Tag Archives: Business Phone System VOIP

VoIP and SIP: What’s the Difference?

VoIP and SIPVoIP and SIP are often confused for the same thing, but they are actually different. VoIP defines the kind of phone call (over Internet), and SIP refers to the method used to enable VoIP calls between different devices. Let me explain. 

Defining VoIP

Voice Over Internet Protocol is a rather broad term that discerns Internet calls from landline calls. VoIP operates over the Internet by digitally transmitting the voice signal to another telephone. VoIP usually operates with a mobile or browser-based application via an Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP).  

Defining SIP

One of the communications protocols used to transmit VoIP calls is SIP.  Phone calls always have two endpoints, and simply put, SIP defines the messages and governs essential elements of the phone call. SIP can also enable video conferencing, media distribution, and instant messaging.

The Workings of VoIP and SIP

Simply put, SIP is the protocol and VIP is the conduit. But how do they work?

VoIP condenses audio by way a codec into data packets. After that, it compresses them across an IP network, where it de-compresses them into audio at the other end of the connection. Dedicated desktop VoIP phones, softphone applications, and mobile devices (i.e. cell phones) are typical examples of VoIP endpoints.

In the IP protocol, the IP packets move through the Internet via nodes (devices and routers discovered on the way from source to destination).

IP telephony differs from traditional telephony in the sense that in traditional telephony the line or circuit between source and destination is always dedicated and reserved (also known as circuit switching). In other words, traditional telephony tends to be more expensive because of the overhead.

If you have any questions on VoIP and SIP, or other business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Why You Shouldn’t Forget About VoIP Security

VoIP SecurityEver since VoIP was developed, it has been an enormous aid to businesses everywhere. It has allowed businesses the freedom to communicate in ways that weren’t previously imagined. However, you shouldn’t forget about VoIP security. While VoIP has a plethora of benefits, it is also vulnerable to fraudulent activity, security breaches, and DDoS Attacks. Fortunately, you can achieve VoIP security if you enact some preventative steps.

Fraudulent Activity

Regrettably, any business that uses VoIP can become a fraud victim. Sometimes, they won’t even realize that there has been fraud occurring until they receive their phone bill. When you choose a VoIP provider, you have to ensure that they offer fraud detection and protection. You can also prevent fraud by placing authentication systems on your business phone system. One example of this are personal passcodes.

DDoS Attacks

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is an attempt to overload a network with requests. DDoS attacks don’t penetrate your system, but busy signals do render it unusable. The best way to avoid a DDoS attack is by working with your VoIP provider to make sure detection and deployment methods are in place. Also, be sure that your team is knowledgeable about DDoS attacks so that if it happens to your business, they will know what they are dealing with.

Consider Carefully

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling as though your company isn’t large enough to break into. Unfortunately, attackers will find reasons to target any system, and attacks can happen anywhere or anytime. VoIP has certainly been a major asset in providing more connectivity to users, but it does come with risks. The best way to stay safe—and get some peace of mind—is to put your security in place. 

If you have any questions regarding VoIP security, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Twitter.

The Four Most Essential Business Phone System Integrations

Business Phone System IntegrationsHosted phone systems are popular for a plethora of reasons, but one of the best things about them is the business phone system integrations that you can use to link to other software/solutions. If you adopt a VoIP system that permits you to manage numerous business functions through a single, unified system, you can have better customer service and reduced operating costs. I have listed the four most essential business phone system integrations your business phone system should have.

Cloud Backup Features

Cloud business phone systems are great, but some businesses worry about what will happen if their VoIP provider doesn’t take the proper steps to ensure that customer contact information and calls records are kept safe. Having cloud backup features can minimize the risk of losing important data and automatically copy your VoIP information. Regardless of what happens to the provider, your information will remain intact.

CRM Software

Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, software compiles customer data, organizes it, and uses it to manage sales and find new opportunities for growth. When you combine your business phone system and your CRM software into one integrated interface, customer service reps can have relevant data at their fingertips during calls. By keeping records and details about all customer service calls, you can serve your clients more efficiently. This will strengthen your relationship with them and increase the likelihood of them becoming repeat customers.

Accounting/Bookkeeping Software

Reliable accounting software is a must for any business. When you integrate your account software with VoIP, your accountants can monitor transactions from their phone or laptop. This allows them to quickly identify errors or irregularities . Marrying accounting software with VoIP also allows you to send reminder calls to clients who are late in their bills.

Microsoft Outlook & Email Clients

The best thing about integrating Microsoft Outlook and VoIP is that that you can simultaneously make calls and manage emails. Companies that opt to use Outlook usually store the bulk of their contacts there—including phone information. When you integrate them, you don’t have to look up numbers in Outlook before you want to make a call. Instead, your Outlook information is automatically available in your phone network. The other nice feature is that you can receive messages as audio files in Outlook, which means that you can check your phone messages without having to leave your computer.

If you are interested in Business Phone System integrations or have any other business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Facebook.

The Pros and Cons of Desk Phones and Softphones

Desk Phones and SoftphonesThe primary types of VoIP business phones are desk phones and softphones. As you’re probably aware, desk phones are the physical phones that sit next to your computer at work. Sometimes they appear akin to and analog phone, but instead of being a landline, they are actually connected to the IP network.

Softphones, while also a type of VoIP business phone, are entirely different. They are apps that are installed on your PC or laptop. They have dialing pads not unlike a cell phone. Softphones can also have applications for your mobile devices.

Determining the best fit for your company can be tricky. Below, is a quick guide to the pros and cons of desk phones and softphones, so that your company doesn’t spend money on a phone that doesn’t work for your business.

Desk Phones

Desk phones have been entirely redeveloped since the creation of VoIP. What you might imagine when you think of a ‘traditional desk phone’ is not relevant to a VoIP desk phone.

Advantages and Disadvantages

This may go without saying, but people are used to desk phones. Even if the VoIP desk phone is entirely different than that of a landline, people are still comfortable with them. The other great thing about desk phones is that they tend to have superior call quality. Unfortunately, desk phones are more costly than softphones. Furthermore, the cost of a desk phone can increase with the more features you add to them.

Softphones

A softphone isn’t truly tangible; it is a software program on your PC or smartphone. It, via the Internet, allows users to make or receive calls over that Internet connection. Softphones generally offer a very friendly user experience.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Softphones are installed quickly, because tangible equipment isn’t required. They also boast a budget friendly option to businesses. As long as a user has Internet connection, they can get or receive calls from anywhere. However, if your lose your Internet connection, or your equipment computer or smartphone crashes, you will be unable to use it. Also, if you aren’t a fan of headsets, you may not prefer using a smartphone on your computer, as you will need it to respond and listen to calls.

At the end of the day, you will have to decide which pros appeal most to you and which cons are deal breakers. As with all business phone systems, you have to determine what your company needs to fulfill its’ communication requirements.

If you have any business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Three advantages of VoIP

27723224_sThere are times when all of us feel as though we can’t get away from our cell phones–there’s even a National Day of Unplugging and a Screen Free Week! For better or worse, we have become a nation addicted to our devices, but the trick is to find the proper way to manage life and business. Here are some of the upsides to having mobility with your VoIP system.

You are no longer handcuffed to your desk

If you are an salesperson, VoIP is especially helpful. If you’re using a traditional phone system instead of something like VoIP, each morning can find you coming into the office and spending a  lot of time checking messages and calling people back. With a mobile app, you don’t have to be stuck at your desk; instead of customers calling your office line and finding a voicemail greeting, you can set it up to have the call come through to your cell when you are not at your desk. Not only does this save you time, but it’s better customer service.

Only one phone number

If you are a service company or a real estate office, your staff is usually out in the field. In this case, they have to use their cell phone. With a VoIP system, you only have to use one phone number, whether you are calling from your office phone or cell phone.

 

Flexibility

Most of today’s workers are attempting to manage their households as well as a business career. Employees may have doctor appointments or struggle to get into work by 8 A.M. due to family obligations. With mobility, employees now have a greater flexibility in handling their household while remaining connected to the office!

Why Traditional Landlines Are A Dying Breed

13953903_sIn recent years the demand for traditional landline phones has gradually dissipated. There are a plethora of reasons for this, but the biggest reason is that the way we communicate is changing. Written communication has exploded into the forefront, and emailing and texting is only becoming more popular, even when it comes to businesses communicating with clientele. VoIP business phone systems allow companies to marry voice calls and data in an exciting way, making them an intriguing option for many companies.

 Cost is another reason that landlines are dying. When a business wants to replace or upgrade their business phone system, VoIP is surprisingly more affordable–not to mention faster and boasting more features.

Many companies are still operating with traditional landlines, but don’t expect it to last much longer. Statistics indicate that there has been as much as a fifty-five percent decline in landlines during the last ten years. If this rate continues, landlines will be almost extinct at the end of 2025.

The Benefits of VoIP for a Multi-Site Office

One of the most important aspects of maintaining a viable business is consistency. If your clients are to remain loyal, then your business has to deliver a quality product and service during each and every customer interaction. This presents unique challenges for companies with multiple branches and sites. How are you to appear as one company with one image if you have hundreds of employees spread out at different sites? It can make delegating duties among branches nearly impossible. Hosted VoIP might be the solution for such businesses.13953903_s

Upfront Costs

Hosted VoIP systems do not require a lot of upfront costs for individual sites. With an analog business phone system, each site would need to purchase a separate system and coordinate amongst themselves. With a hosted system, your company would essentially be one site located in the cloud. You simply have to advise what the address is for each individual site and within days your business can have an operational system.

Time

Once the system is programmed, setting up your hosted VoIP business phone system is as simple as plugging the phones into routers and switches. There is no need to deploy IT to each location which saves your business time and makes your initial deployment quicker. In addition, if any problems arise IT will not have to rush to each and every site to troubleshoot.

Ease of Changes

If your business is seasonal or on a high growth trajectory, VoIP is ideal. As your business grows or scales back, you can alter how many seats/phones you want with a pay per month plan. Many providers allow month to month contracts for your multi-site business phone system knowing that you will have to adjust; you can keep the phone handsets for each busy season, but the recurring pricing would change as needed.