Traditional telephones have long been vanishing from the consumer world. Now, they’re becoming increasingly rare in the business world. In both cases, they’re been swapped for a combination of cell phones and VoIP services. With that in mind, here’s a quick guide to what you need to know about switching to a VoIP service in Auburn.
1. VoIP services bring their challenges as well as their benefits
With both the traditional telephone network and the cell phone network, your provider takes care of the vast majority of the infrastructure. All you need to do is purchase your endpoint (i.e. your phone). With VoIP however, it’s all on you (or your VoIP service partner) to keep everything running. Here are some of the challenges you will face and how you can address them.
In any discussion of VoIP services, you can just about guarantee that the issue of bandwidth will be raised as a major consideration. It needs to be. If you underestimate the amount of bandwidth you will need, your call quality will suffer noticeably. This is bad enough for internal use and even worse if it impacts your external customers as it may result in them going elsewhere.
There are basically two rules of effective bandwidth management. The first is to make sure that you provide an ample supply for your needs. This includes having a backup plan to deal with occasional internet outages. The second is to remember that just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you have to do it at all, let alone all the time.
A classic example of this is video calling. It’s extremely popular and it’s easy to see why. It resolves a lot of the classic issues with non-verbal communication and can bring a more sociable aspect to remote communication. Unfortunately, it also eats bandwidth and can raise additional security issues. Because of this, it’s arguably best kept for when there is a specific reason to use it, not just because it feels good.
Speaking of security, it’s a big issue with VoIP. In short, while telephone lines may not be entirely secure, the fact that they are a very specialized form of infrastructure makes them inherently more secure than standard digital networks. In principle, VoIP calls are all vulnerable to the sort of cyber threats as any other form of digital communication. Video calls are also vulnerable to social-engineering threats as you can potentially gather a lot of information from a person’s appearance and the environment around them.
In practice, all companies, even SMBs, should be taking it as read that they need to have robust security in place for their network and should also be protecting any data they send through the public internet. Implementing a VoIP service should, therefore, just increase the demands on your existing systems, rather than necessarily require you to implement new systems from scratch.
4. Quality of service
This is obviously connected to bandwidth, but it’s a bit more than that. It really boils down to using your resources astutely. This can mean anything from implementing a logical order of priorities for your internet traffic (for example giving audio traffic priority over the printer queue) to guiding users on what sort of resources they should be using in what circumstances (stick to the text as much as possible, then use audio, then use video) to making sure that you have robust monitoring and support to pick up on any issues quickly and resolve them promptly.
5. It’s generally best to pick your vendor first and your calling plan second.
Even though in the real world, the potential for cost savings is probably the single biggest driver behind the adoption of VoIP services, there are some areas that should never be up for negotiation. The best approach, therefore, is generally to pick your vendor first (or pick a shortlist of vendors with whom you’d be happy to work) and then choose the calling plan which best suits your needs. Here are some points you want to check.
6. Security and Compliance
Law-enforcers and regulators will not compromise on these so you can’t afford to do so.
7. Support and service
Look for a vendor with a reputation for valuing their customers and treating them as people rather than just a source of income. Ideally, they should make it easy for you to help yourself, such as by offering service-usage reports so you can see where your money is going, which is the first step in managing your finances.
8. Call-management and integration
Astute use of call-management and integration can improve both customer and employee satisfaction (which can aid in the retention of both).
If you’d like to speak to a reputable and experienced VoIP service partner in Auburn, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT.
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