Thursday, 29 August 2013

Using VoIP Saves Money and Improves Efficiency


Merlin Telecom always aims to bring you impartial comment and guidance on what’s happening in the telecoms world, so we’re constantly scanning the channels for quality information to share. When we found this article from Jim Murphy, President of PhonePower.com in BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices, we felt it reflected everything we regularly explain about VOIP; and why we encourage businesses to consider it, especially about new ways of thinking. So we’re sharing it here and invite you to think about how your business might benefit from some fresh thinking.

Jim writes:

“The ability to stay in touch by telephone is a must for businesses of all sizes, but finding the right features at an affordable cost used to be a major challenge for small to mid-sized companies. Thanks to Voice over Internet Protocol technology, smaller enterprises have more options today that ever. Here are some tips to help you make the right choices.

Make the most of features

The standard equipment for a small business used to be a two-line phone and an answering machine. Those days are long gone: Today's small businesses embrace phone features once reserved only for the IBMs of the world. Find-me-follow-me, selective call forwarding and simultaneous ring to the desk phone and cell phone are all standard features with today's hosted VoIP services.

Use VoIP to run a leaner business

In today's economy, the successful businesses are the ones that can be lean and efficient. VoIP provides a clear digital signal and cost savings opportunities that were unheard of 10-12 years ago. Whether it's inbound toll-free or long distance, telephony costs continue to drop. And with a hosted VoIP model, a large investment in PBX hardware that will be obsolete in a few years is no longer required.

Throw out old ways of thinking

Businesses used to shop for phones, phone lines and long distance service from three different vendors. The new era of hosted VoIP means this way of thinking is obsolete. You can now typically purchase an all-inclusive calling package per extension that includes all the latest phone system features and unlimited minutes. Often the VoIP provider will also provide the phones for a small monthly fee.

Say goodbye to the "phone guy"

We have all experienced the cost and inconvenience of having to call the "phone guy" who maintains the company phone system. Every time you add an employee, move an extension or want to change the prompts, here comes the guy with the tool belt. With hosted VoIP, business owners can take back control of their phones. You can easily make changes with just a few clicks through a web portal.

Maximize mobility

VoIP allows business professionals to unchain themselves from their desks. Sales reps can have their calls forwarded to their cell phones in the field. Repair experts can handle new inquiries and customer service calls while at a job site. A manager can have some agents work from home but still maintain their connection to the office phone system.

Make sure business continues no matter what

If your business loses power, you'll most likely lose your Internet connection and business phones as well. Reputable hosted VoIP providers can offer a failover solution in the event your business goes dark. You can pre-configure individual extensions to failover to a cell phone in an emergency. Don't wait until disaster strikes to think about how to forward calls.

Use email as your new voicemail platform
More and more companies and consumers are having voicemails forwarded to their email inbox. With this new feature, you can play the voicemails on your PC for a hands-free experience instead of listening through your handset and scribbling down the information.

Setting up an efficient telephony system used to be a major hassle for smaller enterprises, and the costs for the latest features were often prohibitive. VoIP technology has significantly expanded the options available, allowing SMBs to save time and money. By following these tips, you can make the most of your VoIP choices.

The views expressed are those of the author.

We hope you found it helpful

Monday, 26 August 2013

Data security contract terms may not be sufficient to ensure compliance in the cloud


It’s seems there is some dissatisfaction in the IT industry about the misleading and downright unclear language used to present terms in data security contracts. Cloud computing outsourced service providers are being asked to check that what they say and actually offer is compliant with data protection rules.

Topics Cloud computing Data protection TMT & Sourcing IT Security Research company Gartner have outlined concerns relating to the ambiguity of cloud contract terms on the subject of data security, predicting that 80% of IT procurement professionals will be dissatisfied with the efficacy in contracts offered by 'software as a service' (SaaS) cloud providers through 2015.

Gartner said businesses should at least agree contract terms with providers that allow for an annual security audit and certification to be undertaken by a third party and insist on a clause allowing them to terminate a contract should a security breach occur and the provider "fails on any material measure".

Businesses should consider whether there are gaps in their compliance in spite of having contract terms in place with cloud providers relating to data protection and security

Under the DPA, data controllers are required to take "appropriate technical and organisational measures" to ensure against the "unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data".

When outsourcing personal data processing to others, data controllers are required to select processors that can provide "sufficient guarantees" that they can properly meet the "technical and organisational measures" requirement and that they will "take reasonable steps" to "ensure compliance". The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) last year issued guidance on cloud computing in which it outlined its conditional support for businesses using independent auditors of cloud providers' data and security practices when evaluating whether cloud providers meet the standards required.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

OFCOM ANNOUNCE NEW MEASURES TO HELP CONSUMER SWITCH PROVIDERS



Ofcom has announced important new measures to help consumers change landline and broadband providers

Under the changes, consumers will only need to follow a single switching process, which will be managed by their new communications provider. Ofcom has also set out additional measures to help prevent consumers losing their service during the changeover process, or being switched without their consent.

Ofcom is consulting on the detail of putting these improvements in place, through a change to the General Conditions, and on timescales for changes. The consultation closes on 2 October 2013.

The statement and consultation are available online from the Ofcom website www.ofcom.org.uk.