What is IP Convergence?
IP convergence is being pursued by enterprises at present primarily for the cost-saving opportunities that it offers. Yet, the technology has the potential to change the way businesses operate.
Business-oriented improvements can be achieved based on coordinated activity.
The issues related to widespread and quick IP convergence have as much to do with technology as with risk perceptions harboured by managements.
IP networks are competing with the telephone systems that have been around for more than a century and with nearly 900 million users, it has nearly seven times the user base of the Internet.
IP networks are growing at a tremendous pace but wholesale network changes cannot be undertaken without fully considering the implications of regulations on businesses and network providers.
What Is Cloud Computing?
The ‘cloud’ is a real buzzword, but what is it, how does it impact what you do, and is it anything really new?
Cloud computing is a type of computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications.
In cloud computing, the word cloud (also phrased as “the cloud”) is used as a metaphor for “the Internet,” so the phrase cloud computing means “a type of Internet-based computing,” where different services — such as servers, storage and applications — are delivered to an organization’s computers and devices through the Internet.
Why Go Wireless?
Here are some of the ways businesses are taking advantage of wireless LANs:
Increased mobility and collaboration
Employees who use your wireless LAN can roam around your office or to different floors without losing their connection. Imagine everyone in a team meeting or in small conferences having access to up-to-the minute communications, and all documents and applications on your network. Similarly, using Voice over Wireless LAN technology, they can have roaming capabilities in their voice communications.
Customers want quick response to queries and concerns. A wireless network can improve customer service by connecting staff to the information they need. For example, a doctor in a small medical office can access online patient files while moving between exam rooms, or a retail sales person can check on available inventory necessary to write up orders on the showroom floor.
Better access to information
Wireless LANs allow a business to bring network access to areas that would be difficult to connect to a wired network. For example, adding wireless access points to a warehouse can make it easier to check and manage inventory, providing the company with accurate inventory figures in real time.
Easier network expansion
Companies that need to add employees or reconfigure offices frequently will immediately benefit from the flexibility wireless LANs provide. Desks can be moved and new employees can be added to the network without the effort and cost required to run cables and wires.
Enhanced guest access
A wireless network allows your business to provide secure wireless access to the Internet for guests such as customers or business partners. Retailers, restaurants, hotels and other public-facing businesses can provide this as a unique value-added service.
What are the reasons Open Source being good for Business?
The security of software used in your business is very important. It is used to protect, process and store your company’s intellectual property. By its nature open source software has the code it comprises of visible to all. This means large open source projects are frequently reviewed by the community, allowing security vulnerability to be spotted and resolved quickly and effectively. Compare this to proprietary software. With programs that do not have the code publicly available, you must rely upon the vendor to identify security issues.
Open source software is frequently made by people that have a real drive and interest in the software they are working on. They strive to create quality software and work with others to do the same.
Additionally, open source software tends to meet the needs of its users very well. This is sometimes due simply to good initial design. However, a lot of the quality present in open source software is the result of users participating in its design and development. This can be as simple as reporting bugs or suggesting features or can be as involved as having meetings regarding the program’s design or even digging into the code itself.
Proprietary software vendors often dictate their own vision of their software which may conflict with your business practices or requirements. Additional hardware may also be required to run the latest and greatest version of their software package. Therefore, as a business, you may often be at the mercy of your proprietary software vendor(s).
In contrast to this, open source systems allow users to be in control of many of these decisions. It allows them to do what they want with the software. Not only is the code available, but with any significant open source project, there is typically a large community of developers and users willing to help with this.
As open source projects generally have no need to use proprietary file formats, they are generally more compliant with official standards. This can make them more interoperable with other business software. Standard file formats and network protocols enable your company to integrate open source solutions into a variety of applications. This is much more possible than with proprietary software, which can often encumber businesses and cause their software environments/infrastructure to be restricted by interoperability constraints.
Proprietary solutions typically force end-users and business owners to incur expensive licensing fees, often per site or even per machine. With vendor lock-in in effect, this can result in a high initial outlay as well as potentially prohibiting growth of the company’s information technology resources.
Open source solutions are typically free to use. They also allow you to metaphorically ‘try-before-you-buy’. A company can try out a possible solution with no worry of directly incurred costs. If the company is able and willing they are also able to make modifications to the open source software they use, in order to meet business requirements, rather than be at the mercy of their vendor to implement a required feature.
Why do I need an SLA?
SLAs are an integral part of an IT vendor contract. An SLA pulls together information on all of the contracted services and their agreed-upon expected reliability into a single document. They clearly state metrics, responsibilities and expectations so that, in the event of issues with the service, neither party can plead ignorance. It ensures both sides have the same understanding of requirements.
Any significant contract without an associated SLA (reviewed by legal counsel) is open to deliberate or inadvertent misinterpretation. The SLA protects both parties in the agreement.
Ideally, SLAs should be aligned to the technology or business objectives of the engagement. Misalignment can have a negative impact on deal pricing, quality of service delivery, and customer experienc