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UCaaS

The infiltration of mobile devices in the workplace isn’t new news; although it may be hard to believe, mobile devices entered the workforce just a little more than a decade ago. More recently, the influx of BYOD, the ever-growing number of remote workers, and the mind-blowing pace at which technology is advancing have kept IT departments on their toes and CIOs awake at night trying to manage it all. As such, it should come as no surprise that with this increase comes growing strain and an increasing number of obstacles facing a CIO; they and their staff need to continuously shift their priorities and strategies to accommodate the current challenges that are plaguing their organization and adapting to the constant changes.

Not surprisingly, CIO mobility-induced headaches run the gamut from mundane to major and can often be attributed to several different challenges simultaneously. Here, we’ll look at the seven biggest headaches that mobility is causing.

Lack of Resources

While many organizations—in particular enterprise organizations—are becoming increasingly ambitious with their digital transformation initiatives, new technology solutions may not be implemented very quickly due to the lack of sufficient IT and budgetary resources. Additionally, with BYOD and the remote nature of the workforce it takes more manpower than often what’s staffed to accomplish security, integrations, development, management and monitoring along with analytics.

Talent Shortage

In some areas of IT, in particular cybersecurity, there seems to be a stunning lack of talent in the industry; it is estimated that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021. Mobility causes all sorts of challenges for IT, from security concerns like lost/stolen devices to mobile device management and BYOD policies.

Security  

As mentioned above, mobility brings an alarming number of threats to the enterprise and deposits them at the door of the CIO and IT leadership. Preventing the next cybersecurity attack, mitigating the risks employee devices bring, and leveraging the right solutions to do it all can keep a CIO up at night worrying about keeping the network, employees and customers safe.

Surpassing the Competition  

CIOs in particular are under a great deal of stress from the executive team to not just keep up with the competition but to outpace them. Mobility is the cornerstone to innovation and the leg up companies have when working to identify new revenue streams.  

5G

Although it may be a year or so before 5G transforms the way business is done, 5G-enabled phones have already hit the market. 5G not only brings an upgraded network to the table, from 20 to 100 times faster than 4G, increased speed and bandwidth will lend itself to a boom of IoT devices (a forecasted 18 billion by 2022). Of course, the more devices that an enterprise has online, the greater the security risk and the greater number of devices that will need to be managed—all by the IT department.

Mobility & the Edge

“Edge computing is going to be huge going forward,” Jack E. Gold, president and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates says. “From an enterprise perspective, that will play out largely in the EoT (Enterprise of Things) space, but it also means we’re going to have distributed apps. Computing will be dispersed even more as mobile carriers add computer resources right at their cell sites.” Increased edge and fog computing will provide even more questions for the CIO regarding the network, data storage, cloud environments and colocation.

In response to mobility-induced headaches CIOs are facing, both traditional management vendors and AI companies have been focused on creating Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions. AI has the potential to help alleviate much of the IT burden placed on companies when it comes to mobile devices. As Gold puts it, AI coming in is a way to help IT manage devices… look for this kind of assistive intelligence – not just Siri or Alexa, but a concierge that understands me and can help me make the most of the device.”

Interested in learning more about how you can navigate the often-challenging field of mobility solutions? Contact us here.

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UCaaS, Voice
Originally posted by ATI partner RingCentral

RingCentral, Inc. (NYSE: RNG), a leading provider of global enterprise cloud communications, collaboration, and contact center solutions, today announced it has ranked the highest for growth and innovation in the new 2019 Frost & Sullivan UCaaS Radar Report. Frost & Sullivan’s first North American hosted IP telephony and UCaaS Radar report delivers analysis of 30 providers across growth strategy, execution, and performance, as well as their ability to develop solutions that are globally applicable and aligned with mega trends and customers’ evolving needs. RingCentral received the highest combined growth and innovation score of all the providers.

“RingCentral has consistently been a leading player in the UCaaS industry and has yet again surpassed its competitors, with a strong focus on innovation, user experience, global capabilities, channel enablement, and technology partnerships,” said Elka Popova, global vice president for Connected Work, Frost & Sullivan. “RingCentral is the market share leader in North America in terms of both users and revenue and is likely to maintain its leadership position through relentless pursuit of growth and innovation.”

The 2019 Frost & Sullivan UCaaS Radar report highlights a number of key strengths for RingCentral, including:

  • Compelling mobile functionality that addresses the pain points of the increasingly mobile workforce
  • Global Office solution that caters to multinational businesses
  • Flexible cloud technology and a proprietary platform that enable rapid innovation and cost-effective scalability
  • An extensive and expanding feature set that addresses diverse and evolving user needs
  • A collaborative user experience, SMS, analytics tools, video and web conferencing, and webinar services—competitively packaged and priced—that set RingCentral solutions apart from most competitors
  • Geo-redundant data centers and strong track record of service reliability that ensure high service quality


“With today’s workforce increasingly mobile, enterprises are looking for effective ways to enhance communication and collaboration with their customers, partners, and employees,” said Riadh Dridi, chief marketing officer, RingCentral. “We’re honored to be ranked highest in this new report by Frost & Sullivan, and it validates our commitment to provide businesses with global, mobile, and secure communications and collaboration solutions that enhance business efficiency.”


esults are based on the 2019 Frost & Sullivan UCaaS Radar report. For more information, please view a complimentary copy of the report. Results are not an endorsement of RingCentral. Visit ww2.frost.com for more details.

LEARN MORE ABOUT RINGCENTRAL HERE

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UCaaS
The cloud can help you meet the changing, and often critical, needs of your customers, helping to keep them happy while using your product or service. As more companies begin their migration to the cloud, enabling them to provide superior customer service, don’t let your competition and your customers pass you by. What are you waiting for?

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UCaaS

This article was originally published by ATI partner Mitel on Mitel’s Blog.

Whether you work in a multi-hospital healthcare system or a private dentist’s office, protecting personal health information (PHI) is essential. HIPAA’s rules and requirements are clear — no matter what, PHI must be kept completely confidential.

This has become increasingly important as more and more health care providers (or “covered entities,” in HIPAA language) use the cloud to store data and run software. Among other things, this means the vendors who provide those services must be certified HIPAA-compliant.

What does that mean for a cloud service provider? Or for a vendor offering business VoIP services? What if the data is encrypted so that cloud providers? Do they still need to be certified HIPAA-compliant? What is their responsibility when security breaches occur, or during natural disasters? What happens to the data when a healthcare provider terminates the vendor relationship?

Is your head spinning yet? Obviously, using a third-party to handle sensitive patient data requires a lot of careful thought.

HIPAA: The Basics

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires healthcare providers and their vendors to establish three types of controls when handling PHI (or “ePHI” for electronic patient data): administrative, physical and technical. Policies and procedures are examples of administrative controls. Protecting hardware is a physical control. Implementing data encryption is an administrative control.

Covered entities need technical vendors that offer multi-layer security frameworks with physical and technical safeguards enforced by stringent administrative policies. They should be certified HIPAA-compliant and offer a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). Thus, as a best practice, it’s a good idea to work with vendors who offer HIPAA-compliant solutions like MiCloud Connect, built on Google Cloud.

Business Associates

In fact, the law is quite clear when it comes to the responsibility of third-party vendors like cloud providers providing technical services to healthcare providers. The Guidance on HIPAA & Cloud Computing published on HHS.gov explains the obligations of Business Associates:

“When a covered entity engages the services of a CSP [cloud service provider] to create, receive, maintain, or transmit ePHI (such as to process and/or store ePHI), on its behalf, the CSP is a business associate under HIPAA. Further, when a business associate subcontracts with a CSP to create, receive, maintain, or transmit ePHI on its behalf, the CSP subcontractor itself is a business associate.
“As a result, the covered entity (or business associate) and the CSP must enter into a HIPAA-compliant business associate agreement (BAA), and the CSP is…directly liable for compliance with the applicable requirements of the HIPAA Rules.
“If a covered entity (or business associate) uses a CSP to maintain (e.g., to process or store) electronic protected health information (ePHI) without entering into a BAA with the CSP, the covered entity (or business associate) is in violation of the HIPAA Rules.”

The bottom line: Any vendor you choose to handle your ePHI must provide a BAA that spells out in detail each party’s responsibilities. The agreement can specify how the data will be used, stored, protected and transmitted; what will happen in case of a security breach or natural disaster; disposition of data at termination of contract; and any other requirements or conditions the covered entity deems important.

In addition to the BAA, clients can include provisions in a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to address HIPAA concerns, such as backup and data recovery. Whether you’re concerned about a hack or a natural disaster, ask the vendor what plan it has in place to protect and recover your data.

Use the SLA to specify the vendor’s security responsibilities. HIPAA regulations require that both covered entities and business associates abide by the Security Rule. Even when clients control access to the data via encryption, vendors still must be HIPAA-compliant. Consider requiring vendors to demonstrate how they remain current with the latest encryption standards.

As part of the agreement, be sure to cover what happens when the relationship ends. How will the data be returned to the healthcare provider? Under the Privacy Rule, HIPAA regulations requires business associates to return or destroy all PHI at a contract’s termination.

HIPAA Certification

When evaluating vendors, look for partners that are certified HIPAA-compliant. Confirm that they’ve engaged a third-party organization to verify their compliance using the most recent Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Audit Protocol. Since HIPAA rules can change over time, certification is not a one-time deal.

All covered entities are responsible for their HIPAA compliance and open to audit. Consequently, your vendor should conduct regular internal checks. Ask each prospective partner how often its audits their processes and procedures.

Also, find out if the vendor has an internal, dedicated information security team responsible that monitors and HIPAA protocols on an ongoing basis. And make sure the vendor’s employees receive ongoing training to keep up with changes in HIPAA rules.

Risk Analysis

Whether you’re a healthcare provider or a business associate, HIPAA requires you to conduct risk analyses of potential threats and vulnerabilities to ePHI.

A recent study by CynergisTek found that third-party vendors were responsible for 23 percent of 2018’s healthcare data breaches. One reason: Many providers lack processes to address – and predict – risks.

David Rauschendorfer, senior director of CynergisTek’s Security Services Operations, highlights this finding. “Vendors lack activities that identify threats as well as the potential business impacts of identified vulnerabilities,” he explains. “These high-risk vendors often lack established or formally documented methodologies to prioritize and address identified risks.”

Ask your vendor about its procedures for not just protecting ePHI, but also identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities. You always want to be proactive, not reactive.

Breach Notification

If a security incident does occur, HIPAA is quite clear on the vendor’s responsibilities. The Security Rule requires business associates to “identify and respond to suspected or known security incidents; mitigate, to the extent practicable, harmful effects of security incidents that are known to the business associate; and document security incidents and their outcomes.” The Breach Notification Rule spells out the content, timing and other requirements for business associates to follow when reporting incidents to the covered entity.

Ask each potential vendor what policies and procedures it has in place to address and document data breaches or an attack on its systems. In particular, how does it discover data breaches? How does it identify the problem’s source, and what remediation steps does it take to limit damage? Require specific timing for notification and resolution.

All Secure In One Place

When choosing your cloud vendor, consider how it will enable your organization to access and use essential patient information while remaining compliant with HIPAA regulations. Ultimately, you have to store information in a way that’s both secure and accessible so that medical professionals can share and collaborate while patients can manage their healthcare.

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UCaaS
Although unified communications as a service (UCaaS) systems and contact center solutions have previously been thought of as separate entities, cloud technology has increasingly facilitated collaboration between the two. The Cloud removed the restrictions of on-prem hardware which enables the contact center solution’s remarkable versatility and fluidity – both crucial strengths required to provide the increasingly personalized and convenient services demanded by customers in the digital age.

CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) solutions are gradually being recognized as valuable tools to help modern businesses provide exceptional customer service, as evidenced by the CCaaS market’s expected rise to an estimated nearly $16 billion by 2021. Any organization that prioritizes customer experience should take advantage of CCaaS functionality to improve customer engagement and satisfaction.

For organizations that currently have a UC solution in place, augmenting the foundation of cloud communications with a CCaaS solution (an actual contact center is NOT required!) can substantially increase the benefits of both solutions, increasing productivity and improving overall customer service. UCaaS is able to integrate different mediums of communication into a single focal point accessible by any department, eliminating dialogue gaps between them.

CCaaS functionality like intelligent routing and CRM sync make it so customers can transition between departments without changing their mode of contact or initiating interactions more than once, and various employees are able access any relevant data before being connected with that customer. Customers themselves have grown to expect brand experiences that are both effortless as well as seamless—no matter the location, time or touchpoint. 84% of customers are dissatisfied with their contact center experiences, so there is plenty of room for improvement across a broad range of verticals and business types.
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UCaaS
Thanks to everyone that came to our Beers with Engineers event at Alter Brewing yesterday with RingCentral. Looking forward to the next one.

A few things we covered, don’t hesitate to reach out for more information on any of these topics.
  1. The cost of cloud and the Netflix story and why cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better
  2. Customer Experience, Employee Experience and how both bill brand loyalty and $$$
  3. CPO – Chief People Officer 
  4. ATI’s Transition to the Cloud with our customers
  5. Consumer & Employee expectations
  6. Any device & your mobile workforce & collaboration
  7. The RingCentral & ATI relationship
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UCaaS
This article was written by ATI partner Zane Long, SVP Global Channel Sales, RingCentral

Today, engaging with customers over digital channels is crucial to business success. Almost 70% of the North American population is online. Social media, internet surfing, mobile and desktop messaging apps have woven themselves into our daily lives. In as little as five years, a customer’s options to communicate with businesses have increased significantly. Long gone are the days when you called a company, left a message, and never received a response. Nowadays, customers expect to communicate in a way that is most convenient for them.

With the world going digital, companies have no other option but to step into their customers’ preferred communication channels to engage with them. Furthermore, for contact center agents, the ability to have all streams of communication unified in a single platform is an absolute game changer.

There’s No Substitute for Knowledgeable—and Human—Service

According to Harris Interactive, 75% customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent. Customers expect quality service in real time and through their channel of choice. The need for communication services and multimedia support will only increase as technology becomes more complex and expectations for customer service continue to rise. In short, there is no substitute for a live agent addressing a customer’s needs quickly and efficiently. Sorry, but the pre-recorded message no longer cuts it.

An Omni-Channel Digital Customer Engagement Platform

Companies need to engage with customers on multiple channels, but typically these different channels are supported through different tools. Over time, systems have become more sophisticated, and markets have adopted the concept of “omni-channel” customer engagement. An omni-channel digital platform allows agents to use one tool to support customers across all digital channels. This enables companies to focus on customer engagement depending on the customer’s need (through skills-based routing), without agents being limited to a single communication channel.

That’s why RingCentral Engage Digital is a must-have for enterprises. Engage Digital empowers agents to efficiently manage customer interactions across all digital channels via a single interface. With this new world-class product, businesses can resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently—all while providing a seamless experience. By leveraging our AI-based smart routing engine, agents will have the ability to elevate their real-time messaging communications, leading to faster resolution of customer issues.

Contact centers are among the front line of customer experiences, but really it’s a win for everyone. A complete contact center speaks to the satisfied customer who can reach their vendor or business partner efficiently and effectively.

This article was written by ATI partner Zane Long, SVP Global Channel Sales, RingCentral
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