Posted on March 6, 2015 by Dan Quick
Dispersed and telecommuting workforces are becoming more and more frequent in the modern workplace. This is not the biggest headline. What is more important now, however, is how the job market has begun to shift as a result of this added freedom in work routines. The populist movement back into the home for working hours has meant that companies now have to totally reconsider the conventional wisdom of hiring and benefits packages that have been mainstays for decades.
It’s Not Just Those Dang Kids
Millennials get a bad wrap from some of the old guard for their perceived lack of loyalty, high need for positive reinforcement, and, more relevantly, their desire for “chill” and flexible work environments. The fact is that a lot of those myths are simply that, myths, but younger workers are often credited with impacting the changing landscape of the modern workplace. The reality is, however, that there are many popular movements calling for change in time at the office expectations, not just millennials.
LeanIn.Org, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women achieve their goals in the American workplace, sees flexible work schedules as more than just a nicety to offer applicants. By improving maternity/paternity leave benefits and family-friendly flexible work schedules, businesses can count on greater investment and loyalty from their workers who have been historically penalized for adopting a family-first approach to work/life balance.
Change is in the Air
The typically straight-forward listing of the 100 best companies to work for has seen a complete recalibration when tailored for those seeking better work/life balance and the flexible schedule that working from home provides. In the spirit of competition, both for the best talent and for the sake of being number one, a greater number of companies are making strides to offer more than at-work lunches and a gym stipend. By ensuring a more accommodating and less punitive approach to work place flexibility, employers and employees alike are reporting higher job satisfaction than ever before.
Work From Home, The Simple Solution
Establishing a realistic work from home policy at your workplace is more than just typing up a document from Human Resources. Having the guidelines that work for your organization in place is only one half of the solution, though. The other half of executing on your WFH strategy is having the right tools to empower your newly remote workforce.
Possibly the simplest way to make your turn-key transition into a mobile-friendly, dispersed workforce is with the VirtualPBX Anywhere Plan. With it, companies can offer a variety of compelling features to their employees, including-
- Let your employees use their existing mobile devices
- Keep private numbers private by using just a single office number with Softphones
- Offer conference lines, accessible both inside and outside of the office
- Manage phone system activity, usage, and access wherever you have an internet connection
- Expand and change your system with ease to meet your current and evolving needs
VirtualPBX’s award-winning Anywhere Plans are packed with features and customization options that are ideal for smaller organizations who want to offer their teams industry-leading telecommuting options that let them work from anywhere. For any questions about the Anywhere Plan, inquiries about solutions for larger organizations, or any other VoIP issues, please contact the VirtualPBX Support Team today.
A Time For Gratitude: Anywhere Plan Wins POY
Posted on March 4, 2015 by Dan Quick
Normally we like to use this blog as an opportunity to share features and services that we offer in ways that real humans would like to read about them. Let’s face it, telecommunications technology like DNIS, PBX switches, PSTN, and SIP Trunking could use a little humanization, am I right? This time we’re going to shift just slightly in topic, but in doing so remain true to the personal tone we try to maintain.
In a Nutshell, Thank You
VirtualPBX Anywhere Plans was recently named the 2015 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award winner. We are tremendously proud of this recognition, of course, but more accurately, we are humbled and grateful. To be recognized by our peers and our industry for pressing the boundaries of what we can offer to our valued customers at an entry-level price point, all without letting our commitment to excellent service suffer, is a great honor. And it is an honor that we couldn’t have earned without you.
We initially introduced the Anywhere Plan for the underserved portion of small business owners who needed a mobile, fully featured business phone plan but not a lot of minutes. With your trust and your feedback, we have been able to polish and refine Anywhere Plans to what they are today- the award-winning business phone solution for companies with dispersed or mobile workforces.
Sharing the Celebration
Not all awards winnings need to be completely somber, reflective occasions, though. Don’t be fooled, we are really excited that our Anywhere Plans won Product of the Year. So much so, we want to throw a party! Or, to be fair, we want to throw as big of a party as we can with VoIP service for businesses. Semantics aside, you can get 10% off our Anywhere Plans from now through the end of the month. We couldn’t get to this place without you, and feel that you should get to share in a bit of the celebration, too.
Perusal Amusal – Why We Love the Internet
Posted on February 27, 2015 by Dan Quick
There’s a lot of noise out there in the worldwide interwebz, we get it. But beyond all of the pseudo-science, cat videos, and conspiracy theories there are also some gems, too. We’re known to mine for them from time to time and want to share this week’s best of the internet with you. Because you deserve it.
Because not everyone thinks that history is as important as their own world views-
Because the Father of Modern Design-Led Business deserves some recognition-
Because speaking about design, a nice interface can make problem-solving more fun-
Because there’s more than one way to deal with overflowing landfills-
Because sometimes graffiti comes in moving pictures-
And because jackhammers aren’t the only way to beat up works of art-
Protect ya Neck, The VirtualPBX Security Serial – Lenovo’s Dirty Little Secret
Posted on February 25, 2015 by Dan Quick
In this series of blogs we will examine all topics under the information security umbrella. From corporate blunders to rogue state attacks to the occasional celebrity hack, we believe there is something for businesses and individuals to learn from any cyber security event. We also believe that, while experience is the best teacher, it’s even better to let other people make the mistakes for you.
Trust for Sale
Would you buy a home from a man who was convicted of Breaking and Entering? How about taking a trip with a taxi driver who has had his license suspended? Probably not, right? Fortunately there aren’t many respectable businesses out there entreating us to part with our hard-earned dollars just to take advantage of our trust with a good ‘ol switcheroo. Well, unless you recently bought a Lenovo computer, that is.
Malware Included at no Extra Cost!
Things really may not be as bad as I described above, but the story is pretty horrifying nonetheless. Lenovo admitted to preinstalling Superfish adware to certain laptops with the intention, “to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping.” However, the software allegedly does more than the company suggests it was supposed to. By allegedly installing its own self-signed certificate authority, the software can inject ads into encrypted “https” websites, including secure retail or banking pages. If only there was some sort of paper trail of Superfish’s previous work to give an indication of their track-record with privacy and security concerns. But let’s keep it about Lenovo for now…
Original statements from Lenovo’s CTO said that this threat of piracy and data compromise presented by the software was only theoretical. In a decisive rebuttal, however, Errata Security’s CEO, Robert Graham, outlined detailed instructions on how exactly (and for not much investment, about $50) a hacker could set-up a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot to take advantage of compromised Lenovo computers. Whether someone has the knowhow and motivation to create such a trap with only a few bucks and some time to kill is beside the point. The crux of this issue lies in the fact that users shouldn’t have to worry about preloaded software on their brand new devices potentially harming them.
So You Bought a Lenovo, Now What?
Fortunately, the hardware that had Superfish pre-installed came in computers shipped in a relatively small window beginning in September 2014 continuing for a still-as-of-yet-uncertain period thereafter. Not sure if you have Superfish on your computer? Because Lenovo’s first two attempts to correct the issue were terrific acts of futility, I would first suggest diagnosing if you are at risk. To do that, there is a brilliantly elegant and simple diagnostic interface designed to automatically detects Superfish and other, similar threats. Simply go to the appropriately-named Badfish tool and the website will handle the rest. Spoiler Alert- you don’t want it to say, “yes.” If you do have the malware on your computer, you can check and the latest correction Lenovo has published, but I would advise returning to Badfish after rebooting after following their instructions to make sure that your computer is clean.
Aftermath- Show Your Work For Full Credit
How did Superfish actually contribute to Lenovo committing one of the (if not the most) egregious breach of consumer trust of the personal computing era? In a word, Komodia. Komodia is responsible for providing the fake certificate Superfish used in its programming that gave it access to the secure information that it should not have seen. Here’s where it gets a little scary, Komodia’s technology is easily compromised and has been utilized by what claims are 100s of clients including Fortune 500 companies for applications like parental control apps or anonymous search applications.
And if That Wasn’t Bad Enough
This means that, according to Marc Rogers, a security researcher for CloudFare, the same inherently dangerous, fundamentally flawed technology that was in Superfish exists in many more products. I am not sure if the Badfish page will detect threats for everyone who has any type of parental control software installed, or who has ever come into contact with a Komodia product, but it seems clear that anyone who has should begin checking for malware. Now.
Sorry to leave you with some sobering news this time, but it’s a jungle out there. Stay safe and remember to Protect ya Neck.
Choose Your Business Adventure – SelectRoute
Posted on February 23, 2015 by Dan Quick
If you remember the popular adolescent fiction books, Choose Your Own Adventure, you know that the appeal of these books was that the reader decided how the story unfolded. At certain key moments in the life of the story, readers would be presented with options on how characters or story elements would behave, thus creating a unique narrative specific to each read. You are the both the reader and the author of your business’ story, and having options at every turn is as important as anything else in determining how the story unfolds.
Not All Businesses Fit The Mold
Having a handful of options in how to route calls is a nice feature available from advanced business phone system providers. But what happens to those businesses that don’t find their ideal method in one or two, limited options? Not getting the opportunity to build services the way that an entrepreneur wants is the laboratory in which she will test out her own possibilities. SelectRoute is the result of exactly that type of situation.
32 Flavors of Routing
To be honest, there really are as many varieties to route with SelectRoute as you can imagine. Seriously. But the point is that chocolate and vanilla are just the tip of the iceberg.
- Route calls by geography – Have callers input their postal code or area code and then route them to the agents or locations that can serve them the best
- Menu Routing – Route calls by menu selection
- Custom Routing – Route calls according to your own defined needs, from product numbers to invoices or case numbers, if there is a figure meaningful to your business, you can use it to route
You give your customers the products and services that they expect, why shouldn’t you get the same from your utility providers? VirtualPBX’s proprietary SelectRoute is emblematic of the flexibility inherent in well-designed VoIP phone systems. To get your call routing tailored to your business’ exact specifications, or for any other VoIP questions you may have, contact the routing experts at VirtualPBX today.