3 Network Virtualization Updates 2017 You Need to Know

Service providers such as ISPs and mobile operators are rapidly embracing network virtualization. According to SNS Research, their investments into software-defined networking (and network functions virtualization) – two of the key building blocks of virtualization – are expected to grow at a 46 percent compound annual rate between 2016-2020. These additional dollars will be used to upgrade content delivery networks, customer premises equipment, and other critical infrastructures.
Network virtualization is gaining more attention
The TechTarget IT Priorities Survey found similar momentum in network virtualization among its 192 responses by network professionals.
49% of respondents reported that their IT budgets increased in 2017 by at least 10%. 49% of respondents reported an increase in their IT budgets year-over-year. This is a sign that organizations are moving away from legacy network infrastructures, which rely heavily upon specific hardware and firmware. We need to understand the components of virtualization, namely SDN or NFV, in order to see the impact of this transition.
SDN is the separation of control and forwarding planes within a network. This means that the network’s decisions are made by centralized software and not directly linked with the hardware.
NFV is a similar concept but it focuses on virtualizing network functions like firewalling, network address translation, and domain name services. These virtualized functions can run in software and be chained together to support a service-provider network without needing to navigate differences between different network appliances.
Three developments in network virtualization
Let’s take a look at the trends and facts that are being discussed so far this year for network virtualization.
Cisco Digital Network Architecture is a broad platform which integrates network virtualization and automation with security. Cisco announced several software and hardware updates to its platform in March 2017. These included a branch office NFV device (theEnterprise Net Compute System 5400 Series), as well as new security segmentation technology. Cisco DNA will remain an important source of network virtualization advancements.
VMware, a company synonymous with virtualization, bought Nicira, a SDN vendor, in 2014 for $1.3 billion. The company is on track to recoup its investment three years later. It expects $1 billion in revenue this year from its NSX platform. NSX was built on technologies developed at Nicira. According to IHS Markit, the market for network virtualization systems will grow significantly over the next few years, from $2.7 billion in 2015, to $15.5 billion by 2020. SDN and NFV also help to streamline corporate networks, allowing for greater productivity.

Optical networking is an essential component of today’s IP networks. We are looking for new technologies in this area to keep up with the demand for SDN/NFV as well as consumer-facing services like 4Kvideo and Social Media. In order to spread network virtualization, specific innovations like super-channeling in Dense Wavelength Division Multixing and hybrid Raman EDFA deployments on long haul networks will be key assets.
Are you ready for a career as a network virtualizer?
Network virtualization is a complicated beast that requires highly skilled IT professionals who are able to understand its benefits, tradeoffs, and technical requirements. Cisco certification is a great place to start due to its centrality to the SDN and NFV movements. Find a New Horizons Computer Center near to you and learn more about Cisco courses.

Three Essential Office 365 Skills Everybody Should Have

Modern office productivity requires many technological tools. Employers expect employees to be able to complete their work quickly and effectively. This has led to employers searching for individuals with specific skills that revolve around popular business platforms. Microsoft Office 365 is the most popular of all these.
This is because it’s simple to learn, hard to master, and has a depth that’s hard for anyone to match in the current market. IDC found that Microsoft Office skills were fourth most important attributes a candidate should have when entering a job interview. These skills even outperformed integrity and creativity.
This suite of products is vast and varied, so it can be difficult to know where to begin or what you need. We’ve compiled a list of the most important Office 365 skills that modern workers can have to help them on their path to better career opportunities.
“Excel is widely used in a variety of industries.”

1. Excel IF statements
Excel is a common tool for anyone who works with numbers in their job. Excel is used in many industries because it works. Microsoft spent many years developing Excel into the versatile tool that it is today. One of the most important functions of Excel is the IF statement.
These features allow you program in a response that will occur when a cell or group of cells behaves in a certain way. Imagine that you are a teacher and want to create a spreadsheet listing your students’ grades. Column A contains their names and column B their grades on a particular test. To quickly glance down the rightmost column, you will need to see who passed and who failed. Below a 65 percent mark, it is a failure. The IF statement should look something like this:
=IF(B1<65, "Fail", "Pass") To extend this feature to the rest the class, click on the square at bottom right of your original IF statement. Drag it down to the end of the list. This feature is ideal for those who have conditional reactions to the data they deal with. 2. Track changes and make comments in Word Collaboration is an important part of the work world, especially when creating written documents. Microsoft understands how important it is to work in a team, so they have added a commenting function in Word. Click the Review tab when you receive a Word document to review. You will now see a New Comment option. All you need to do to add a comment is highlight the appropriate section and click on the New Comment button. The comment you have written will appear in a red box right next to the original article. The highlighted section will also be red. You can also choose to track the words you have added with the Track Changes option. This option is located under the Review tab. It allows you to add words that are brightly colored to a document. This allows you to add sentences to your coworker's review, without them having to go through the entire article looking for your addition. 3. Microsoft Outlook Keyboard Shortcuts Computer experts will tell you that efficiency is all about keeping your fingers on the keyboard. Moving to the mouse is a waste of time and distracts you from the task at hand. You can make the most of Outlook by using keystrokes. The list of shortcuts Microsoft has created goes beyond the scope of this article. Although you can access the entire site of Microsoft, we have provided a list below of the most important ones. New Message:Alt+ H, N1, 1Reply to:Alt+ H, R. PReply all?Alt+ H, R. AInsert file :Alt+ N, A, FGoto search box:Ctrl+ ECreate contact:Ctrl+ Shift+ CGet certified and really get in the water Office 365 offers many tools that can be used to increase productivity. To fully take advantage of the platform's many features, you will need to learn more. You can learn more about how a more detailed approach can help your career by taking the Office 365 certification course offered by New Horizons Computer Learning Group.

Three Common Office 365 Management Problems that an IT Certification Can Help You Solve

Microsoft Windows and Office 365 are the cornerstones of productivity in thousands of U.S. organizations. Windows has been the dominant desktop operating systems for many years, while Office 365 is the most popular suite of applications for everything from managing expenses via Excel to editing corporate copy in Word.
Microsoft 365: The changes to Windows and Office
It’s not surprising that these two office staples were combined into a new cloud subscription package, Microsoft 365. One Microsoft vice president called it “a fundamental shift” in the way the company views its software strategy.
Microsoft 365’s value lies in the way it consolidates management of many essential business services under one umbrella. This arrangement has clear benefits for security (e.g. easier updating across devices) as well as collaboration (a unified set application across the organization).
Its new technical design and redesigned business model highlight some of the challenges associated with administering older versions of Windows 10 and Office 365. Inexperienced IT departments may find it difficult to manage these platforms due to their complexity and the numerous cyberattacks they are vulnerable to. Here are some things to be aware of:
1. A proper data recovery strategy is not in place
Windows-based systems were vulnerable to malware like WannaCry ransomware, which spread around the globe in May 2017. Although the threat was quickly contained and a patch was issued by Microsoft, the incident highlighted a serious risk to many Office 365 implementations: not having any recourse in case essential data becomes unavailable.
Barracuda Networks found that two-thirds (63%) of Office 365 administrators use Recycle Bin to retrieve data. This is not a good idea. Data from the Recycle Bin cannot be recovered if it is accidentally deleted. It also expires after a certain time. This is only applicable to situations where you need to recover data from applications like OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange.
Many administrators also fail to test data recovery mechanisms on an ongoing basis. However, many admins need to support recovery at multiple locations. This is partly why Microsoft 365 has a unified management architecture. Administrators need a consistent and reliable strategy to make critical data available to multiple devices, services, and branch offices.
2. It is difficult to defend against advanced cyberattacks
Cybercriminals are attracted to Microsoft’s platforms because of their popularity. Skyhigh Networks researchers discovered a string of brute force attacks on enterprise Office 365 accounts in addition to the WannaCry attack we mentioned earlier, which targeted Windows PCs.
This incident involved multiple attempts to gain access to sensitive information held in one company’s Office 365 implementation.
The attack was finally detected and contained in the shortest time possible. It was nevertheless representative of the wide range of security challenges, e.g. access control issues, advanced persistent threat, etc. – Office 365. Microsoft 365 is known for its “built in, intelligent security” capabilities that protect corporate information from being stolen.
3. It takes a long time for essential data to be migrated
Office 365 is a well-known Microsoft product, but it was only able to surpass traditionally licensed Office in terms of revenue in mid 2017. It is easy to understand why on-premises Office continues to be so popular. This is because it allows for a high degree control for enterprises.
The transition from Office 365 to this form of Office can be difficult. First, it is important to consider the quality of the organization’s network connection. In some cases, it may take longer than expected.
There are also potential problems with authentication and identity management. Azure Active Directory, for example, is not the same as the older Active Directory.
Learn Office 365 from New Horizons Computer Learning Centers to Get a Better Knowledge
These are just a few of the many challenges you will face. To overcome them, you need to be well-trained in Microsoft platforms and CompTIA Security+ certifications. These credentials can be obtained at your nearest New Horizons. Also, make sure to check out our webinars page for tips on finding a job in today’s market.

2Ring: How to Affordablely Integrate Your Apps with Cisco Contact Center

Guest blog alert! We are thrilled to have Michael Grebac, Strategic Sales & Marketing Manager from our partner at2Ringjoin us today in the blogosphere to talk about “How To Affordably Integrate Applications with Cisco Contact Centers.”
Michalhas gave hundreds of live WebEx demonstrations on Cisco Finesse with 2Ring Gadgets, and received valuable feedback from thousands upon thousands of contact center directors and supervisors.
This blog post provides a practical and easy to understand introduction to integrating CRM, Service Desk or any other line-of-business applications with Cisco Contact Centers. It also enables automation for supervisors and agents.
2Ring, a Cisco Partner Preferred Solution Partner, has been providing value for contact centers around the world for nearly 20 years. The 2Ring Gadgets to Cisco Finesse are already being used by hundreds upon thousands of supervisors and agents around the world. 2Ring was awarded the Cisco award for the best agent desktop tool in 2018. Click here to learn more. Cisco’s price list includes support and solutions for 2Ring.
Integrations were expensive and only offered limited benefits.

Since the release of Cisco Finesse’s first version in 2011, integration of 3rdparty apps (CRM, Service Desk and …)) has been a hot topic. 2Ring was involved with the first deployment of Cisco Finesse in Europe shortly after Finesse was released. Back then, integrations were expensive and businesses were interested. The benefits were usually limited to a screen-pop of the basic CRM screen based on a phone number. Only large contact centers were able integrate their CRM with their contact centers.
But, a lot has happened since then…
Major CRM players such as Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, ServiceNow, and Microsoft Dynamics have made significant improvements to their APIs. Combine powerful APIs with pre-created Integration Options that are part 2Ring Gadgets Cisco Finesse, and run this combo in modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge-Chromium, or Edge-Chromium to unlock a powerful set integration capabilities. These older release notesGadgets4.3 – Ad-hoc Integrations provide more details. Cisco Finesse 10.5 with Salesforce.UI embedded in 2Ring Browser Gadget
Cisco Finesse 12.5 with Cisco Finesse 2Ring Gadgets 5.1Why Integrate
Integrating can reduce handle times and improve customer and employee satisfaction. Agents can verify who they are speaking with, authenticate callers, then create tickets or service requests automatically. This reduces handle time significantly and improves customer and employee satisfaction. The agent’s handle time is reduced by anywhere from $788 to $1051 per year (40 calls per days, $14 an hour, and a 1.3-loaded payroll cost). This means that even small and medium-sized call centers (50 to 75 employees) can have advanced features that improve customer and employee satisfaction. You can also get a Return On Investment (ROI), in USD, in 12 to 24 month.

Why 2Ring?
2Ring bridges the gap between bespoke and out-of-the box solutions. It allows you to easily assemble building blocks and standardize out-of-the box integrations for Salesforce, ServiceNow MS Dynamics & SugarCRM.
2Ring can improve the agent experience even with standard integrations. 2Ring can build simplified input forms for CRM/ITSM systems that allow the user to stay in Finesse almost all the time. However, custom integrations can be costly. 2Ring’s integration uses existing APIs and points to backend databases. This greatly reduces the integration effort. Most custom or bespoke integrations take 48 hours to implement.
Cisco Finesse uses a team-based configuration. This allows each contact center team to decide how integration and automation should be done. 2Ring can deliver different sets Cisco Finesse gadgets to you and allow for different behaviors depending on your requirements.
Cisco Finesse – Each team can choose which Gadgets and the configuration. Gadgets may present different options for agents, and supervisors may have different options.
Which app should your users use?
There are two ways to bridge the gap between Cisco Contact Center, a CRM or Service Desk software.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each.
Approach A: Live and breathe in the CRM
One approach is to live only within the CRM/Service Desk habitat. This involves integrating Cisco’s agent state as well as call control into a CRM’s user interface. This is often a costly solution as agents are forced to use a UI that is not tailored to their needs. It also results in slower screen loading times. Agents in contact centers are often overwhelmed with information they don’t need, as well as lacking the information they want – agent, queue, team performance data, agent schedules and alerts.
Salesforce integration with Cisco Finesse. An Agent is using Salesforce Console Mode while on a call. An Agent is on a call and using Salesforce Console Mode.