4 Reasons to Consider a Cloud-Based Phone System
You may have heard of “the cloud,” in relation to computing and file storage. But did you know cloud-based technology can also change the way your business handles communications? Cloud-based phone systems can be a significant asset for businesses of all sizes and industries. Here are a few benefits to consider.
What Are the Benefits of Cloud-Based Phone Systems?
Cloud-based communications systems are hosted and maintained remotely. This means you won’t need an on-site IT team, which can be costly. The provider takes care of everything from upgrades to troubleshooting. Furthermore, the lack of physical hardware and enhanced security of many cloud-based systems means specific issues, such as security breaches or equipment malfunctions, are less likely to occur.
An increasing number of businesses are working with remote teams, and some forego a traditional brick-and-mortar headquarters or storefront altogether. With a cloud-based internet and phone system, all members of your team can communicate effectively from anywhere with an internet connection. Many providers offer options to access the system from computers as well as tablets and smartphones, making it easier than ever to collaborate via text, call, and other methods.
Cloud-based phone systems are incredibly flexible with a broad range of advanced features, including conference calling, call forwarding, and remote access. It’s even possible to add new and remote locations temporarily or permanently. Cloud-based systems are also easy to scale up as your business grows.
Cost-efficiency is the primary reason most businesses consider a cloud-based phone system. Traditional communications networks tend to cost significantly more up-front compared to cloud-based alternatives, as providers typically require an investment for equipment and set-up, as well as a contracted use period. Cloud-based systems, on the other hand, do not require physical hardware and providers typically offer pay-as-you-go options.
A Guide to Cloud Communications for Your Business
The cloud is an immensely powerful tool that can improve productivity and work quality in any office. This is especially true when it comes to cloud communications, a technology that integrates and simplifies your company’s operations. Here are a few things to know about this wireless communications technology and why it could benefit your business.
What Is Cloud Communications?
Cloud communication technologies enable users to conduct wireless communications over the cloud, rather than over specific hardware. This may take many forms, though in all cases, data is stored in the cloud rather than on a physical device. This means the data may be accessible from computers, phones, tablets, and other devices, and that important data or functions aren’t contained to a single platform.
What Does It Include?
Cloud communication services integrate video, telephone, email, fax services, and cloud calendars so employees don’t have to switch between devices to access important information or communicate with clients and coworkers. Cloud communication companies offer different packages for users, meaning you only have to pay for the services you use.
How Can Cloud Communications Help Your Business?
Cloud communication is an efficient wireless communications option that reduces costs and boosts productivity. As businesses grow, they need to maintain a cohesive communications system that will be expansive and dependable, and cloud communication services are an excellent way to fit these needs. For instance, if they want to expand to new markets, this technology enables them to communicate with workers in different locations. Additionally, remote employees will be able to easily communicate with the office if they’re using a cloud-based system.
Whereas more traditional systems depend on physical hardware that might unexpectedly cease to function, cloud communication can link all devices so you don’t have to depend on one piece of hardware. For this reason, businesses can consolidate their equipment, ultimately reducing costs and boosting their outcomes.
4 Qualities to Look For in a new Cloud Phone System
Companies looking to improve communication and connection within the workforce and customers now have cloud phone systems at their disposal. It’s important, however, to know what qualities to look for when making the change to a new system provider. Here are four attributes of a cloud phone system to keep an eye out for when making your decision.
Qualities of a Reliable Cloud-Based Phone Service
No matter how impressive the features of a cloud phone service may be, it won’t mean much if the call quality is spotty and unreliable. Being able to consistently connect with customers and employees is crucial to the daily workflow of any business. The cloud phone system should provide that guarantee.
Even when the call quality is exceptional, there may be times when you have difficulties with the system for many reasons. While these issues are frustrating, it’s important to note how the provider’s customer service handles the situation. Any problems should be sorted out as quickly as possible.
While having reliable phone service in your work space is imperative, being able to reliably communicate on the go is necessary as well. Any cloud phone system you choose should offer this mobile flexibility.
The flexibility a cloud phone system offers isn’t useful if the phone is too complicated to use. When choosing your provider, always ask about the phone hardware. Many companies offer a demonstration or trial period to make you feel comfortable about the investment. Take advantage of those offerings so you can get a sense of the hardware and decide whether or not it fits your needs.
3 Benefits of Switching to Business Fiber
Fast, reliable connectivity is essential for competing in the modern business world, no matter what industry you’re in. Even small offices may need to communicate with customers on the other side of the country or coordinate with vendors on the other side of the globe. Switching to business fiber allows you to take advantage of the incredible opportunities offered by new technologies and bring your company into the future. Here are a few benefits to consider.
Why Should Your Company Switch to Fiber Internet?
Compared to today’s fiber-optic cable systems, even the fastest copper-based internet connections are painfully slow. Depending on the needs and capabilities of your service provider, you may be able to get speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, enough to run even the most resource-intensive applications — such as video conferencing and downloads — smoothly and effortlessly. Unlike other technologies, business fiber speeds aren’t dependent on usage, so you won’t notice lags, even during peak usage periods.
Cloud technologies offer unparalleled convenience for businesses in every field, but they do require fast, reliable internet service. Slower connections can leave employees unable to access the documents they need and frustrate customers trying to use your business’s applications. Fiber-optic connections give you the power to fully embrace cloud applications without worrying about dropped connections or slow data transmission.
Unlike copper wire-based technology, business fiber won’t slow down or drop signals during thunderstorms, and is generally impervious to other types of interference, either electrical or human. No matter what the weather’s like or what other businesses in your area are doing, you’ll always have the connectivity you need to keep your company running smoothly.
A Quick Guide to Cloud Phone Systems
Cloud technology is revolutionizing almost every aspect of how the modern business operates, bringing everything from logistics to basic communication into the 21st century. The cloud phone system is a dramatic improvement on traditional technology, giving companies of every size access to advanced features and increasing their flexibility.
How Cloud Phone Systems Work
In a traditional phone system, sounds are converted into electrical signals that are transmitted through physical wires. Cloud phone systems take this approach to the next level by sending voice over the internet. During the call, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment converts speech into digital packets, which are transmitted and reassembled into recognizable sounds in real time. Unlike traditional phone systems, VoIP doesn’t require significant investments in new hardware, cables, or switchboards. Most of these functions are instead performed by cloud-based software, usually managed by a third-party provider.
The Benefits of Cloud Phone Systems
Cloud phone systems offer several significant advantages over traditional devices, including lower cost. Adding lines, updating phone numbers, and installing the services without changing or expanding the wiring makes VoIP technology more cost-effective.
Because the system is run by software, adding features such as video calling and expanding the system is easier because you won’t need to install new hardware. This scalability makes it simple to respond to sudden market changes, reorganize your office, or add employees—projects that used to require significant financial investment.
4 Tips for Running a Successful Remote Business
With technological advances such as business VoIP and the modern nature of managing employees, many companies choose to relinquish typical office space and instead, allow employees to work remotely. If you’re establishing a remote organization, however, there are key differences to address. Here are a few recommendations to help your business thrive.
How to Operate a Remote Business
When starting your business, you’ll want to create a workspace within your home that’s conducive to a day’s tasks. Establishing a home office will ensure you’re organized, able to take calls without interruption, and able to use your computer as necessary. In addition, this will curb the desire to work from bed, your couch, or other areas of the home that should be enjoyed during off hours. These boundaries will help you achieve a work-life balance.
Since your employees won’t be meeting face to face every day in a typical office environment, find the right digital tools to ensure they can stay connected and get ahold of one another when needed. Whether it’s emails, interoffice messaging, or conference calls using cloud phone systems, having these tools in place will help with workflow and bonding.
Business VoIP, or a voice-over-internet-protocol phone system, is a great way to provide every employee with the ability to make and receive calls online. Regardless of an employee’s location, they’ll have access to phone systems when connected to the internet. Better still, this service is available at a cost-friendly price point and makes remote working simple, seamless, and stress-free as you won’t have to rely on landlines or cell phone reception.
As your business grows, create a clear organizational system with employees reporting to directors and beyond. Setting up reporting systems, weekly phone calls, and monthly check-ins will help with productivity and ensure you’re connected to your team and aware of project timelines and daily operations.
3 Signs Your Company's Phone System is Outdated
Your company’s phone system is essential for conducting business. While many business owners strive to minimize overhead costs and hold out on upgrades until they’re absolutely necessary, your phones are one resource which should never be compromised. To ensure your business phone system solutions evolve with your company as it grows, look for the following warning signs that you may be due for an upgrade.
3 Indicators You Need to Update Your Business Phone System
Businesses that use obsolete phone hardware are taking a huge risk. Should something go wrong with phones that are no longer supported, your IT team will struggle to resolve the issue, and any necessary repairs or upgrades could force your company to go off the grid for hours or even days. Investing in a new business phone system solution now can prevent you from dealing with unexpected and costly service gaps. New phones can also provide enhanced capabilities, including remote access and automated attendants.
If you’ve recently added new departments or facilities, you’ll need a way to support internal communications. In addition, your business’s phone system should make it easy for callers to reach appropriate support staff without having to keep track of multiple phone numbers. Consider a business phone system solution which supports unified communications to support scalability as your company grows.
Having more callers is typically a good thing, as it suggests a thriving business. However, a busy signal can be a deterrent for customers, as it suggests a lack of technological advancement. Adding more lines or upgrading to VoIP, which enables telephone services over the internet, can ensure customers will always be able to get through.
3 Great Features of Business VoIP Phone Systems
Cloud-based phone systems are revolutionizing how businesses across the world communicate, giving even small organizations access to cutting-edge features that would have been out of reach just a few years ago. Because business VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems are software-based, adding new features can be done in minutes—without expensive hardware upgrades and installation. Below are some popular features that can increase productivity and drive customer engagement.
3 Top Features for Your Cloud Phone System
In many fields, workers spend just as much time working from remote locations as they do in the office. Many business VoIP systems come with mobile apps that allow your employees to communicate through any device using just one number, whether they’re multiple states away for a project or at a local coffee shop. Having multiple simultaneous logins will increase response time and ensure your team members are always available.
Many business VoIP developers now combine multiple communication technologies into a single platform. With these programs, your customers can start a chat or initiate a phone call directly from your web page with the click of a button using their preferred medium. Having multiple pathways makes it easier for your customers to get in touch, increasing engagement and building loyalty.
When your team or clients can’t be in the same physical location, video conferencing is an excellent way to build relationships and resolve issues. While video conferencing technology has traditionally been cumbersome and expensive, business VoIP platforms make this critical feature affordable and easy to use.
4 Key Benefits of Cloud Storage
The “cloud” is where modern businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals store documents, images, videos, and other data to the internet via a third-party system of servers. This computer storage model continues to grow in popularity due to its many advantages and conveniences. You’ll enjoy the following perks once you start using cloud storage from a unified communications company.
What Cloud Storage Can Do for You
When storage begins to fill on your personal or company desktop computer, laptop, or tablet, cloud storage provides the perfect way to free up space. Simply upload your files and folders to the cloud, then delete them from your device to almost instantaneously create more capacity and improve performance. In the past, external hard drives were the solution to space limitations, but the cloud is far more convenient and instantaneous.
Cloud storage makes it convenient for you to access files no matter where you are. Since cloud storage exists online, you can open and download files from any device and any location as long as you have an internet connection. This is especially convenient if you leave your laptop at home or your computer crashes.
Cloud storage is also safe and secure, which is especially important when it comes to Social Security and credit card numbers. Unified communications companies use redundant servers that protect against hackers and data breaches, meaning even your most sensitive information will remain confidential and protected.
If your computer crashes and you don’t have backups, you might permanently lose important documents and information. Unified communications companies provide cloud servers that automatically back up your data in case any files are lost, deleted, or damaged.
The Do's & Don'ts of Secure Passwords
Whether you’re managing financial accounts or exchanging files over cloud storage, your business likely engages with sensitive and valuable data. Having a reliable network security service provider is one of the best ways you can defend your company’s data against third parties—such as hackers. However, it’s still important to practice security at every level, and this includes the use of strong passwords to protect your devices and accounts. To help ensure your company’s digital assets don’t end up in the wrong hands, here’s what your staff should and shouldn’t do when creating a secure password.
Complex passwords are harder to decrypt. In general, you should use a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. For example, “b3$tBuS!ness” would be more secure than using “BestBusiness” for a password.
The shorter a password is, the easier it will be for third parties to decipher. For this reason, network security service providers encourage clients to choose passwords that are about 12 to 16 characters long.
Changing your passwords once every month can make them more difficult to remember and end up wasting company time. However, it’s still important to change your password whenever there’s a chance that someone else may have ended up with it. For example, you should make a change if you left your accounts open on a shared device, recently fired an employee who had access to a computer, or your network security service provider has identified a potential threat.
When malicious parties try to decrypt passwords, they use randomized software to try and “guess” the terms. Dictionary words are among the easiest to guess. As such, you should avoid making your password one or two common words. Instead, try to use terms that only you would know—such as a name.
Sharing your password with others dramatically increases the risk that an unauthorized party will end up with the information. Even if you trust the other person, they may not practice proper security techniques and end up putting your password in someone else’s hands.
Using the same password for all of your accounts may make it easier to remember them, but it will also make it easier for a hacker to access all of your data. If you have trouble remembering which passwords are for which accounts, create a list on paper and store it in a secure location—such as a safe.
How Does Cloud Storage Actually Work?
You just uploaded a project onto your company’s cloud drive, and you pause to wonder how this digital storage thing works. Is it magic? No, not quite. Cloud storage is a growing network solution in wireless communications. Individuals and businesses can share large amounts of digital information in real time with the push of a button. Here are the answers to commonly asked questions about this game-changing storage method.
Common Questions About the Cloud
Essentially, the cloud is a way for computer owners to store and share digital files and assets on the internet. Compared to the old way of storing files on a hard drive or USB stick, cloud storage enables users to hold their information without physical restraints. This new method of wireless communication can help international businesses share large digital files without mail, or it can be a lifesaver for someone traveling who needs access to their digital information for the big presentation. While almost every major technology company has its cloud storage solution, you can find competitive rates for business and personal use.
When they say your information is stored "in the cloud," they mean it's uploaded onto one of the many data servers hosted by an IT company. These cloud-hosting companies carry huge amounts of data servers to provide available storage space for you and other people. You don't have to worry about having your data lost or stolen since most large IT companies offer secure data-encryption against hackers, and data replication across different servers in case one data server goes offline. Government agencies typically use private cloud storage to protect their information and wireless communications, while public cloud storage is available to anyone looking to upload files to the internet.
Cloud storage is a solution for anyone looking to store their digital data without overfilling their physical hard drives. For example, if you're someone who owns large amounts of digital photos and videos, you can store it all into a cloud drive and retrieve it anywhere you have an internet connection. If you're a business spanning multiple offices, a cloud storage solution can help your teams share urgent files and information between each other without delay.
How Mobile Device Management Benefits Your Business
Since virtually everyone uses smartphones and tablets to conduct business nowadays, mobile device management (MDM) has become an essential component of commercial communications. A lot of small business owners aren't familiar with MDM, though, or the many benefits it provides. If your network security service provider has been encouraging you to add MDM to your plan, here are a few of the biggest reasons why.
3 Benefits of Mobile Device Management for Small Businesses
MDM allows business owners to both monitor and manage company devices remotely. This includes phones, tablets, and printers, all of which might have access to sensitive information. Thankfully, with the help of your network security service provider, you can block or grant access to certain users no matter where the device may be. You can also delete confidential documents from anywhere in the world at the touch of a button. Such features will serve to protect your business in all kinds of scenarios.
MDM solutions include automatic data backups, which will preserve critical documents regardless of which device they were created on or when. Your network security service provider will help you devise and implement a backup schedule that strikes a balance between security and redundancy.
Managing mobile devices remotely could save hours when performing even the simplest tasks, like updating software, because you can target multiple devices simultaneously. With a comprehensive MDM solution, your employees will have access to the latest apps and programs the company uses. This will both facilitate productivity and streamline operations because everyone will always be on the same page.
5 Reasons 5G Will Be Vital for Your Small Business
A new generation of wireless communications provides fresh opportunities for small businesses. Because 5G is fifth-generation wireless broadband, it offers better speeds and coverage than its predecessors, 3G and 4G. Beyond a basic upgrade, however, 5G looks to have game-changing potential. Here’s a closer look at how it will benefit your small business.
5 Benefits of 5G for Small Businesses
Most modern businesses rely on wireless communications, and these days, 4G LTE is the gold standard. Whether you use online sales or share documents and files on the cloud, faster internet speeds will work in your favor. 5G technology is set up to run up to 100 times faster, thus improving business efficiency and productivity among staff to a significant degree.
5G will help you recruit the talent your business needs. With the advance in video and remote technology, even more recruitment barriers will be removed, which means you can interview the best talent from anywhere. Additionally, 5G can allow your small business to employ people who will exclusively work remotely.
Because 5G networks will be designed to have a larger capacity, your business will have more bandwidth available to simultaneously run multiple applications. Wireless networks will able to cope with far greater amounts of data traffic from a wide range of devices and software. So as your business grows and you hire more employees, you won’t have to worry about wireless communications or everyone working on the network at the same time.
5G technology is expected to include network slicing as a part of the design. With network slicing, operators can allocate the appropriate amount of network resources to a specific slice. Segmenting various portions of a network will help you to keep a closer eye on the security and administration of your business while allowing for the creation of smaller virtual networks that can be assigned to certain tasks.
It’s predicted that 5G will extend the battery life of devices by up to 10 times, which will save your business money on hardware and infrastructure. The stage is set for businesses to rely more on software versus hardware. Software-based network environments take away the cost of equipment maintenance and monitoring and may also reduce administrative processes throughout your company.
What's the Difference Between Broadband & Business Fiber Internet?
Broadband internet, which typically includes DSL and cable, has been the standard way to connect to the web for some time. In recent years, though, business fiber internet has been touted as the preferred solution for workplaces, which usually have more advanced needs than personal users. Making the best decision for your office and staff can be tough if you lack the right information. Luckily, the following guide is a good place to start in this case.
What You Can Expect From Broadband Internet
You’re probably already familiar with cable technology when it comes to your television. Cable internet works in a similar manner with information being supplied to your modem via a coaxial cable.
Conversely, DSL internet is similar to a landline telephone system, with information provided via a telephone line.
While efficient for some purposes, both options have drawbacks in office environments. With cable, bandwidth is shared among customers, so connectivity speeds can slow down when the number of users increases, such as in a dense office environment.
On the other hand, DSL may also experience connectivity issues the farther away you are from the switching station. Service can also be disrupted from time to time, which may bring your workplace to a halt.
How Business Fiber Is Different
Fiber optic cables made from glass or plastic are used to carry light from one place to another, which facilitates your internet connection. Light travels faster than electricity, which is why fiber optic connections are touted as offering higher speeds. This also means greater bandwidth, which is crucial in an office environment. The construction of fiber optic cables also means less electrical interference. This makes these connections far more reliable when compared to the copper wiring used to connect DSL and cable customers.
Office Security 101: Fax vs. Email
When you run a business, being able to communicate with staff and clients quickly and in a secure manner is a must. With this in mind, savvy companies prioritize both wireless communications and secure fax solutions because each carries its own advantages. If you’re debating whether email or fax is the best way to share confidential details, here’s some information to review for added peace of mind.
Understanding Fax & Email Security
While email has been widely embraced in the digital era for its speed and convenience, sending a fax is more secure. Emails pass through digital firewalls, servers, and virus checkers. Thus, they’re copied and can be compromised during the process. In addition, an email account can be hacked, and there’s no guarantee that whoever you sent an email to will actually open and read its contents.
Modern fax machines, on the other hand, can utilize cloud phone systems to send messages. These transmissions cannot be hacked, thus ensuring privacy with end-to-end encryption. Plus, documents sent via fax are considered legally binding, can include physical or digital signatures, and comply with government regulations.
When your business deals with contracts, sensitive personal information, and other details best left private, finding secure fax solutions should be a priority. Nowadays, fax machines plugged into landlines are not your only option. Organizations that offer cloud phone systems can also provide Fax over Internet Protocol (FoIP) services as well. Thus, you’ll have the ability to fax important documents through your internet phone system that can be stored on the cloud and encrypted for safety.
5 Ways to Improve Your Call Center's Efficiency
A call center is often the link between a business and its customers. After all, these lines are where payments, questions, orders, and more come into your business. However, with hundreds of calls coming in each day, it can be hard for your phone agents to keep up with demand and provide exceptional service. If you’re looking to enhance your company’s contact center solutions, follow these tips.
How to Make Your Call Center More Efficient
Create guided workflows that show agents how to handle specific issues, such as troubleshooting or returns processing. These strategic guides will help your team know that they're on the right track to solving problems, and that they're using the company's best practices. Step-by-step workflow can also help reduce call length by keeping agents focused.
Depending on the size of your support team, one or more supervisors should be on staff to provide expert assistance as needed. When supervisors monitor calls in real-time, they can detect and resolve problems that impact efficiency. It also helps to conduct regular reviews with agents, as they can help identify roadblocks that need attention.
High-traffic support centers will find that routing calls to specialized agents saves time and provides customers with more direct assistance. For example, those having issues with a product may be directed to a tech support specialist, while someone who needs to reset their online password could speak with an account representative.
Many advanced tools can help improve call performance and productivity. For instance, automated answering can give customers simple answers to reduce call volume. Cloud phone systems also create stable and clear connections that can improve the quality of communication.
While call volume may drop after regular business hours, customers appreciate having the option to talk to someone 24 hours a day. Third-party contact centers can handle these situations while your support team is off the clock. In addition to providing immediate service to your clients, you'll also be able to reduce calls on the next business day.
How to Audit Your Company's Cybersecurity
Affecting everyone from small businesses to major corporations, cybercrime has steadily increased in recent years—resulting in estimated financial losses of $2.7 billion in 2018 alone. While cybercriminals may not be slowing down, there are many resources companies can use to keep their networks and data secure. If you want to make sure your business isn’t left vulnerable, perform an internal audit and work with a network security service provider to implement dependable solutions. Here’s how to begin.
5 Steps to Conducting a Business Cybersecurity Audit
Make an extensive list of all the valuable assets that could be compromised by cyberattacks—such as malware, phishing, and DDoS attacks. This list should include any assets that are supported by your network—including cloud storage, encrypted data, computer hardware, and mobile devices.
Rank the assets from most to least valuable so you can prioritize their need for protection. Account passwords and sensitive customer data, for instance, may demand more defense than your business VoIP system.
There are many different ways that cybersecurity can be compromised, so it’s important to recognize them all individually.
Employee account data, for instance, will be vulnerable to poor password protocols and phishing scams. Servers and website activity, on the other hand, will be more sensitive to DDoS attacks.
Next, perform a checkup on all cybersecurity services you’ve already implemented. For example, evaluating encryption programs can help you find weak spots in your overall data security.
If you use third-party programs, make sure you have a system in place to install software patches quickly and effectively. As you review user-generated risks, ensure your employees are following best practices when it comes to avoiding malicious links and email phishing attempts.
Since it’s natural to have some bias about how effective these defense solutions are, it’s a good idea to have a network security service provider perform external testing to detect additional vulnerabilities.
With all the risks prioritized and outlined, look for the best solutions to keep your assets protected. In some cases, you might need to retrain your employees on cybersecurity protocols. In others, you may need to upgrade your virus detection software.
A network security service provider can review these needs and introduce you to the most advanced and up-to-date solutions.