Operational Efficiency Starts With a Secure Network

We’ve been writing about a number of varied topics on the blog so far, but today’s post is something of a mantra here at Cisco. Operational efficiency is the Holy Grail for companies of all sizes. ‘Faster, smarter, more adaptable’ – these are the hallmarks of success in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Smaller businesses, in particular those that tend to operate with more limited resources than larger organisations, need to ensure that they are maximising productivity and actively looking for opportunities to increase efficiency. As I’m sure you’re aware, greater efficiency streamlines business operations and can also give you that crucial edge over larger counterparts.

Even though I work for Cisco, it’s surely no surprise that technology plays a pivotal role in achieving this. A secure network that provides anytime access to information and applications increases operational efficiency, reduces costs, improves customer satisfaction and allows you to stay ahead of the pack.

Here are my top tips for using secure network technology as a foundation for business success:

  • Provide employees with secure, consistent access to information: If your company network is frequently down, is slow or unsecured, you can’t expect to get the best from your employees. However, if you have a secure, reliable, self-defending network in place, your employees can have 24/7 access to the information that they need to do their job best.
  • Deliver anytime, anywhere access to mobile employees: Employees in smaller businesses are often more mobile than those in larger enterprises. In order to keep your staff productive you need to ensure they have easy access to people and information on the go. Technologies that enable ubiquitous access include virtual private networks (VPNs), which securely connect remote workers to the company network; pervasive wireless networks – which enable mobile workers to remain connected to the network whilst roaming about an office building – anywhere they need to get the job done.
  • Make it easy to collaborate: Effective, interactive collaboration between employees, partners, suppliers, and customers is a sure-fire way to boost efficiency while also reducing costs. If you start with a secure and reliable network foundation you can look to add integrated voice, video, data and wireless to provide productivity enhancing applications such as interactive calendaring, videoconferencing and IP communications to help foster seamless, easy collaboration.
  • Create effective business processes with partners: Some large enterprises actually make efficient, secure business processes a prerequisite for doing business with them. To develop efficient business processes that meet the requirements of your partners, you will need a secure, reliable network infrastructure.
  • Improve employee retention and satisfaction: The right technology not only increases efficiency, it also keeps employees happy. Nothing is more frustrating than having to deal with sluggish or old technology on a daily basis – and top of the list are old phone systems and slow networks. When employees are limited or frustrated by outdated technology this can easily be projected externally to customers in day-to-day relationships or worse, valued employees can decide to move on.

If you start smart with a secure and reliable network infrastructure and ensure that your technology solutions map to your business objectives, you should be able to achieve substantial increases in operational efficiency. The end result?  Increased productivity, fewer mistakes, happier employees and customers and a higher return on investment.

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