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Posts Tagged ‘VoIP’

7 Ways VoIP Increases SMB Productivity

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions can help small and medium businesses  increase productivity by enhancing your communication potential. VoIP isn’t just a simple digital upgrade over your existing office analog phone service: It opens the doors for new ways to look at customer management and employee communication. A managed service provider can help your business implement numerous best practices to reap the technological benefits of VoIP.

The following list covers just some of the ways VoIP can increase productivity:

1. Share a Phone System in Multiple Locations

If your business is looking to expand to additional locations or already operates from more than one building, VoIP can help consolidate many phone-based services. VoIP can share a singular phone system across multiple geographical locations. This means your business does not need to operate things like customer support and appointment scheduling at more than one location.

2. VoIP Allows Employees to Work Remotely

If your business receives just a handful of support calls on weekends, it’s wasteful to pay an employee to sit around and do nothing for most of the day. VoIP allows employees to connect to the service anywhere there’s an Internet connection. This way, you can allow on-call employees to work from home, meaning your business only has to pay for the time you need them.

3. Voicemail-to-Email Transcription

Employees often find themselves wasting time navigating voicemail systems in search of a specific recording, and then burn through more time sitting through entire messages full of unimportant information. VoIP services open the door for voice-to-text transcription capabilities so employees can quickly locate and read a message summary. This is a much more efficient way to handle voicemail, allowing employees to respond more accurately to more messages in less time.

4. Facilitates Employee Response to Issues

VoIP is a digital system you can integrate with your customer relationship management system so your staff will immediately have information about a customer or client on hand when they call. For example, if a customer has an outstanding service ticket, the representative answering the phone will have all that information on-hand.

5. Scales to Grows with your Business

Unlike the analog systems of old, VoIP is very easy to scale with your business’s needs. Adding an extra line for an additional employee isn’t necessary, as the system can accommodate capacity as needed.

6. Video Conference for Better Collaboration

Employees aren’t limited to audio-only conversations with VoIP: It supports video conferencing. Video calls can be very effective at increasing productivity in the workplace when employees who aren’t located together collaborate on projects.

7. VoIP Cost Savings

VoIP can also help your business bottom line. According to Forbes, Utah State was able to save six figures by switching their phone system from analog to VoIP. VoIP is also easier to maintain, with fewer technical problems when implemented: Utah State saved around $120,000 annually on labor by eliminating most of the trouble tickets.

The experts at MPA Networks are ready to help your business manage your VoIP services. Make sure you are properly configured and your network is built to handle the extra traffic without slowing down other services. Contact us today.

The $100,000 Phone Bill: Is Your Office VoIP Phone System the Next Target?

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Avoid information technology VoIP fraud San Francisco, San Mateo, San Jose.

How would you react if your company’s next phone bill revealed a major cost spike—to the tune of over $100,000? It’s actually happening now to small businesses across the U.S., thanks to international VoIP toll fraud—perhaps the fastest growing cyber-threat today.

While many small companies have adopted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) as a cost-effective alternative to traditional phone service, the trade-off is increased security risks. Primarily in Africa and Eastern Europe—those usual hotbeds of cybercrime—hackers have discovered that a VoIP-based PBX system (like other online networks) contains multiple vulnerabilities, which most smaller companies fix only rarely, if ever. Once they successfully hack into a U.S. company’s VoIP network, they can literally hijack its entire PBX and begin placing thousands of calls from that company’s local office lines—typically over a weekend, when nobody will be there to notice.

Long-Distance Robbery

Who do they call? In most cases, they’ve leased international phone numbers with “premium” surcharges (think adult chat or psychic hotlines), resell the calls, and rack up the pay-per-minute profits. And unlike a conventional landline, a single hacked VoIP line can dial several hundred calls simultaneously! Do the math; it all adds up to a lot of money, very quickly.

International law guarantees that somebody must pay those long distance charges—either the victimized company or their VoIP service provider.

As with so much other cybercrime from the Third World, the chances of U.S. law enforcement tracking down the culprits are slim at best. Meanwhile, the victim faces, at the very least, a major multi-week headache contesting that ridiculously huge bill.

Protect Yourself

Your VoIP phone system should be secured as much as any other network. There are steps you can take right now to shield your company from a costly telephone cyberattack:

  • Deactivate Call Forwarding, to prevent rerouting calls to third party numbers—particularly those outside the U.S.

  • Set strong passwords for central root access as well as every phone line and voice mailbox. Then schedule company-wide password changes every six months.

  • Protect your VoIP network behind its own high-security firewall, configured to only accept access from pre-approved IP addresses.

  • Consider Secure Shell encryption (SSH) for an added level of security.

  • Physically isolate your VoIP system from the rest of your network infrastructure—down to the cables and Ethernet switches. If a lucky hacker can use your phone system as a front door for infiltrating your entire company network, then you’ve got even more trouble.

The stakes are simply too high for a do-it-yourself approach to VoIP security, or to think “it won’t happen to us.” Trust an experienced IT partner who not only knows the nuts and bolts of VoIP, but also specializes in cutting-edge network security. Learn more here.