A Simple Guide to Business Phone Systems and VoIP

Hands up if you take your business phone system for granted.

If that’s the case, it’s time to take a look at what’s new in the world of business phone systems, what’s available and why they still matter.

Why do businesses need phone systems?

Unless you’re a sole trader with clients happy to contact you on your mobile, all businesses need a landline to meet customers expectations.

Luckily, a business landline can help:

  • A landline gives your business credibility.
  • If you get a high call volume, you can use features such as call management and call hold music scripts to manage expectations and prevent the dreaded ‘no answer’.
  • For businesses with a number of employees that clients may contact directly, voicemail is equally important so that customers know they have left a message with the correct person and that their enquiry will be dealt with quickly.
  • Customers expect businesses not to be sharing handsets between employees but to enjoy instant call transfer when required.
  • Customers are used to their calls being recorded, which is very useful for business training or complaint tracking.
  • Most customers now expect businesses to have an up to date account of their relationship with them. Integration with a CRM system is now par for the course with many businesses and allows staff to see every client’s communication history with the company.

So how does your phone system stack up against that?

The Role of the Internet

Access to high speed broadband has made it possible for businesses to put more and more of their business operations and processes online.

If you’re familiar with Cloud Computing, then you’ll already know about the ways it can save your business time and money. A Cloud Telephony solution such as VoIP can do likewise.

VoIP

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is where calls are carried over the Internet and you don’t need a separate traditional phone line.

Advantages of Hosted VoIP

  • Considerably cheaper set-up costs, with a much shorter implementation time vs. a traditional phone system
  • Cheaper ongoing costs with no maintenance fees
  • No costly upgrades as all system maintenance and platform upgrades are included in the per user, per month cost#
  • Cheaper call rates, in most cases calls are inclusive of the per user, per month cost
  • Flexibility to add new users as the business grows with out expensive install installs or phone system expansion
  • Phone number flexibility, add direct dials and other geographical phone numbers to the system for free
  • Complete flexibility if you move premises, no need to change phone numbers or routing plans, simply plug in your Hosted VoIP handset at your new office and it will continue to work
  • Many advanced features to allow for future growth, like mobile applications, desktop integration and call recording
  • No hardware to maintain/move/upgrade, as Abica will provide free replacements for faulty handsets for the lifetime of our agreement

More Advantages…

  • All standard phone system features, hunt groups, call transfers, hold (with music), call waiting, call forwarding and much more
  • Use call recording for audit trails, training and compliance
  • Improve collaboration with instant group calls
  • Twin your mobile number, for a complete unified communication solution
  • Call Parking, allows you park the call and collect it on a different handset if you have to move desks during your call
  • Use Presence or Pre-set Availability Profiles to manage incoming calls
  • Scale up and down based on the requirements of your business
  • Use Call History to view all calls made, received and missed
  • Additional functionality including hot desking, desktop integration and inclusive call recording
  • Inclusive free calls to all UK Landlines

Hosted or Not Hosted?

Hosted VoIP simply means that your call calling capabilities sit on your supplier servers and will require an Internet connection to access them. Your supplier will handle all software updates and maintenance so that your organisation can simply take it for granted that it works with no system down periods.

On-Premise VoIP means that your business hosts the necessary hardware on an internal server and your IT department is responsible for the routine updates, software upgrades, regular maintenance, system backups and data monitoring.

For a more detailed review of your business phone system and whether VoIP is right for your business, give us a call on 0141 404 8008.

Is Your Wi-Fi Security Up To Par? How To Stay Safe On Public Wi-Fi Networks

When online you are often as safe as you are cautious. Similar to the real world in that you can go your whole life without ever being mugged if you are careful about what you look like, what you carry and where you go. Or you could visit a rough neighbourhood wearing your Rolex watch. The same is true if you turn off your firewall and then use a public Wi-Fi network. Staying safe and engaging with public Wi-Fi security protocols on a public Wi-Fi network means taking the time every few months to see what new Wi-Fi security threats exist, and to then act to avoid as much risk as possible.

How Bad Can It Get?

There are varying degrees of being hacked. Having your systems shut down is bad enough, especially if a virus or malware has found its way through. More serious than that are your passwords or financial details being stolen and used. One of the worst things that could happen though is that the hacker sets up a backdoor to enter your system whenever he or she likes. He or she may gain access to every account you enter a password into, and even accounts that you enter with biometrics. The hacker could also see everything on your computer and the worst part is that you will know nothing about it. The hacker could sell off your passwords, accounts and financial details to the highest bidder without you even knowing.

Turn Off Sharing

It is recommended that you turn off sharing when you are on a public network. Turn your settings to private and people will have a harder time hacking you. Unfortunately there are still some users that don’t set up passwords so even non-hackers can gain access to their systems. Sharing is not a setting that pops up or riles up your virus checker though. If a program is chewing up your CPU power, then your virus checker may highlight it, but it is not going to mention your sharing settings. Change your settings if you are using public networks.

Turn Off Network Discovery

When you are turning your sharing setting to private, you can also turn off network discovery. It means that others can’t see your machine on the network, which in turn means you are less likely to be targeted. It is also known as “Stealth mode.” It is a good public Wi-Fi security precaution.

Use HTTPS and SSL If Possible

A number of regular website connections still use HTTP exchange, which is fine, but HTTPS and SSL are safer. Have SSL enabled, and if at all possible try to stick to websites that use HTTPS and you will increase your level of Wi-Fi security.

Consider Using VPN

VPN stand for Virtual Private Network. In simple terms, it passes all of your web use through a server that is somewhere else. For example, you could pick a location in Japan, and then as far as hackers are concerned, you are in Japan. This makes it more difficult for anyone trying to hack your computer. It also gives you added protection from the websites you visit because they will have a hard time tracking you down and figuring out where you are browsing from.

Turn Off Your Wi-Fi When You Not Using It

Chances are, hackers are going to try to crack your passwords at some point. It can be done with a computer that very quickly tries a large number of variations in a short space of time. If you turn off your Wi-Fi though, then they have a smaller window of time in which to crack your passwords.

What Impact Does The Latest Change to 0800 Numbers Have For Businesses?

Ofcom recently announced that 0800 and 0808 freephone numbers can now be called free from mobiles. At the same time, service providers and phone companies also have to make their access charges for the 084, 087, 118, and 09 business telephone numbers more transparent.

Good for the consumer

There are some 175-million business telephone numbers which could benefit from either the no-charge changes; or find their services more in demand when mobile subscribers know exactly what their costs will be.

From now on, instead of the small print saying, ‘calls from mobiles may cost considerably more,’ the service provider’s charge has to be shown (5 pence per minute) plus the phone company’s access charge (20 pence per minute). In this case, a call to the numbers using these tariffs would be 25 pence a minute. Clarity is also the name of the game when consumers receive their bills. From now on service number charges and access costs have to be clearly shown. Normal landline calls, or those made to standard 07 mobile numbers will be unaffected.

Ofcom believe that these changes will prove to be beneficial to consumers and in an increasingly competitive market, falling prices should result. Some mobile service providers are not particularly impressed with the changes though. UK consumers over a year make 250 million calls to business telephone numbers 084, 087, 09, and 118, spending over £900m.

The likely effects on business

With the massive increase in smartphone use across the UK, the changes implemented by Ofcom could have a beneficial effect for businesses using these non-geographic business telephone numbers (084, 087, 09, or 118).

The latest figures show that over two-thirds of the population now own a smartphone. Of those, 33% say their mobile is now their favourite tool to access the internet, with just 30% sticking with their trusty laptop. Much of this increase is attributed to the faster access available from 4G broadband, which saw a staggering increase in use from just under 3 million subscribers at the end of 2013, to nearly 24 million by the end of this year.

This increased use is occurring right across the age spectrum and as a result, business telephone numbers should begin to see an increase in usage from customers with the charges now being made clearer.

Companies using service numbers

For businesses using service numbers, changes to website and advertising material will have to be made to show the cost to the consumer of using each. There is no requirement to change the service numbers in use, however as changes have to be made to website and advertising material anyway, contacting your call provider to discuss rates and numbers is always an option.

Charges will be capped

While the 0800 and 0808 numbers will be free from mobiles and the directory-enquiries 118 numbers unaffected, other numbers will have a tariff cap. The 084 range will be capped at 7p, the 087 numbers at 13p and the 09 numbers will be capped at £3/minute as well as £5 per call (All figures include VAT).

A large number of businesses use the 08, 09, and 118 service numbers when making outbound calls, however at the moment, the new charges only apply to calls from consumer mobiles and private residential landlines. It is believed though that service providers may well extend the same pricing structure to business telephone numbers at a later date.

Use of these numbers, and how charges are displayed will continue to be monitored by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Phonepay Plus. Penalties for failing to comply with the new regulations can be found on their websites.

If you are concerned about the cost of using 08 numbers, contact us to find out more about our Non-Geographic Platinum numbers to carry unlimited call traffic for a fixed monthly fee.

Business Phone Systems Glasgow

Moving away from the days of analogue, Abica are improving the performance of phone systems for businesses in Glasgow through the use of VoIP solutions.

By working as a business partner and suggesting the best suited phone system for your business we will ensure you make the most of your investment. For example, if you don’t have a large in-house IT department to install and maintain new or additional hardware to support your new VoIP software, then Hosted VoIP is a good solution.

Abica will show you how to integrate the latest VoIP systems into your business in Glasgow so that you can make the most of them, whilst looking at ways to reduce your monthly phone bills. Cloud based and full of features, our business phone systems provide a wide range of business benefits including cost savings and increased productivity.

Further business benefits of using Hosted VoIP with Abica include:

  • Free calls: All your sites will benefit from free calls to each other.
  • Call abroad: If you have suppliers or offices overseas – a VoIP phone can be used to call them for free – they become an extension on the phone system.
  • Multiple phone numbers: Multiple incoming phone numbers, and the ability to differentiate between them. A VoIP system can have as many incoming numbers as you want, so you have a number for sales, a number for support, etc.
  • Plug and play technology: Handsets are pre-configured meaning they can be easily installed at any site where a live internet connection is present.

To find our more about any of our phone system solutions, you can call us on 0141 404 1219 or use the form shown and our team will get in touch.

How Hackers Can Crash Your Phone Via Wifi

Among the many tools at the disposal of hackers is the ubiquitous “denial of service” attack (DoS), which is basically the sending of endless traffic to a specific site until it crashes from the overload.

Many people believe that hackers direct this kind of attack only at corporate websites and servers – that’s incorrect.

Online security experts have now researched and proven that it’s possible to attack iOS devices in a similar way, causing both individual applications or an entire mobile phone to malfunction.

Mobile security firm Skycure released the results of its research on the subject at a recent industry conference, showing exactly how hackers can potentially target any device using the iOS operating system.

For hackers, the process is as simple as setting up a wireless network for phones to connect to. Once linked, a hacker can launch a script aimed at any particular device, which will cause it to crash.

Skycure’s latest finding go hand in hand with previous studies it conducted, which revealed attackers could similarly create a Wifi network and cause devices to automatically connect. With all of these findings combined into a larger picture, it becomes clear that large targeted attacks could happen in highly populated areas. A determined hacker could set up shop in Times Square and  crash thousands of mobile devices in a short amount of time.

Unfortunately, there is nothing one can do to avoid this type of attack, except stay away from all unknown, unsecured Wifi networks.

A Hacker Explains Phishing and Malicious Links

Hackers are the cowboys of today’s online world. They are hired by large corporations and consulting firms to figure out how to break into people’s and companies’ websites and then build protective walls for those same victims. When figuring out how to find a hole in a secure system, hackers usually begin with the most obvious, low-hanging fruit.

The newspaper headlines have been full of reports of high-profile hacks by foreign agents to the systems of major companies like Sony, Wal-Mart and even the US government itself. Hackers admit that the easiest way to infiltrate a corporation’s secure system, as was done in these cases, is to somehow convince an employee to click on a malicious link in a seemingly benign e-mail.

This technique, called “phishing,” allows a hacker to then obtain the duped user’s username, passwords and other private information that will give them further, deeper access to a company’s secured systems. Sophisticated hackers will spend significant amounts of time planning how to best design a convincing phishing scheme, including trustworthy-looking e-mail messages.

One hacker described his own method: he would scour the professional profile website, LinkedIn, for a particular company’s “weakest links” – its least computer-savvy employees, who would be unlikely to differentiate between a fake or real e-mail message. He would then try and guess the employee’s e-mail address from a set of common formulas, testing potential addresses until he hit the right one. He would then customize a virus-laden email that would be pertinent to the recipient (based on any info. gleaned from social media about his or her hobbies).

After attaining the victim’s email address, the hacker looks to social media to learn as much as possible about his target’s professional background, friends, and general interests.

You have been warned by the experts – do not click on any links in e-mails which you are not certain are legitimate,

How To Easily Build Your Own Website (Even If You Are Not Techy)!

Nowadays, you don’t have to be a tech wiz in order to build a website. In fact, you don’t even have to be tech-savvy. Website building is no longer reserved for the technology experts who know the ins and outs of computers and can write code. There are easy to use website builders such as Wix.com with ready made templates. With drag and drop editors, and endless choices of templates and functions, anyone can create a professional and great-looking website within minutes. If you can fill out a form, you can build your own beautiful and functional website exactly to your taste!

In the past, professionals and individuals looking to create a website have been forced to hire expensive professional graphic designers and computer programmers to do all of the work for them. Not any more! Building your own site is simple, and will save you tons of money. You won’t even have to install any programs onto your computer, because most website building companies are accessible via web browser.

The basic premise of these website builders is easy-use for the average Joe. These companies have recognized that more and more people without the skill to build sites are interested in doing so, and they’ve provided the solution. These new site builders are as simple as the word processor that you use at home. They make use of pre-set templates that you can choose, which immediately give you a general outline for your desired website. You can start with a basic template and then just follow the simple instructions to customize the design of your site to your taste. You control everything, including the backgrounds, colors as well as interesting textures. A simple site can literally be done in a matter of minutes! Here’s the:

Simple Step-By-Step Process:

  • Choose a template
  • Choose images
  • Upload your text and multi-media
  • Customize it
  • PUBLISH!

It’s really that easy. These easy to use website builders will provide you with all of the technological advancements and options that an expensive professional would charge you a small fortune for. And that is not all! Nowadays it is estimated that people spend up to 40% of their Internet time on their mobile devices. The leading Website building company Wix.com even gives you the ability to make your site mobile compatible, giving you the best of all worlds. That’s certainly not a market you want to miss out on and a feature that professional site builders will charge extra for.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t be intimidated. Head over to Wix.com and find out for yourself how easy and simple building your dream website can be!

Products
June 2017
M T W T F S S
« May    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  
  • America's Best Colleges
    Forbes' list of public and private colleges and universities ranks the best schools--from the students' point of view.
  • Twelve Nasty Work-From-Home Scams
    Does the offer of making a mint in your pajamas sound too good to be true? It surely is.
  • The World's Most Powerful Celebrities
    Oprah Winfrey takes back her crown while pop chart phenomenon Lady Gaga catapults to No. 4 on this year's Celebrity 100.
  • The World's Leading Companies
    This comprehensive report analyzes the world's biggest companies and the best performing of these titans.
  • The World's Billionaires
    Carlos Slim Helu takes the No. 1 spot on Forbes' annual list of the world's richest as a record 164 billionaires return to the ranking amid the global economic recovery.
NY Business