Posts tagged ‘Security’

The 6 hidden costs of cloud IT services #CloudWF

Guest Blog with Intermedia

The 6 hidden costs of cloud IT services

So you’re considering moving email, file management, or archiving to the cloud. You even have quotes from a few providers you’re checking out. Great! It’s a step in the right direction to support your company’s growth. But be careful: what you end up paying might not always match your quote. There are costs beyond the monthly service fee.

The good news is that those hidden costs are avoidable. To help you with your due diligence, we compiled a list of the costs you may encounter.

  1. The cost of migrating data to the new service

Let’s say you’re switching email providers. You might think data migration is free. And it might even be—in the sense that it’s not a line item in the invoice. But if you have to do it yourself, it will cost the valuable time of your IT staff. And what if you need assistance? Some providers may only help for a fee, and others will refer you to a third-party consultant. So make sure you ask about data migration, and make sure your provider will includes white-glove service for free.

  1. The cost of downtime imposed by low reliability

When an essential IT service is unavailable, your business incurs extremely high costs: your employees can’t do their jobs, your customers get angry, you lose sales, and IT resources are diverted to cope with the crisis. Many providers promise 99.9% uptime. And while this may sound good, it actually adds up to more than 525 minutes of unplanned downtime per year. Consider this and make sure you settle for no less than a 99.999% uptime guarantee— which is less than 30 seconds of downtime a month.

  1. The cost of not getting enough support

When you’re experiencing a problem, regardless of its severity, you need quick answers or your productivity suffers. You can’t be productive if you’re on hold—or if you’re pushed to self-help support portals. However, many providers only offer phone support for critical or tier 2 issues. Even then, support centers are often outsourced or staffed with non-certified personnel. These factors add up to costly unproductive time. A good support plan will include 24/7 live support, short hold times, and skilled, certified staff.

  1. The cost of sub-par security and protection

Security breaches are not just a costly drain on time, they create risk that could hurt your business. So where security is concerned, you must be confident that your business cloud provider has you covered. However, many providers use lesser-known security tools and fewer still help respond to eDiscovery requests. Make sure you get the nitty-gritty details on security procedures from your provider and don’t settle on less than the gold standard and the best-known names.

  1. The cost of management inefficiency

Your cloud management console should be powerful enough to support your IT needs, but simple enough to use that you can easily use it—and, indeed, that you can delegate certain tasks to non-technical resources. Otherwise your IT staff is wasting precious time on tasks that should be trivial. When you look at management consoles, they can be quite complicated and most provide no ability to manage additional third-party services. Make sure you get a solution that balances ease-of-use with granular control to avoid imposing undue labour costs on your IT team.

  1. The cost of services that lack integration

Your business is probably adding more and more cloud services. But as you add more services, you introduce more support, billing and management complexities. And so you end up in a tangle of services that you have to untie. Compare this to top providers with integrations that let you share user and device settings across services. Without this, the cost of managing your IT can skyrocket.

Choose your cloud provider carefully.

As the customer, you have a choice. Choose a cloud-based IT services provider that offers you transparent and worry-free service. Insist on getting the full range of services with no hidden costs, including migration, security, and management. Make it easy for your IT staff to get the support they need: look for 24/7 phone and chat support for admins, handled by certified staff. And don’t settle when it comes to the service level agreement: make sure you get “five nines” uptime. That way, you can focus on growing your business.

www.intermedia.co.uk
+44(0)203 384 2158

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Intermedia will be exhibiting at the Cloud World Forum taking place on the 24th & 25th June 2015, on Stand D160.

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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The Cloud World Forum visitor ticket is now officially published! #CloudWF

The Cloud World Forum 2015 visitor ticket is here! Download for the full agenda, speaker line-up, exhibition news, sponsor list and NEW visitor features…

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Download your copy to view the full agenda, speaker line-up, exhibition news, sponsor list and NEW visitor features. Start planning your day at the Cloud World Forum, taking place on the 24th and 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand, London.

DOWNLOAD YOUR VISITOR TICKET HERE!

 

Co-located with Enterprise Apps World, the Cloud World Forum 2015 theatres respond to the investment areas and trends discussed on 100+ calls with C-Level IT decision makers, operations and development teams, as well as the market’s leading technology pioneers.

The show’s content powers the digital enterprise through best practice in Cloud, IoT, DevOps, Data Analytics, Security and Comms & Collaboration end user case studies, as well as much, much more.

By expanding the show’s content in 2015, we ensure need-to-know information is delivered to meet the demands of the senior IT professionals attracted to our show.

This year there is a particular focus on enterprise application development and mobility, with a dedicated DevOps and Containers theatre, as well as two theatres running throughout the 24th and 25th June within Enterprise Apps World.

The Enterprise Mobility Strategies and Enterprise App Development theatres focus on strengthening organisations’ mobility, application and API strategies, in addition to teaching developers how to achieve that necessary edge in the lucrative and increasingly competitive enterprise market!

See you in June!

The Cloud World Forum Team.

REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE EXPO PASS HERE.

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The future call centre: 10 predictions for the next 10 years

Guest Blog with NewVoiceMedia

Video-service-198x300What will the call centre of 2025 look like?

Well, to start with, it’s unlikely to be a physical ‘centre’ anymore. The rise of cloud technology is predicted to lead to an increase in remote working. But this move outside the office walls is far from businesses shunning the contact centre.

The omnipresent eye of social media has put companies in the limelight – for good and for bad, pushing customer service right to the top of the priority list. As a result,  looks set to become a key differentiator from now onwards, and the call centre will be at the forefront of this strategy.

Here we explore the trends that look set to transform the call centre in ten years’ time.

1. The call center will become a ‘relationship hub’

For years, many have considered the call centre as a way of dealing with immediate problems. This led to a short-term strategy of dealing with one customer emergency after another – reacting instead of adapting to the needs of the customer. Instead of picking up the pieces when things go wrong, we predict that the contact centre will become an integral part of business strategy, acting as a ‘relationship hub’.

Contact centre agents are the first to know if something isn’t working and are therefore perfectly poised to advise the business. It’s the people on the other end of the phone that know what the customers really think. Customer service can be seen as an afterthought – what happens after the marketing department has reeled them in, but really, it should be part of every stage of business development, supplying sales and marketing with repeat purchasers and advocates, as well as an essential data point for product management and development.

2. Customer service agents will become ‘super agents’

As the call centre becomes an increasingly important part of the business, so do the people that work there. They will need to adapt their skillset to meet the demands of the future customer and the expectations directors place on the contact centre. Plus, with the rise of ‘self-help’ and user communities, only the most complex problems will end up in a call centre. Agents will need to be ready to tackle challenging issues and be able to unpick the situation to pinpoint what exactly went wrong.

It’s therefore not surprising that in the next ten years, the average customer service agent will need to have a much wider range of skills. Aside from excellent communication skills, they’ll need analytical problem-solving skills, project management – and in some cases, technical training, in order to understand the finer details of the product or service. Alongside all of this, customer service agents will need to be able to adapt to changes in technology – from becoming an expert in every new app and social network, to utilising the increasing range of data on their CRM.

3. Call routing systems will find the ‘perfect match’ 

Intelligent call-routing is already available now, but it’s predicted to grow in the next ten years – matching the customer with the right expert almost instantly. As CRM and workflow management systems develop, a complex ‘match-making’ process will occur every time a customer calls, to ensure the right expert is on hand to solve every problem. Many also believe that organisations will begin to publish their agents’ availability online, so that customers can pick the agent that best suits their needs and call them directly.

4. Web chat will become an increasingly popular customer service channel

It can be frustrating to be on the other end of a phone – whether you’re an agent or a customer, the channel has its limits. The success of Amazon Mayday has made video-based live chat a real possibility. The channel has huge potential, because it allows agents to develop a more personal connection with customers through face-to-face chat. Plus, have you ever wanted to show a customer how something works? With video chat, this becomes a possibility. It also eliminates the idea of being put on hold – even if the agent isn’t speaking, the customer is connected via the visual feed. Video web chat also allows contact centres to anticipate problems as customers navigate their website and ensure the right agent pops up at the right time.

5. Customer service will become the key differentiator

With the rise of intangible products, which only exist via your mobile or laptop, customer experience is becoming more important as a differentiator. Consumers don’t just want great customer service, they demand it. In the UK, half of consumers said they would buy from a competitor as the result of poor customer experience. This is similar in the US, with 44% of consumers taking their business elsewhere as a result of inadequate service.

Plus, with the death of sustainable competitive advantage, companies can no longer rely on their well-defined niche to keep them ahead. The elusive ‘experience’ becomes more important and customer service moves straight to the top of the agenda. Add to this the growth of social media and customer service has transformed from a one-to-one interaction to a public conversation. With customer service becoming this transparent, companies have realised they need to up their game. You can no longer hide bad customer service behind closed doors; every business has an online footprint of their successes and failures for all to see. As a result, companies will start to compete to offer the best customer service – with social media recommendations being the ultimate prize.

6. Mobile is the future – for customer service agents and customers

According to the Economist, mobile apps are predicted to become the second most important channel for engaging with brands – just behind social media. And it’s not just about apps, as the mobile phone becomes an increasingly important part of everyday life. It’s how your customers are most likely to get in contact with you – via email, live chat, social media or in a voice call. Companies need to optimise their mobile functionality for this – particularly by allowing customers to multi-task on their mobile. For instance, being able to read the FAQs page while on the phone to the customer service agent. Your customer service agents will make the same demands for mobile. Being able to access a mobile CRM is a key ingredient for flexible working.

7. Expect channel preferences to change (and change again)

As consumers demand a personalised approach to just about everything – they expect to be able to mix & match the customer service channels to create a tailor-made service. However, it’s becoming increasingly hard to predict and plan for the channel-hopping. That’s why we predict that whatever the preference is at the moment, it will change in the next ten years – probably several times. How contact centres are able to adapt to customers switching between channels will determine their success.

This is particularly true if businesses want to appeal to the millennial generation, who are notorious for channel-switching, as they move from mobile to tablet to laptop, all in a matter of hours. Being able to follow those channel hops while maintaining the context of the interaction is key to customer service success. And it’s not just about keeping up with the change in device or channel, businesses need to keep up with the technology itself. New apps and social networks are launched all the time – WhatsApp is a great example of a channel that’s taken off rapidly and is becoming a popular choice for customer service.

8. Voice biometrics will replace security questions

“What’s your mother’s maiden name?” is one of many common security questions, but in the next ten years, it’ll be more about how the customer answers a question than the answer itself which confirms their identity. Gathering the unique ‘voiceprints’ of your customers could be the answer to security problems, as voice biometrics technology develops. It’s much harder to replicate the human voice than it is to steal facts about a customer. Voice biometrics record the intricacies of the human voice – from picking up on the size and shape of the mouth to the tension of the vocal cords.

9. Remote working and location-based services will increase

With the rise of cloud-based SaaS, having all your agents in one place is no longer necessary. It’s actually much more than unnecessary – switching to remote working agents has lots of benefits. This approach can reduce the costs associated with running a call centre and give employees greater flexibility. It is predicted that the growing number of virtual call centres could lead to more location-based services. For instance, a customer calling a company could be automatically connected to an agent working remotely a few miles from their location. The agent could even arrange to meet the customer if necessary, which could be very useful for certain sectors.

10. The “internet of things”

Described by many as the third great wave of computing – the “internet of things” or the “internet of everything” could change the way the world works. With more and more devices being able to connect to other devices or people independently, it gives rise to a world where almost everything is connected. This could have huge implications for the contact centre, enabling businesses to deliver pre-emptive service. For instance, if a patient’s heart monitor is over-heating, the device could send an automated service request to the right team. On a more domestic level, washing machines may be able to self-diagnose problems and notify the manufacturer when the part needs replacing – taking the customer out of the equation altogether.

The implication is that attitudes will shift – instead of buying a product, consumers will be buying a product with built-in customer service, raising the stakes for getting service right.

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NewVoiceMedia are Salesforce Pavillion Partner and exhibitors at Cloud World Forum, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand in London.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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Enterprise Apps World @ Cloud Word Forum

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We’d like to invite you to the Enterprise Apps World, taking place at the Cloud World Forum on 24th & 25th June at Olympia Grand in London.

The inclusion of the extended Enterprise Apps World theatre responds to the research by those such as the Centre for Economics and Business Research showing how the European enterprise cloud app market is set to generate £2.7 billion ($4.2 billion) in revenue, an increase of 206%, by 2018.

Cloud computing is a critical driver in the Enterprise App market’s development and the timely Enterprise Apps theatre discusses and advances market opportunities, and provides necessary insight into cross-device and platform integration, security and BYOD challenges.

You will benefit from learning how enterprises and vendors can move on from ad hoc deployment of employee and customer facing applications, to implementing a strong enterprise mobility strategy to manage the cost and reap the operational benefits of traditional enterprise mobility solutions.

The Cloud World Forum and Enterprise Apps World’s 300+ strong industry expert speaker line-up includes…

  • Fin Goulding, CIO, Paddy Power
  • Imran Younis, Global Head of UX, LateRooms.com
  • Marc van der Heijden, SVP Global IT – Head Infrastructure & Security, Adidas
  • Helene Sears, Senior UX Architect, Guardian News and Media
  • Jane Gilmour, CTO, Coca Cola International
  • Michel de Goede, Strategy Consultant/Enterprise Architect, Alliander
  • Zvezdan Schoppmann, Groupwide Head of Technology Innovation Management, DHL
  • Anastasia Semenova, Business Analyst & join-Chair of UX Community of Practice, Barclays
  • Andrea Picchi, Head of Mobile and Wearable UX, Ryan Air
  • Anthony Headlam, CTO, Jaguar Land Rover
  • Thomas Naylor, CIO, Salamanca Group
  • Julie Kennedy, Head of User Experience, Daily Mail Group
  • Sheena Cartwright, Chief People Officer, Alexander Mann Solutions

Business agility is brought by speed of development and fast, responsive applications; only at Enterprise Apps World will you pinpoint how to achieve such skills, and only at Cloud World Forum will you discover IT and business model tips to leverage strategic and economic benefits.

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet entire IT ecosystem. 8,000+ attendees represent CIOs, CTOs and IT Directors to Managers, Architects, Developers and Security Experts. Check who attends here…

Register for your free expo pass!

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Exclusive Q&A with Fin Goulding, CIO of Paddy Power

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Fin Goulding is Chief Information Officer at Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, and is speaking at Cloud World Forum at London’s Olympia on 24-25 June, about the Cloud and DevOps in his business. We took some time with Fin to talk about the challenges and status of Cloud in his sector, followed by an in-depth discussion on what DevOps means to him personally.

The interview…

We start off by talking about some of the challenges of being a CIO in the (largely online) gaming sector, one of which is that there are major (often sporting) events that happen at certain points in the year, and they have to be ready for those spikes in capacity demand.

Another major challenge in the sector is security, about which Fin asserts “we’re hyper-concerned about security in our world because we’re even more highly regulated than banking”. This is largely due to concerns about data loss, particularly in relation to the Cloud. When talking about this, he makes an excellent analogy: “if I put my bike in your house and it’s stolen, who’s responsible for that loss? It’s usually me”. This is a primary concern, and one about which Fin and his team have to be super diligent.

Sticking with Cloud technology, and the status of it within his sector, Fin feels that they are on a similar journey to many companies and industries, and that journey entails moving from “credit card Cloud” to “back office Cloud”. To elaborate, moving from niche Cloud use cases to IT teams working in a digital world, where they have back office systems (eg. HR, finance, ticketing) that are becoming “cloudified”, freeing the team up to spend more time on frontend work.

“But for us, like a number of companies, the next level will be enterprise level cloud, which is really a hybrid. It’s a capacity-on-demand model – recovery-as-a-service – or as Joe Baguley of VMware would call it, data center N+1, so that you’ve actually got this reliability in your production system.”

Download the full interview here!


Fin will be presenting in the Keynote Theatre
at the Cloud World Forum, at Olympia Grand in London on the 24th – 25th June 2015, on ‘A Transformational Journey: Implementing DevOps & Agile at Scale.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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Telcos voice concerns about taking core networks to the cloud #telcocloud

Telcos voice concerns about taking core networks to the cloud | Business Cloud News

Under threat from companies not traditionally viewed as competitors, telcos are racing to both offer cloud services to end-user customers and tap into the cloud to run core network functions in a bid to make their value propositions more competitive and infrastructure more dynamic. But cloud experts from Orange, Swisscom and AT&T have each voiced concerns around just how capable the sector may be at managing such a bold transformation with existing tools.

Speaking at the OpenStack Summit in Paris on Tuesday, experts from major European and US telecoms firms, all of which are experimenting with using OpenStack to stand up core network services or cloud services for end-users (or both), agreed that existing telecoms industry regulation can pose challenges when introducing NFV and cloud architectures to underpin them.

Toby Ford, AVP cloud technology, strategy and planning at AT&T, which has made some progress in recent months with its NFV experiments and in rolling out its cloud stack, said that the extent to which telcos in the US can virtualise networks is limited in some part by stringent regulations.

“The actual facilities we use have a lot of legal rules we have to apply, so we’re doing a lot of work to work around those as we go forward [with NFV],” he said.

This issue, particularly with respect to security, isn’t altogether dissimilar from what other highly regulated verticals are facing. The key question is how do you as a company demonstrate a virtual appliance is as reliable as physical hardware in terms of resilience, uptime, security, and so forth?

Markus Brunner, head of standardisation in the strategy and innovation department of Swisscom said guaranteeing quality of service, which in some contexts is legislated, is also a key challenge.

“It’s really about guarantees. We have a set of services which require guarantees – legally require certain guarantees,” he said.

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A moment with Imad Hoballah, Chairman and CEO – Telecommunications Regulatory Authority #CloudMENA

In the run up to the Cloud MENA Forum 2015 we caught up with Imad Hoballah, Chairman and CEO from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

a) Would you tell us a bit more about the TRA and you role?

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is an independent public institution established by Law 431/2002 and legally mandated to liberalize, regulate and develop telecommunications in Lebanon. Our mission is to promote development, progress, digital economy, competition and investments, maintain stability in the market and protect consumers rights.

The TRA basically issues licenses, regulations, and decisions, manages, assigns and monitors spectrum and the numbering plan in the country, monitors the market for any abuse of dominant market position and anti-competitive practices and take remedial actions when necessary.

I am the Chairman and CEO of the TRA and the Chair of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) of the Arab “Internet Governance Forum (IGF)”, and I have been leading the TRA since April 2010. I have also been the head of the Telecommunications Technologies Unit (TTU) at the TRA since its inception in February 2007.

b) How do you see the regulatory landscape of Cloud Computing in the MENA region, how do you think it will evolve and how would you like it to see it evolve?

We are witnessing in the MENA region some efforts to regulate Cloud computing by tackling the regulatory components such as data privacy, confidentiality and security in addition to dispute resolution and Quality of…Click here to read on!

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