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How unified communications gives your business the competitive edge

Application and network performance monitoring is NetScout’s core business – but what happens when systems go down? In a new video, the company discusses the move from legacy to a converged IP infrastructure for unified communications and collaboration (UCC), to bring down costs and raise the effectiveness of communications.

Today, all parts of a business – from employees and investors to customers – must have instant access to information about the company to act accordingly (on the customer side, this takes the form of taking their business elsewhere).

Most devices and systems in modern businesses share the same IP network, and downtime can cost revenue – or lives, if the system is being used in certain industries. We spoke to Mike DeCesare, CEO of ForceScout, at InfoSec last week, where he said that some systems are simply too important to ever be affected by downtime:

“All the devices that are on operating floors [of hospitals] are all on networks. Can you imagine if you were having brain surgery and someone tried to do an [anti-virus] upgrade on that machine in the middle of it? Even if you could get AV onto those machines, they’re mission-critical.”

This directly ties in to NetScout’s advice for IT professionals working with UCC: they must make sure that these systems do not negatively impact other high-priority applications that use the same converged IP network. NetScout also recommends that IT employees must understand the impact of such systems on the network, ‘to ensure proper deployment and continuous availability.’

Managing performance of UCC systems requires a thorough understanding of the same; however, says NetScout, many organisations lack that expertise or do not take action until after they start to experience problems.

‘Leading’ organisations do three things to manage the interaction between their systems:

  1. Employ a life cycle approach;
  2. Utilise a top-down view to examine infrastructure through the ‘lens’ of UCC applications; and
  3. Take advantage of traffic-based intelligence.

UK businesses are not fully utilising UC, research by Node4 uncovered this year; and, more generally, European providers are being threatened by larger US rivals.

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