VoIP Can Boost Your Business’ Communications Options

Reducing Hardware Costs Anyone that has purchased a server knows how expensive it is to purchase, set up, run, and support. With hosted VoIP, your business gets a powerful business phone system without having to go through the headaches and expense associated with installing new phone lines. Anyone who has ever run telephone wire from a distribution hub through the walls of a building knows that it can be quite tedious.  The costs of setting up your own telephone system, even for a smaller PBX deployment, are substantial. With hosted VoIP, the capital investment is transformed immediately into an operational expense once you choose to make the switch. By utilizing your company’s existing broadband connection, hosted VoIP costs less and offers more than traditional telephone systems. For the business, one of the largest expenses for any telephone system is the minutes the phone is being used. Every traditional phone system carries costs for long distance. It’s unavoidable. Many times, the zones are very confusing and calls you wouldn’t expect to be made at premium rates, are. Even if you find ways to control your costs, your business is limited. By eliminating the recurring expense of long distance, VoIP is able to present more predictable service fees. Additionally, when you consider the costs that go into adding a line to your business and the costs associated with employee mobility, the flexibility and scalability of a hosted VoIP platform can reduce cost expansively.  Mobility & Options The most valuable part of a hosted VoIP platform for the end-user is the ability for them to take their phone number with them wherever they go. With the soft phone feature, their smartphone becomes a work phone. This provides a level of mobility that every business should try to embrace in today’s digitally-heavy environment.  Additionally, a hosted VoIP platform can offer a lot of additional features such as video conferencing, text and instant messaging integrations, and many more. The more features that a hosted VoIP platform can provide a small to medium-sized business, the more value they will get out of the platform.  If you would like more information about VoIP or if you would like to know how SRS Networks can help you with your business’ communications, call us today at (831) 758-3636.

Today, VoIP Has More Value than Ever

Explaining VoIPA VoIP solution hosted in the cloud is a full-featured telephone system for your business. In these troubling times, more businesses have begun to look to a hosted VoIP system than ever before. Chances are that your business already pays for more bandwidth than it uses. This extra bandwidth is just wasted money but utilizing it would stretch your budget further. VoIP provides that opportunity. By cancelling your overpriced business telephone system and switching to a cloud-based VoIP system, you will save money and enjoy some of the following benefits: Access to Expert Technicians – Maintenance is critical for the effectiveness of your VoIP system. If you host it in-house, you unfortunately have to take care of the maintenance of it yourself, which can be difficult and costly, but if you choose a cloud-hosted option the provider will manage the solution. Important Security Benefits – Rather than risk a breach happening, today’s VoIP platform protects you with encryption. Every call’s data is encrypted before it leaves for its destination, thereby protecting your business’ assets in a way that may not be possible otherwise. Increased Mobility – A hosted VoIP solution gives your business many additional opportunities to boost productivity and efficiency. For example, being able to simply forward a call to a user’s smartphone creates the mobile support that many businesses find ideal today, and that can really work as businesses figure out their next move. Powerful Features – One of the most important features of the hosted VoIP platform is the myriad of features that can be provided alongside the dynamic telephone service. Not only are there dozens of calling features, a hosted VoIP platform gives you the option to add video conferencing, instant messaging, and more.  It doesn’t matter if your business has 30 employees or 300, a hosted VoIP solution is right for you, if you are looking to embrace mobility and improve efficiency.  Call SRS Networks today at (831) 758-3636 to learn more about switching your business’ telephone system to VoIP.

How to Avoid Miscommunications During Remote Work

Communication Is (and Isn’t) Easy If a business is in operation today, it’s a safe bet that their employees each have their own email account for the business. Email usually serves as a good foundation for a business’ communication strategy, as it is a convenient means of communicating internally, with any vendors you are working with, or with your clients. However, email isn’t perfect. There is the chance that miscommunications can occur when using email—and on a related note, instant messaging—and ultimately derail your productivity. To help prevent this situation, it is recommended that more complicated communications take place using video conferencing. Combining webcams and microphones, video conferencing allows people to interact with each other in a format that provides non-verbal cues that written correspondence and telephony just don’t express. With the right solution, meetings and discussions can be held between parties in different postal codes practically as if they were in the same room. Therefore, it can be considered best practice to have a comprehensive assortment of collaboration tools at your disposal for use in different circumstances. Etiquette Matters When communicating within a team, it is important that a certain level of decorum is maintained. For example, important conversations are not the place for redundancy. If a conversation drags on for too long or has far too many irrelevant details that drown out the important ones, the people who are supposed to get the message are far more likely to miss it. Make sure your team is subscribing to the KISS principle as much as they can when they are sharing important information with one another. Sarcasm also doesn’t translate well in many methods of communication, so avoiding its use is best, especially when remote work is involved. If someone misses the joke, it could create serious issues in your company culture and/or your productivity. On a related note, insist that your team keep important conversations free of jokes, memes, and emojis. Even if Grumpy Cat had some amusing commentary to offer that summed up the gist of your conversation well, there is the risk that the testy tabby will distract from an important detail. Make sure that any messages you share with your team are also very easy to understand, and if you receive some that aren’t, don’t be shy about asking for clarification. For collaboration to work properly, the right information needs to be passed along efficiently and comprehensively. This also makes proofreading especially important. Spending a few extra seconds to go over what you’ve written to make sure that there aren’t mistakes, omissions, or other factors to get in the way of what you’re trying to say helps keep you from having to backtrack and explain things again later. This can also keep incorrect presumptions from influencing the results of your efforts. Remote work can be challenging to adapt to, but the right tools and behaviors to facilitate communications can simplify things considerably. For assistance in setting up the communication solutions to make remote work a feasible option for your business, reach out to SRS Networks by calling (831) 758-3636.

Conferencing Enhances Mobile Work

Conferencing solutions are available which can be used across all different platforms, across different devices. The attendees can partake in a conference call on a Mac, an iPhone, or even a tablet. Improving the tools you use to conference call your employees or clients will greatly improve the attitude typically associated with meetings. No longer will they be too long or boring, or just a waste of energy.  Different conferencing solutions offer a variety of different features, but there are a few that you should really look for when selecting a solution. These are… Screen Sharing Screen sharing is simple. It allows you to take your screen, everything you are looking at, and share it with meeting attendees. You can navigate pages or complete different tasks just as you normally would, except to an audience.  Real-Time Chat Different conferencing solutions allow you to send messages in real-time, which likely was a factor in the naming of this feature. Being able to do so allows you to message your coworker to mute their mic as they chomp down on crunchy chips, which could save a client.  Drawing Tools Drawing tools might seem like they belong in the classroom, but visual learners strongly benefit from this feature. This tool brings conferencing great value when combined with the screen sharing feature.  Meeting Recording Being able to record meetings means you don’t have to keep pushing the meeting back if someone is unable to attend. It also allows you to look back and listen to the most critical points of the meeting.  There are so many more features that can be used to make conferencing more efficient. Our trained experts at SRS Networks can answer any questions you may have, so give us a call at (831) 758-3636 today!

Seven Solutions to Boost Your Business Communications

1. Video Conferencing While it’s hard to beat face-to-face conversation when you’re trying to communicate, video conferencing provides what is possibly the next best thing. Video conferencing solutions enable you to hold meetings with groups that could very well be separated by vast distances, without sacrificing too many of the communicative benefits of a face-to-face, in-person meeting. As a result, collaboration is more convenient via the increased accessibility to the rest of a team. 2. Chat Platforms For those conversations that need little more than a sentence or two to complete, a chat platform is an excellent tool for business users to leverage. Not only do these platforms offer an efficient means of collaboration, they also maintain a record of what has been discussed and what progress has been made on a project. Teammates can share ideas and inspiration as they strike, advancing towards their final goal more effectively. 3. Voice over Internet Protocol Voice over Internet Protocol, often referred to as VoIP, has proven to be an extremely cost-effective communication tool for businesses to use. As it runs off of your existing Internet connection, you can eliminate the added cost of traditional telephony, only needing to pay a relatively nominal fee for the minor equipment needed. Furthermore, VoIP is very easily scalable, featuring more or less plug-in-and-play functionality. In short, VoIP allows you to provide your employees with a necessary communication tool, without breaking the bank. 4. Mobile Devices/Bring Your Own Device Mobile devices have been a somewhat controversial topic in the workplace, especially since smartphones turned what was once a simple means of communication into a phone, a web browser, and a comprehensive entertainment suite in one compact package. However, with the right preparations, mobile devices can prove to be a huge benefit to a business’ operations. After all, if configured to be sufficiently secure, a mobile device could allow an employee to maintain their productivity from effectively everywhere. Bring Your Own Device (or BYOD) strategies can compound this benefit by eliminating the need to procure mobile devices as well and allow an employee to work with a device that they are comfortable with – more likely than not improving their productivity. 5. Intranet Maintaining a company intranet – effectively, a centralized portal for employees to access files they need – makes it easier for all employees to remain productive. This includes those utilizing BYOD or who work remotely. An Intranet solution is a solid means of uniting your workforce toward a single goal. 6. Cloud Services Most cloud services today have some aspect of collaborative capabilities baked in. What this means is that multiple members of your organization can work together on a document, regardless of where they are, with everyone’s updates reflected for everyone. The primary benefit to this is that collaboration isn’t something that everyone involved needs to assemble for, which allows progress to be made more quickly. 7. Unified Communications One of the best tools for a business’ communication needs is a unified communications platform. This platform enables your employees to keep each other apprised of progress toward goals, as well as promotes collaboration between them. Offering a variety of communication methods via a single platform, unified communication solutions are a great tool for the business that takes its internal interactions seriously. SRS Networks […]

Are the Messaging Apps You Use Secure?

The Criteria Ask yourself the following questions about your messaging application: Are my messages encrypted (and how encrypted are they)? How transparent is the application to scrutiny? How are messages deleted? How much metadata is kept? We’ll go through each question to help you ascertain if the messaging platform you use is secure enough to use for business. Are My Messages Encrypted? (And How Encrypted Are They?) Encryption can scramble data so that it is difficult to read to all those who don’t have a decryption key. We don’t want to get into too much detail, but suffice to say that encryption can make your data much more secure than it would be otherwise. While most major messaging applications use encryption, not all of them follow the most secure of practices. For example, solutions like Google Hangouts and Skype encrypt the messages that users send, but they also retain a copy of the encryption keys. This is so they can access the messages sent to collect data for advertising purposes. Unfortunately, this also means that the data will be vulnerable if a cybercriminal manages to make their way onto the application’s servers, or if the government were to issue a search warrant for them. Thankfully, end-to-end encryption is more common with these kinds of apps, where the application holds the keys that encrypt the data. The users also have a key to decrypt the data, meaning that no other external party can access the contents of the messages. Some of these include WhatsApp and Signal. While Skype does offer this option, it isn’t enabled by default. How Transparent is the Application to Scrutiny? It’s important that your messaging application provider not only is honest about the state of security, but is also evaluated by an independent and impartial expert that comes to the same conclusion. This means that open-source applications are usually more trustworthy, as they have been the subject of much closer scrutiny over the years. Examples of these applications include Signal, Telegram, and Wickr, while WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger aren’t true open-source, but are based on the same protocol as Signal. An application that is closed-source, like iMessage, trusts the developer entirely to maintain the security of the messages sent. How Are Messages Deleted? What happens to messages after they have reached their destination and been deleted? In truth, deletion might be the best way to ensure the privacy of important information. Applications that automatically delete messages within a certain amount of time can be great for security. For example, Skype, Telegram, and Signal all have this capability. WhatsApp even goes as far as deleting messages within 13 hours. Not all apps feature self-deleting messages, and to be fair, nobody is stopping the recipient from taking screenshots of messages, either. Thus, security is left to the discretion of the recipient. How Much Metadata is Kept? It’s also critical that your chosen application is protected by the metadata it stores. Metadata contributes to security through user profiling, which stores data of both the sender, receiver, time of communication, IP address, and the device used. Thus, knowing what kind of data is stored by the messaging application will help you best preserve the security of this data. SRS Networks can help you implement secure methods of communication for your business. […]