Category Archives: Technology

Five Reasons You Need Hybrid Cloud Unified Communications

Five Reasons You Need Hybrid Cloud Unified Communications

Cloud-based unified communications services have transformed the ways businesses communicate.  With unified communications–as-a-service solutions (UCaaS) enabling traditional communication and collaboration tools to be mobile and portable, business can have a seamless communication environment available anywhere, anytime. This new seamless communications environment has helped businesses become more nimble, more responsive to their customers and streamline their business processes.

With technology and service delivery evolving rapidly, it is important to note that not all unified communications solutions are equal. Pure hosted UCaaS solutions lack reliability as well as many of the enterprise features companies rely on that are available with traditional on-premise solutions. Hybrid solutions that combine the best of on-premise and hosted are emerging.

Hybrid cloud unified communications integrates cloud-based UC functionality with an on-premise device that supports advanced telephony capabilities primarily found in on-premise solutions. The multi-functional device, sometimes referred to as a service point, sits on premise and is a plug and play device similar to a set-top box. It is used to manage SIP devices such as desktop IP phones as well as distribute functionality. Most importantly, it is also used as an intelligent point for troubleshooting problems that originate on-premise.

Reliability is an ongoing concern with a pure hosted UCaaS solution and is typically end users most often heard complaint because business communications are the life blood of any SMB.  Paul Faircloth, owner of Mosquito Creek Outfitters, a retail store providing quality outdoor gear and apparel to cater to the outdoor enthusiast lifestyle, sums it up best, “Before we deployed our hybrid cloud UCaaS solution we lost an average of $20,000 a day when the VoIP phone system was down, including irreparable damage to customer relations and reputation, which are priceless.”

The hybrid cloud UCaaS service point devices provide:

    1. Telemetry tools for end-to-end visibility and proactive management on both the LAN and WAN enabling the highest level of quality and reliability. Having visibility down to the device on the LAN virtually eliminates cross-vendor finger pointing if problems arise.
    2. Advanced call handling and features such as paging that are technically difficult to deliver reliably via cloud.
    3. Distributed communication services using SIP trunks from multiple geographically dispersed carriers to create a cohesive multi location solution with integrated numbering, voicemail, and presence.
    4. Additional fail over and redundancy capabilities including the ability to continue to use the phone system internally when external network connections are not available.
    5. SIP trunk termination without additional hardware. Organizations are choosing to run SIP trunks to the premise to consolidate traffic and to increase call quality, reliability, security and efficiency by maximizing the use of network capacity to drive down costs. With a service point, no additional hardware is needed for SIP trunk termination.

Epizyme recently replaced its hosted VoIP system with a hybrid UCaaS because calls were frequently dropped, words would fade in and out, and the problem could never be resolved. This is a common complaint with pure hosted solutions because there is no ability to assess the entire network – LAN, access connection, or upstream carrier for call quality and to diagnose the problem. This has resulted in finger pointing among the vendors and lingering issues that cannot be diagnosed and corrected.

The company selected a hybrid UCaaS solution and implemented SIP trunks to the premise. The company wanted to increase call quality, performance, simplify administration and future-proof by running SIP trunks to the premise so that they could take advantage of video and other new applications as they become available.

Prior to installing a hybrid solution, we couldn’t rely on the phone service,” said Kevin Kaedin, Senior Systems Administration for Epizyme. “We wanted a VoIP solution that was reliable and easy to administer.”

Recently, the Dali Museum implemented a hybrid UCaaS solution to replace its 20+ year old legacy phone system. The museum is dedicated to increasing knowledge and awareness of Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali. The organization wanted to select a system that would improve customer service and provide worker flexibility with mobility features. They also have had problems with reliability and wanted to run SIP trunks directly to the premise.

The museum selected a hybrid UCaaS solution from a cable systems operator to provide a combined solution of voice and data services running over a fiber network.  The hybrid UC solution’s service point is able to terminate SIP without any additional SIP to TDM conversion equipment further lowering TCO.

We evaluated several large and small companies that either offered locally or remotely hosted systems before selecting a hybrid solution. The solution offered the best package in terms of cost, setup, equipment and service,” said Eric Crispen, Director of Information Technology for Dali Museum.  “The lack of downtime and issues since we have installed the new has enabled us to feel secure in our telecom system, so we can solve other issues within the museum, saving us valuable time and man power.”

Take a close look at your UCaaS solution options before you buy. They are not all alike.

By Chris Daly, CEO at Whaleback Managed Services

Cloud Infographic: Critical Role In The Enterprise

Cloud Infographic: Critical Role In The Enterprise

Cloud Infographic:  Critical Role In The Enterprise

Cloud Computing has been around for a awhile now, but until recent years, it has expanded exponentially.  Different studies suggest that more than 4.4 million jobs will be created in the area of big-data by the year 2015, and the adoption rate of cloud computing application and services is much higher as compared to a few years back. More than 36% of customers have already adopted for the public cloud, and thus, they are opting for cheap as well as large spaces for their valuable data to be stored. This trend verifies that results achieved from varied research suggest that more than 15% of enterprises will adjust their IT capabilities and capacities for big data.

Included is an infographic provide by Aryaka which includes addition survey results from over 1300 companies worldwide.


Infographic Source:

By Walter Bailey


How Is The Cloud Transforming Employee Learning

How Is The Cloud Transforming Employee Learning

The pace of business change is unrelenting in the era of the cloud computing. As businesses adjust to this new world, the learning & development role is becoming increasingly crucial as the number of employees and their associated demands grow in form and complexity.

Take a moment and think about the ways in which transport was changed by technology. Only a hundred years ago we use to travel with the aid of horses and carts. Nowadays, we can get into any corner of the world in a day or less. Our world is changing so fast that it’s even hard to keep track of it at times, and this shift happens not only to transportation. Workplace learning has been highly transformed by the rapid improvement in technology, and this change is set to continue. From evolving LMS’s (learning management systems) platforms, to on-demand content strategies, businesses are more willing than ever to increase the adoption of alternative learning means. Tools such as e-Learning, m-Learning and other training avenues are becoming more and more preferred over the traditional training classroom.

When the cloud hit the hosting market, everyone was amazed by its capabilities. However, its capacities are helpful not only for server backups and secured file transfers. Below we’ll show you the 6 most important ways in which the cloud is changing workplace training and employee learning:

A self-service environment

Nowadays, learners want to be in charge of their own experiences. As a result, the focus is shifted from prescriptive learning to a model where the learner decides what he wants to learn in his own order. Monolithic courses that are delivered through an LMS fail to meet the requirements of new learners. It would be a lot better to just break the content into small parts instead, and placing them in the cloud where learners can access it at the moment they need them.

An interactive learning experience

The mobile devices which are hastening cloud’s performance more than any other ones are the tablets. Through tablets, anybody can experience a real work/learning environment that’s available regardless of their location, benefiting from an improved content consumption and productivity.

A simple converting of textbooks into PDFs or the ability to access an LMS on a tablet doesn’t meet the requirements of new learners anymore. With tablets, the touch-based gestures are capable not to provide reach user interactions, but also to create contextual awareness, thus enabling users to access key information and data from the cloud at any time. The training content available in the cloud should keep pace with the tablets’ vast capabilities.

Add to that the options of online social and collaborative learning (see more below), and employee learning is more interactive than ever before.

Learning possibilities on any device and platform

Due to the fact that learners now use a multitude of devices and associated operating systems, with no one being able to tell which the primary hub is, learning content should be fit for all forms of devices.

This presses learning organizations to fasten things up and accommodate their content with all platforms on the market. It no longer counts how fast a designer can author a course, what it matters now is how fast that content can be reproduced for all devices available, and even for those which hasn’t hit the market yet.

Social authoring

Employee learning is gaining an increased importance thanks to the mobile and social media use, and with the arrival of cloud-delivered content things are to change forever. Learners will soon be sending a constant feedback stream from the social networks and other apps back to the cloud. The ones which will assimilate this feedback will be the designers, which are to create continuous updates of training content in a timely manner. Given all these, the monolithic course content stored on the cloud will be accessible to learners at any time and from any device. What’s more, designers will focus on creating learning experiences instead of dictating the contents’ consumption. Thus, learners will benefit from a personalized training with powerful support.

Blended learning

The days of initial classroom training sessions representing the entirety of workplace training are over.  What we see increasingly more nowadays is blended learning, that is a framework which combines classroom training with informal education, both inside and outside the office.  Given that training assets are stored in cloud, tablets will gain the ability to become fully-blended learning environments. Learners are already able to download training material from the cloud to their own tablets at any time, giving them the ability to navigate through text, audio, video and many other interactive assets for a more efficient and personalized training experiences.

Enhanced connections

Learners’ requirements have shifted rapidly and dramatically. Having the unprecedented adoption rate of smartphones and tablets in mind, coupled with the mobility, accessibility and performance offered by the cloud, we can assume that we have already entered in a new learning era. From content development to instructional design, the old approaches of training simply cannot suffice any longer.

People are seeking enhanced ways of connecting to one another and learning things on the go, and only cloud is able to offer all these. Businesses and organizations who understand these things and act quickly are the ones who will gain a competitive edge over the others.

By Jason Silberman,

Marketing Director at WalkMe™ and lead author and editor of Training Station, a blog dedicated to news and ideas on training, learning and organizational development.

Cloud Infographic: Tablet Total Cost Of Ownership

Cloud Infographic: Tablet Total Cost Of Ownership

Cloud Infographic: Tablet Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO)

The medical establishment has made some efforts toward digitizing its record keeping, and Cloud based applications would seem like a natural fit. Until recently, however, the move to a Medical Cloud has been hampered by concerns of security and patient privacy. Recent trends seem to indicate that the efficiency of Cloud Based record keeping services are becoming a more attractive use of dwindling resources.

The Medical industry has been slow to move to the Cloud, in part due to security and privacy concerns. The biggest inertial factor seems to be that Medical IT personnel are simply not familiar with Cloud procedures and benefits. As exposure increases, Medical IT is finding that the Cloud provides not only greater and more efficient tools, but increased security. Continue Reading


Infographic Source: Dell

Yammer’s Integration With SharePoint – Part 2

Yammer’s Integration With SharePoint – Part 2

Read Part 1

Future Road Map of SharePoint-Yammer Integration

According to Jared Spataro, Senior Director, Microsoft Office Division, who also leads the SharePoint business and works closely with Adam Pisoni and David Sacks on Yammer integration, their next step would be integration with Office365. Summer of this year will witness an update in Office 365 service and customers will be able to replace the SharePoint newsfeed with Yammer. This feature is desired as many customers are worried about confusing their users with two different feeds, and this update will allow them to simply replace the “Newsfeed” link on the Office 365 global navigation bar with a link to According to Spataro, “We’ll also ship a Yammer app in the SharePoint Store so that end users can easily embed a Yammer group feed into a SharePoint site, creating a connection between groups and sites that will deliver the best of both worlds. The SharePoint newsfeed will continue to be the default social experience in Office 365, but the option to replace it with Yammer will be a valuable first step in the overall integration process.

The next step on the roadmap is known as “Deeper Integration” planned in fall this year, which will bring another update to Office 365 and deepen the integration. It will allow Single Sign-on (SSO) and seamless navigation. It means when user will click on Yammer link in the Office365 global navigation bar, Yammer will appear immediately below with links to get back to Office 365 services like Sites and Outlook. This converged look will also have new rich document capabilities and will integrate Office Web Apps to add editing and co-editing of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. The bigger vision is making Yammer an underlying enterprise social layer across Office, Exchange, Lync, and Dynamics integrated into SharePoint, which seems a long term and complex endeavor.

The next year will witness continued updating of Office 365 with new social enhancements that would appear every three months. Incremental enhancements will combine social, collaboration, email, messaging, video, voice and line of business applications.

Industry Impact Analysis of Yammer SharePoint Integration

Gartner analyst Larry Cannell believes that this integration could be market-changing but what matters is how much time it takes. He said that companies shouldn’t start planning ahead of the time just based on Microsoft promises, and should not scrap their current enterprise social networking plans or implementation if they are fulfilling their requirement.

The long-term vision described at the SharePoint Conference was aspirational in nature. Microsoft’s post references this when talking about ‘Connected Experiences and says they will combine social, collaboration, email, instant messaging, voice, video, and line of business applications in innovative new ways.’ However, this is mostly a summary of what Microsoft already has said and enterprises should not get swept up in these grand visions and lose focus on what is really being delivered”, he writes in his blog. “Replacing SharePoint’s newsfeed is not as simple as embedding a Yammer feed”.

Companies need to evaluate their need of enterprise social collaboration and should not over-rely on promises before something concrete is visible from this integration.

By Krishan Lal Khatri

Mobile Cloud: Why SMB’s Have No Time To Spare On Their Conversion To Mobile

Mobile Cloud: Why SMB’s Have No Time To Spare On Their Conversion To Mobile

Why SMB’s Have No Time To Spare On Their Conversion To Mobile

4, 64 and 689 billion. Small business owners should take these numbers into careful consideration when determining where to focus their web presence and marketing efforts.

4 is the statistic that four out of five consumers are now using their smart phones for shopping.

64 is the percentage of app users who prefer brands with mobile apps.

689 billion is the estimated increase that shopping via smart phone will add to retail sales by 2016.

In fact, mobile is already the next huge wave in national and international marketing, and companies are scrambling to keep up. Just as cloud computing allows us to take our data with us wherever we go, people are now shopping from anywhere (and some prefer the simplicity of using their phone or device to make purchases, even when a computer is available).

The good news is that even one-person small business owners can take advantage of this new mobile cloud economy and stand out from larger competitors with some simple solutions.

Building your mobile presenceMobile Cloud

According to Google’s published research, “75% of people prefer a mobile-friendly site, and 61% will turn to another site if they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly.

Whether or not you have a website, if that site isn’t easily navigable from a smart phone, chances are you’re losing customers without even knowing it.

What makes a mobile-friendly site stand out from a standard website?

  • The ease with which people can read it without zooming in
  • How quickly they can find what they’re looking for

If you’re curious how your website appears on smart phones, Google offers a free viewer called GoMo ( that comes with a report and personalized recommendations. And if your site seems awkward and hard to navigate, there are several platforms online that can help you convert your website to mobile cloud for little to no cost:

Mofuse: Starting at about $8 a month, Mofuse offers the option of building a mobile site yourself or having one custom built. Options range from social sharing to store locators, mobile optimization and analytics, Google and design tools and custom integration. The platform has been used by such companies as HarperCollins and the United States Department of State.

Mippin: Along with making your website mobile-ready, you can take your business one step further by creating your own business app with sites such as Mippin. For approximately $100 a year, Mippin can help you set up your mobile website as well as apps for iPhone and Android. And according to their website, they can help you create an app in about five minutes.

Mobify: If you’re looking for a higher-end mobile conversion experience, Mobify has been the go-to for companies such as the New Yorker, Starbucks and Men’s Health. Starting around $250 a month, Mobify can handle the creation and maintenance of your mobile site with testing, integration and launching all taken care of.

bMobilized: Though this site offers a free trial, the do-it-yourself version of bMobilized runs about $9 a month and comes with the option of installing more than 30 plug-ins along with homepage and mobile synching, content analytics, and content customization. If you don’t have the time to build a site, bMobilized also offers a we-do-it-for-you service for a $199 one-time fee.

DudaMobile: For a quick, down and dirty conversion for free, DudaMobile offers conversion tools, analytics and desktop to mobile sync. If you’re thinking about expanding, the premium plan runs around $9 a month.

Once your site is up and ready, there are several viewers available that allow you to check out how your mobile site appears on different devices. Apart from Google’s GoMo, sites such as iPad Peek allow you to see how the site looks to iPad users. MobiReady will check your site for common errors and rate different aspects on a scale of one to five. A more in-depth analysis is available with a subscription.

As more and more customers move toward making their purchasing decisions via mobile devices, creating a mobile version of your company website should be near the top of your marketing priorities.

Have you created a mobile version of your website or do you think your standard website is sufficient? Why? What conversion services would you recommend or advice against?

By Allison Rice

Allison Rice is the Marketing Director for Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of custom promotional pens and other promotional products to grow your business and thank customers. Allison regularly contributes to the Promo & Marketing Wall blog, where she provides actionable business tips.

The 5-3-2 Principle Of Cloud Computing: An Easier Approach

The 5-3-2 Principle Of Cloud Computing: An Easier Approach

The 5-3-2 Principle of Cloud Computing: An Easier Approach

Even though, cloud computing has become exceedingly common, the fact remains that people seem to have differing opinions when it comes to its definition. The issue is not the lack of definition or the lack of an agreed coherent one, but rather the lack of apparent direction. Cloud computing is an extremely large topic, but it is being used in very specific ways. In the same vein that makes it hard for people to stay on the same page when talking about general computing without agreeing to something specific, people need to be specific when they talk about cloud computing. This is because it encompasses infrastructure, architecture, deployment, applications, development, automatiYung - 5-3-2 Principle Of Cloud Computingon, operations, management, optimization and a dozen other topics that are equally beneficial and all would be a valid topic when referring to cloud computing.

Because of this inherent confusion with regards to conversation structuring, Yung Chou, a Technology Evangelist of the Microsoft US Developer and Platform Evangelism Team, devised an easy to remember principle that we can all agree on and use as a proper base when discussing cloud computing. The principle is called the “5-3- 2 Principle” and refers to the five essential characteristics of cloud computing, the three cloud service delivery methods, and the two deployment models which when put together properly describes what cloud computing is.

First up is he “5 Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing”: On-demand and self-service, ubiquitous network access, location transparent resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service with pay per use. The characteristics were defined by the National Institute of Standards and technology (NIST) as part of their “Definition of Cloud Computing” publication, and they mostly speak for themselves as far as what each means at first glance. This publication is also where the principle is derived from. These five characteristics are all required for something to be qualified as cloud computing, according to NIST.

The 3 stands for the three service delivery methods, namely: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure (IaaS). All services being offered using cloud computing would fall under one or more of the above delivery methods, whether it be office applications and games (SaaS) or cloud backup storage or computing resources (IaaS). It becomes easier to define whether the service you are using is really of cloud computing or not just by judging if it is being delivered through one of the above methods.

And lastly, we have the two main deployment models of cloud computing: The Private and the Public Cloud models. NIST lists down four deployment models, but the other two is really just either a combination or a derivative of these two main ones. The public cloud is meant for public consumption while a private cloud’s infrastructure is dedicated for private use, like in large corporations or government agencies.

The 5-3-2 Principle is a new, simple, and structured way to approach cloud computing whether it is for simple conversations between colleagues or for educating people on what cloud computing truly is. The structure for using the principle in discussions is straightforward, validate business needs starting with the 5 characteristics, then go into the feasibility of delivering the intended service or function with the 3 delivery methods, the finally end with which deployment model would be more preferred in the situation.

By Abdul Salam

CloudTweaks Comics
Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

DDoS Knocks Out Several Websites Cyber attacks targeting the internet infrastructure provider Dyn disrupted service on major sites such as Twitter and Spotify on Friday, mainly affecting users on the U.S. East Coast. It was not immediately clear who was responsible. Officials told Reuters that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau…

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

IoT Device Failures I have, over the past three years, posted a number of Internet of Things (and the broader NIST-defined Cyber Physical Systems) conversations and topics. I have talked about drones, wearables and many other aspects of the Internet of Things. One of the integration problems has been the number of protocols the various…

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks! So we are all cheering as the FCC last week made the right choice in upholding the principle of net neutrality! For the general public it is a given that an ISP should be allowed to charge for bandwidth and Internet access but never to block or somehow…

Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms Above DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms, malware is the most common incident that security teams reported responding to in 2014, according to a recent survey from SANS Institute and late-stage security startup AlienVault. The average cost of a data breach? $3.5 million, or $145 per sensitive…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

Online Data Data storage is often a real headache for businesses. Additionally, the shift to the cloud in response to storage challenges has caused security teams to struggle to reorient, leaving 49 percent of organizations doubting their experts’ ability to adapt. Even so, decision makers should not put off moving from old legacy systems to…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation Digital transformation is the acceleration of business activities, processes, and operational models to fully embrace the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. The concept is not new; we’ve been talking about it in one way or another for decades: paperless office, BYOD, user experience, consumerization of IT – all of these were stepping…

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

The 80-20 Rule For Security Practitioners  Everyday we learn about yet another egregious data security breach, exposure of customer data or misuse of data. It begs the question why in this 21st century, as a security industry we cannot seem to secure our most valuable data assets when technology has surpassed our expectations in other regards.…

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? You know how enterprise resource management (ERP) can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…


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