Best Mutual Fund Investment Strategy For 2012 And 2013

Best Mutual Fund Investment Strategy For 2012 and 2013

For most people the best mutual fund investment and the best investment strategy for 2012 and 2013 can be found in a single package, which comes complete with both fund and strategy. Before you invest money, here’s how to find the best fund with a strategy that fits you.

People invest money in a mutual fund because these investment packages offer professional management, each fund with its own investment strategy. The problem is that even the best fund in the stock or bond arena can get casual investors into trouble if they just buy, hold, and ignore it. The same stock (equity) fund that doubled in value between early 2009 and 2011 could well lose half its value if 2012 and/or 2013 turn out to be bad years for the stock market. History has proven that most people invest money without a sound investment strategy. They simply buy, hold and ignore.

Remember this: the normal investment strategy for a stock fund is to invest about 98% of the portfolio in stocks. The same is true in the bond department. The best investment strategy for most people is to invest money in a variety of both stocks and bonds, with some money tucked away earning interest with high safety. If you don’t have the time or expertise necessary to invest money and stay on top of all three areas, what’s your best mutual fund to invest money in?

The best fund for most folks falls into a category called BALANCED, ASSET ALLOCATION, or TARGET RETIREMENT because the investment strategy here is to invest money in all three areas, while keeping the investor portfolio balanced (ratio of stocks to bonds) throughout the years. The TARGET types take investment strategy one step further by reducing risk over time to adjust for the fact that the investor is growing older. In other words, all in one package you get the best mutual fund complete with the best investment strategy for 2012, 2013 and beyond. You can simply buy and hold, and let management do the rest.

Now, let’s get more specific, using target retirement funds as our example. Investment strategy and portfolio asset allocation is usually described as CONSERVATIVE, MODERATE, or AGGRESSIVE. The higher the target number, the more aggressive (risky) a target fund is – meaning a higher allocation to stocks vs. bonds and safer investments. For example, a Target 2000 might be labeled as conservative with 20% of the portfolio in stocks, while a Target 2035 labeled as moderate could have 80% invested in stocks. Look at the asset allocation percentages before you invest money! A target fund with a target number higher than 2040 can have 90% of assets invested in stocks.

With all of the uncertainty surrounding 2012 and 2013… including high unemployment, a sluggish economy, and the threat of higher inflation… many people need a more conservative fund in order to sleep at night. If you can relate to this the best mutual fund investment for you might be a Target 2000 with about 20% of its portfolio in stocks, 35% in bonds and 40% in safer areas that pay interest. Or, you might want to invest money in a Target 2010 with about 50% in stocks and most of the rest in bonds.

You can make the best of it in 2012, 2013 and beyond if you do a little homework before you invest money. Go to websites like Fidelity and Vanguard, the two largest mutual fund companies, to get a handle on the best mutual fund that fits your risk profile. If you want to just invest money and hold on, your best mutual fund investment is some form of balanced fund where the fund company takes care of the investment strategy for you.For Full Information visit to -http://investment-uk.co.uk

Develop Hotel Management Strategy Map To Visualize Goals

What is a strategy map? Is it just a nice presentation demonstrating company goals? Well, some top managers and business owners think so. In fact, this is not true as an effective strategy map shows both goals and ways to achieve these goals. Besides, some strategy maps are very difficult to understand since they contain complex terms and formulas from strategic management theory. An effective strategy map must be easy to understand even for a person without even elementary knowledge of strategic planning. Such a person should see goals and how these goals will be reached. All the rest is unnecessary. An effective strategy map and shows cause and effect ties between goals and measures. For example, if a strategy map contains just one goal of making much money and no ways to implement it this will be a useless document. At the same time, if such a strategy map demonstrates how this goal will be implemented and what needs to be done in several stages, this strategy map can be considered effective. In
this article well talk about hotel management strategy maps.

First and foremost a hotel should develop comprehensive and realistic strategy. It means that strategic goals have to be ambitious and achievable at the same time. On top of that, making a lot of money can be hardly called a strategic goal. A strategy is about future vision, and hotel industry is not an exception here. Thus, a good example of strategic goal would be gaining particular percentage of market share, improve and loyalty of existing customers and attraction of new ones, improving hotel business image and recognition throughout the world and of course increasing profits. Of an effective hotel management strategy map will show what needs to be done to achieve these goals. Balanced Scorecard is perhaps the best tool to design strategy maps that demonstrate cause and effect ties.

All financial goals can be implemented if some improvements are performed in other spheres. As known, Balanced Scorecard consists of four categories which are interrelated: financial, customer, internal business processes, learning and growth. A hotel strategy map will show cause and effect ties between all categories and key performance indicators that each category contains. For instance, in order to increase revenue (financial), it is necessary to attract new customers (customer) which is possible on lee through introduction of new services and improvement of internal procedures (internal business processes) while this is only achievable through improvement of personnel professional level (learning and growth). This simple example demonstrates cause and effect ties between Balanced Scorecard categories and key performance indicators. For example such key performance indicator as customer loyalty directly affects revenue growth since loyal and satisfied customers are more likely to stay and the same ho
tel again. Thus, the hotel strategy works in the long term which contributes to competitive advantage in the market. It needs saying that Balanced Scorecard will perfectly work and the hotel will improve its performance only if improvements in the four categories are achieved. This means that the hotel should be ready for changes.

Multilevel marketing Tricks Unraveled An Unbiased Advocare Overview

What are the Merchandise Staying Marketed by Advocare Global?

Advocare Global sells a assortment of wellbeing and wellness products from pounds loss supplements, to solutions that encourage youth and longevity. They also have products that end getting older, locks your youth cycle, and reverses the craze of cell breakdown! A person of these merchandise that are the ideal-sellers in the organization is Oasis. It is a potent antioxidant that is uniquely formulated to boost your vitality levels and lower you strain. For weight reduction, LeptiLean is the very best pounds reduction dietary health supplement by the business. Advocare reviews tag the Oasis and the LeptiLean as two of the greatest well being dietary supplements in their solution line.ne.

How Substantially Dollars Can You Make with Advocare International?

Donald Trump was asked in an interview: If you dropped all your dollars nowadays, what industry will you enter into so that you will grow to be rich once more? His reply: network advertising and marketing. Donald Trump is one particular of the ages leading visionaries when it comes to market trends and economic predictions. He predicts that network promoting is the quickest way to develop into prosperous, but not a ton of men and women will be equipped to see that. Only 5% of the population will be able to experience the wave of network marketing and advertising. Advocare opinions expose that the business has one of the finest tested network advertising and marketing strategies that will support you get paid as a lot as $35,000 each month. Many distributors who be a part of the company have no expertise in creating sales. Nonetheless, they will educate you how to make the greatest and most cunning profits pitches that will allow to appeal to folks and close friends very easily and effectively.

Qivana is truly one of the latest nutritional businesses to hit the scene operated by Chief Executive Officer Derek Hall. Unveiled in March 2009, Qivana seems to have endured the initial test of multilevel advertising beginnings possessing marketed their personal branded overall health and fitness items centered on a three component method: Stabilize, Vitalize, and Optimize.

Chief Science Officer, Dr. Marcus Laux heads up the Qivana Scientific Advisory Board. This existence of this board goes a long way to assist the investment of Qivana with regards to scientific groundwork and growth.. Thus in standard, Qivana seems like it really is a solid network marketing and advertising company adhering to a reasonably smaller volume of time in operation.

The Qivana Products

Qivana launched the business along with three major products constituting what they’ve named the Qore Technique. Qivana Qore Detox is made up of Puratox, a distinctive, scientifically verified combination of all-normal elements that could distinct your tissues, cells and blood of poisons, metals and totally free radicals while averting the depletion of minerals that are crucial to superior wellness. By way of these 3 scientifically verified merchandise, Qivana boost wellbeing and wellbeing though their complementing benefits. Qivana also gives the ‘Metaboliq’ process. The basis of the Qivana Metaboliq method is your morning meal. It is a nicely recognized actuality that 1 of many factors folks set on excess weight is that they aren’t receiving adequate protein in the morning. The Qivana Metaboliq breakfast is created up of uniquely created protein shakes which can be purchased in vanilla and chocolate flavours.

Am I Entitled To Take A Career Break

A career break is generally a prolonged, unpaid period away from the workplace – for several months or even several years – and is taken for many different reasons. This article looks at the reasons people choose to take a career break, whether you are entitled to take a career break and have your job ‘kept’ for you until your return, and issues that you may face when returning to work after a career break.

Career breaks are usually taken voluntarily and can be taken by men or women, by full or part-time workers, and by senior managers or more junior members of staff. Reasons for taking a career break are numerous and include taking time off work to have children or spend more time with your family, taking time off to travel the world, spending time taking care of a sick or elderly relative, time off to deal with personal problems or taking time off to retrain or take further academic qualifications.

Employers are not legally entitled to agree to your request to take a career break. That is to say, your employer cannot prevent you from terminating your employment contract with them if that is what you wish to do but they are under no legal obligation to keep the position open for you until you choose to return. It is down to the discretion of your employer as to whether your position is kept open for you and it will be up to you to discuss matters fully with your employer and explain the reasons that you wish to take a career break and why you think your position should be left open for you. Some employers, as is advisable, have a policy on how requests for career breaks are dealt with and the circumstances under which they are granted, or not granted. You should ask your employer for a copy of this policy as this may give you some idea as to how your request to take a career break will be received.

When returning to work after a career break, whether to a position that has been left open for you, or to a different role, you may feel anxious and your confidence may be lacking after several months or several years out of the workplace. You should familiarise yourself with any major changes that have taken place within your profession during the time you have been off and should also be able to account for the time you have been out of the workplace to any new prospective employer.

Taking time off for a career break is not a decision that many people take lightly. You should assess your reasons for doing so and ensure that your finances are allowing you to take such a break. Talk things over with your employer and familiarise yourself with their policy on careers breaks to increase your chances of securing the outcome you desire.

Copyright (c) 2012 Robert Gray

Internet Marketing Is The Best Way To Promote Hotel Business

In every organization, the marketing department is the most important segment of the company. The success of the company and its products depends upon the performance of the marketing department. Therefore it is quite important that a company must pay proper attention to its marketing department. For every marketing department it is quite important that they should promote their products through the most popular channel. It not only helps them to increase the popularity of their company but also provides them a tool to bring success to their company. If we talk about the various forms of marketing, then internet marketing is the most widely preferred tool of marketing. The way it has spread its wings is simply great. Now most of the consumers around the world love to garner information about anything through the internet.

Search engine optimization has become one of the primary tools of marketing. Hotel industry is widely using this tool to promote the name of their hotels. The reason behind this is quite simple to answer. With the development in the living standard of people around the world, there has been a significant rise in the revenue earned by the countries through their tourism department. People love to visit new places and different countries. They are willing to spend more on fun and entertainment. They do not mind to spend few extra bucks for some fun filled days. Therefore we can surely say that tourism and hotel industry will surely see some significant development in the future to come.

Whenever consumers need some information about hotels and different holiday packages, they find it quite comfortable to know about these details from internet. They usually search out this information though search engines. They like to know about the rates of the hotels and the different features and discounts offered by the hotels. Consumers do not mind to book rooms in hotels through credit cards. It means that internet has provided a quick way to generate profits from every part of the world. If some hotel does not have a well maintained website, and they do not promote their hotel in the right way, it is likely that the customers would not like to go for that hotel. Therefore it is quite important that hotels must have their own website, and they must pay proper attention to internet marketing.

There are many ways of internet marketing. Among them, the most popular way is the search engine optimization or SEO. SEO is the method which follows the right use of relevant keywords in the contents of the website. Keywords are very essential for the popularity of a website. It helps the website to generate high traffic, which in turn results in high ranking of the website. When a webpage is ranked high in the search engine, it is always displayed among the top search results, which increases the number of visitors to the website.

Sunshine Profits To Best Place To Get Reliable Advice About Gold Investment And Trading

For a long time now, gold has been considered to be one of the safest investment options and in the past few the soaring gold prices have proved the investors absolutely rise. However, gold investment in the current times is not as easy as it requires the investors need to consider the issues of great pricing, finding reliable sources for procuring the metal in its purest form and even the convertibility value at the time of gold trading. This is perhaps why a large number of investors are now opting to invest in gold mining stock which is not only extremely convenient but also quite profitable.

For the past several years, Sunshine Profits has been providing helpful advice to gold investors about not only the various factors that might affect gold prices but also about the most opportune moments to invest in gold mining stocks. Sunshine Profits gold mining stocks rank has in fact been used by many investors to estimate of their current holdings giving them a fair idea of whether or not their gold investment is proving profitable. This further enables the investors to take decisive action about whether or not they should hold on to their stocks for long term or trade them off for a marginal profit.

Sunshine Profits provides regular information to its clients about the extremely important yet largely unknown factors that influence gold rates. The various tools used by the company including Sunshine Profits gold mining stocks rank calculator are developed after months of research. These tools are constantly updated to ensure that the information provided by them is not only useful but also profitable for the investors. Moreover, the investment experts employed by Sunshine Profits offer honest advice to the clients about buying or selling or even holding on to gold and other precious metals depending on the current market trends. This makes it possible for the investors to ensure that they make considerable profits in gold trading after understanding the prospective short and long term market analysis.

In order to further assist investors, Sunshine Profits publishes weekly reports that highlight the results of market analysis carried out by the company for both investors and speculators. They also provide monthly reports that provide an in-depth analysis of the market trends, the latest market updates and the market overview. In addition, they make it a point to alert investors about any significant changes in market situations that might require the investors to take immediate action like instant buying or selling of stocks. They also provide a professional support system to solve the diverse queries of investors related to gold investment or trading or the investment queries for other precious metals.

Sunshine Profits not only helps investors gain in- depth information about the investment options available in the precious metals, but also help them in evaluating and managing their portfolios in a manner that would ensure maximum. With countless satisfied investors and customers, Sunshine Profits is certainly the right choice for profitable gold trading and investment.

BAI – Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards Announces 2012 Winners

Global Banks Honored for Vision and Leadership in Innovation


WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwire – October 9, 2012) – BAI and Infosys today
bestowed the most innovative banks in the world with the prestigious
2012 BAI – Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards. Now in its second
year, the global awards program recognizes and supports innovation in
the retail banking industry. This year’s honorees were recognized at a
special ceremony today at BAI Retail Delivery 2012 in Washington, D.C.


The winning financial institutions were chosen among more than 150
entries from over 30 countries for breakthrough innovations that
positively impact banks and their customers. The award winners were
selected by the Innovation Circle Judging Panel, an objective,
third-party board. This distinguished international group is composed of
prominent industry thought-leaders, academics and retail banking
professionals.

OCBC Bank, located in Singapore, earned the
Product and Service Innovation Award for FRANK, a radical approach to
addressing Generation Y’s different style of connecting and engaging
with financial institutions. FRANK branches — or “stores” — are
designed to specifically serve this group of young people aged 18 – 28,
through being conveniently and strategically located in campuses and
malls, the use of understandable language on signage and documentation,
and through a casual atmosphere where popular music is played, and where
interactive touch screens allow customers to shop and apply for their
personalized FRANK debit or credit card. Overall, FRANK allows OCBC Bank
to develop lifetime, personalized relationships with these consumers by
meeting their needs early on.

The award for Channel Innovation
was won by DenizBank, located in Turkey, for introducing the ‘Globally
First Ever’ Banking Platform on Facebook. With full online banking
functionality, the platform enables Facebook users to check their bank
account, see a total picture of assets and liabilities, send money to
anyone, anytime, purchase/enroll in consumer loans and credit cards, and
invite Facebook friends to use the platform, among other capabilities.


Alior Bank, located in Poland, received the Disruptive Innovation in
Banking Award for changing the banking services market in its country.
Alior Sync is a progressive, virtual bank that offers full-service
banking via a virtual platform with a contemporary means of
communication for its target segment, customers between the ages of 20
to 35. The innovative model of operations eases the facilitation of
processes involved in offerings and sales of products and services, such
as a fully online credit process — a first in Poland.

The Most
Innovative Bank of the Year Award was awarded to First National Bank, a
Division of FirstRand Limited, located in South Africa, to honor its
culture of innovation and advancement of retail banking. As part of
their innovative culture, the bank holds an internal competition, called
“Innovators,” that formally encourages and supports the process of
innovation and related competencies. Business units within FNB are
empowered to innovate through leadership buy-in and advocacy.


Debbie Bianucci, President and CEO of BAI, congratulated the award
winners for their creativity and excellence. “These banks serve as a
model of what can be achieved through innovation when it comes to
enhancing the customer experience and transforming our industry. Their
commitment and leadership set new standards for us, and we honor them
for their achievement. We look forward to seeing what future innovations
will come from the finalists and winners here today as well as other
banks around the world.”

Haragopal Mangipudi, Global Head –
Finacle, Infosys, commended the award winners for their ability to drive
consumer engagement through innovation. “Their original thinking is the
key to accelerating growth and increasing customer loyalty. As the
innovation partner for global financial institutions, we applaud their
outstanding efforts.”

To learn more about the 2012 BAI – Finacle
Global Banking Innovation Awards and to submit nominations for the 2013
awards, please visit http://www.baiglobalinnovations.com.

About BAI:


BAI is the financial services industry’s partner for breakthrough
information and intelligence needed to innovate and stay relevant in an
evolving marketplace. For more than 85 years, BAI has focused on
advancing the industry by offering unbiased education and research.
BAI’s offerings are as diverse as the industry, and include premier
events such as BAI Retail Delivery Conference & Expo, groundbreaking
research and performance metrics, professional learning and development
programs, and in-depth editorial coverage through BAI Banking
Strategies. For more information, visit http://www.bai.org

About Infosys:


Infosys partners with global enterprises to drive their innovation-led
growth. That’s why Forbes ranked Infosys 15 among the top 100 most
innovative companies. As a leading provider of next-generation
consulting, technology and outsourcing solutions, Infosys helps clients
in more than 30 countries realize their goals. Visit http://www.infosys.com and see how Infosys (NASDAQ: INFY), with its 150,000+ people, is Building Tomorrow’s Enterprise´┐Ż today.

Safe Harbor:


Certain statements in this release concerning our future growth
prospects are forward-looking statements, which involve a number of
risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ
materially from those in such forward-looking statements. The risks and
uncertainties relating to these statements include, but are not limited
to, risks and uncertainties regarding fluctuations in earnings,
fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, our ability to manage growth,
intense competition in IT services including those factors which may
affect our cost advantage, wage increases in India, our ability to
attract and retain highly skilled professionals, time and cost overruns
on fixed-price, fixed-time frame contracts, client concentration,
restrictions on immigration, industry segment concentration, our ability
to manage our international operations, reduced demand for technology
in our key focus areas, disruptions in telecommunication networks or
system failures, our ability to successfully complete and integrate
potential acquisitions, liability for damages on our service contracts,
the success of the companies in which Infosys has made strategic
investments, withdrawal or expiration of governmental fiscal incentives,
political instability and regional conflicts, legal restrictions on
raising capital or acquiring companies outside India, and unauthorized
use of our intellectual property and general economic conditions
affecting our industry. Additional risks that could affect our future
operating results are more fully described in our United States
Securities and Exchange Commission filings including our Annual Report
on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 and on Form 6-K
for the quarters ended September 30, 2011, December 31, 2011 and June
30, 2012.These filings are available at http://www.sec.gov.
Infosys may, from time to time, make additional written and oral
forward-looking statements, including statements contained in the
company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and our
reports to shareholders. The company does not undertake to update any
forward-looking statements that may be made from time to time by or on
behalf of the company.

For further information please contact:

Jeannette Weiland

BAI

Chicago, USA

Phone: +1 312 683-2319

jweiland@bai.org

The Americas

Jay Barta

Infosys Ltd.

United States

Phone: +1 510 926-7840

Jay_Barta@infosys.com

Asia Pacific

Joya Ahluwalia

Infosys Ltd.

India

Phone: +91 80 41565002

Joya_Ahluwalia@infosys.com

Succession Management As A Risk Management Strategy

Succession management is fundamentally an exercise in business risk mitigation. If you develop a pipeline of leaders who can take on critical roles in your business, you will mitigate the potential risk of not being able to deliver on your business goals. When evaluating the degree of succession risk in your business, consider these dimensions.

Vacancy Risk Start by evaluating which roles are most critical to your business strategy. Then consider: What is the risk of having these roles vacant? Will there be a negative impact on customers, profits, revenue, or employees? Next, assess the degree of risk for each role. If a role is considered to have a high vacancy risk, focus your succession efforts here first.

Readiness Risk What is the risk that your next level of leaders will not be ready by the time a new leadership vacancy becomes available? For many organizations with pending retirements, there is a high readiness risk. There is a low probability that their next level of leaders will be ready to take on vacant positions as they become available. If you have a high risk score in this area, you need to focus your efforts on accelerating leadership talent and managing the integration of newly promoted leaders.

Recruitment Risk What is the probability that you will find external talent in the marketplace to fill your vacancies? If the market is particularly tight, or you require highly specialized skills, there may a high recruitment risk. In this situation, you need to focus on proactively identifying people in the marketplace, and cultivate relationships with them, and you need to accelerate internal leadership development.

Coaching and Development Risk – Do your managers have the skills to cultivate leadership talent? Many succession programs assume that managers have the skills to coach and cultivate talent. This is often a wrong assumption. If you build your succession program around managers with poorly developed coaching and mentoring skills, the program will derail. Spend time understanding how capable your managers are at having development conversation and focus on skill building in this area.

Transition Risk If you promote someone before they are ready and the hire is unsuccessful, what are the potential risks during the transition? For example, if a leader is in a technical role and responsible for managing critical business processes, there could be a significant risk to the business if the transition goes poorly. Your business processes could fail, or you could lose key client relationships. If key roles have a high transition risk focus on integration plans and job shadowing during this delicate period.

Regulation Risk Some industries are highly regulated, such as engineering or the medical profession. It is not realistic to accelerate talent when there are industry regulations which govern how fast someone can develop their capability. In highly regulated industries, organizations must be very proactive in building their leadership pipeline and take a long term view.

Copyright (c) 2010 Natalie Michael

Lead Management Software And Sales Force Automation Process-benefit Of Implementation

Lead management has become as essential part of modern business management because nobody nowadays can afford to loose business for the sake of miss coordination. Proper management of leads are now has becomes completely automated process and the credit behind this automation goes for the efficient role played by Lead Management Software.

Lead managing process works in a 2-fold manner; on one side it works as sales support process by accumulation of generated Internet leads, initiates proper distribution of these leads and imposes automated lead tracking process. Whereas the manual process of lead managing system may have the chance of human error, the automated process has no provision for it. Therefore the output derived from these initial three sub-processes of lead management provides accurate data for the input of sales team.

Implementations of sales force automation is required nowadays for several reasons. The back office activity is maintained by lead management software and in case of software driven system hardly there is any provision for fraudulent activities, unscrupulous use of existing data base, and inefficient distribution of leads which is an improved platform for better scale of sales.

In case of manual process, besides the chance of generation of errors, there is recurring problem of efficiency level as well as the unpredictability of TAT [turn around time] which can be absolutely minimized with automated system and as result renders better result for over all output of the business unit.

In the recurring terns of global economy turn down, output and statutory expenses have become a major concern for every business unit; automation is one of the efficient way-out to solve this problem. The inefficient and multiple people-involved processes can be rightly substituted by automated processes and as sales force automation is the relevant requirement todays sales administration for better and over-all accurate module of modern business administration, the process should have proper support from another automated system which can rightly be arranged by using Lead Management software for right implementation of professional and automated lead management system in the administration process.

A sales force automation process reduces the chance of lead lost and bridges the gap between generation of sales leads and maturity of those leads into sales prospect. While the conversion rate of sales leads turn into prospects is good, it generates two purposes; one is increase of satisfied customer base of the business unit and second is having a comprehensive concept about the marketing policy of the said unit for further business expansion.

Lose of sales data and loss of track for sales leads are common malpractice of sales system if it is done in manual process because a manual process by its default allows several access for the data base. On the other hand sales force automation required proper processed and filtered data in order to boost up over all sales figure and reduce the issue of customer dissatisfaction by implementation of relevant and professional CRM solution.

If we have an over view of the whole process of business administration, we will definitely found that sales force automation generated data and info for CRM solution and lead management software helps to generate and cater the relevant data for different modules on the same platform.

The Top Ten Of Network Change And Configuration Management (nccm)

A good Network Change and Configuration Management (NCCM) Policy will monitor all settings, attributes and metrics contributing to the network’s working state and identify where any particular network device deviates from this ‘good’ configuration state.

It is important to keep in check all Cisco (or other vendor) switch, router, firewall and other network device configuration settings, performance metrics and application response times that together govern the quality and consistency of delivered IT service levels to the business.

However, the need to ensure all network devices are compliant with security and external corporate governance legislations is now equally necessary.

Corporate Governance policies such as Sarbanes Oxley (SOX), GLBA, NERC, PCI DSS, HIPAA, MiFID, SAS 70, and Basel II have all been introduced to ensure minimum levels of security and integrity are maintained for company financial information and any stored personal details of customers.

Your Servicedesk or Helpdesk system has a role to play, supporting an ITIL or similar Change and Configuration Management Process, providing reconciliation data for any planned changes to any configuration item.

Here are the Top Ten issues for NCCM

1. Network Performance Management – Measure and control all parameters affecting IT Service Delivery, including performance, configuration settings and end to end user experience and application performance for all Cisco routers, switches, firewalls and other network devices

2. Network Compliance Audits – Take steps to automate the audit process for your Cisco routers and other network devices in order to provide auditors with accurate details of all security and access controls for compliance with all Corporate Governance legislations, such as PCI DSS, SOX, GLBA, NERC, HIPAA, MiFID, SAS 70 and Basel II

3. Cisco router/switch/firewall configuration backup – backup Cisco router configuration settings and backup Cisco switch and firewall configuration settings automatically and on a regular basis to ensure you can always revert or rollback to an earlier known working configuration if a problem occurs following a configuration change. The best network change and configuration management (NCCM) systems will also provide an open configuration backup system for all Nortel, 3Com, Juniper, Extreme, Foundry Networks, Riverbed, Nokia Checkpoint, Alteon, HP, Meru, Huawei and Fortinet or Fortigate firewall configurations.

4. Backup and track changes to Cisco Running and Startup Configurations – it is important to backup startup configuration and backup running configuration settings for Cisco routers, switches and firewalls and a good tip is to compare startup and running configuration settings to ensure they are not out of step unless this is intended i.e. before a scheduled update of the running configuration has been implemented.

5. Cisco Router/Switch/Firewall Security Management – Best practise is to limit access to the router, switch and firewall devices to as few personnel as possible and track any configuration changes in as near real-time as possible. The best network change and configuration management (NCCM) systems use SNMP Trap or Syslog Event analysis to identify when configuration changes have been made and also indentify who made the configuration change.

6. Automatically audit for compliance with network configuration best practise – Where possible, automate auditing of Cisco router, switch and firewall configuration settings for best practise measures such as regular updates to passwords, SNMP community string changed from default (public) and Access Control Lists are configured.

7. Updating or upgrading Cisco IOS version using TFTP – before scheduling an update to the IOS version, verify the checksum for the IOS file is consistent with the checksum of the downloaded IOS version update to ensure corruption of the file during TFTP upload to the router has not occurred.

8. Troubleshoot Router Configuration Problems – By comparing ‘one router to many’ you can pinpoint all differences between a ‘policy compliant’ (i.e. ‘working’) router and those that aren’t and in doing so, identify which configuration changes need to be made to rectify the problem

9. Integration with Network Management and Servicedesk/Helpdesk systems – Ensure your Network Change and Configuration Management (NCCM) system integrates with all major Network Management Systems such as HP OpenView” and Castlerock SNMPc”, and leading Servicedesk systems such as Peregrine, Remedy, Touchpaper, Hornbill, Heat, ITSM, Assyst or HP Servicedesk. If a router, switch or firewall is reconfigured, the configuration change will be alerted into the Servicedesk, Helpdesk or Network Management system for immediate investigation.

10. Change Management Process – By integrating the NCCM system with your existing Change Management/Change Request/Change Approval system you can ensure planned changes are reconciled with actual changes. A full audit trial of changes made can be collated, together with the Request for Change (RFC), the Change Approval Board (CAB) approval for the change, and all details of who made the change, and what was changed.

All the above change and configuration management tasks can be automated using network change and configuration management (NCCM) software solutions, the best of which will cover desktop PCs together with change and configuration management of your servers and all network devices such as firewalls, switches and routers.