Wednesday, 27 November 2013

VoIP is Great, but Mobile VoIP is Even Better

Keeping your phone system up to date is essential to keep benefiting from the technology developments and costs efficiencies that are important to every business.

There a number of reasons why businesses are turning to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). It offers a streamlined approach to communications and if the system is managed offsite by a proven vendor, the responsibility and stress associated with maintaining the system goes away. If the system doesn’t support mobile VoIP, however, the full intended benefits may be out of reach.

To realize the intended benefits, VoIP routes calls through the existing Internet connection, avoiding the traditional phone lines installed more than a century ago. VoIP has been available for a few years now, yet it is only in recent months that enough bandwidth has become available to push more businesses toward VoIP instead of traditional telephony.

Some of the benefits associated with VoIP include hyper-efficient call routing. Where traditional landlines can only handle one call at a time and the entire bandwidth was consumed even if both parties were silent, VoIP only sends data when there is data to actually send. Plus, this data is in small data packets which take up very little bandwidth, resulting in much lower phone bills.

Unlimited local and long distance calling is another clear benefit of VoIP, but it is also one of the key reasons professionals are turning to mobile VoIP. Users can easily avoid the additional charges to their mobile plans if they can leverage applications across available bandwidth - especially helpful when traveling overseas where roaming charges and international rates can quickly kill the budget.

The calling features available with a VoIP connection, both in the office and on the road, are a clear perk for this online communications option. The traditional landline would offer many of the same perks, for an added fee. With VoIP, users enjoy access to a wide range of features without adding to the monthly cost.

As communications remain an important focus for all companies and mobility demand continues to grow, implementing a VoIP system that also supports mobile VoIP is a great next step towards efficiency and low cost connections.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

What is BYOD?

Bring Your Own Device - or bring your own disaster?

BYOD is a term given to describe the growing trend of employees using their own personal smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices for work purposes and according to a recent statistics, “BYOD” is not on the radar for around 40% of companies but experts are warning against a dangerous lack of vigilance.

The risks of infecting systems and networks a massively increased with the integration of un-checked devices. "Whether they are ambivalent or embrace the principles of the BYOD movement, a company needs to protect itself from the fall out that can impact them through their staff using BYOD," employment law expert Edward Goodwyn of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said. "Employees are using their own devices and bringing them into work regardless of their employers' views. As such, employers should either consider prohibiting BYOD for work, access to their system or their clients' data, or they should apply sufficient controls to protect them and their clients."

More than 40% of companies do not consider the 'bring your own device' (BYOD) trend to be on their agenda, according to a survey of IT leaders.06 Nov 2013

However, just over 25% of those surveyed expressed positive views about BYOD and said that their employer had embraced the "craze". "Where this balance lies ultimately will depend on the organisation’s corporate culture but employers should be very careful about a BYOD free-for-all," he added. "Organisations should consider implementing a well balanced policy to include the use of BYOD. It should deal with issues such as the security of individual devices, what functions staff will be allowed to perform using their own devices and the range of employees they wish to give those usage rights to. Equally, the policy should clearly set out what the sanctions are if the employees breach the policy."

The proliferation of non-Windows hardware and other employee-owned devices attempting to connect to the corporate network is seemingly a cause of great concern for many IT managers.

At the beginning of March this year, the UK's data protection watchdog published new guidance for employers on BYOD. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) stressed that organisations should remember that they are duty-bound to look after the personal data they are responsible for under data protection laws "regardless of the ownership of the device used to carry out the processing".

Companies must ensure that devices used for work purposes are password-protected, and that data is encrypted when being transferred as well as being stored, it said.

Read the original article here : BYOD 'not on the agenda' at 40% of companies but expert warns against ambivalence

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Many Cost Savings of Straight-to-Voicemail - Another Reason to use VoIP

Basic business telephony solutions are great, and continue to do their job, but there are circumstances in which your business will outgrow that solution, and it might just be time to upgrade.

Here are some signs that it’s time for something more advanced. Since the telephone is something we take for granted, this probably won’t be on your radar until the shortcomings are truly glaring and impossible to ignore.

An example might be the number of messages your receptionist is taking, if you have one. If written messages keep piling up, or voice calls are being managed by sending email or chat alerts to employees, then VoIP can save much unnecessary effort.

VoIP can offer a “straight to voicemail” function, so that if you know somebody is out of their office, the voicemail is doing the effort of the message-taking, not anybody who’s being paid by the hour.

Of course, this manual task is a standard feature of most systems – namely auto attendant – but most don’t have a switched system and make do with a live receptionist.

Straight to voicemail is also advantageous if the person being asked for is on another call. The reflex response for many phone operators when they see the red light beside someone’s extension to show they’re on another call is to take a message for them. This costs money. By deferring the call over to the person’s voicemail, they’ll see the alert for the call on their desk phone as soon as they get off of the call they were just on.

Another example is for employees who frequently receive telemarketing calls. Despite your reasonable efforts to block these intrusions, some manage to keep getting through. Sometimes the receptionist can tell from the call display it’s a telemarketer, or even from the first spoken words once answering the call. Either way, those calls can go straight to that person’s voicemail. You benefit on both ends, as the call does not waste the employee’s time as well as making the receptionist’s job easier to manage.

Speaking as a former telemarketer, I can tell you the easiest way to get rid of someone like me is to send my call straight to voicemail. Telemarketers don’t leave voicemails. If I was a caller with a more productive purpose, I would be more likely to leave a voicemail.

To assess just how useful this specific function might be, try sitting down at your reception desk for an hour, and take a minute-by-minute report of how the receptionist’s time is being managed. Then, take note of the circumstances in which you think some time could have been saved by using the straight-to-voicemail feature.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

It’s Not Paranoia. People REALLY Are Out To Get You

Definitely one you won’t want to miss!

Sourced from our recent research activity, this is a MUST read for all businesses of all shapes and sizes.  We have summarised the key points of the article and you can find the whole piece here:

Your business, your users, your systems and your data all have value to someone.

You could be targeted because you have something that someone specifically wants, or because attackers are hoping to find bank account details or email addresses to spam, or because they want your computer power for a botnet.

Few companies have the luxury of being able to dedicate one or more members of staff to security, but there are some easy layers of defence that everyone should have in place.

Microsoft Windows 7 and below have this covered fairly well with Microsoft Security Essentials for anti-virus needs and Windows Defender for spyware. Windows 8 has Windows Defender built in and does both anti-virus and anti-spam ware.

One of the most common methods of getting something unwanted is via an infected USB. Blocking USB devices is of course is a great line of defence which needs to be well managed with your staff. 

Fear of phones

Mobile malware is the latest threat. Android phones are the worst culprits. iPhones, Windows phones and BlackBerrys are much safer.  Enforcing PINs or password on devices is the most basic level of protection and should be employed wherever possible.

Avoiding using free services such as DropBox – hacking is easy.  The rogue user is another danger area – the member of staff who leaves the company to work for a competitor and still has arrangements in place for company-sensitive information to be emailed to him. Similarly, the person who left but knew another person's password. Weeks after leaving the company he logged in via webmail and began abusing staff.

Flashing red lights and sirens should be going off by now!  Policies prohibiting sharing passwords with other staff members and a regular forced change of password help to prevent these situations.

Beware the mafia

Ensuring user- accounts are disabled as people walk out the door for the last time is a very small price to pay to avoid a potential high risk of damage.

It is also worth educating users with reminders and tips. It is obvious to us, but a random email asking for their login details will often have users happily clicking a link that goes to "" and entering their company username and password.

An attacker who has targeted a staff member or company can do huge amounts of damage and companies of all sizes are at risk."

These are just some of the basic approaches you should consider to protect everyone. You want to be thinking about them now rather than when it is too late. ®

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