Customer Success Story – How migrating to UNIVERGE BLUE helped Epic Web Studios enable remote working, improve scalability, and grow their business.

Epic Web Studios is a full-service marketing agency headquartered in Erie, Pennsylvania. A customer of NEC since 2010, Epic started out using the SV8100 platform but migrated to NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES after seeing the increasing need for more unified communications to support its growing workforce.

I recently met with David Hunter, President and CEO of Epic Web Studios to discuss how UNIVERGE BLUE was able to help his company enable remote work, improve scalability and grow its business.

Marc: Tell me about Epic Web Studios. How did you get started?

Epic Web Studios is a full-service marketing agency that does it all for clients, no matter the size. From Website Design and Development, Social Media, Digital Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), our goal is to help clients compete in today’s ever-changing marketplace through a viable digital marketing strategy.

Headquartered in Erie, Pennsylvania, Epic Web Studios started in 2009 as a small, single-client web-site development firm. Today, we are a full-service digital marketing firm with over five hundred clients in North America and more than sixteen full-time employees.

Marc: Wow! That is quite the achievement. In the past decade or so since you started the company, what has changed?

As time and technology progressed, the need for more unified communications features became increasingly apparent. Epic was growing rapidly and needed a system that could keep up. With more clients and the large shift towards remote working, we needed a flexible, cloud solution to allow us to communicate with clients, collaborate cross-functionally and be productive from anywhere, at any time.

Marc: You’re not alone. Now more than ever, businesses need the ability and flexibility to communicate and collaborate from wherever they may be. Can you share further insight into some of the challenges Epic Web Studios was facing?

With our on-premises system, our teams were restricted to only using voice and email to communicate. Unanswered calls were forwarded to one general voicemail, and emailing back-and-forth became inefficient as the primary mode of communication.

Our employees needed greater control over how calls could be made, forwarded, and received; they also needed more flexibility in their business communications and more variety in their communication methods.

In addition, we relied on various communication and collaboration tools, which was inefficient, costly, and difficult to manage. We needed a communications system that was fully-integrated and secure so that we could go from online meetings to instant messages to phone conversations and everything in between very easily and seamlessly.

In short, we needed a solution that would provide reliable, real-time communication with robust and fully-integrated features to support employee productivity. We also needed a solution that would enable employees to work from home, which would have been very difficult with our old on-premises communications system.

Marc: It sounds like you came to the right place. However, I know there are plenty of different vendors in the market. What made you ultimately choose UNIVERGE BLUE?

ROI CalculatorWith other options reviewed, costs were too high, functionality was missing, or the solution just didn’t meet Epic Web Studio’s needs. Luckily, NEC launched UNIVERGE BLUE as I was researching new platforms.

Ultimately, we chose UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT because the features were the strongest, the transition was going to be easy, and the price point was extremely competitive. We also chose UNIVERGE BLUE because of the local support that NEC provides with a large network of Channel Partners. Our technology partner was instrumental in getting our system set up and is always there to answer provide any support that we need. Most of the larger cloud companies and service providers do not offer this kind of local support.

As technology evolves, NEC is always on the cutting edge of new ways of working to make our communications more convenient and secure. This bevy of new features included with UNIVERGE BLUE offers us new opportunities to become even more efficient and productive with our business communications – all at a reasonable cost.

Another bonus was the ease of deployment. It was pretty much effortless. When we moved from our on-premises solution to UNIVERGE BLUE, we were up and running in a matter of hours. It was incredible.

Marc: Well, we are certainly happy to have Epic Web Studios as a part of the UNIVERGE BLUE family. Here’s my final question – what results have you seen since deployment?

For starters, our employees have been able to communicate with clients more effectively. We have seen a significant decrease in the number of back-and-forth emails thanks to UNIVERGE BLUE. Our clients call us directly and we can have one-click video-conferencing meetings with them. We have also seen a major increase in our productivity because of UNIVERGE BLUE.

As a result of both the streamlined communication and increased productivity, we have also been able to scale our business and grow our client base. Because we were able to provision more users very quickly, we’re able to take on more projects, and that has led to the growth of the company, which has been phenomenal recently thanks to UNIVERGE BLUE. I can’t recommend UNIVERGE BLUE enough!


For more information about UNIVERGE BLUE, NEC’s full portfolio of “As-A-Service” Solutions, visit www.univergeblue.com. For questions about the products or to meet with a UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD Representative, submit your information to us and we will get back to you shortly.

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UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD – A Hosted, Private Unified Communications Cloud Solution for Any Size Business

Over recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of cloud-based services offered to businesses of all sizes within all industries. The flexibility of being able to access your business software from any location, and the scalability and cost-effectiveness of cloud services are the reasons for the high cloud adoption rates. For certain industries including government enterprises, traditional/non-traditional banks, hospitality, research centers and other mid-large sized organizations a standardized public cloud offering might not be ideal to satisfy unique business needs and requirements. A private cloud is ideal for those organizations with business-critical operations and seeking enhanced control and security over their IT Communications environment.

What is a Private Cloud?

A private cloud, also referred to as an internal or corporate cloud, is an on-demand solution accessed via the internet built exclusively for one business or organization. An organization who selects a private cloud model can choose to have their infrastructure hosted by a third-party service provider. In a private cloud, services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and all hardware/software is dedicated to one organization.

NEC’S UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD

With NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD, organizations receive the benefits of both an on-premises and cloud-based communications solution without having to choose. NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD Business / Hospitality offering is a complete turnkey, private communications solution hosted in secure and resilient cloud data centers. Organizations receive their own single, dedicated instance with ensured geographic redundancy making it easier to customize resources to meet specific IT requirements.

UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD allows fast provisioning of new applications and features and provides users with an unparalleled level of agility. Voice, Unified Messaging, and Unified Communications are fully integrated and includes a wide variety of customizable mobility apps and advanced contact center features to meet all business communications needs. By deploying a private cloud solution, organizations eliminate the burdens that come with developing, maintaining, powering, and securing their own IT infrastructure by reducing on-site equipment and allowing NEC to handle maintenance.

Benefits of NEC’S UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD Unified Communications Include:

  • Enhanced mobile presence and UC features
  • Instant Messaging between colleagues or group chats
  • Ability to set contact rules and view presence and status change
  • Complete call control with IP, TDM, and SIP options
  • Seamless call transferring between devices and single-number reach
  • Supports Microsoft® Exchange and Office 365® (fully integrated calendars)
  • Enterprise-grade voicemail and unified messaging platform
  • Record of communications history updated with call information
  • One number, one voicemail, one complete call history

With the reputation for reliability and security that the UNIVERGE SV9500 offers, paired with NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES, UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD is ideal for medium to large-sized enterprises wanting the ease and cost-effectiveness of a cloud solution while maintaining the security and privacy they get with an on-premises system.

The Best of Both Worlds

While the choices of unified communication solutions in the marketplace are vast, the available options for a dynamic and comprehensive delivery model are limited. It is essential to choose a solution that offers you the flexibility to customize around your workforce needs and provides your business with the agility it requires to adapt to ever-changing customer demands. With NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD solution, enterprises can implement their unified communications system the way that best fits their business and industry needs while always keeping teams and customers connected and allowing employees to focus on their core business instead of hardware maintenance.

Whether you choose a hosted on-premises-based system, fully hosted in the cloud, or hybrid system, UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD is an opportunity to switch from a capital expense (CAPEX) model to an operating expense (OPEX) one, eliminating the need for a large upfront investment. Pay only for the capacity you need with a single monthly bill for system hardware, phones, and phone services plus SIP Trunking with UNIVERGE BLUE SV9500 PRIVATE CLOUD.

If you are interested in a private cloud solution for your organization, reach out to your NEC representative today or visit NEC’s website! For more information on NEC’S UNIVERGE BLUE Public Cloud offering, visit www.univergeblue.com.

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What’s New with BLUE? Introducing UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP for Salesforce

Earlier this year, Salesforce announced the retirement of its Data Recovery Services, stating that “the data recovery process does not meet [its] high standards for customer experience due to the length of time and reliability of the process.” Now, many organizations are left without a solution to protect their valuable data against the ever-growing risk of a cyberattack.

To address this need, NEC recently introduced UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP and RECOVER for Salesforce. With UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP and RECOVER for Salesforce, organizations can consolidate and protect all data at the enterprise level. The solution provides reliable backup and protection of all Salesforce data, including standard and custom objects, documents and attachments, and Salesforce CRM content, files and metadata.

Salesforce identified two primary reasons for retiring its Data Recovery Services: restoration time and data integrity. The company stated that the restoration would take at least 6-8 weeks, and they were experiencing difficulty restoring data; therefore, it could not guarantee 100% data recovery.

NEC understands there are immense liability issues if the provider cannot guarantee the restoration and accuracy of data. Additionally, compliance standards, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018, requires that the proper compliance protocols are in place, including where data is located, who has access to the equipment and data, and the chain of custody of who has accessed the data.

UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP and RECOVER for Salesforce ensures consistent corporate compliance through standardization and simplifies the overall backup and recovery processes. The solution ensures that all Salesforce data is backed up in accordance with the organization’s overall backup policy and reported through standardized corporate policies that ensure compliance. It also consolidates all server, application, client and Salesforce data into a unified environment – providing a better, more secure way to work.

UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP and RECOVER is built on award-winning NEC HYDRAstor® Storage technology, industry-leading CommVault® BACKUP Software, Iron Mountain® Data Centers, and is complemented with daily reports and always-on monitoring. The solution is highly scalable and flexible, delivering backup strategies that can scale with an organization’s evolving needs.

Interested in learning how NEC can protect your Salesforce Data?

Fill out the form below and speak to an expert today!

Enabling Long-Term Continuity with Feature Rich On-Line Meeting Solution

In March 2020, many began working from home and relying on remote meeting tools to communicate and collaborate. During this time, most organizations’ focus was just to keep their business up and running until employees were permitted to go back into the office. Organizations kicked into survival mode, some quickly implementing solutions that were intended to be a temporary fix until things went back to normal.

As time goes on, it is clear the business world will likely not “go back to normal” for the foreseeable future, and possibly never will. Now for some, the swift adaptions implemented because of the crisis have proven only to be effective for a short period of time, and not sustainable as long-term solutions.

The spread of COVID-19 has led to a rapid shift in how employees and customers communicate. Now, organizations must start thinking purposefully about redesigning their business operations with the right collaboration tools that will help to enable a sustained future. The future now depends on an organization’s ability to adapt their business by rethinking business continuity and resiliency plans.

Rethinking Business Continuity

Before the pandemic, many organizations associated business continuity with operations and services in the wake of a disruptive event, such as disaster recovery. Now, we realize that business continuity and resiliency go beyond just disaster recovery and disaster planning. Now, business continuity means that employees have the tools and resources to do their jobs from anywhere at any time.

To ensure that productivity happens from anywhere, the tools must be easy to use, always available, highly secure, mobile-ready, tightly integrated, and well supported. NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES makes this possible.

Embracing Digital Collaboration Tools to Enable Business Continuity

"Business as usual” may have changed. What we consider “an office” may have changed. But what hasn’t changed is the need to keep doing what we’ve always been doing, and that means keeping employees connected and engaged, providing great customer support, and winning new business.

Feature rich online meeting tools allow employees to collaborate with their colleagues as effectively as they would in a physical office and meet with prospective customers to pitch their products and services – from anywhere.

While video collaboration and/or voice is a great start, businesses cannot sustain by only utilizing video collaboration and phone calls as their primary communication method. Other features are necessary such as team chat, webinar, file share and sync, co-editing, phone calls, screen share, and more.

Introducing UNIVERGE BLUE® MEET WEBINAR

UNIVERGE BLUE MEET WEBINAR is an online virtual event service that provides a complete set of tools and capabilities to help grow business virtually and reach more people, wherever they are located.

Presenters can use video, audio, and screen share to effectively communicate with customers and prospects no matter their location. MEET WEBINAR helps to build personal connections, engagement, and trust by allowing attendees to see the presenter in real-time and engage through Q&A, Emoji’s, live Polls and more. Organizations can reach a broader audience and grow their business with an easy-to-use service that connects and engages anyone, on any device, from anywhere.

Streamlining communication complexity is the key to improving remote collaboration, enhancing security and productivity, as well as saving time, finances, and resources. It’s important that employees and customers don’t lose the power of face-to-face meetings while remote. The good news is they don’t have to! With NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE MEET WEBINAR, employees have access to powerful online meeting and virtual collaboration tools to help keep business moving forward, no matter their location.

With UNIVERGE BLUE MEET WEBINAR you can:

  • Promote webinars with customizable invitations, registration pages, and email reminders
  • Host webinars with up to 12 HD video presenters and up to 1,000 attendees
  • Record sessions and report on who viewed the recording
  • Generate detailed reports on attendance, performance, chat, polls, Q&A, and surveys; follow up with emails and surveys to push attendees down the purchasing funnel
  • Integrate with 1,000 + business apps via Zapier to track your leads, registrations, and more!

NEC’S UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES incorporate a variety of cloud-based communications, collaboration, and backup solutions. Whatever kind of challenge has been imposed on your business; NEC can help you figure out the solution.

If you are interested in learning more about NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE MEET WEBINAR On-line Meeting solution, visit https://www.univergeblue.com/cloud-services/webinar/ or get in touch with a UNIVERGE BLUE expert today.

Who’s Protecting Your Data?

Data is an organization’s most valuable asset. However, many organizations lack the critical software, infrastructure, and security processes needed to mitigate potential loss or access.

A recent Commvault survey shows that nearly half (43%) of IT managers do not have a comprehensive backup solution in place. Of those who do, less than half of ransomware victims were able to fully recover their data after an attack. Even more surprising is the increasing threat by insiders taking malicious action against their firms, with 72% of organizations stating that insider attacks have become more frequent over the last 12 months.

One thing is clear: it’s no longer a question of if a cyber-attack will take place, but when.

Cost of Data Breaches and Ransomware

The price companies pay for data breaches and ransomware attacks is not only the potential data loss or the cryptocurrency ransom that they may pay, but also the cost of recovering from the attack. A prime example is the ransomware attack on the city of Baltimore. While the perpetrators of the attack only demanded $76,000 in Bitcoin which the city refused to pay, Baltimore city officials estimated the recovery from this attack will cost taxpayers over $18.2M.

Losses can come from stoppages in manufacturing, inability to receive payments, employees unable to work, inability to service customers, cost of recovery specialists and implementation of new security protocols, and sadly, even death of a patient in a healthcare setting. This is why it is critical for businesses and organizations ensure that they have the right data protection in place.

UNIVERGE BLUE® BACKUP and RECOVER

NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE® BACKUP and RECOVER offers a broad set of fully integrated services to manage and protect critical proprietary information and data. It is a powerful, cost-effective, and reliable managed Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution that delivers always-on data protection.

Key features of UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP and RECOVER include:

  • Optimized and secure backup and disaster recovery architecture: Industry leading BaaS software from CommVault detects Ransomware, while NEC’s award winning HYDRAstor® optimizes and protects data with built-in deduplication, compression and data verification.
  • Risk mitigation and reliability: Iron Mountain’s datacenters – some of the most secure, compliant and energy efficient datacenters in the world – safely and securely store at-rest data. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) ensures data remains safe whether in-transit or at rest.
  • Regulatory compliance: Iron Mountain’s national datacenter Level 4 Security offers broad coverage and high levels of compliance ideal for healthcare and federal organizations.
  • Dynamic delivery models: Flexibility to backup between datacenters with an on-premises solution or straight to the cloud, virtual or physical environments.
  • Service and support: 7x24x365 management and support from a fully staffed Network Operations Center (NOC), as well as regular status and performance reports.
  • Simple & predictable cost effective billing options: Pay-as-you-go pricing ensures organizations only pay for storage that is consumed

Let’s Get Started!

Schedule a demo and start protecting your organization’s data today!