3 Simple Mistakes to Avoid When Moving to Voice over IP
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3 Simple Mistakes to Avoid When Moving to Voice over IP
Get it right, first time. Here are three simple mistakes to avoid to ensure a smooth transition to Voice over IP for your business telephony.
Once you’ve made the decision to run with VoIP for your business telephony, it’s now all about deployment and the focus moves to ensuring you maintain the right infrastructure to securely support the business processes you’re running day-to-day.
Voice over IP is like any other business application running across your network. It has to be supported and maintained but just because you’re running something new across existing infrastructure, doesn’t mean you can take a haphazard approach to its deployment.
Voice, in particular, is a very specific type of application and needs extra care.
Voice communications is a critical resource for any business today. Despite the advent of the internet and the growing importance of data, people still need to talk. In any retail outlet, small firm or call centre environment voice downtime is a serious issue and one which has a financial cost associated with it.
Here are three things to watch out for when deploying VoIP for your business.
1. Assess the quality and consistency of your bandwidth
Voice traffic requires a reliable, high quality broadband link to support it. While it’s clear that ensuring voice quality across a congested connection carrying lots of data is always going to be problematic, you have to ensure that the capacity and reliability of the connection is such that the quality of your voice traffic is not going to suffer.
If you’re already having issues with your current broadband link in that it regularly goes down or appears to run slowly or you constantly have to reset your router, this should serve as an immediate red flag. With these issues, the quality of the broadband link is insufficient to carry voice traffic which requires reliable, low latency connections.
Maybe your business is using more and more cloud services, which means files are constantly being uploaded and downloaded and are hogging the connection capacity. Adding yet another time sensitive application to run across this infrastructure is not a good idea.
Ideally, we would suggest running your voice traffic on a separate broadband connection where quality of service and security can be assured. But we also recognise that for many small businesses, this is not a commercial option.
With a VoIP solution, the reliability and quality of your calling is going to be highly dependent on your Internet service.
Get your chosen supplier to right-size your connection, assess its quality and consistency and ensure that all of your staff and customers can enjoy crystal-clear audio quality.
2. Don’t neglect network security
Network security is a core consideration when deploying VoIP across your existing infrastructure. Your voice system is only as secure as the connections it’s travelling across.
With traditional phone lines, someone would have to physically place an intercept device to eavesdrop on your conversations. In the world of IP, it’s a different approach altogether with geographic location or distance playing no role in the likelihood of attempted breach.
There are some fundamental things you need to do to mitigate risks and that includes installing next generation firewall technology at the edge of the network to block any suspicious traffic or hacking attempts. Firewalls are a core component of Unified Threat Management in that they act as a secure gateway onto your wired and wireless networks.
They have an array of advanced security features which inspect and block encrypted attacks and deliver continuous updates to keep pace with new threats and malware as they are introduced.
Guest wireless networks are also prone to attack, particularly if they have been improperly configured. And best practice suggests that this traffic should be segregated from everything else on your network to avoid contamination.
Network security is not ‘one-size-fits-all’. Talk to your provider about carrying out a review of overall network security as you deploy this new application.
3. Consider how new VoIP features can improve existing business processes
When deploying new technology, it’s easy to carry on doing business as we did before, without giving any real thought to how the features and functionality of that technology might help us to deliver more streamlined business processes, and in turn a more responsive customer service.
VoIP systems can be configured and managed remotely by a hosted service, and can be designed to do all sorts of innovative things.
For example, Intellicom customers can activate a ‘Follow Me’ feature through our self-service system. This allows you to automatically divert calls from your deskphone to your laptop or mobile as you move from the office to the field and back again.
In addition, you can integrate your business telephony into CRM solutions, distribute calls automatically by volume, recognise voice for voice-related features, and manage phone lines and call routing from our online interface.
Before you deploy your shiny, new VoIP system, conduct a business-wide audit regarding the features that your employees would prefer to have, as well as their pain points with the current technology. Explore the possibilities of addressing these issues with the new system and put an emphasis on deploying these from day one.
At Intellicom, we offer free consultations for companies wishing to migrate from traditional PBX systems to hosted or on-premise VoIP solutions. Talk to one of our account managers today and see how you can save on telecoms costs and boost employee productivity.