Despite the benefits, instigating a cloud collaboration service policy and migrating to the cloud is not without its difficulties. There are a number of issues to consider of which organisations need to be conscious. It is important that the network architecture they put in place to accommodate their cloud infrastructure addresses these. Issues include; achieving reliability, the managing of centralised data with remote users and devices, security, the growth of media-rich content and management complexity.
Some business may prefer to implement their collaboration applications on site, where they have more control of the applications and their data. Traditional organisational infrastructures may have networks that are not set up to take full advantage of the cloud. They may experience poor application performance or increase their exposure to security risks when migrating to the cloud.
Therefore, to migrate to the cloud effectively and efficiently, organisations must ensure to set up their network architecture with the most suitable routing, application performance, and security technologies possible.
Cloud Collaboration Providers
When choosing a cloud collaboration service provider/partner, a business should seek a provider that can offer the following:
Common cloud migration misconceptions
It’s a popular misconception with cloud services is that it is an all or nothing solution. In fact it is entirely the opposite cloud based services offer a higher degree of flexibility than traditional solutions. They sit comfortably alongside legacy systems and can be deployed without disruption to the users or causing system downtime. You don’t need to change everything, use cloud for some things and local legacy software for others. There is a case in point with cornerstone systems like IBM Domino and Microsoft Exchange. They can co-exist allowing you to migrate to cloud solutions like Microsoft Office 365 whilst maintaining a local email system where required.
These hybrid solutions do however require the support of experienced solution providers. LAN2LAN, one of the leading industry providers, will be exploring the challenges of migrating email and collaboration tools to the cloud in a forthcoming workshop. LAN2LAN's consultants will be joined by colleagues from Binary Tree, together they’ll discuss organisational case studies and the latest cloud migration best practice.
Click here to book your place at the workshop on 30th April 2014 in Leatherhead, Surrey.
Alternatively, Call us today on 0870 787 4001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about what we can do for your organisation. LAN2LAN are an IBM Premier Partner and Microsoft Managed Partner.
Angela Nightingale April 3rd, 2014 10:04:01
Back in October 2013 we discussed the Financial and Practical Benefits of e-mail migration. The blog received such positive feedback we’re returning to the subject to discuss migrating E-mail and collaboration platforms to the Cloud.
Cloud services are rapidly becoming an established part of the IT strategy for many organisations. In fact as Cloud computing is as one of the top considerations for C suite executives and IT professionals in 2014 so we think this topic’s timely. As the use of Cloud services becomes more widespread, it is becoming increasingly apparent that cloud services are emerging as a vital transformational technology for the business environment by providing organisations with far superior levels of automation, orchestration, provisioning, and deployment. More and more IT professionals are migrating to cloud services for a wide range of applications including email, collaboration, storage, payroll, HR, customer relations management, unified communications, web conferencing, and video.
Cloud collaboration services in particular can help organisations become more efficient, reduce operating costs, improve worker productivity, allocate internal resources more effectively and collaborate better, both internally and across global boundaries.
Benefits of Cloud Collaboration
Advantages of migrating to The Cloud include:
If you would like to learn more about the practical implications of migrating your email system or collaboration tools to the Cloud, leading solutions provider LAN2LAN are hosting a workshop on the subject on the 30th April 2014. Click here to read more about the event and request a place.
Alternatively, call us today on 0870 787 4001 or email email@example.com to find out more about what we can do for your organisation.
Angela Nightingale April 2nd, 2014 11:37:47
World Backup Day 2014 is to be applauded as thoroughly worthwhile. It is a reminder to think the unthinkable and do something to mitigate it.
There are a so many PR campaigns around that they often pass unnoticed. However, World Backup Day 2014 is to be applauded as thoroughly worthwhile and prompted this post in the LAN2LAN blog.
Technology is omnipresent in our lives and like cars it’s become so reliable we take it for granted. As result we don’t always put the steps in place to safeguard our information in the event that it doesn’t work. World Backup Day, on 31st March 2014 is a timely reminder to think the unthinkable and do something to mitigate it.
Have you ever considered the number of unique documents, photographs, videos, drawings and recordings that you alone hold on your personal devices? Now ask yourself “what would you do if you lost everything?” If the device they reside on was totally destroyed could the data be retrieved?
This is the question being asked by the organisers of World Backup day on the 31st March 2014. The purpose of the day is to encourage everyone to create a backup; a second copy of all your important files.
For those who already have a backup solution in place it’s a reminder to use it. For those who haven’t there are some suggestions of how to copy your information and ways to store it safety. The site is well worth a visit www.worldbackupday.com
Flooding, theft, forgetfulness, cyber attack or accident can all result is total loss of a device along with irreplaceable information or images. For an individual loss of data is an emotional event but at least you have memories to fall back on.
Organisations don’t have images of loved ones to lose but the ramifications of lost data can be just as significant. With the number of backup solutions available, data is easily copied, stored and recovered in the event of failure or loss. So if you do nothing else on March 31st 2014, give thought to your precious company data and how you copy it and keep it safe. Who knows one day you might be thankful you had a backup.
Call LAN2LAN today on 0870 787 4001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about backup solutions for your organisation click here
Angela Nightingale March 31st, 2014 11:05:00
Microsoft’s Most Successful Operating System Windows XP is powering down. Extended support for Windows XP will end on April 8th 2014 leaving big risks for those not looking to upgrade to a later system. Ever since the release of Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows XP has been a very reliable platform loved by many users. With the release of Vista so close to SP2, many organisations skipped that system and waited until the release of Windows 7 before refreshing and migrating to the later platform. However, as of October last year, 31.2% of the world’s PCs were still running XP, which is where the problems start.
What does Windows XP end of support actually mean for that percentage?
It means that there will be no more patches or security updates and no more technical support of any kind for the Windows XP Operating System. This can leave network security systems open to malware attacks, viruses, spyware and data will be left unprotected and vulnerable, but is that really the only concern for organisations? One major issue with such an upgrade is the worry that many applications will not work on a later system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
The conundrum of having valuable applications not working on a new system against having a system open to targeted hacking attacks is enough to make any IT manager panic! What’s the best option?
Network security should take precedence. Protecting your data is extremely important and endlessly valuable but why try and work with a highly costly custom fix when your software and hardware vendors aren’t staying in the same age? The long term cost and workload of protecting your company is not worth the trouble when a migration solution can be applied. Even running Windows XP as a virtual machine will start to have its limitations and that’s before you run into licensing issues for browser based applications.
The good news is you still have time to make the jump to Windows 7 or Windows 8 even with the end of support date for XP only a month away. The other good news is that software migration experts such as LAN2LAN can take care of that process for you.
Start by downloading Microsoft’s Upgrade Assistant to make sure your PCs meet the hardware requirements and see if your applications are compatible – you should be able to get a clear picture of whether or not you will need to buy new PCs or other hardware, or if you can upgrade based on your current infrastructure. Then, get in touch with LAN2LAN and let one of our migration experts’ help you upgrade safely, smoothly and securely.
Please click here for more information http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/upgrade-assistant-download-online-faq
Angela Nightingale March 17th, 2014 12:13:10
After 12 years Windows XP is coming to the end of its life. Support for Microsoft's most successful operating system finishes on the 8th April 2014.
This means that there will be no further updates and technical assistance will cease. We're not talking Y2K, so there's no fear that PC's won't boot up as usual on the 9th April. The main issue is the security of the unsupported Windows XP machines and the risks this creates for wider network security. Since there will be no scheduled security patches from April onwards, organisations continuing to run Windows XP face the risk of targeted hacking attacks.
The most significant source of cyber attacks after the XP end of life will still be through the Internet -- specifically, users clicking dangerous links or attachments and surfing to nefarious websites. One effective, albeit short-term, method of mitigating the risk from cyber attacks is to isolate XP machines onto a different network. One that has access only to the file shares necessary for line-of-business applications, and not the wider Internet.
The additional risk from unsupported Windows XP machines is loss of business continuity and hardware connectivity. Expect to encounter greater numbers of apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP, as fewer and fewer software and hardware manufacturers support it. Even some of Microsoft's own products may become sub optimal with XP.
Although Office 365 will not block connections from fully patched Windows XP computers after 8 April 2014, connectivity to the service will be at risk. Windows XP workstations that have not deployed all service packs and automatic updates run an even higher risk of Office 365 connectivity issues after support for Windows XP ends. If you do experience a technical problem connecting to Office 365 from a Windows XP machine you can get Microsoft support but only if you are able reproduce the problem on a supported operating system such as Windows 7 or 8. This may not help if the issues are exclusive to the XP operating system.
There is a short term Recommendation to mitigate windows XP end of support however;
1) Run a full audit of every application within the desktop software portfolio to identify the scale of the issue
2) Find out the end-of-life plans for your anti-virus and anti-malware products, and make sure they will still be effective.
3) Ensure any remaining XP machines are fully patched and updated before 8th April 2014
4) Develop network segregation techniques to keep XP machines isolated to protect the rest of the network if security is beached or a virus introduced.
This strategy however generates a drain on IT resource and is frankly unsustainable for more than a few months. The resolution is to upgrade all Windows XP workstations to Windows 8 or Windows 7 prior to 8th April 2014.
It is a case that all good things come to and end and its time to move forward on a 12-year-old operating system and not expose your organisation to unnecessary security risks.
If you would like in-depth information on the end of Windows XP support, it can be found here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/endofsupport.aspx.
Alternatively, if the end of support for Windows XP prompts you to review the wider implications for your network security solutions and operating systems please get in touch. LAN2LAN have years of experience helping companies implement network security solutions, wireless and collaboration and messaging on an international level. Established in 1994, their partners include IBM, Microsoft, HP, VMware, Aruba, Fortinet, LogRhythm, Lacoon, Lastline and UM Labs.
Call us today on 0870 787 4001 or email email@example.com and learn more about what our award-winning team of experts can do for you.
Angela Nightingale March 13th, 2014 09:00:00
LAN2LAN, has signed a new UK partnership with Druva, experts in endpoint data protection and governance. Award winning systems integrator LAN2LAN, identified Druva as an established company producing high quality solutions, to protect and provide IT control over endpoint data.
The Druva InSync partnership with LAN2LAN addresses Druva’s objectives to fuel significant channel success in the UK and further extend their global footprint. LAN2LAN are the first certified reseller in the UK to market Druva’s InSync endpoint data protection and governance platform, which was ranked number one by Gartner in the October 2013 report, Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Endpoint Backup.
Danny Williams, (Head of Mobile Security) at LAN2LAN sees endpoint data security solutions as a key focus for businesses. ‘IT Departments should be encouraged to focus on the secure usability of their company data rather than device management alone. Mobile, Cloud and wi-fi services are enabling a mobile and flexible work life, but increase pressure on IT to keep the data safe on multiple platforms. Companies put policies and restrictions in place, but employees still want to use their own devices and file sharing because it enables them to be more productive’ says Williams.
Endpoint data protection is therefore critical and perfectly complements LAN2LAN's portfolio of cyber security solutions. LAN2LAN have the technology to protect perimeter security, identify threats and have remediation technologies to secure against advanced persistent viruses and malware.
Williams also commented that ‘InSync completes LAN2LAN’s product cycle. It works behind the scenes to provide backup, file access & restore across multiple platforms and devices (corporate or BYOD), preserves personal settings and simplifies data migration, without any impact on the end user. This means people can share files and documents on different devices without the need to do anything. 80% of data is duplicated between users and InSync’s global deduplication means multiple backups of the same document are unnecessary, thereby freeing up storage space and bandwidth’.
LAN2LAN deliver technologically innovative solutions and expertise within security, wireless and collaboration & messaging. Established in 1994, their partners include IBM, Microsoft, HP, VMware, Aruba, Fortinet, LogRhythm, Lacoon, Lastline and UM Labs.
Call us today on 0870 787 4001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more about what our award-winning team of experts can do for you. Click here to find out more about Endpoint Data Protection and Druva InSync.
Angela Nightingale March 10th, 2014 14:39:19
You will find below what you need to know about unlocking employee mobility and productivity with wireless network solutions for BYOD.
Thanks to BYOD —the Bring Your Own Device policy, which allows workers to conduct their business tasks from their personal devices—employees are freer, more mobile, and more productive than ever before.
Freedom and Flexibility ≠ Facebook Believe it or not, allowing your employees to connect to the business network from their personal laptops does not mean that they’re spending all of their time on non-work related tasks. In fact, the freedom and flexibility allowed by BYOD dramatically increases productivity. Here’s how.
1. When an employee uses a device that he or she is already familiar with, that worker requires minimum technical training. Because the employee already knows how to use the device, there is little to no frustration that comes with learning new software.
2. By using a personal device—especially a phone or a tablet—employees are choosing to take their work home with them. And because they can connect from anywhere, their work is easily accessible. That means they can log in on their ride into work, over lunch, and after hours. And they do. (See below).
Because of the comfort of using their own devices, as well as the convenience of being able to connect from anywhere, employee morale skyrockets with BYOD —and so does productivity. Employees are doing much more than surfing through social networks on their personal devices: according to Dell, they’re actually adding over 240 hours of work…each.
Unlock Productivity with Preparation and Management. In order for your organisation to reap the benefit of productive employees with BYOD in your company, you must first know what kind of devices your employees are using. Then, of course, you have to manage all of those devices once they’re on your network. Here are a few solutions to consider when you’re starting out.
1. According to the Dimensional Research Survey of IT professionals, an overwhelming number of employees (78% to be exact) use Apple devices. Apple devices can easily be configured to allow users a secure connection to the company network. Several other, non-Apple devices also allow for similar, secure configuration. In any case, it’s of primary importance to know which types of devices employees prefer to use, and which types are supported on your network.
2. No matter which device employees use, the company network needs to be prepared, lest it become congested and sluggish. The best way to avoid slowdowns is to put the proper solutions in place beforehand. For example, if the network doesn’t have the bandwidth to support several mobile devices, your service provider may suggest a business Ethernet network in order to share network resources via an existing infrastructure. Other solutions include defining the maximum amount of bandwidth that Internet sites, cloud apps, and users can consume. It all depends on the needs of your business.
What is important for employers and IT professionals, then, is to keep tabs on when employees wish to switch out their devices for different brands or upgraded models. Employers must take into account the device’s compatibility, as well as the amount of bandwidth needed to support new devices.
At LAN2LAN, we can help you design and implement wireless network solutions that will unlock your employees’ productivity and allow them to reach their full potential.
Not only will we make your transition to BYOD flawless, but also we’ll continue to help you manage users after you get there.
Call us today on 0870 787 4001 or email email@example.com to find out more about what we can do for your organisation.
Angela Nightingale February 20th, 2014 08:14:47
Stay up to date with Cloud computing by visiting LAN2LAN at Cloud Expo 2014. Cloud Expo Europe 2014 rolls in town next week. It’s jam-packed with world-class cloud experts and a major exhibition featuring over 200 cutting edge suppliers. Plus 300 expert speakers in a compelling conference and seminar programme covering all the key issues.
It’s an opportunity to see all the latest Cloud developments for free at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre, London on the 26th & 27th February 2014.
Click here to register:
Big Data will be a major focus at this year’s Cloud Expo. LAN2LAN is involved on stand 1011 with distribution partner Big Technology who is also sponsoring the Big Data and Analytics theatre. LAN2LAN are showcasing the WAN optimisation and Data Acceleration technologies of Silver Peak.
Big Data requires greater speed and higher capacity. Silver Peak WAN optimization overcomes network performance challenges and lowers ongoing WAN costs through virtual flexibility and capacity. Silver Peak’s Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA) combines groundbreaking optimisation techniques with flexible deployment models and pricing to make data acceleration easy and cost effective.
LAN2LAN Consultants will be available on stand 1011 to showcase the products and discuss first hand the contribution Silver Peak solutions are making to organisations around the globe.
Angela Nightingale February 19th, 2014 08:55:56
The financial and productivity benefits of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and Unified Communications (UC) are being realised. Organisations are also experiencing unexpected returns for collaboration solutions as employees can work anytime, anywhere, and collaborate more effectively with colleagues, customers, and partners.
As we experience unprecedented levels of The financial benefits of VoIP and Unified Communications disruption to travel due to the worst rains in living memory, VoIP is at the spearhead of the UC trend because of its domestic profile. IP telephony has increasing acceptance in the personal domestic markets through providers such as Skype. Just like Apple with BYOD, Skype’s domestic VoIP is having an influence on organisational decision makers. They are seeing the savings on domestic call charges and asking why can’t this be achieved at scale within organisations? The answer is it can.
The technological tipping point has also been reached, such that VoIP can now compete, and exceed, in some cases, the quality of landline copper wire connections. The provision of seamless switching between VoIP and wire ensures continuity at all times. The call quality and constant connectivity combined with the reduction in cost is proving irresistible for business leaders.
Reducing call costs
A VoIP solution in a fixed location will deliver a financial benefit against traditional fixed line telephony. However, as mobile telephony is the highest cost for many organisations a holist Unified Communications solution is more commonly required.
Dual-mode smart phones, which automatically switch from expensive mobile services to a corporate wireless LAN whenever available are a solution. ShoreTel Mobility is designed to reduce mobile costs with the ability to automatically select the most cost-effective method of routing calls. This user-driven and location-based presence information helps customers and employees reach key contacts exactly when and where they need to.
A Mobility solution can dramatically reduce the most expensive mobile bills by effectively shifting mobile minutes to Wi-Fi minutes, by leveraging dual-mode smart phones and WLAN networks in a viable way to reduce enterprise mobility and communications spend. Not only does this deliver immediate cost savings it also offers the convenience of a single number and handset for employees and their customers.
Return on investment
According to research amongst the customers of industry leading VoIP provider ShoreTel, many are seeing a return of investment within a year. More broadly by unifying its communications an organisation can generate company-wide cost reductions by freeing valuable IT resources to work on strategic projects. Over the long term, benchmark data by the Aberdeen Group shows ShoreTel offers the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry for its UC solutions.
What is Unified Communication?
Unified communication (UC) is an application that integrates phone calls, voice messaging, instant messaging, presence information, and web-based conferencing sessions on the employee's laptop, tablet or smart phone, making it easy to communicate over any network connection from any location.
UC allows an individual to send a message on one medium and receive the same communication on another medium or device. For example, receiving a voicemail message and then deciding to receive it through e-mail on a smart phone. The combination of real-time and non real-time communication allows the employee to manage their communications around their workload and location, whilst still being responsive to those wishing to reach them.
UC is not a single product per see, but a suite of products that provides a unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types. The aim of UC is to provide solutions based on new communication technologies (voice, video, chat and email), as well as new work places and processes.
These solutions empower employees to work more efficiently, productively and be able to collaborate with their colleagues, customers and partners literally anytime and from anywhere. So whether they’re stuck on the 17.30 out of Paddington station, waiting for the Seven Bridge to reopen or working from home to avoid traffic chaos, VoIP and UC provides seamless connectivity and business continuity. Employees are ever present in the office as far as a customer is concerned.
Business benefits of Unified Communication (UC)
- Enhancing the network for collaboration
- Helping employees work anywhere
- Flexible work schedules and access to company resources outside regular business hours
- Redesign of the office and the organisations space requirements
- Reducing travel costs
Discover more about UC
LAN2LAN is an Authorised Partner for ShoreTel’s Unified Communications (UC) and Mobility solutions. ShoreTel Mobility extends the full power of a desk phone and UC capabilities to a mobile and sets users free to communicate from any location (office, home, hotspots) by enabling access via any network (mobile or Wi-Fi), simply and cost effectively.
For information about accessing the business and financial impact of IP Unified Communications systems, please click here to read this whitepaper
If you would like to understand the financial benefits that VoIP or UC can bring to your organisation, please contact us today on 0870 787 4001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Nightingale February 17th, 2014 11:12:02
Lord Justice Leveson isn’t the first name that springs to mind when you consider network security solutions. In fact voice data security, the basis for the “hacking” inquiry, is rarely considered at all. According to a recent survey by network security solutions provider LAN2LAN only a single digit percentage of IT professionals said they’re organisation had specific security in place for their voice data.
It is clear that while organisations are planning or actively implementing Voice over IP (VoIP) and Unified Communication (UC), many are not fully aware of the security risks associated with those applications.
However, a lesson from Leveson is that voice data is easy to exploit and can be used to significant commercial advantage or criminal ends. In fact, a breach of a VoIP application represents a more attractive cyber attack target than a data application as there is the potential for direct financial gain through call fraud. Call fraud is estimated to cost £24 billion per annum, with many organisations unaware that they’ve been the subjects of a cyber attack until months later.
Although overlooked, it is a relatively simple process to implement VoIP and UC data security. It starts with a simple risk assessment from a network security solutions provider like LAN2LAN. This is the first step in identifying voice data on your organisations “risk register” and determining its priority relative to other vulnerabilities. Typically it proves a low risk financial decision to mitigate a high-risk problem.
VoIP and UC are Internet Protocol (IP) Applications and therefore face IP security threats. Traditionally protection is provided by Session Border Controllers (SBC) which deliver security measures alongside managing quality and connectivity issues. However with the growth in remote connectively, new products are emerging to address the broader security needs of the cloud. UM Labs “platform as service” is one such product. This 21st century security technology is being provided through its Cyber Security partner LAN2LAN.
UM Labs “Platform as a Service” offers a new and higher level of protection for SME and major corporate users who are now using Unified Communications at an ever-increasing rate.
The speed of implementation and inter-operation with UC solutions such as Cisco, Avaya and Shortel mean UM Labs Unified Communication security is suited to private or public cloud implementation. The full benefits of UM Labs 21st century security solution and a comparison to legacy Session Border Controllers (SBC) is available to download here
LAN2LAN, are specialist in secure systems integration, installation and project management. We focus upon driving technologically innovative solutions that deliver intelligent enterprise wide networks for the needs of businesses today and in the future. As a result of our Enterprise and Government projects CIO’s are evidencing the value of making a low risk financial decision to cover a high-risk problem in fraud, eavesdropping, disruption attacks and new criminal intrusions into their UC environments.
Contact LAN2LAN today on 0870 787 4001 or email email@example.com to find out how we can help you improve your VoIP and UC security.
Angela Nightingale February 4th, 2014 10:30:38