10 Ways to Become an IT Budget Hero in 2016

IT Budget Hero in 2016

IT Managers Can Save Time and Money For Their Companies With 4G LTE Networking

For distributed enterprise IT departments, time equals money. With a new fiscal year right around the corner for many, anything the IT team can deploy to improve operational efficiency adds key value and helps “future-proof” the company.

The evolution of wireless networking and 4G LTE has provided IT managers with several ways to become an IT budget hero in 2016:

1. Enable Centralized Management: If your IT organization is responsible for maintaining network connectivity to hundreds or thousands of branch locations, manually configuring devices, upgrading firmware, installing bug fixes, and pushing out patches can take days or weeks. With remote, centralized cloud management, these same tasks take hours or less — leaving you with more time to find new ways to meet customer needs. Cloud management cuts down on costly truck rolls, too.

2. Pool Your Data Plans: Whether you are using cellular data plans to transmit data or to quickly restore connectivity when a cable has been cut, efficient management of those plans is vital. Centralized management and load balancing provides the flexibility to monitor and respond to data consumption in real time across multiple devices. Also, alarms can be set to notify you when a branch location is in danger of exceeding its data plan.

3. Be SIM Smart: Most cellular carriers charge about $10 per month per SIM card, versus the $50 per month or more you might pay for a POTS line. Take the difference between those two costs for failover, multiply it by hundreds or thousands of locations, and you can quickly shave a column or two of zeroes off your expense sheet.

4. Use Right-Sized In-Vehicle Solutions: If you are managing a fleet of connected vehicles, it pays to use right-sized 4G LTE routing solutions. Some distributed enterprises use consumer-grade or nonruggedized routers in their vehicles. In-vehicle routers should be purpose-built to withstand harsh conditions including dust, temperature extremes, vibration, and exposure to liquids. They should be able to sense and adjust to each vehicle’s unique power source, and they should be able to be configured, monitored, and managed from a central location.

To save money in the long run, take the time up front to find the most cost-effective networking solution for your fleet’s environment.

5. Build a Mobile Network that Maximizes Productivity: Police officers in Boise, Idaho, used to spend hours a day driving back and forth to headquarters to file reports. Once the department implemented centrally managed in-vehicle wireless networking, officers could file reports in real time from their cruisers. Also, firmware upgrades that previously took around 160 man-hours for the fleet now take about 5 minutes.

Any time you can drastically reduce the amount of man-hours needed for a task, it’s a major win for your organization.

6. Ensure Business Continuity: Estimates vary regarding the average amount of revenue lost through network downtime, but it is significant. One of the most budget-savvy protection strategies is to implement wireless failover. You may have redundancy with your wired connection, but those cables are all in the same trench: Lose one, lose them all.

With Cradlepoint wireless WAN failover solutions, when your wired Internet connectivity experiences a service disruption, 4G LTE connectivity automatically turns on — protecting your company against lost revenue and productivity and a negative customer experience.

7. Making ‘Pop-Up’ Profitable: These days, if a distributed enterprise wants to establish a presence in a new market, one of the most cost-effective options is to establish a “pop-up” presence by using temporary store space. To keep these spaces profitable and IT costs as low as possible, many companies are using enterprise-grade cellular broadband to run Point-of-Sale, digital signage and video, security monitors, back-office applications, and guest WiFi. Why spend thousands to run a hard wire when you can ensure “four-nines” connectivity for a fraction of the cost?

8. Save Through Segmentation: Data breaches damage brands and customer confidence, and the monetary cost to your business can escalate into the millions of dollars. Unfortunately, hackers are increasingly targeting branch locations by accessing less-secure applications, then pivoting into areas that hold lucrative credit card, health, and other data.

To mitigate security risks, many distributed enterprises are using 4G LTE routing solutions to quickly and inexpensively create segmented, Parallel Networks. Cradlepoint’s 4G LTE platforms also support a variety of cloud-based security applications.

9. Go Direct: From a network perspective, branch offices have been treated as extensions of the corporate office, connected to the main hub using MPLS. But MPLS is expensive, so companies have tried alternatives such as broadband DSL, IPsec, and VPNs.

Direct Internet Access leverages local Internet paths for public cloud and Internet access to provide cloud services such as Office365, email, productivity tools, web-based content, and collaboration tools like Salesforce. DIA is cost effective, and it provides a better user experience.

10. Choose the Right Vendors: With threats coming from every direction (the Internet, the corporate network, mobile apps, employees’ devices, etc.) it has become very difficult and expensive for IT departments to maintain a high level of network security. When looking for secure network solutions for your distributed enterprise, seek companies that partner with other companies dedicated to staying relentlessly up to date on the never-ending stream of malware, advanced persistent threats (APT), botnets, and exploits.

For many companies, a combination of Cradlepoint’s 4G LTE networking solutions can directly impact the bottom line in the coming fiscal year. Be an IT budget hero in 2016!