlay, thus receiving the full benefits of SD-WAN.  Without that Static IP support the remote worker has to connect to the IP PBX using one of the access circuit IPs. In doing so they are effectively bypassing the SD-WAN and all its inherent features completely.

How does the BCN SD-WAN solution support Static IP requirements within the SD-WAN environment?

RV: BCN is unique, in that our SD-WAN solution enables Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) support on the SD-WAN overlay and assigns Public Static IP addressing space to it.  In doing so, it enables the BCN SD-WAN solution to accommodate the types of customer requirements described above, making the move to SD-WAN technology one that will have positive impact on their entire environment.

Posted on: August 23, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

“What exactly is a ‘grandmother’s blanket of technology infrastructure” and how do you help your customer get out from under it?”

 

As a technology adviser, you see it all the time. Your customer or prospect has pieced together multiple services from multiple carriers, multiple monthly invoices and multiple points of contact for service and support. And that’s just at one location. Now multiply that by five, ten, fifty, one hundred, or even thousands of locations.

You  may have entered the opportunity to help solve one need, but as that blanket slowly unfolds you realize that you are in a position to offer them answers to questions they may not even know they have.

They didn’t get there overnight. Location by location, carrier by carrier, service by service, another ‘square’ was sewn together. Each time, the complexity of your prospect or customer’s  overall infrastructure grew but they were either too busy to notice or just continued to apply more and more resources to manage it.

Perhaps most importantly, they had not yet found a trusted adviser who could see the whole ‘blanket’, take an objective look at what they had woven together and say I know where you are and I know how to get you to where you need to be.

 

“You are that trusted adviser. You know from experience that this ‘grandmother’s blanket of infrastructure’ is most likely increasing the potential to overspend for services, under-utilize the latest technology and perhaps even stalling the growth of their organization. Costs are up. Productivity and efficiency are down.”

 

But who do you turn to when you need support unraveling what’s in place?

You need to align with a team that’s seen this complexity before and is skilled at breaking it down piece by piece, auditing and analyzing services and invoices, with the insight to deliver tangible options to the conceptual need to ‘simplify’.

BCN has been working exclusively through partners like you to help customers find simplicity in complexity for over 24+ years. We’re doing it today for over 25,000 business clients.

So help your customer throw off that “grandmother’s blanket of infrastructure” and get back to their business.  With BCN complex never means complicated.

 

ABOUT BCN

The BCN team faces complexity head on and delivers the simplicity that allows our partners  to help  customer focus on their business, not their technology services.  We deliver converged voice, data, cloud, and wireless solutions on a single BCN platform with a solution portfolio from over 75 best-in-class wholesale network partners. And we do it all on one consolidated monthly invoice for all services and all locations, with one 24/7 U.S. based support team and a world-class online portal where you and your customer have access to manage their entire BCN portfolio of services at all locations.

Posted on: August 16, 2018 By: admin

15 Networking Experts You Should Be Following on LinkedIn is brought to you by Cato Networks.

 

The areas of enterprise networking, SD-WAN, and networking security are fast-paced and changing as our enterprises digitally transform. Analysts IDC expect SD-WAN, in particular, to see major growth. This blooming industry is bringing with it experts that cover both the technical and business aspects of using the technologies. They offer advice and know-how into real-world applications and use of the technologies as well as insight into the emerging side of the industry too. Below, we’ve listed 15 of the top experts in enterprise networking and SD-WAN who we recommend following on Linkedin. These are industry leaders that we look to for the latest developments in the world of enterprise networking. These are all experts with strong experience in the field, and when they speak about enterprise networks, it’s always worth hearing what they have to say.

 

Brad Hedlund

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bradhedlund/

@BradHedlund

Brad is the Technical Account Manager for AWS and before that an engineering Architect for VMWare. Brad has extensive hands-on experience and specializes in Cloud networking, data center infrastructure, and network security. Check out an interview with Brad on VMWorld TV.

 

Greg Ferro

https://www.linkedin.com/in/etherealmind/

@etherealmind

Greg is one of the co-founders of Packet Pushers which is a weekly podcast about data networking by networking architects. Greg is a veteran of networking and a prolific writer. Sign up for his networking newsletter which gives the latest news on networking infrastructure and great hands-on advice too. Greg stated recently on Twitter: “Gonna talk about SD-WAN in 2018. It will be kind of ranty. Ok, maybe a lot ranty.”

 

Andrew Lerner

https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewfastlerner/

@fast_lerner

Andrew is a Gartner Analyst specializing in Networking and SD-WAN. He has a blog which he writes in regularly, with a mix of industry insight, technical advisories, and predictions such as “Predicting SD-WAN Adoption”. In this post he discusses the prediction that by 2019 30% of enterprises will be using SD-WAN. His tweets include: “In our world, the network API is a change request ticket”

 

Matt Simmons

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattsimmonssysadmin/

@standaloneSA

Matt runs the blog “Standalone Sys-Admin” where has offers a mix of technical how to’s and more personal views such as “Stop hating your work”. Matt also is the Linux Systems Administrator for SpaceX where he combines his love of science and engineering. Matt has a Github repository where he hosts projects and experiments that may be helpful to networking professionals.

 

Erik Fritzler

https://www.linkedin.com/in/erikfritzler/

@FritzlerErik

Erik’s specialties include SD-WAN, Network Design, and Engineering and IT Security. In a recent LinkedIn article on “Achieving a Lean Branch with SDWAN and Cloud Security Services” he talks about the use of SD-WAN when optimizing security. Erik also has a column at Network World where he writes on networking technologies such as SD-WAN and how they can be embraced by the C-Suite.

 

Steve Garson

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevengarson/

@WANExperts

Steve founded the global consultancy firm SD-Wan Experts who offer expert consultation on networking technologies like SD-WAN as well as IT security. Steve has a column at Network World where he offers his expert advice. One of his latest articles looks at the importance of choosing the right ISP for your SD-WAN, focussing in particular on the the quality of their Internet connections.

 

Ashish Nadkarni

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashishnadkarni/

@ashish_nadkarni

Ashish is the Program Director, Computing Platforms, for analysts IDC. He spends his time doing research into networking infrastructure, storage systems, and Cloud data centers.  Ashish uses his Twitter feed to keep us up to date with the networking world. Ashish was a speaker at the 2017 IDC at VMworld, where he spoke on “Digital Transformation in the as-a-Service Era”.

 

Simon Wardley

https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonwardley/

@swardley

Simon works across a number of areas and on projects such as Hyperledger and OpenForum Europe. He also advises corporations and governments alike on how to successfully deliver technology. Check out Simon’s talk at GOTO 2017 on “Why the Fuss about Serverless”.

 

Ben Hendrick

www.linkedin.com/in/bhendrick/

Ben is a Global Executive & IBM Security Partner as well as an NTSC Advisory Board member with over 25 years experience in the tech industry. Ben occasionally writes for Security Intelligence magazine where his article on “Secure SD-WAN: The First Step Toward Zero Trust Security” looks at how to apply the model of zero-trust in security to SD-WAN.

 

Russ White

https://www.linkedin.com/in/riw777/

@rtggeek

Russ White is a member of LinkedIn’s Infrastructure team with 25 years of networking experience. Russ publishes his thoughts on networking on his blog and has also published a number of books on network architecture. In a recent blog post, he discusses how the fast pace of network innovation is causing uneducated customers to invest in overly complex networking solutions.

 

Marcel Koenig

https://www.linkedin.com/in/koenigmarcel/

Marcel founded Ancoma which is an innovation and consulting network focusing on business infrastructures. Marcel has a number of specialty areas including ICT, Information technology and telecommunications. He has immense business experience across sectors such as telecoms. Marcel will be speaking at WAN Summit in London in October 2018.

 

Simon Lawrence

www.linkedin.com/in/simon-lawrence-2a711612/

Simon works for New York Mellon Bank as Vice President of Unified Communications Engineering and leads the EMEA team for Network Engineering. Simon is exploring how SD-WAN could benefit Mellon bank and will be talking at the WAN Summit in London later this year.

 

Matt Conran

https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewconranjnr/

Matt is a cloud and network specialist with over 15 years of networking experience. Matt currently works as an independent contractor and publishes a blog with helpful explainer videos and posts on a variety of networking topics including SD-WAN, the Internet of Things, and Cloud security.

 

Tom Hollingsworth

https://www.linkedin.com/in/networkingnerd/

@networkingnerd

Tom is a networking analyst at Foskett Services and the creator of networkingnerd.net where he offers an irreverent take on networking news and trends.  In a recent post on wireless networks, Tom explains why so many customers aren’t willing to pay for quality wireless and how this leads to mediocre service for consumers.

 

Robin Harris

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robin-harris-1a595a/

@StorageMojo

Robin is a storage analyst, consultant and blogger. Robin writers for ZDNet at ‘Storage Bits’ where he focuses on the SME marketplace. His ‘look back’ article for 2017 “The best emerging storage tech of 2017” looks at the best storage technologies to come out of 2017.

 

As networking technologies evolve, keeping up with the changes is an ongoing task for networking professionals. Experts like our 15 above can help you do that by passing on their knowledge, industry insight, and hands-on experience in blogs, at shows, and on Twitter.

 

This article was written by Dave Greenfield. Dave is a veteran of IT industry. He’s spent more than 20 years as an award-winning journalist and independent technology consultant. Today, he serves as a secure networking evangelist for Cato Networks.

Posted on: August 9, 2018 By: admin

3 Tips on Upselling and Cross-Selling to Customers is brought to you by CallTower.

 

Once you have convinced a customer to purchase a product, you should not consider your sales pitch done. After the purchase is certain, your next battle will be to try to cross-sell or upsell in order to increase the value of the sale. Both upselling and cross-selling have proven to be highly effective methods of increasing the final value of a sale, as many customers are willing to spend slightly more than they had planned. However, following certain guidelines can help to increase the likelihood of a successful cross-sale or upsell without turning-off what would have been a potential sale. Here are a few tips to help you successfully upsell and cross-sell to customers.

 

Don’t Overdo It

While cross-selling and upselling have proven to be extremely successful sales methods with as high as a 70% success rate, it is important not to overdo it when suggesting these add-ons. If you suggest too many additional options to customers, or get too pushy, you not only risk overwhelming and confusing a customer, but you could actually risk losing the sale altogether. While add-ons can be great, a small sale is still better than no sale at all. You should then keep your suggestions as brief as possible while making sure that the customer understands how the additional product would benefit them. However, it is important to recognize when a customer is not interested in something else and back down to prevent them from deciding not to make a purchase at all.

Limit The Price Increase

In order to ensure a successful cross-sale or upsell, you should also limit the amount the additional product would add to the total sale price. Generally, it is best not to try to upsell or cross-sell if doing so will increase the total purchase price by more than 25-35% of the original value. Customers are more likely to agree to an upsell or cross-sell if it does not represent a dramatic increase on what they had already been planning on spending.

Get to Know Your Customers

Successful upselling and cross-selling also requires that you take some time to get to know your customersso that you will be able to understand their wants and needs. By getting to know your customers, you will be able to suggest a cross-sell or upsell that they may actually want/need, making it more likely that they will purchase the item. Additionally, getting to know your customer will help you to determine if they are even open to spending more money. If a customer is clearly on a tight budget, you do not want to waste your time by trying to upsell to them, as this could end up alienating them out of making a purchase. As with all sales, getting to know your customer is key in upsells and cross-sales.

 

Successful cross-selling and upselling can help to turn a sale into a great sale; however, it is important that you use tact in order to ensure the success of your upsell or cross-sell. Want some more ammunition in your sales belt? Download our guide here for more tools!

Posted on: August 2, 2018 By: admin

Private vs Public Cloud: It’s All About Control is brought to you by Expedient.

 

Cloud computing delivers infrastructure as a service (IaaS) that can be consumed as an operating expense rather than acquired as an asset. The flexibility of moving from capital expense to operating expense provides organizations with a choice between public cloud and private cloud environment options. Choosing between the two—or taking a hybrid cloud approach where workloads operate in both types of environments—requires an understanding of the subtle differences.

In a public cloud, logical computing resources are shared among multiple organizations across the same physical infrastructure and the following feature attributes apply:

  • Capacity – The computing, storage and networking resources in a public cloud are shared among multiple organizations and while demand can be matched with supply to ensure the most efficient allocation, those resources are not unlimited.
  • Cost – A public cloud delivers a high value return because resources are shared among multiple organizations and can be consumed irrespective of location.
  • Control – While public cloud environments deliver control over resource utilization, the shared nature of the infrastructure leaves some elements up to the hosting operator.
  • Reliability – High availability configurations in the public cloud provide shared redundancy capabilities.
  • Security – Because physical resources in a public cloud are shared, some organizations choose to be selective about which workloads operate here.

In a private cloud, all computing resources are dedicated to a single organization and the following feature attributes apply:

  • Capacity – All computing, storage and networking resources in a private cloud are dedicated to a single organization and demand can be matched with supply and to ensure the most efficient allocation.
  • Cost – A hosted private cloud can be delivered with little to no capital expense and instead consumed as an operating expense that is predictable over a period of time.
  • Control – A private cloud is built to be consumed by a single organization that retains the ability to configure and manage resources without the restrictions that might be imposed in a multi-tenant solution that shares resources.
  • Reliability – High availability configurations provide dedicated redundancy in a private cloud because all resources can be assigned in the event of a failure.
  • Security – The combination of physical and logical segmentation for resources in a private cloud safeguards the infrastructure at multiple layers which creates additional peace of mind for sensitive workloads.

Making the Decision

A public cloud solution may be right for you if:

  • Business growth is dynamic and computing demand fluctuates over time
  • Security is an imperative, but workloads can be appropriately segmented to reduce any risk that might be associated with industry or government compliance mandates
  • Keeping costs low by taking advantage of economies of scale is appealing

A private cloud solution may be right for you if:

  • Business growth is predictable and computing demand is stable over time
  • Industry or government compliance mandates limited the feasibility of shared resources
  • Accepting higher, but predictable costs to ensure dedicated resources is strongly desired

Some organizations may choose a hybrid approach by deploying workloads across both types of environments.

Public, private and hybrid cloud environments can keep data safe, secure and separate.

 

Expedient can deliver the outcome you’re looking for in one of its local data centers near you or one that’s further away—for backup or disaster recovery reasons.

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