January 10, 2012

UC: Mitigating the Risk and Reaping the Rewards

If you've already taken the plunge and deployed VoIP or IP telephony you'll be aware of the benefits of further optimizing business processes and enhancing person to person, person to device and person to process communications.

However, once you look at further convergence and the possibility of placing more reliance on your network, you'll need to address the risks associated with the changes in these areas. Failure or security breaches could damage your reputation, as well as possibly exposing confidential and proprietary information.

This white paper identifies some of the risks involved in deploying unified communications and makes recommendations to address them.

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If you are new to unified communications, start at the beginning and read this 10-page paper cover to cover: it provides quite a comprehensive description of what UC is, what benefits you can get out of it, and the equipment and network planning considerations that go into a successful deployment. The headline emphasizes risk and risk management with UC, but that topic is really only one section of the paper; if that's what intrigues you, pop down to page 6, where the paper addresses this topic and suggests how to conduct a network readiness assessment for mitigating risk in a UC world stretching from your premises to the cloud to social networks.

We all know that risk and reward go hand in hand. What are the main risks you identify in this white paper?

The top risks covered in this paper are related to the ever-increasing convergence of applications on the data network and the rich ecosystem that will surround Lync. There are risks around planning, designing, implementing, operating, expanding, consolidation, redundancy and failover, as well as disaster recovery.

We know that Microsoft is encouraging hundreds of partners to develop hardware devices and software for Lync. How will this affect the risk factors?

The more moving parts there are, the more there is to go wrong – potentially. Personally I like the application facility that Prognosis provides. You can choose any element with a management footprint, whether it’s a port, service or executable and build it into an application. You can monitor the application entity as a whole as well as its individual components. You then configure each one with a weighted value towards the overall health of the application.
You might define that ‘x’ application will cause UC functionality to be diminished but if you don’t have the hard disk, service or port available then the application as a whole is considered ‘down’.

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