Businesses leverage cloud, wireless, and internet: improving efficiency, expanding capabilities with telecom solutions.

Author:Barbour, Tracy

As technology evolves, businesses in Alaska are taking advantage of an array of solutions to enhance their efficiency, productivity, and overall work environment.

They're employing cloud-based, wireless, Internet, and managed solutions to expand their communications, computing, and data storage capabilities. Alaska's telecommunications and technology companies offer a myriad of products and services to meet their needs.

GCI Product Manager JR Garcia says Alaska is typically three or four years behind other states as far as technology adoption. However, cloud computing is starting to catch on now due, in part, to the advertising surrounding the technology.

About a year ago, GCI launched a regional cloud computing product that was designed with Alaskans in mind. The cloud-based option allows businesses to store their data offsite and have lower latency (processing delays) and local support. Customers' data is physically housed at GCI's state-of-the-art data center and backed up in locations in the Lower 48. "That local connectivity is helpful," Garcia says. "Customers can drive over to the data center and pick up a backup copy of their data if they need it."

In general, cloud services can result in a 25 percent to 30 percent savings over five years, Garcia says. This makes them ideal for smaller businesses with tighter technology budgets and limited IT staff.

Larger companies are using GCI's equipment co-location service. They can bring in their equipment and have it securely hosted at the company's ten thousand-square-foot data center. "We give them a cabinet and provide all the back-end infrastructure to support it," Garcia says.

GCI's co-location and hosting services are geared for companies that have a dedicated IT staff with the expertise to manage their own equipment.

Businesses of all sizes are also using GCI's hosted telephone systems to conserve their resources. The phone system infrastructure is hosted in GCI's cloud, which allows customer to not have to maintain hardware on site. "The only thing they would have at the office would be the physical handsets," Garcia explains. "All the brains would live in our data center."

A cloud-hosted phone system is much less expensive for companies to manage, not just from an up-front cost perspective, but from a time perspective, according to Garcia. Clients don't have to worry about having the appropriate space, power, cooling, and other requirements to maintain a telephone system. And...

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