With ever-advancing technology around us, the way we communicate has evolved dramatically over the years. In a society totally controlled by the internet, it’s no wonder that phone systems have also moved online!
Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) has become increasingly popular, giving businesses more flexibility, better productivity, and a cheaper option to traditional phone systems. These are just some of the benefits associated with VOIP, but before we take a further look at these, we need to understand exactly what VOIP is.
What is VoIP?
VOIP is a system that allows calls to be made over the internet, rather than a traditional landline. VOIP technology converts voice data into a digital form, sending it over the IP network, just like with email.
While it’s becoming more popular, some people are still questioning whether VOIP phone systems are suitable for their business. Questions have previously been raised about its cost, quality and difficulty to install. Yet it has quickly become a cost-effective, reliable, and efficient solution for telecommunications, for businesses of all industries and sizes.
Advantages of VOIP for business
VOIP and reliability
When VOIP first came on the scene, there were concerns about its reliability. People didn’t want important phone calls dropped because of network issues or power outages. Worries like these can easily be resolved with VOIP today. Because it sits in the cloud, you don’t have to lose connectivity if your primary internet provider falls over. With a backup provider, you can continue to take and make phone calls – even if your systems are down! This is particularly the case with the call forwarding feature, so you can pick up calls on other devices.
VOIP and Flexibility
Probably the greatest benefit of using VOIP for business, is its portability. Given that it’s stored over the cloud, employees can use their phone line over an internet connection wherever they are. This means they don’t need to give out their personal mobile phone number to clients or customers (no clients calling at 7pm on a Friday as you tuck into family dinner!)
This creates greater flexibility, whether working remotely or in different office locations. You can use it anywhere in the world as long as you have a connection to the internet. You can typically set this up over an app, so that employees can access these business calls directly from multiple devices such as their mobile, or even a laptop using headphones and a microphone.
Is the majority of your workforce currently working remotely? Read our tech tips for working from home for some further guidance.
The cost of VOIP
VOIP is much cheaper than traditional phone lines, both for usage and maintenance. While conventional phone lines battle with expensive regulations and frameworks, VOIP offers a less costly option, with both domestic and international calls cheaper than typical landline alternatives. This is especially useful for businesses that have employees who travel a lot, or companies with international clients. Using a cloud-based VOIP system also reduces upfront costs, with less of a requirement for special equipment than landline services. With its easy-to-use functionality, you also won’t need to employ any technical members of staff to manage it – it’s a win-win!
VOIP and Productivity
There are several ways in which VOIP can enhance productivity in your business. With costs lower than traditional phone lines, the money you save can be reassigned to other projects within the business (or pay for Pizza on Fridays). On a more simplistic level, with all of the features stored in just one place (such as voicemail, messaging, and videoconferencing), it allows employees to multitask better and be more efficient at communication and completing tasks.
If you are looking for support with your VOIP or wider IT systems, at Netitude we offer fully managed IT support, co-managed IT services for internal IT teams, and remote IT support nationwide. Find out more here.
Ease of use and installation
A huge advantage of VOIP is it is easy to set up and use. Installing a landline tends to require significant technical support, as well as an inordinate amount of cabling around the office. Installation becomes far easier with VOIP, as it’s housed over the internet. It will also declutter your surroundings, as you’ll have less need for electrical wires!
Unlike the setup of landline and its continued use, it also doesn’t take a computer savvy workforce to implement and use VOIP. Many of its features are accessed with just the click of a mouse! This includes call forwarding, where employees can quickly and easily forward calls, messages and voicemails, further enhancing productivity.
Features of VOIP
There are lots of great features of VOIP that will improve customer experience. VOIP allows you to easily record calls, make a note of them in a log, and move calls to other users and locations. You can also manage your customer calls with on-hold music, call queues and marketing messages as they wait! With VOIP you won’t need to worry about missed calls, with alerts for any calls missed, as well as the option of sending voicemails directly to your email inbox. You can also use conference call and video conferencing functions; perfect if you have several of your workforce in remote locations.
VOIP and small businesses
There’s a huge misconception that VOIP is only suitable for big businesses. If you’re a small business, and are wondering whether VOIP is worth the cost, you can benefit from VOIP’s multi-tasking functionality, enhanced productivity, reliability and flexibility all the same. It’s also still cheaper than landline alternatives, due to fewer maintenance costs, as well as having both internet and phone on one account.
Maintaining security with VOIP
While there are many advantages of using VOIP, just as with other technical systems, fraud and threats to security are becoming ever more apparent. Hacking, weaknesses within the system itself, data attacks and fraudulent activity are just some of the vulnerabilities of VOIP.
There are, of course, measures you can carry out to help avoid security threats and prevent fraudulent activity.
“Vishing” is VOIP phone fraud. It’s when a caller ID appears as a valid phone number from a trusted source, but it’s actually a scammer attempting to steal confidential data. The most common vishing scams are ‘hosted’ and ‘whitelist’ scams.
With hosted VOIP phone fraud, the scammer uses low security and weak passwords to infiltrate a network. Ensuring that you use ‘strong’ passwords, as well as changing them frequently, can help to prevent these scams. You can learn more about better password security here.
In a Whitelist phone scam, scammers will put their IP on your whitelist, which means they can use your account to make calls. Making sure that your VOIP is configured securely is the best way to prevent this.
Protecting yourself from VOIP scams
To best protect yourself and your business against VOIP fraud attacks, there are a few simple things that you and your employees can do.
- Don’t assume that each call is from a trusted source, and be vigilant in finding out about current scams
- If you’re unsure about the source of the call, let it go to voicemail
- Do not return a call from an unsolicited email
- Do not provide confidential information on the phone
- Change your login details and passwords every 30 days
- Ensure that you partner with a high quality and supportive VOIP service, who can guide and direct you with cyber security.
After weighing up VOIP vs Landline for your business, are you ready to move your communication over to the power of the internet? Netitude offers a complete end-to-end hosted VOIP solution for your business, to help you improve operations, and customer experience!
With full training and monitoring, high levels of security, as well as the benefits listed above, you can take full control of your communications with the support of the Netitude team.
Get in touch, and speak to an expert about your needs.