Who stands to gain the most from this disruptive new technology that is fundamentally changing the traditional WAN landscape?

The Rodney Dangerfield of the IT Stack is about to get a lot more respect.

With all due respect (pun intended) to the great comedian, the Telecom layer of the IT stack has generally been perceived as the least exciting, least strategic space; so much so that the classic analogy used to describe it over the decades since divesture has been: ‘its a utility’. Not the most flattering reputation.

That is about to change in a big way, and there will be Winners and Losers as a result.

Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a transformational new communications technology solution that is well on the way to full marketplace adoption in the coming years. Tech media, blogging experts, independent consultants, and early enterprise adopters have all jumped on the bandwagon with passion. Simply put, there is no lack of consensus regarding the certainty of its benefits and therefore inevitability of its rapid adoption. SD-WAN will be the networking solution that will become the enabler for the cloud era application tsunami that is upon us.

As evidence of this sure bet, one need look no further than Gartner’s estimate that SD-WAN will go from approximately 5% of the WAN market share today, to over 30% within the next 2+ years. This growth reflects the fact that there is really no serious debate regarding the many benefits that accrue to the numerous stakeholders within the enterprise. Frankly, rarely can it be stated as fact vs. opinion that ‘everyone wins’. Even the most diverse aptitudes (represented by the CFO vs. the CMO for example) will find SD-WAN is an enabler for real benefits to be realized by all functional areas of a business.

However, like all seismic shifts driven by technology innovation, there will be winners and losers scattered across the landscape.

Let’s take a moment to see how this disruptive new technology solution will affect players and users across the industry…

The Winners:

The pure play SD-WAN providers

Some of the biggest winners in this space are obviously the Magic Quadrant SD-WAN providers themselves of course. Specifically, those true pure play innovators creating the greatest value that deliver successful EARLY implementations and gain a large and reference ready install base. The truly innovative SD-WAN providers that step up to take on a leadership position in the industry are gaining the most funding and attention early on. Proof of this has already been manifested by the recent acquisitions of the two most celebrated early pure play innovators: Velocloud and Viptela.

Broadband Players

A key group of winners are broadband providers. Specifically, those who can deliver the highest bandwidth, with the shortest install intervals and the lowest cost. Hence, clear winners here will be fiber-rich cable companies, 4G/LTE wireless carriers, high bandwidth asset companies (vs traditional carriers), reliable DSL providers and wireless data providers. Prior to SD-WAN, these players had a value play that painfully pitted both an economic benefit (much lower cost) and technical benefit (i.e. oftentimes more bandwidth than MPLS) against the reality that there was much less reliability, security, and ease of management.

However, with SDWAN technology, these players enjoy the rare trifecta of optimizing the three primary value dimensions of all technology decisions: The best combination of Economics, Technology AND Support and Service outcomes.

Cloud Intensive Enterprises

Enterprises that have many cloud applications (or big plans for cloud app adoption) are on the winning side in this space. Those that need affordable high bandwidth, multi-lane yet aggregated-for-production-use paths, DR-certain, highways to enable their many critical applications while ensuring a secure and resilient network are perfect candidates for a pure play SD-WAN solution. Enterprises that expect to see significant change activity via acquisitions, divestitures or organic growth, will enjoy the speed of implementation and ease of management as key benefits of SD-WAN as an option vs. the lethargic, complex, management-intense, and significant CPE investment cost needed via the traditional MPLS route.

IT Organizations: CIO’s, Reputations, and valuable IT Personnel

As a still relatively young profession, IT is in the midst of a reputational transformation. Historically viewed as the “Service Bureau” to the business, the early reputation of IT suffered from a perception that they are a reactive business unit. Therefore, traditional boardroom thinking was that they did not need to be at the planning table and their success was defined in terms of risk mitigation and keeping costs down while providing the business what it ‘thought’ it needed. SD-WAN, properly leveraged, becomes the access card to open the doors of every area of the business and grab a seat at the planning table with the business acumen hat on–not the service bureau hat. If the enterprise IT organization has already adopted a BRM (Business Relationship Manager) role they can really accelerate intelligent conversations around the ‘what if’ possibilities for every business unit from Marketing to Sales to Operations. No limitations, no ‘it costs too much’…. only good business ideas and the latest differentiating applications to out-flank the competition…. all delivered affordably and reliably via SD-WAN super highways.

Additionally, valuable IT personnel will find SD-WAN career liberating vs. threatening. Occupational fulfillment is better served by focusing on strategic initiatives using the latest technology vs. wrestling with yesterday’s WAN solutions and their complexity, management headaches and consequent indictment (when things go wrong). The genie is out of the bottle. Embrace it, sponsor it, then let others manage it so you can apply your skills to technology that will make a real difference vs. ‘keeping the lights on’ with outdated WAN solutions.

Managed Services Solution Providers

Enterprises will require expertise and ethically guided partners to assist them in this migration to SD-WAN. Most IT organizations are stretched thin and this reality may cause some enterprises to move slowly even though they know the ROI and business benefits are compelling. Best-in-class enterprises will not let resource or expertise limitations stop them from embracing the competitive advantage offered by SDWAN adoption. They will seek out and partner with reputable managed services firms with proven models to Assess, Architect, Procure, Implement and Manage the SD-WAN road map. Letting internal limitations (whether they be talent, time, or money) delay adoption of SD-WAN will prove to be a poor reason to find yourself behind your peers and competitors who act now with the help of qualified and authorized MSPs. Additionally, a red-hot economy will not lessen the challenge in finding the internal talent any time soon.

Cloud Providers

In effect, SD-WAN provides a larger freeway for cloud applications and cloud providers to operate and removes the cost drag and security concerns regarding adoption of cloud applications. This allows more companies to enjoy the many productivity benefits via more applications delivered efficiently and effectively. Well positioned cloud providers, already in growth mode, will see this solution as an enabler for accelerated growth.

Enterprise End Users

Lastly, we cannot overlook the fact that Enterprise End Users will also win in this space. Employees will enjoy greatly improved productivity and faster access to cloud apps — a huge competitive advantage to those companies that execute both cloud, and the needed connectivity, swiftly and aggressively. Employees of firms who have deployed SD-WAN may never know the reason, but suddenly they will find themselves fully enabled (via accelerated cloud app explosions and all the bandwidth you ever needed) to be the most productive, happy, and retained group of talent in a very competitive labor market. Think of SD-WAN as creating a ‘Millennial-Friendly’ zone trumping your less enlightened competitors seeking this same talented and demanding segment of the labor force.

The Potential Losers

Large Tier 1 Carriers

To coin a popular phrase: “this is not their first rodeo”. Major Telcos (specifically non-wireless players who were not able to put the saddle on a different horse years ago) have just finished licking their wounds brought on by witnessing high margin TDM voice evaporate and become a mere application on the network with the near ubiquitous adoption of VoIP over the past decade. To replace or mitigate this margin loss, they have enjoyed large embedded bases of profitable MPLS connectivity to handle voice as an application along with many other apps of course. Now, however, SD-WAN has forced them to act. They can choose to either resist, delay, precipitously reduce legacy MPLS pricing, innovate with their own offerings, or some combination of these responses. It is clear however that they will see this base of business slowly erode over time much like TDM voice. To be fair, nearly every carrier (Tier one and smaller) has publicly embraced their own SD-WAN solution (many choosing one of the “V’s’ as their platform…..Velocloud, Viptela, or Versa).

It remains to be seen how trusted large carriers will be to provide and manage an integrated solution in a BYOB (bring your own bandwidth) environment where they will have to develop new and better program and project management skills than what has brought them to the dance in the first place (i.e. managing their own network solutions while grappling with last mile issues). How quickly and how well they execute on this strategy with their own quality solutions and managed services will determine the severity of the loss of their legacy offerings and client relationships.  But make no mistake: the days of slow bandwidth, long install times, costly CPE investments, complex on-going management AND high costs, are (or will be) over. The case is simply too compelling not to move….and fast.

One final comment in fairness to the carriers is that there could be a long ‘tail’ regarding MPLS deployment via SD-WAN solutions. Many early adopters may choose a hybrid solution and therefore keep their traditional MPLS connections as one of the two paths connected to their SD-WAN appliance. However, in this scenario, the negotiation leverage rests with the Enterprise given the options available to simply replace it with other secure high bandwidth options.

Traditional Telco Agents

Any business model dependent on commissions from higher cost, low value solutions will lose out in the SD-WAN battleground. The inherent conflict of interest that resides with a revenue model dependent on ‘higher’ monthly recurring costs, not lower costs, will eventually require soul searching that should yield the hoped for conclusion to ‘do the right thing’ while perhaps altering the business model to include managed services and other offerings to augment the inevitable large reductions in bandwidth costs (and consequent commission reductions) brought about by SD-WAN replacements of high cost MPLS networks. Those Solution Partners who have pivoted to managed services options (specifically with the expertise to journey-map SD-WAN migrations for their clients) to augment or replace the dependency on agency commissions, are best positioned to produce real value for their clients and thereby thrive vs. the entrenched and transaction-minded telecom agents of old. Consolidation within the Telecom Agency market is already well underway and SD-WAN adoption will accelerate this trend leaving higher valued Agent/MSP’s and only the largest Master Agents in positions of growth and value.

Hardware players

All of us know that the “As a Service” revolution enabled by Cloud technology impacted the Enterprise Data Center economics in a big way.

There is not a CPE player who historically focused on the Enterprise Data Center who hasn’t had to change their strategic focus and offerings as a result.

SD-WAN simply brings that economic model to the enterprise at the end point level with regard to traditional Wide Area Networking architecture and CPE needs.

Big iron players will likely see heavy hits and have already begun making plans for it. For example, Cisco acquired Viptela to compete, complement, integrate (their stated roadmap) with their ubiquitous (and complicated) iWAN solution.

As a general rule (with exceptions, and a long evolution perhaps) router, switch, firewalls, and other complex, and costly, CPE endpoints necessary in a distributed WAN environment to perform discreet functions will no longer be needed due to the simplicity of SD-WAN technology at its best (i.e. pure play providers with the best integrated technical solutions on premise and in the cloud will ultimately replace many of these complex, segregated CPE elements). In effect, any entity selling something today that’s premise-based, singular in function, and enabling a traditional MPLS network will see their revenues diminish over time despite the long tail on these markets. 

Slow-to-Adopt Enterprises

Enterprises that take a risk-averse traditional approach to networking will find themselves on the wrong side of the SD-WAN competitive battlefield relative to their peers who have accepted early adoption because of all the many benefits that come from SD-WAN. Don’t be on the wrong side of this ‘bit’coin. Early adopters will get the most resources from the SD-WAN companies. They will get the best support from managed services firms that help them get there. They’ll get the most attention, quicker installations, and more customer-service focus than ever as providers will wish to have multiple positive references. And they’ll get all the benefits of SD-WAN before their competitors. A true competitive advantage in the market.

SO NOW WHAT?

So, what are YOU going to do to be on the winning side of the SD-WAN revolution?

Cloud application adoption and high costs of MPLS networks will nudge you along to be sure. But, your competitors who adopt earlier will enjoy lower costs, greater productivity, simplified management of their WANs and ultimately a competitive advantage. After all, faster rollouts of game changing cloud apps may enable them to serve their clients and employees better and faster and cheaper than you.

Proactively informing your CEO you are embracing the future will pay big dividends. Let him or her know this will enable the acceleration of technology and digitization projects to create a competitive advantage while trumping the costly security blanket of ‘playing it safe’ with MPLS for another contract cycle, all while your enterprise suffers from slow bandwidth, poor service, and high costs.

The choice is yours. Begin the process today to build a strong Business Case and ROI via the assistance of a qualified partner.

Your CEO will be glad you did.

Your competition will not be.

>I NEED HELP WITH MY SD-WAN JOURNEY >


About the Author:

Myron Braun, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Renodis

As Vice President of Sales for Renodis, Myron Braun is responsible for helping lead the company to new levels of customer satisfaction and growth.

During his nearly 10 years at Renodis, Mr. Braun has leveraged his many prior years of experience within the Telecommunications Industry to help develop the nation’s only fully integrated, complete life-cycle managed services solution helping enterprises eliminate the pain and frustration of managing Telecom and Mobility environments. Turnkey Telecom ManagementTM (TTM) has many fans within the CIO community. The success of TTM has enabled the company to grow its managed services business 40+% year over year since 2013.

Prior to Renodis, Myron enjoyed a lengthy career at MCI/Verizon, where he was named Branch Vice President of Enterprise Markets for Minnesota. Under his leadership that branch grew to achieve the highest market share of any office in the country, with revenues in excess of $190 million in 2006.

A Mobile-First strategy in today’s world is in essence a paradigm shift, but one that stretches even farther than our current view of software apps and the internet – it is the idea of FIRST thinking about the way information will be digested and the tools that will be used from the mobile device user’s […]

Now that employees and major enterprises are increasingly managing their businesses through mobile devices, there is a greater need than ever for secure managed mobility solutions that provide the highest level of IT efficiency. Trying to implement these measures on outdated systems and through existing structures is both frustrating and costly. Here is how the right managed mobility solution can deliver both mobile security and expense management capabilities.

Mobility Management Services

An organization that isn’t utilizing mobile capability today is likely to end up behind the curve sooner rather than later. It’s been found that organizations that lack mobile solutions will eventually lose skilled employees, have lower productivity among their workforce, and even have less satisfied clients.

A strategic mobility management system can not only improve these items within an organization, but it can also save costs. Employees become up to 25% more productive while at the same time the company spends 35% less on mobility. In addition to these benefits, there is greater overall security.

Enhanced Mobile Security

Now that employees and enterprises have shifted use to mobile devices, security has become an overriding concern. Fortunately, the top managed mobility solutions are addressing security issues with a variety of measures. Some of the ways that a mobility solution delivers security are:

  • employees and customers are asked to use a PIN code to access the system
  • when a device is lost, there are policies in place to wipe data immediately
  • devices are encrypted as are any data cards that are used in multiple mobile devices
  • a mobile VPN might be offered as a solution
  • mobile devices are given both antivirus and firewall capability.

Mobility Expense Management Solutions

One way that businesses maximize efficiency is through expense management. By enhancing the ability to manage expenses through a mobility solution, companies will begin saving on a grand scale. Just a few of the ways that mobility expense management is now possible include:

  • mobile invoice processing capability
  • proactive data monitoring
  • costs can be allocated directly to the GL, which eliminates errors and surprises
  • mobile inventory management solutions
  • wireless contract management to save time and reduce errors
  • ability to track expense per employee and per expense item.

Today’s enterprise customers are demanding more flexibility with their mobile solutions. If left un-checked the expense of your corporate mobility environment can begin to increase to an untenable amount. The benefits of a managed mobility solution are many, and with security services now available, as well as the expense management capabilities, make these strategic solutions a strong contender for any enterprise that wishes to remain competitive.

How can you easily achieve the benefits of Managed Mobility Solutions? Contact us today to learn to more!

With 20+ years of Telecommunications Industry experience, Jason Madison is part of the Renodis Enterprise Account Management Team.  Jason earned his MBA in 2007 while working at Sprint and has used his education and experience to consult with Fortune 500 corporations throughout his career.  He is a seasoned professional with experience in telecommunication strategy development. Jason has extensive experience in senior sales, management, and strategy roles with AT&T, Eschelon, and Sprint.

 

Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology is just beginning to gain traction as a viable way of creating more powerful networks through the strategic use of cost-effective, high-bandwidth WAN connections that promote superior network performance. At its core is a collection of algorithms which calculate the most effective way of routing traffic to locations remote from the hub. It is characterized by the following four principles:

  • It must have the mobility to support multiple connection types, e.g. multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), 3G/4G Long-term evolution(LTE), and Internet
  • It must be able to support Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), in addition to other 3rd-party services like gateways, firewalls, and WAN optimization controllers
  • It must be capable of managing dynamic traffic path selection, so that load-sharing can be implemented across all connections of a WAN
  • It must provide an interface which is extremely simple to setup, yet capable of managing complex WAN requirements, both of which contribute greatly to IT efficiency.

Other SD-WAN benefits

Several different connections can be aggregated so that they actually function as a single virtual overlay network, with no pre-defined transport path. This allows any branch or organization, regardless of location, to anticipate the benefits of uninterrupted continuity and connectivity. In this model, outages become a thing of the past, because there is a seamless failover algorithm which avoids all possible disruptions, and prevents costly downtime for mission-critical systems.

How costs are lowered by SD-WANs

Increasing bandwidth at any branch office or location is always a hassle, and always expensive – at least, in the traditional model of a wide area network. Since an SD-WAN can be composed of any combination of 3G/4G LTE, MPLS, serial service, Ethernet, or Internet, it becomes possible to quickly implement and to make use of any variety of bandwidth options.

With all these options available, including inexpensive Internet service, the software can dynamically select the most efficient and cost-effective path for routing traffic. The need for upgrading WANs constantly is thus effectively eliminated in favor of a more economical and efficient model. One of the real benefits of SD-WAN implementation is that almost any organization has the potential to vastly expand its network capability without sacrificing any connections in the process.

Often, it may not be necessary to purchase additional expensive bandwidth, or add layers of complexity to an existing infrastructure. Ideal for multi-site organizations, SD-WAN technology is set to become the wave of the future in connectivity, in large part due to its superior telecom expense management and flexible connection types. Although it currently sports a mere 1% of the total market share, it is estimated by respected industry analysts that within three years, that figure will soar to more than 30%.

How can you easily achieve the benefits of SD-WAN technology? Contact us today to learn how full life cycle SD-WAN services allow clients faster realization of SD-WAN benefits.

With 20+ years of Telecommunications Industry experience, Jason Madison is part of the Renodis Enterprise Account Management Team.  Jason earned his MBA in 2007 while working at Sprint and has used his education and experience to consult with Fortune 500 corporations throughout his career.  He is a seasoned professional with experience in telecommunication strategy development. Jason has extensive experience in senior sales, management, and strategy roles with AT&T, Eschelon, and Sprint.

 

Software defined networking is a buzzword that is growing rapidly. There are a multitude of various Software Defined Network solution partners out there and consolidation will eventually make its way into the market.

With all of the buzz and so many providers out there, why would you possibly want to deploy a Software Defined Network and what are the benefits and reasons why this is such a game changer? Everything you do should be looked at from a service, economics, and technology perspective. These are three key components you should look at it when making any type of network decision.

Game Changer #1 of a Software Defined Network: SERVICE Benefits

Fast/zero Touch Deployment – Software Defined Networks are literally a plug and play set up. They can be deployed and configured in a manner of days, and set up by your network engineer within minutes. Once the device is shipped and you have it configured and policies set up, it is good to go. Some Software Defined Network platforms are easier to use and more user friendly, but all of them are able to deploy quickly.

Leverage Your Bandwidth, Bring Your Own – You literally get more bandwidth for your buck when using Software Defined Networks. Bandwidth aggregation between dual connections, packet remediation, and application control allow for greater and more efficient use of bandwidth and less packet loss.

Increased Network Control and Visibility – Cloud migrations, mobile users (BYOD), and application deployments can wreak havoc on networks. Software Defined Networks allow a full view of the applications being used over the network, web and internet traffic, and also allows you to enforce business policies and web content filtering to ban certain applications from being used on the network.

Game Changer #2 of a Software Defined Network: ECONOMIC Benefits

Lower ISP Costs – leveraging a hybrid approach with various connectivity options (broadband, FiOS, cable, DSL, 4G LTE, MPLS), you can significantly reduce network costs and get rid of the high costs of local access charges with MPLS services. Even though these types of connections do not have SLAs, a Software Defined Network provides QoS and the ability to remediate on its own between two connections which will result in immediate business continuity and redundancy.

Lower TCO – Lower CAPEX costs by eliminating equipment including firewalls (in some cases) and routers, a Software Defined Network replaces these devices in most scenarios. Also, since most Software Defined Network pricing models are based on OPEX, the overall cost of using a Software Defined Network is reduced through a hybrid network approach, less equipment, and better performance.

Game Changer #3 of a Software Defined Network: TECHNOLOGY Benefits

Cloud Based – Software Defined Networks entail more than deploying a piece of hardware at your remote sites, datacenters, and HQ locations. Software Defined Networks use both gateways at each site as well as an Orchestrator at the head end. Even though hardware is deployed, Software Defined Networks works as a cloud based platform and is managed using cloud based protocols. As an added benefit, you can connect directly to cloud providers and deploy cloud based applications using a Software Defined Network, as well as business policies through the cloud.

Utilize Internet Broadband – As mentioned above, using a hybrid approach allows you to bring your own bandwidth to support a Software Defined Network. Either through Ethernet over copper/fiber/coax, DSL, FiOS, 4G LTE Wireless, or cable are all great options you can use. MPLS services are also supported.

Business Continuity/Instant DR – Software Defined Networks use dual broadband connections including wireless to aggregate bandwidth and remediate packet loss. For example, if you have a DSL connection that is experiencing latency, the 2nd connection will remediate the packet loss from the DSL connection, resulting in immediate fail over and improves network performance through multi-path optimization. Cable and DSL can be very unreliable, so it is imperative to have two connections, including fail over to a wireless device.

Security and PCI Compliance – Software Defined Networks offer comprehensive security including PCI 3.0 compliance through end-to-end security and firewall protocols. Some of these features include: segregating networks, WPA2, WPA2-PSK encryption, access restriction based on user preferences, regular security patches, penetration checks, and web content filtering.

The benefits of a Software Defined Network far outweigh the risks entailed with legacy network designs. With a Software Defined Network you can enjoy all of the technical, economic, and service benefits as you continue to evolve your network and improve optimal performance.

Ryan Carter specializes in working with thought-leading, strategically-targeted IT executives to help them achieve an increased focus on business-impacting technology, business transformation, reduced operating costs, and IT productivity. Ryan provides thought leadership and various areas of expertise for Communications Managed Services including telecommunications expense management, mobility managed services, technology road-mapping, network design, business continuity, vendor management, and user support.

For more information on driving IT performance and improving business outcomes, or if you have any comments or questions related to this post, please contact him at rcarter@renodis.com.

Is your company looking for ways to cut costs in 2014? With increases in healthcare costs and decreases in budgets, many I.T. managers have been asked to reduce costs. The good news is that there are a few things that I.T. can outsource to save companies money and time, and probably end up looking like a hero in the process.

Read on for the Top 5 Things I.T. Should Outsource in 2014.

#1: Copier / Printer Outsourcing

printer

“Copying and printing can cost up to 3% of a company’s revenue – equivalent to the average IT budget – so don’t overlook services that could help to reduce that outlay” – Julie Giera with Computer Weekly

Printers and copiers can be high maintenance, expensive, and very time consuming. In the past five years, many IT departments have shrunk; you may have fewer people on staff to manage your printers as they grow older and fall out of warranty. Maybe you have one person on your staff that is trained to work on printers and copiers, but what happens when that person is sick or leaves the company? By outsourcing copying and printing (often to the same company), you free up your staff to perform more important I.T. functions. Staff members no longer have to stay up-to-date to work on the latest copiers and printers. Common problems like recurring paper jams are handled by a professional technician. You no longer have to have one of your I.T. staff spend hours breaking down the machine to try and find the part that is causing the problem.

#2: Software Development

software_development

Few small to medium-sized businesses have the resources for software developers and quality control staff (aka software testers). Some companies make the mistake of hiring a lone developer to create software. This person will usually work on only one project at a time, which can delay development. Another problem comes when the person gets sick or decides to leave the company. Who is going to take their place, and is there proper documentation for what they created so another person can take over?

How do you know when you’ve found the right software development firm? Communication, skill, and price must combine for the right choice. The right software development firms will have flexible staffing numbers and the ability to get your product to market quicker and usually at lower cost.

It makes sense for most small to medium-sized businesses to outsource software development in 2014. It can be a major, time-consuming headache that is better handled by a company with development and quality control staff on-site.

#3: Disaster Recovery 

dilbert

Have you spent much time thinking about what will happen when a disaster occurs? While some minor issues like power outages occur occasionally, a true disaster is something that must be properly planned for. This can be a very time-consuming process and it is better to work with a vendor who has experience in this area. Where will your team go when a disaster occurs?

After a disaster, employees still need to get paid. Vendors still need to receive checks to keep products flowing. There are many critical company processes that will need to function even after a disaster. This is why it is crucial to have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Once a disaster occurs, you can expect to spend long hours, possibly even days, working in a disaster recovery facility. It is important to pick a place that will allow your people to work in safety until the disaster is over. A disaster recovery service will have systems available when you need them and can scale to meet your needs as your company grows.

According to an IDC survey, in 2013 data center managers expect to allocate almost 50% of their budgets to the cloud. This number is predicted to grow in 2014.  As more companies move to the cloud, it makes sense to move disaster recovery there as well.

While some companies may consider doing disaster recovery internally, maintaining extra hardware and a place to keep it can be an expensive proposition. As the hardware ages, new equipment will have to be purchased. By outsourcing to a disaster recovery service, hardware and location becomes their responsibility to maintain.

#4: Email Archiving 

emailarchiving

“Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) estimates that 70% of you haven’t deployed any form of e-mail archiving.” – Outsourcing Email Pros and Cons 

You don’t want to find out when it’s too late that you can’t restore an old email. Standard backups may suffice for short-term storage and are much more reliable than they used to be. However, if all you have is a standard backup, how are you going to handle it when HR comes to your door and needs an email from a year ago for a legal issue? (After the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedures were passed in 2006, emails (and other forms of communication) may be requested for litigation and must be archived.)

You need to be proactive in how you handle email archiving. Having the right email archiving service provider can mitigate the risk that is a growing reality for many companies. By outsourcing email archiving, you can reduce the overall cost of storage and speed up email clients along the way.

Users can be trained so that when they need an email that was accidentally deleted three weeks ago, they can simply go to a search box and find the email themselves in the email archive. Since all of the emails are stored in the cloud, it reduces the cost of new hardware on-site.

#5: Telecom Management 

telecom

“[Telecom management] allowed us to do more value-added services versus managing boilerplate telecom functions,” says Joe Topinka, CIO and Vice President of Multichannel Commerce at Red Wing Shoe Company. “We’re able to do more project-based work now.  These strategic initiatives have to do with expanding market strategy. That’s a big deal for us,” he says.  “Telecom management is important – it’s the dial tone of the organization. But it’s not what differentiates us, so we looked for a partner.” 

Let’s face it, corporate telecommunications can be a mess: a tangle of providers, contracts and technologies that your I.T. staff would be better served not wasting its time on. Most companies rely on their I.T. departments to handle telecommunications because they aren’t aware of other options. But that’s not a good use of highly trained (and highly paid) I.T. employees who’ve spent years mastering computer science and systems development.  It takes time to become an expert at telecom management and for most I.T. staff, their time is better spent focusing on their core strengths. In addition, the world of telecom management is changing rapidly and growing even more complex, making it difficult for non-experts to keep pace – and when non-experts are managing telecom, cost savings are essentially left on the table.

Why Telecom Management Isn’t Worth I.T.’s Time

5 Things I.T. Should Outsource in 2014 – Conclusion

Outsourcing began to take off in the 1990s as companies began to shed functions they had to do that were not part of their core missions. Since then, outsourcing has grown substantially. According to a Deloitte study, 60 percent of respondents said that outsourcing was a “standard practice” at their companies.

In this article, we covered five things I.T. should outsource in 2014. With copier and printer outsourcing, you can keep your I.T. staff from being tied up with these machines. Software development can easily be outsourced so that they take care of the full development process. This leaves your staff to determine needs analysis and manage the project.

Disaster recovery will help you sleep every night knowing that you have a contract stating your service provider will be ready in case a disaster ever occurs. With email archiving, you never have to worry about employees accidentally losing emails again. With simple training, they can learn how to look up lost emails on their own.

Finally, outsourcing telecom management allows you to focus your I.T. department’s efforts on strategic initiatives, harness the value of telecom-specific expertise, and reduce your total cost of telecom.

Every smartphone manufacturer is looking to develop the next big thing.  The explosion of apps in the last ten years combined with rapid device innovation has created a climate of unprecedented competition to provide that one device that will turn the industry upside down.   For every hit, there are several misses.  Manufacturers and carriers alike stake their reputations on these devices, and some of the results are tragic and some are comical.

Read on for a few brilliant smartphone ideas that tanked … big time.

#1: Kyocera Echo (Sprint) April to October 2011

b1

Not even the magic of David Blaine’s introduction could transform the Kyocera Echo into a winner.  This was the phone for those who didn’t want to carry a tablet and a phone.  Two 3.5 inch screens combined to create a hinged tablet.  The problems…  Two screens meant twice the battery drain.  There was never really a niche carved out for this device.  Gamers didn’t buy it.  Most tablet users didn’t want to merge the functionality of their tablet and phone, and those that wanted bigger screens eventually got them.  Samsung, HTC, and Apple started making bigger screened devices shortly after the Echo debuted.

#2: Palm Pre (Sprint) June 2009-2010

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With waning sales during the end of the reign of Blackberry, two years after the first iPhone, and 1 year after the first Androids, Palm introduced the Pre to much fanfare.  It was even featured on the tech segment on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  The device featured Palm’s new Web OS and a touchstone charger that allowed the phone to charge by being placed on a charger with no wires.  The Pre was in essence the last Hail Mary of Palm, but alas, it was too late.  Google and Apple had already started a revolution against Blackberry – and Palm was not invited.  The lackluster sales of this device led to Palm’s demise and they were eventually acquired by HP.

#3: Blackberry Z10 and Q10 (Multiple Carriers) Mid 2012

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Blackberry’s reign ended with the one-two punch of iPhone and Android.  By the time Blackberry was able to adapt with the Blackberry Q10 and Z10 in mid-2012, it was late to the game.  They brought on a new CEO who tried to emulate Android and IOS, but Blackberry went on the auction block after the failure of these devices.  It has since been pulled back because of a lack of suitors.

#4: Microsoft Kin (Verizon) May to June 2010

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The Microsoft Kin was a complete failure.  It was Microsoft’s first attempt into the smartphone world, and had a shelf life of only two months.  That was after Microsoft invested two years and about $1 billion developing the Kin platform.  It was supposed to be a social platform and was completely dependent on it.  The Kin was SUCH a failure that Microsoft scrapped it completely within one year, shutting down the services that provided the social elements, rendering the phone useless.  It also had no app store, no third party applications and limited API for developers.

#5: Motorola i930 (Nextel) October 2005

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Limited 2G Data Speeds and no Qwerty Keyboard made this device outdated by the time it was released.  It was a tri-band world phone designed for World Business Travelers, but the user interface combined with Windows Mobile 2003 was clumsy and inefficient.  It lacked Bluetooth capabilities and could not be upgraded.  Third party apps would lock up on the device.

#6: Samsung Omnia (Verizon) June 2008 to March 2011

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Even Samsung had some Dogs.  Though the Korean Giant dominated with the Galaxy Line, their foray into the Windows Phone in 2008 lacked pizzazz.  It had Windows Mobile 6.1, but was known to be buggy and tried too hard to be a pc on a smartphone screen.

#7: HTC Evo 3D (Sprint) 2011 

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The EVO 3D was the third entry in the EVO series for Sprint.  It offered a faster dual core processer, better battery life than the previous models, and used Sprint’s 4G Wimax technology.  The wow factor on this phone was the 3D effect.  HTC used a parallax barrier, essentially they combined two image versions of the same image to mimic a 3D effect.  The technology was cool – for about a week.  Then you just had an expensive EVO.  3D belongs on a TV, or if you’re old like me, it belongs on a theater screen.  3D on your phone was shelved when the EVO 3D went end of life.  Until we have holograms popping out of our phones like in Star Wars and Star Trek, I’ll pass.

7 Brilliant Smartphones that Tanked – The Summary

These devices showed that not everything that CAN be done with a smartphone – SHOULD be done.  What seems like a good idea at CTIA will not always grab a chunk of the market.  When you see those old reels of early attempts at flight around the time the Wright Brothers had their success, you see a similar comical path to what amounted to a new era in human innovation.  Without all these failures, how do we decide what not to do?

This week’s blogs revolve around the scary truth of Voice Hacking.  It’s not just a spooky story folks. We’ll tell you all you need to know about this real nightmare.

Click here if you missed Voice Hacking Part 1 “20 Things You Must Do to Prevent Voice Hacking”.


As you know, Voice Hacking can result in significant, unauthorized charges billed directly to your account. As a business you are responsible for maintaining the security of your hardware and in most cases, you will be held liable for all charges incurred on your account. However, there is also a level of responsibility that exists for the carrier. As the “service provider” for their clients (you, the customer), they should have safeguards in place to ensure that proactive notification triggers are in place should there be an unusual increase in usage. Unusually high phone traffic should be treated by your carrier no differently than high usage is treated by a credit card company. If a credit card begins to register unusual or suspect charges, the credit card company shuts it down as a preventative measure. The same SHOULD be true of your telecom carrier as it relates to long distance charges.

However, these safeguards don’t always protect against Voice Hackers. Read on for the Must-Do’s if you suspect Voice Hacking is Happening and How To Handle Unauthorized Charges.

What To Do If You Suspect Voice Hacking is Happening?

If, despite your best anti-fraud efforts, you suspect – or actually detect – tampering, that’s the time to take action. Unlike credit card fraud, there is no limit to the potential for loss and complete liability in the event of toll fraud. And since toll fraud charges can mount fast, you can’t afford to lose a minute. Your first two calls upon suspecting or identifying fraud should be:

  1.  To your equipment vendor.
  2. To your long distance provider.

Together, they can begin to pinpoint the fraud source and block further fraud attempts. Most carriers and vendors have a 24-hour hotline staffed by toll fraud security experts. Their job is to initiate immediate investigations of potential fraud in progress, help with fraud prevention and answer any fraud related questions. Do not hesitate to use them if you suspect any issues.

What Do I Do if Voice Hacking Causes Unauthorized Charges?

If all your preventative measures do not stop the hackers, and you do end up with unauthorized charges, work with your carrier to have the charges removed from your bill. In many cases, the carrier has a charge removal policy (up to a certain point) if you can prove that you took all the required steps to prevent and stop potential fraud (see prevention checklist above).

If this is not the case, and your carrier refuses to recourse the charges from your bill, you can refuse to pay the charges and file a complaint with your local PUC or the FCC. Keep in mind that this will most likely result in your carrier blocking all long distance access on your services until the matter is resolved. Always try negotiating first. In most cases, conscientious carriers are willing to work with you to resolve the issues rather than lose your business to another provider.

The Summary – Voice Hacking is Real, Not Just a Spooky Story

Now the purpose of this blog wasn’t to frighten or tell you a spooky story. Voice Hacking is real and happens every day. Now that you know all the details, make sure to follow the preventative steps above as well as keep a close eye on your voice charges – or enlist the help of a trusted expert to avoid the nightmare that is… Voice Hacking.

Click here if you missed Voice Hacking Part 1 “20 Things You Must Do to Prevent Voice Hacking”.

Renodis is the only firm in America providing professional management of businesses communications infrastructure. As a pioneer in its field, Renodis is committed to providing objective service that empowers clients to reduce the Total Cost of Telecom™, free up valuable IT and Executive resources, future-proof their technology, and gain more time for core business initiatives. Contact us to learn more.

This week’s blogs revolve around the scary truth of Voice Hacking.  It’s not just a spooky story folks. We’ll tell you all you need to know about this real nightmare and how to protect yourself.

Stay tuned for Thursdays Voice Hacking Part 2 post where we’ll cover the Must-Do’s if you suspect Voice Hacking is happening to you!


You can’t see them, but they are always there. Lurking in the shadows, hidden behind exposed wiring, programmed dialers, and sophisticated re-routing equipment. They often strike after the lights go out, when your poor unsuspecting business has settled in for the night. They are…the Voice Hackers, and they are the nightmare of every IT/Telecom System Administrator in the industry.

What is Voice Hacking you might ask? How does it happen, what do I do to protect myself, and how do I know if Voice Hacking is currently happening? Don’t be scared – read on for all the spooooooky details…

What Is Voice Hacking?

Voice Hacking is communications services fraud. Much like identity theft, it is the use and abuse of products or services with no intention of payment. Voice Hacking is a long standing, industry-wide problem that has seen a surge in recent years thanks to the access provided through IP PBX connectivity to the public internet via a company router. It can impact any business that owns or operates a PBX, Voice Mail System or Hosted Unified Communications platform. Skilled hackers gain access to these systems initially undetected and make outbound calls both domestically and internationally resulting in sizable, unauthorized charges billed to the business.

How Does Voice Hacking Happen?

A skilled hacker can compromise unprotected telecommunications equipment in a few different ways.

  1. They can call into a call center and be transferred to an open extension or the business’s voicemail system.
  2. They dial or remotely login to the system via open and unprotected system/router ports.
  3. Simply tap into exposed carrier wiring. Once they are in, they can redirect calls to anywhere in the world.
  4. More often than not, the hacker, or hacking team, will set themselves up as a thrifty service provider, offering international access at below market rates. Basically, they make money using your access and assets, and stick you with the very large, unwanted, and unplanned for toll bill.

How To Prevent Voice Hacking – 20 Must Do’s

The best way to protect your business systems from voice hacking is to plan for it. Proactively addressing this issue with your equipment vendor, or a qualified systems consultant can save time, money and lost productivity due to unplanned system lock downs. Industry experts recommend, at a minimum, the following steps to be taken. Click here to view this as a printable checklist.

  1. Change default codes and passwords immediately once a service is activated, upgraded, or added.
  2. Don’t choose or allow obvious passwords like extension number, simple number combinations, versions of the company name, etc.
  3. Educate employees on the importance of keeping codes and passwords confidential.
  4. Enforce company policy to regularly change PINs and passwords. Force password changes if necessary.
  5. Limit the number of employees with administrator privileges.
  6. Do not allow shared or group passwords.
  7. When an employee leaves the company, immediately cancel their access rights.
  8. Disable the “External Call Forwarding” feature unless specifically required by a staff member.
  9. Disable any feature not in use that may be accessed remotely.
  10. Delete any unused extensions.
  11. Disallow any “off-hook” access from within the system.
  12. Delete any unused voice mailboxes.
  13. Set password access attempts before lock-out at 3 or less.
  14. Set up “port monitoring” on your access trunks. Pay close attention to high usage in “off hours”.
  15. Secure all externally placed wiring that connects to system equipment.
  16. Keep phone system hardware in a secure place with restricted access.
  17. Ensure you have proper blocks in place for 9XX and some 8XX dialing sequences.
  18. Require access codes for International calling.
  19. Keep close tabs on your phone bill, or hire a telecom expense management company to do so.
  20. Ask if “high unbilled toll” notifications are offered by your carrier.

Stay tuned for Thursdays Voice Hacking Part 2 post where we’ll cover the Must-Do’s if you suspect Voice Hacking is happening to you!

Renodis is the only firm in America providing professional management of businesses communications infrastructure. As a pioneer in its field, Renodis is committed to providing objective service that empowers clients to reduce the Total Cost of Telecom™, free up valuable IT and Executive resources, future-proof their technology, and gain more time for core business initiatives. Contact us to learn more.

Trying to find out the best plans, features, minutes, and discounts among the carriers is enough to drive most business’ telecom departments into submission – the most dreadful of all of these complexities is international roaming.

In one such instance, an employee of a well-known company traveled internationally without notifying their company. The person racked up $5,000 worth of overages in roaming and streaming changes. Renodis was brought in to work with the carrier to help to reduce the charges, but not without significant work on both sides.

As you may have heard, T-Mobile just announced that it will drop international data and text roaming charges in more than 100 countries. Great! But what does that really mean?

What is typically done to prevent international roaming charges?

Let’s take a step back. Without the New T-Mobile plan, the way to deal with or prevent international roaming charges is to make a feature change to your international traveler’s phone plan before your travels by temporally adding an international plan or using a Brightroam device. Brightroams are an affordable device that could be activated on a short term basis (we also recommended purchasing unlocked GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) iPhones directly from Apple to activate for China use as needed).

T-Mobile International travel and roaming plan: What’s in the details?

T-Mobile has revamped its plans with the idea of keeping it simple for businesses to make the best choices when it comes to international travel.

In their Simple Choice Plans, in addition to unlimited talk, text, and data while on T-Mobile’s home network — you’re covered worldwide. Their qualifying plans include unlimited data and texting in more than 100 countries. (*See the full list at the below)

What does this mean for you?  It allows you to easily check Google Maps (handy if you’re lost abroad), check in and update social sites, and send emails without roaming changes. Netflix might be a little tough since it only provides 2G speeds. But if you want the extra speed, a one day pass for 100MB is $15, 7 day pass for 200MB is $25, and $50 for 500MB over 14 days.

So that means for International Travel:

  • Calling: 20 cents per minute in more than 100 countries*
  • Texting: Unlimited in more than 100 countries* included at no extra charge
  • Data: Unlimited in more than 100 countries* included at no extra charge

Note:  texting and data usage is where we usually see the most overages for international travelers.

The New Plan will start on Oct. 31st (maybe to scare the other carriers on Halloween!) and signup should be easy since T-Mobile announced the elimination of the traditional carrier contracts this past spring. So there will be no locking into a 2-year contract, no annual service contract requirements, no early termination fees, and you can upgrade when you want.

T-Mobile also said that it’s 4LTE nationwide network will be covering 200 million plus customers in over 220 metro areas within the U.S.

And if that’s not enough, to help get the word out T-Mobile has signed an agreement with the pop recording star Shakira for exclusive access to her new music, which will result in unique content for T-Mobile customers.

T-Mobile International travel and roaming plan: Summary

You don’t think twice when you send an email or Skype someone half way around the world, nor should you. The same should be said of our smart phones – and T-Mobile has provided a good step in that direction.

T-Mobile is introducing a game changer of an idea that really should have been done long ago. We are living in a small global society without boundaries when it comes to technology and this is how a lot of users see their mobile phones. In my opinion, T-Mobile has listened to the masses. With the roll out of their Simple Choice Plans, they will make international travel easier on the pocket book and save time for their users.

Only time will tell if this move will help T-Mobile gain market share from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint or just make their existing client base happier. Either way it is a good way to shake things up in the highly competitive world of mobility.

*Country locations

Aland Islands Easter Island Lithuania St. Kitts and Nevis
Anguilla Ecuador Luxembourg St. Lucia
Antigua and Barbuda Egypt Malaysia St. Martin
Argentina El Salvador Malta St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Armenia Estonia Martinique Suriname
Aruba Faeroe Islands Mexico Svalbard
Australia Finland Moldova Sweden
Austria France Montserrat Switzerland
Bahrain French Guiana Netherlands Taiwan
Barbados Germany Netherlands Antilles Thailand
Belgium Ghana New Zealand Trinidad & Tobago
Bermuda Greece Nicaragua Turkey
Bolivia Grenada Norway Turkmenistan
Bonaire Guadeloupe Pakistan Turks and Caicos Islands
Brazil Guatemala Panama Ukraine
British Virgin Islands Guyana Peru United Arab Emirates
Bulgaria Hong Kong Philippines United Kingdom
Cambodia Hungary Poland Uruguay
Canada Iceland Portugal Uzbekistan
Cayman Islands India Qatar Vatican City
Chile Indonesia Romania Venezuela
China Iraq Russia Vietnam
Christmas Island Ireland Saudi Arabia Zambia