If your company’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony systems are not equipped to weather disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, then they may fail when a calamity occurs. This could disrupt your operations and you may lose productivity, customers, and profit as a result. To avoid such losses, you must follow these important steps.
When choosing which VoIP system to adopt for your company, carefully evaluate the service level agreements offered by each provider. Inquire about the provider’s security and availability guarantees and how these will be achieved.
Ideally, you must partner with the firm that can host your VoIP systems in facilities that are safe from local disasters such as flash floods or earthquakes. Your provider should also employ advanced network security solutions to protect your calls and data.
Before implementing any of the next two VoIP continuity solutions, install a third-party VoIP monitoring service to keep tabs on the status of your phone system. This tool will identify all network issues disrupting your phone system, enabling you to resolve them quickly.
Since VoIP solutions are dependent on internet connections, you should have a backup or alternate internet service provider (ISP) in case your main network goes down.
Have one ISP dedicated to your VoIP service and another supporting your main computer network. Once you’ve installed both networks, you can then program them to automatically transfer services to the other should one network fail. Thus, if your main phone network goes down, your VoIP solution switches to the other network and suffers no interruptions.
Of course, subscribing to two separate ISPs will increase your internet expenses. But if you perform a cost-benefit analysis, you’ll find that the cost to maintain both is far less than the cost of downtime in case your only ISP were to fail.
Cloud-based VoIP solutions allow you to choose where you receive your calls with call forwarding — a feature that automatically reroutes incoming calls to other company-registered devices. This enables staff to receive work-related calls when they’re out of the office on a remote assignment, working at home, or when your main office is hit by a local disaster or network outage.
To benefit from this feature, register all employee mobile devices to your VoIP system and configure such devices to receive rerouted calls. Don’t forget to set policies for remote working. For instance, you should forbid staff from connecting to public Wi-Fi networks because this can put them at risk of cybercriminals eavesdropping on VoIP conversations.
There’s little value in VoIP continuity and disaster recovery strategies if they end up failing when you need them the most. Test your VoIP service and check whether contact details are up to date, call forwarding features are routing calls to the right devices, and your backup internet service works. Ultimately, your goal is to find flaws in your strategies and make the necessary adjustments to avoid potential hiccups from occurring in the future.
If managing VoIP is too time-consuming and complex, call our professionals today. We design, implement, test, and monitor powerful, disaster-proof VoIP phone systems to ensure your communications are always online.
Publish Date: October 15, 2021 5:00 AM
Internet access is one of the most important resources people need to be able to work from home. However, poor internet quality can lead to poor job performance and a dip in productivity. If you want to know how much internet bandwidth is needed for remote work, this guide can help.
Bandwidth refers to the maximum data transfer rate possible in a network or internet connection. It indicates the amount of data that can be sent over a connection in a given amount of time, and is usually expressed in bits per second (bps).
Imagine two computers with the same internet speed at 100 megabits per second (Mbps): the first computer only has a 50 Mbps bandwidth, while the second one has 100 Mbps. If they were to download the same packet with 500 megabits (Mb), the first computer would be able to do it in 10 seconds, while the second one could do it in just 5.
This is because the first computer’s bandwidth is capped at 50 Mbps — even with a high-speed internet service, the limit of transfer would still be low. Therefore, the higher the bandwidth, the more data can be sent over a connection, contributing to faster uploads and downloads and a better internet experience overall.
To answer this question, you need to factor in the type of work that you do and the apps that you use. If your job mostly consists of sending emails, editing and writing on Google Docs, and communicating on Slack, then you can do your job with ease even with a low bandwidth. On the other hand, if your day-to-day tasks consist of frequently attending meetings through video calls, then you’d need a plan with higher bandwidth.
Once you have a clear picture of how much data you send and receive on an average workday, you can start looking for plans that can support your needs. And while you don’t need to conduct virtual meetings in 4K quality, you also won’t want your clients and colleagues to appear pixelated during a meeting. Neither would you want a session that gets choppy or cut off mid-conversation.
Here are the minimum requirements for the most common video chat apps used by remote workers today:
For 1:1 video calling:
For group video calling:
HD video quality:
Standard definition (SD) video quality:
Teams requires the same upload and download internet bandwidth for the following scenarios:
If you’re worried about your internet bandwidth, you can opt for audio calls instead of video calls. This considerably helps lower the information you need to upload and download.
For more tips and solutions on how you can work from home without a hitch, call us. We’d be happy to help.
Publish Date: October 11, 2021 5:00 AM
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems are tried and tested tools for business agility and continuity, so it’s no wonder that many companies use them. But they also come with ownership costs that you should anticipate. Read on to learn more.
Upfront costs are largely determined by the manner in which you acquire your systems, such as whether you buy a VoIP system outright or rent it from a third party. Although the former carries a steep upfront cost, payment does not continue indefinitely. This makes sense for large, fully staffed corporations with massive budgets. Meanwhile, the latter option is better for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that prefer to pay a small monthly subscription rather than make a huge initial investment.
Beyond the price of the VoIP package, upfront costs also include additional costs like headsets, webcams, and a higher-bandwidth network connection to ensure crystal-clear, uninterrupted calls.
Implementation costs include the fees of consultants or managed IT services providers that design, deploy, and configure your VoIP system. And if you’re installing a completely new phone system, you also need to factor in costs associated with training employees on how to use the VoIP system effectively and securely.
This covers monthly recurring costs of voice and data plans. For example, some service providers charge local and long-distance calls per minute, while others offer unlimited local calls for a fixed monthly fee.
If you’re managing your VoIP infrastructure yourself, you also have to take into account monthly power, cooling, and maintenance fees. If you opt for hosted VoIP services, however, you are only billed for maintenance.
You should also need to set aside some room in your budget for VoIP upgrades. For instance, you may need to integrate customer relationship management (CRM) software with VoIP to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction. Aside from the cost of the upgrade itself, you should also anticipate spending on consultation, as upgrade integrations have a better chance at success if deployed by experts.
Evaluating all the costs that apply to your business will give you a clear idea of how much you can expect to pay for your VoIP system. If you’re having difficulty calculating the actual costs of VoIP implementation, call our experts today. We’ll help you figure out which VoIP solution is most ideal for your business and budget.
Publish Date: September 22, 2021 5:00 AM
Most businesses are familiar with denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, or attacks that cripple an IT network, system, or machine to deny access to intended users. Not many businesses know, however, that Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems can be a DoS attack target too. If you have security measures in place against regular DoS attacks but don’t have one for your telephony system, it’s about time you fix that.
The end goal of any DoS attack is to overwhelm a system with so many requests that it is eventually forced to shut down. Telephony DoS (TDoS) attack is a subcategory leveled at VoIP systems. Alarmingly, this attack is commonly used against hospitals and 911 phone lines. Some TDoS attackers even demand a ransom to halt the attack, which is similar to ransomware attacks. They take advantage of cryptocurrencies and caller-ID spoofing to make it incredibly difficult to identify attackers.
TDoS attacks generally employ fewer resources than the DoS attacks that are designed to cripple IT systems, which include networks, servers, and software. At its most basic, a TDoS attack requires only an automated phone dialer that calls a target phone number and hangs up — over and over. That very simple strategy can stop anyone else from getting through the line.
While your first instinct may be to lock down your VoIP system with complicated security measures, doing so will only do more harm than good. Most businesses can’t operate if they can’t communicate with their customers, business partners, and other third parties.
Although VoIP may be a digital resource similar to other components within your IT systems, the very nature of phone lines makes hiding them behind firewalls and other protections impossible. Fortunately, there are now new security protocols that can protect your communication infrastructure against those who try to use force to gain access to your directory information. These protocols can also identify, reroute, and filter calls coming from known attackers. Get in touch with our team to learn more about these protocols.
If you’re experiencing any abnormalities with your VoIP system, or if you want to deploy the most advanced solution that the market has to offer, our expert team of IT professionals is ready to help you at the drop of a hat — just call today.
Publish Date: August 13, 2021 5:00 AM
Most modern businesses build and maintain their own website to reach more customers. It’s good to have an online presence, but know that your competitors are also doing their best to optimize their websites for better brand awareness and profitability. Don't fall behind -- follow these web design trends to increase web traffic and boost your bottom line.
Many websites today are designed to have a mobile version. With around 47.07% of all internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s safe to assume that you are losing a big percentage of your viewership by not having a mobile-friendly website.
Implementing a thumb-friendly mobile web design is also critical, as most people who browse websites on mobile do so with one hand while on the go or doing another task or activity. Putting important navigation features within reach of a mobile user’s thumb on the screen will greatly improve your website’s user experience.
One of the most important web design features these days are high-speed website load times. Site visitors seem to be more impatient than ever, and they would most likely close websites that take three or more seconds to load. According to a study conducted by Pinterest, efforts to speed up web page load times reduced perceived wait times by 40%, resulting in a 15% increase in search engine traffic and sign-ups.
One technique for cutting down load times for content-rich sites is to lazy load the page instead of fully loading it before it can be viewed. Lazy loading is when a browser is configured to only load the portion of the page that is currently viewable on the screen. The parts of the page that are currently off-screen won’t be loaded so that they don’t consume too much processing power. This works great for websites that are configured to have infinite scroll, like Pinterest.
Micro-interactions are small animations that provide subtle feedback after they complete an action. These are usually found on navigation and tool buttons to further emphasize the purpose of each button. For example, if your cut button is a pair of scissors, you can make it do a couple of snip motions during mouseover. Or if your delete button is a rubbish bin, you can make its lid pop open during mouseover.
These actions will make your website more lively and easy to navigate for site visitors. It’s also a great way to keep them on your site for longer periods of time.
Although similar to micro-interactions, micro-animations are more for aesthetic purposes. You can use them to make your site more visually appealing, as well as to subtly direct visitors toward certain parts of your site that you would like to gain more attention. For example, if you run a coffee business, your website’s micro-animations can be a pot of coffee brewing for page loads, or a big puff of steam from an espresso machine for page transitions.
Many users appreciate dark mode because it helps them conserve device power and lessens the strain on their eyes when they browse the internet before bedtime. Websites that offer this option may entice visitors to stick around to read articles and learn more about the product offerings, simply because the site is comfortable to use.
If you need help staying on top of website design trends or adapting to an ever-changing digital landscape in general, give us a call.
Publish Date: August 9, 2021 5:00 AM
Should you consider adopting new phone systems for your business? To help you decide, we've defined the various types of phone systems, their different life cycles, and technology options in the past and the present.
Today’s businesses still use landlines to connect with various stakeholders, such as customers, investors, and suppliers, to service their needs. However, telephony has come a long way from when it first came about in 1876. For instance, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones have virtually unlimited reach, are automated, and are cheaper than ever to acquire.
VoIP is a telephony solution that uses the internet instead of wired circuits to transmit data. VoIP does more than just transmit audio — it can also send a variety of data (video, multimedia, SMS, etc.) and perform other tasks as well.
A VoIP system’s hardware (phone units, cables, CPUs, etc.) and software (one or more applications that run the system) can be either on-premises or hosted:
With hardware, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on-premises or hosted. Hardware is affected by the wear and tear stemming from daily use. Barring any accidents or physical damage, VoIP hardware should last several years.
On the other hand, software requires regular updates. It’s worth noting that it’s faster and cheaper to update software that’s hosted in the cloud versus one that’s on premises. However, there’s not much difference in how much either one can last — software for both types of VoIP systems can last upwards of 10 years, depending on how dependable your IT support is.
In the past, hardware and software were built to last. Today, they’re built to adapt and change, thanks to cloud technology.
The effect of this shift on hardware and software is dramatic:
Most hardware components are very similar, with replacements and upgrades coming every 5–8 years on average.
Cloud software is faster, easier, and cheaper to upgrade than software for on-premises systems. Critical cloud updates can be released almost constantly, and a cloud system may be completely overhauled in as short as 2–3 years’ time.
Whichever phone system you choose, it should integrate smoothly with the other systems in your business, such as email or customer relationship management software. And as your business expands, your chosen phone system should easily scale with it, too.
Downtime results in loss of potential sales and, essentially, wasted money. If your phone service is spotty and constantly unreliable, perhaps it’s time to switch to VoIP phones.
Nowadays, it’s not the longevity of a tech solution that’s important, but rather staying ahead of the curve to trump the competition. Call our experts today so you can always leverage the best VoIP and other IT solutions available today.
Publish Date: July 27, 2021 5:00 AM
Automated processes powered by artificial intelligence (AI) makes operations more efficient and effective. For many companies, AI-powered Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is taking telecommunications automation to a whole new level. Here are the things it can offer your business.
An IVR system is designed to automatically respond to customer queries with AI agents. These agents allow businesses to take on more customer calls without having to hire more human agents. Among AI assistants’ most powerful features are the following:
While in a call, AI assistants can concurrently gather and assess all relevant customer data such as personal information and recent transactions to resolve a query. In this manner, this makes them more efficient than human agents who have to put a caller on hold in order to access that caller’s records.
Thanks to machine learning and natural language processing, these AI-powered IVR systems will only get better at communicating with customers over time. However, for more nuanced queries, AI agents still transfer calls to human business representatives, who are better equipped to serve customers.
Chatbots are useful programs that receive instructions via textual or auditory means to perform automated tasks.
Like IVR systems, bots are used by businesses to automate customer interactions. AI-powered chatbots go beyond regular bot duties by performing more complex tasks like setting up meetings, inviting attendees, managing schedules, and much more.
AI tools can parse through call recordings to identify issues such as poor customer service. These tools can also identify trends (e.g., increasing customer satisfaction) and the challenges your agents encounter when they provide customer support or try to keep customers from closing their accounts.
Web conferencing has improved over the years with internet speeds and telecom technology constantly developing. AI advances it even further with real-time language translation and speech recognition technology, which greatly benefits businesses with offices in multiple geographic locations and whose stakeholders come from diverse backgrounds.
AI-enabled web conferencing can even provide intelligent prompts and relevant data to guide your conversations and ensure a fruitful meeting.
With AI-powered systems vastly improving contact center operations, businesses are understandably eager to adopt them. There’s so much more that VoIP systems can do for your business, and we’ve got the expertise to handle all your VoIP-related concerns. Just call us today.
Publish Date: July 2, 2021 5:00 AM
Remote work policies require companies to expand their communication capabilities. Many businesses aim to increase productivity and improve customer service by turning to a VoIP solution. There are several factors that will make your VoIP more mobile while ensuring both your customers and employees remain satisfied and can communicate hassle-free.
To cater to your out-of-office workers, there are a variety of ways by which you can expand the mobility of your VoIP services.
If your employees are able to bring their personal devices to work, your IT administrators will insist that all of them comply with your company’s policies. You will need to establish good security and compliance measures to meet the needs of both your customers and employees.
A solid solution is UC, which integrates real-time communication services, such as instant messaging, telephony, data sharing, and video conferencing. UC bridges the gap between VoIP and other computer-related communication technologies. It makes communication more convenient and manageable by providing a single number to reach as well as a status indicator that conveys whether employees are available or if they don't want to be disturbed.
Most top-rated business apps began as user-focused tools to help people find data more independently. Some of these apps have transformed into more customized tools focusing on specific business needs. The problem with this is that satisfying these needs often sacrifices overall usability. If your employees are struggling to use the mobile version of your VoIP solution, then they likely will dump it.
This can lead to employees using unauthorized apps, which increases security risks. To avoid this, implement an app or a tool that is easy to use, navigate, and manage. Ask VoIP providers for a free demo to evaluate how user-friendly the software is.
Having on-premises equipment and support for your VoIP solution is a good idea. However, your existing IT team may not be ready for the challenges of providing a cloud-based mobile app or voice support. We recommend you go for a hosted VoIP solution, which delivers the same cost-effective, network-based service, but the equipment is housed based at a provider’s site rather than in your data center. This eliminates the cost of on-premises gear, maintenance costs, and overall management while increasing the overall effectiveness of your mobile solution.
It can be tough to manage your VoIP solutions as you’re expanding them. That’s why it’s best to work with an IT partner like us; we have the expertise and experience to pull it off. When you outsource the management of your solution to us, we can get your apps and solution up and running, then administer them for you.
If you need to expand your VoIP mobile capabilities to enhance your efficiency and productivity, or if you’re interested to learn more about VoIP solutions, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Publish Date: June 14, 2021 5:00 AM
As more and more solutions are made available in the cloud, more and more small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are flocking to use them. One increasingly popular solution is cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP). If you want to integrate your systems using an ERP program, then you should seriously consider a cloud-based ERP solution.
ERP is management software, usually offered as a bundle of applications, that aims to help businesses automate the collection, storage, management, and interpretation of data from disparate sources like accounting, inventory, marketing, service delivery, etc. With ERP, business owners and managers can get an integrated real-time view of business processes, resources, and commitments.
Cloud-based ERP solutions are simply a suite of ERP apps delivered to users over the internet, usually accessed via a browser. The software usually does not need to be installed on computers and is offered on a per-user, per-month, flat-rate fee.
Companies using a cloud-based integrated ERP solution have experienced the following five benefits:
An in-house ERP solution requires purchasing software and hardware to support it. Once you’ve built the solution’s infrastructure, you need to hire staff to install and maintain it. All of these will drive up the overall IT budget, something most SMBs cannot immediately afford.
But with a cloud-based ERP system, you normally only have to pay a flat-rate monthly fee, so the total cost of implementation will likely be far lower. Many providers can also manage the solution for you (i.e., they’ll take care of maintenance, upgrades, etc.). This will even out your operating costs, and if implemented correctly, will result in an overall decrease in expenses.
In-house ERP solutions require correctly configured hosting and proper maintenance to function at their most efficient. Your IT staff will be responsible for both, but if these are done poorly, then performance suffers.
With cloud-based solutions, the provider takes care of hosting the solution. You know that system maintenance is being done by experts, so you’re assured that your ERP software will be at peak performance.
Companies that don’t have any ERP system will likely struggle to find the information they need, when they need it. ERP programs can help consolidate the relevant information in a more effective manner than, say, spreadsheets.
And since cloud-based ERP solutions are accessible via the internet, you now have access to the information you need from anywhere with an internet connection.
Providers of cloud-based ERP solutions offer 24/7 support and can fix problems faster than if you leave them to your employees. They also make sure to keep their solutions updated. Hackers have been known to attack businesses that use outdated versions of popular ERP programs.
ERP systems process critical business information, so you will want to keep your data secure from outside sources and unauthorized users within your organization.
In this regard, cloud-based ERP solutions have enhanced security measures that protect your data in storage and when it moves from your systems to the host servers.
And for internal data security, users will need an assigned account to access your ERP system. This gives you control over who is given an account or not. Furthermore, you can also limit who can access your system via central admin panels. All of these features make cloud-based ERP solutions more secure than in-house ones.
If you want to learn more about cloud-based ERP solutions, contact us. We’ll be glad to assist you.
Publish Date: June 9, 2021 5:00 AM
A cloud-based order management system (OMS) is a powerful and intuitive tool for tracking orders, sales, and inventory as well as streamlining the processes involved in order fulfillment. Learn more about this essential tool and its many benefits to eCommerce businesses.
First off, we need to clarify that an inventory management system is not the same as an order management system. The former is a solution for analyzing sales history and forecasting demand for product and raw materials. On the other hand, the latter is all about the here and now, as it tackles transactions as they happen.
A cloud-based OMS enables eCommerce businesses to track orders for goods and services via a centralized dashboard, which your staff can access anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected device. In general, it can help you organize orders into a coherent and manageable workflow by:
There are dozens of OMS platforms with niche functionalities that may be better for specific business models regardless of the industry. The important thing is that you find a solution that reduces the most tedious organizational tasks for tracking your store’s orders.
Below are five key advantages of using an OMS:
Since an OMS allows you to automate various stages of order processing, it eliminates the need to manually enter and update order details. This reduces the risk of error, increasing your eCommerce business’s operational efficiency.
With fewer errors, you can avoid having to rework inaccurate order information, saving you time and effort. This means your business also saves on labor. And because a cloud-based OMS requires virtually no hardware, you can eliminate installation, maintenance, repair, and other associated costs as well.
A cloud-based OMS offers a consolidated view of your orders and inventory in real time, which allows you to stay on top of the entire fulfillment process so you never miss a sale. This also enables you to optimize inventory levels while minimizing surplus.
Not only that, but an OMS gives you better visibility into your business’s processes, so you can easily identify issues and make the necessary adjustments to achieve operational efficiency.
When a customer places an order, your OMS will choose the warehouse or fulfillment center closest to them as well as the method of fulfillment. A fulfillment request will then be sent automatically to the warehouse so the item can be prepared and shipped out immediately.
With an OMS, you have all the information you need to make smarter business decisions at the tip of your fingers, from consumer behavior to market trends to product performance.
Improve your eCommerce business’s workflows and profitability with an OMS. If you need help choosing the right OMS platform for your company, give our experts a call today.
Publish Date: June 7, 2021 5:00 AM
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as a telephony solution allows small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to choose between traditional desk phones (hardphones) or software-based devices (softphones). Read on to learn which option best suits your organization’s needs.
A hardphone functions like a normal phone, but it's connected to your business's IP network instead of a telephone line. There’s no learning curve associated with VoIP hardphones and they allow your staff to call anyone worldwide at an affordable price. More advanced hardphones have built-in video displays and touch screens for video calls, eliminating the need for separate equipment for video conferencing.
A softphone is any electronic device that uses a software application that allows users to turn their PCs, laptops, and tablets into phones that can make and receive local and international calls. Softphones let you dial a number on your computer or mobile device and speak through its embedded speakers and microphone or through a headset with a microphone, so you can make and take calls wherever you are.
When choosing between hardphones and smartphones, consider the following questions:
Are your employees always moving around?
Do they require 24/7 connectivity?
Does your company take pride in offering top-notch customer service?
What’s your IT budget?
Your answers to these questions will determine the type of equipment you need.
Nothing beats the voice clarity and noise cancellation features of hardphones since they are designed specifically for voice calls, unlike softphones that share power with other programs on a device. They also let you make and receive calls without being disrupted by poor PC performance or malware.
Because you have to purchase actual phones, the initial setup costs for hardphones are greater than those for softphones, but the monthly phone bills are more affordable. Not only that, softphones may be more costly in the long run, as they require separate headphones and microphones that may need to be replaced or maintained frequently.
If your company has a mobile workforce, adopting a softphone solution may be the way to go. Softphones feature call routing, which allows you to divert calls to one or several specified internet-enabled devices, ensuring your clients have 24/7 access to your company. This is most useful in a contact center environment. Transcribed voicemail messages are another helpful feature, as this enables you to receive messages promptly, even if you’re in a meeting or on the road.
Our experts are available 24/7/365 to answer any questions you may have pertaining to VoIP and especially about whether hardphones or softphones are right for you. If you’re interested in upgrading your telephony infrastructure, give us a call today.
Publish Date: May 24, 2021 5:00 AM
One of the most essential aspects of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems you should consider is Quality of Service, or QoS. To make sure your provider will deliver optimal service with minimal downtime, ask them these questions about their QoS.
VoIP providers and IT experts define QoS as the overall performance of a VoIP system or network. This performance is usually measured by looking at objective statistics like bandwidth usage, transmission delay, call jitter, error rates, etc. Subjective data, like what the end users think of the system’s performance, are also factored in.
QoS does not only apply to VoIP, but also to traditional phone systems. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the quality of landline calls is near perfect. This is because all traditional phone network providers invest in physical networks and connections that offer high QoS. That means switching from one provider to another doesn't affect the quality of the calls.
But investments in physical networks are expensive, and customers end up shouldering the costs. The high cost of maintaining the transmission network (phone lines, switches, etc.) is also why there are only a couple of phone providers in most areas. In other words, it's just too costly for small companies to launch a traditional phone network system.
In comparison, VoIP systems are a lot cheaper to set up and maintain. This has led to a high number of VoIP providers. And because anyone with capital can set up their VoIP systems without having to adhere to a standard, the QoS amongst providers can vary drastically. To find the provider with the best QoS, ask them these three questions:
Almost every VoIP provider will rely on public infrastructure in order to transmit data. The rule of thumb is, the bigger the company’s share in the infrastructure, the higher its QoS is. This is because the provider will have more control over the technology.
One of the best options is to look for facilities-based providers. These companies own almost all of the network that carries VoIP calls and can therefore offer better services and quality.
Some of the most popular solutions like Vonage will use almost 100% public internet for their traffic. Other companies will use a mixture of public and private networks, often using public internet for more affordable packages and private internet for high-end users. If you often use VoIP for functions that require heavy bandwidth like conference calling, then you may need to sign up for more expensive packages so the QoS doesn’t drop.
What level of quality can you guarantee?
The best providers will be able to guarantee a QoS that is comparable, or even better, than traditional phone networks. This is especially important for businesses that are looking to switch to a full VoIP solution. Ask your prospective provider to run a few tests on your network and to give you a quality assurance. If the numbers are too low for your business needs, look for another provider.
Do you want to know more about how to pick the best VoIP provider and how VoIP can benefit your business? Get in touch with our experts today.
Publish Date: March 8, 2021 5:00 AM
Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for ways to steal information, so you should seek to beef up your data protection. One such way is with biometric authentication on mobile devices.
Chrome OS, Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Android are all adding features to help users safely log in using biometric identification via USB, Bluetooth, and NFC devices connected to smartphones and tablets. With such convenience, users can verify their accounts on the go.
iOS users already enjoy either TouchID (fingerprint scanning) or FaceID (facial recognition) authentication, depending on their specific device. Android users can also use biometrics to protect their data, as most new Android devices have fingerprint scanners that make use of a secure storage protocol called Trusted Execution Environment.
Passwords are notoriously bad at protecting users’ accounts and the information they store. Thankfully, facial scans, fingerprints, and voice recognition make it exponentially harder for hackers to commit identity theft. That means you’re also less likely to be duped by an email from a hacker pretending to be your boss asking for the company credit card’s details.
The concept behind this protection is the practice of two-factor (2FA) or multifactor authentication (MFA). This means that access to private information requires two or more stages of authentication, instead of just one. And because biometric authentication is an active authentication attempt by the user, it makes unauthorized access much more difficult to attempt.
Biometric verification will also retire the need for logging in your information when shopping online, streaming videos, using cloud applications, and other internet-based transactions. Windows 10 has already adopted features that offer limited account management with fingerprints and facial scans. Another example is Samsung Pay, which turns smartphones into digital wallets that are protected by fingerprint or iris scans.
Browser-based biometrics is starting to revolutionize and streamline the steps in verifying online accounts. It promises to add more security and ease in logging in and transacting on the internet.
To keep up with the latest and greatest in browser-related innovations your company can benefit from, give us a call now.
Publish Date: January 20, 2021 5:00 AM
Customer data offers an insight into information such as customer demographics, behavior, and preferences, enabling businesses to create quality products and positive experiences that will cater to their client base. But it’s not enough for a business to collect customer data — it must collect data that is useful and relevant. Here are some of the best ways to collect useful customer data and avoid challenges.
Customer data collection offers a suite of business benefits, but there is a limit to what kind of data can be gathered. Customer privacy has become a serious concern in modern society, and there are various regulatory frameworks that ensure the protection of people’s private information. To avoid running afoul of the law, inform your customers that you will be collecting their data, and specify exactly what data you’ll be gathering.
1. Collect identifiers
Whether you’re creating an online survey or a signup form, collecting identifying information (i.e., names, date of birth, age, gender, address, etc.) is crucial. This information will form the foundation for future analysis and segmentation.
2. Track customer interactions
Define important customer interactions. For example, if you own an online store, you need to know how your customers arrived at your site, the items they clicked on, the items they added to their cart, and what they eventually purchased. Tracking each step of their buyer journey — from learning about your business to becoming a customer — will give you insights into what your customers need and want.
3. Gather behavior-related data
Don’t focus solely on customers who made a purchase. Think about what other indicators produce meaningful data. In our online store example, you might want to track how many sign up for your email newsletter, which pages they visited on your site, or how much time they spent on each page. Analyzing this information will help you determine which aspects of your efforts are most effective and which ones need improvement.
4. Automate data collection
When gathering customer data, you must minimize the risk of human error. The most effective strategy is to automate as much of the collection process as possible. Apps and tools such as online forms and optical character recognition systems feed information directly into your database and eliminate paper-centric processes that often lead to mistakes.
5. Integrate your systems
Redundancies and errors are also common when there are multiple databases managing the same information. You can prevent these issues by working with an IT provider to integrate all your apps, databases, and software solutions. This way, data collected in one database will be synced and consistent across other platforms, reducing manual data entry and, consequently, human error.
6. Consider who will view the reports
Inevitably, you’ll need to convert data into business intelligence reports. It’s a good idea to identify who will read your reports so you can highlight the most relevant insights for them. For instance, sales managers want to see quarterly sales figures, and human resources teams want to see labor costs compared to revenue.
7. Update data in real time
Companies today need up-to-the-minute data accuracy in order to stay relevant. Use business intelligence dashboards that collect, organize, and filter data at the click of a button so that you’ll never have to wait a day or more to receive critical information that can guide company decisions.
Looking for technologies that can help you optimize data collection? Call our IT consultants today. We’ll recommend best-of-breed technologies that track the information you need to grow your business.
Publish Date: January 18, 2021 5:00 AM
Theft of service is the most common type of fraud that impacts Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems. Let’s take a closer look at how it affects VoIP networks and how your organization can prevent or minimize the risk of this type of fraud.
VoIP theft of service is the most common type of VoIP fraud. At its most basic level, it involves the theft of your organization’s VoIP account credentials, including usernames and passwords, either by eavesdropping or by introducing malware into your system. Once cybercriminals gain access to your account, they can freely make phone calls or change your call plans, running up your VoIP bill.
In addition, cybercriminals may use the stolen data to carry out other fraudulent activities. They can also use theft of service to flood your VoIP network with promotional calls similar to junk email via an attack called spam over internet telephony, or SPIT. Once they infiltrate your communications network, they might broadcast unsolicited messages or advertisements over your VoIP system. This keeps users from making or receiving calls, which can have a significant impact on your business’s operations.
Preventing VoIP theft of service simply requires using a little common sense and implementing some technical preventive measures.
VoIP is an essential business communication tool, so it makes sense to understand what theft of service is to avoid its impacts on your company’s operations. For more information and useful tips on how to keep your VoIP system secure, drop us a line today.
Publish Date: January 6, 2021 5:00 AM