This content is part of the Essential Guide: Integrating unified communications products and other UC trends
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What's the best way to integrate a UC suite?

Integrating a new unified communications suite with existing infrastructure can seem daunting. Expert Carrie Higbie offers some best practices for a smooth integration.

Integrating a UC suite into an existing infrastructure is relatively painless. But the difficulty or ease of an infrastructure integration will vary depending on the suite chosen and, of course, your local network configuration.

In general, a UC suite is made to run rather lean, so there shouldn't be a need to do a massive upgrade to your network infrastructure. UC suites like Microsoft Office 365 and Cisco's UC portfolio have applications -- like presence, voice and mobility -- that run on individual devices, so if an office has a highly connected workforce with multiple devices then it may be necessary to perform some upgrades, including adding more access points.

Server-side directories should be set up as they are easily distributed. The UC suite should be rolled out on a select basis to power users, or more technical users, who can test the system before the final rollout to all employees. This strategy gives administrators a chance to make any necessary adjustments.

Virus protection is imperative with UC suite integration, and that layer of security needs to be updated regularly to protect your network infrastructure. The ability to share files from client to client can introduce some risk, but virus protection that is regularly used and updated can mitigate that risk.

Additionally, instruct users on how to turn on and off their video cameras to prevent the risk of vulnerabilities like hacking. This is especially important for mobile users who work from homes and hotel rooms with potentially less secure networks.

Lastly, a little training goes a long way. While many of these products are rather intuitive, it's always nice to ensure that people know all the features so they can use the UC suite more effectively.

Do you have a question for Carrie Higbie or any of our other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)

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