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General Telephony

How do SIP Trunking and VoIP Equal a Small Business Advantage?
January 27th, 2015

In the Palm of Your HandThe Answer is in the Cloud

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking is one of the essential technologies required to make Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), virtual reproductions of the physical switches and routers of the telephone service from yesteryear, possible. The technology isn’t new, but lately it has been experiencing a dramatic increase in adoption.

Virtually all of the big, original telephone companies have been doing everything from changing their pricing models to beginning to invest in their own VoIP infrastructure as more of their customers are cutting the cables to switch to an online telephone option. When there is that much at stake for telecom companies who are scrambling to catch up, though, there is bound to be a lot of noise.

Thankfully, the folks over at Software Advice, the online software research and recommendation engine, took it upon themselves to conduct a little research on the topic but with the people who have the most to lose by falling victim to marketing smoke and mirrors; specifically the IT professionals who have to install and maintain these systems.

 

SMB’s Lead the Way
In Software Advice’s most recent study of over 200 companies on SIP trunking and VoIP, they noted that, among other key findings, small and medium businesses are outpacing their larger counterparts in adopting cloud-based telephone service. This is partly due to the relative affordability of virtual phone systems for enterprise, but also because more often than not, smaller companies tend to have less interference between IT and management, and often times they are one and the same.

“Organizations with knowledgeable IT decision-makers who guide purchasing decisions have adopted SIP trunking at a much higher rate than most enterprises.” Said Daniel Harris, Market Research Analyst at Software Advice and author of the study.

One thing to note with this in mind is that taking a look at the performance, simplicity, and affordability of a telephone system with direct input from the IT professionals who will service it, should be paramount.

 

Factors Considered by IT PurchasersSound quality remains important, but security has taken the top spot

Security On the Rise
Or rather, people’s concern over security is on the rise. Likely in part to many of the high-profile corporate security failures in the news lately, the security of information transmitted across virtual phone networks is of increasing importance to users. In fact, for the first time, security was cited at the number one contributing reason why an IT provider selected their service claiming the primary response for 23% of those surveyed.

Not surprisingly, though, Quality/Clarity of Service and Favorable Pricing continue to round out the top three responses. Predictably, though, pricing is actually on the decline in importance here, which could indicate a more common expectation that any VoIP option should be more affordable than a traditional, physical phone system.

 
 
 

Satisfaction GuaranteedSatisfaction abounds with modern SIP Trunking

Don’t Believe the Hype
One of the most misplaced concerns in the conversation of whether a company should switch to VoIP or not is over the quality of the sound sent and received thereon. As indicated above, it is still very much a concern, however, even though the staggering majority of users report little to no problems.

“When VoIP technology was emerging, audio quality issues were quite frequent. Moreover, users of “free” VoIP solutions such as Skype still experience audio quality issues at a significant rate,” continued Harris.

Fortunately, all of that seems to have changed for good. Over 90% of respondents were satisfied with their voice clarity with SIP trunking and VoIP. Furthermore, only one person reported even a, “minimal dissatisfaction,” with their call clarity.

 

Trending Upward
As more and more small businesses are getting stellar call quality that is secure and financially well within their means, larger firms are going to have to begin considering the same changes. It isn’t uncommon for the scrappy underdogs of the business world to be the leaders of change, and disruptive technologies like virtual telephone service are threats to both the larger telecom companies who charge more for physical wiring and switches and to larger enterprises that can afford to buy them.

By adopting technologies like VoIP that are nimble, reactive, and that positively impact the bottom line by easing operating margins, companies of any size can benefit handsomely. Have you given VoIP a try yet? If not, here are some resources for you to help determine if it is right for you:

These Kids Today – Millennials Use Texting Over Calling More Than Ever
January 20th, 2015

Teens With PhonesHere’s a news flash for you, kids these days aren’t doing it right. I’m pretty sure that ever since the first human communities came out of caves to live in the light of day they’ve been complaining how their children, “have it so easy,” and they, “don’t know what it was like to grow up in the caves.” Sure, the youth can seem annoying, unappreciative, even downright reckless, but they also end up being responsible for coming-up with some great contributions, too.

Rock and Roll, AirBnB, the Free Speech Movement, Sallie Mae, and even Pop Tarts (obviously important) all developed directly from or for a younger generation that was behaving in a way that was different than those before it. Whether it was the growing amount of dually-employed parents needing faster, easier ways to provide breakfast, or a bunch of college students in Berkeley standing-up against things they thought weren’t right, youth impacts our development more than some might think. Young Americans are, in fact, the largest contributor to the economy by a long shot, and spend about 87% of their income, which doesn’t account for gifts and dispersals from family. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I understand the whole fascination with the Kardashians or Miley Cyrus any more than I did before, but at least it puts youth behavior into the context of how it contributes to disruptive change and shaping our society, regardless of whether or not we can recognize it at the time.

One of the unique developments from the current crop of the nation’s youngest members, however, isn’t a new musical genre or tasty breakfast treat; in fact it isn’t even a development at all. Yet.


More Connection, Less Conversation

Millennials use their phones more than any other demographic, but in spite of that frequency, they use phones to actually place telephone calls less than anyone else as well. It is believed the trend of texting over calling stems from the popularization of instant messaging platforms like AIM and MSN Messenger, but regardless of its origin, this trend is becoming more and more pronounced.

Cited as a major factor in the reasons for telephone call abandonment by many young smartphone owners is the speed with which other forms of communication offer over that of traditional phone calls. Texting, Facebook messaging, and other popular message apps like WhatsApp, and Apple’s iMessenger are wildly preferred for their immediacy. In fact, many outgoing voicemail messages for young people no longer include requests for pertinent details to be left in the voicemail, but rather offer suggestions to text or email for quicker replies.


Radio Silence Effects Service

Early in 2014, the New York Times reported on how voicemail usage, and even initial voicemail activation and set-up, is dropping by 8-14% a year for many mobile service providers. This, in combination with an overall drop in voice minutes in general, is a major contributor to mobile companies offering more unlimited minutes as a feature in their service plans. To differentiate themselves, many major carriers are now offering Visual Voicemail to their service plans, in response to their customers’ unlikeliness to utilize traditional voicemail features. And in somewhat of a gambit by going against the constricting policies on data plans, some carriers are revisiting versions of unlimited or banked data plans again. T-Mobile has a new “rollover” plan where unrealized data usage gets carried over into the following month and AT&T has been quick to follow suit. All of these changes, some of which are rather risky for the companies involved, are all directly linked to the grossly disproportionate use of messaging over voice communications.


Moving Forward

We don’t necessarily need to look far beyond the changes in mobile service plans to see how these behaviors are changing communications. One particularly popular method for young people to communicate by is ephemeral messaging. Originally vilified for its impermanence as being the channel through which young people would send inappropriate messages to one another, ephemeral messaging is gaining popularity in other demographics. Found to be an effective way to add security to business communications, ephemeral messaging is evolving to become more appealing to users who value data security as much as whimsical, impermanent messaging.

The final effects of the declination of voice services are obviously yet to be fully realized, but it is clear that this behavioral shift is substantially impacting the telecommunications industry. While that future remains uncertain, I am clear on at least one issue; I still haven’t set-up my own voicemail from a number I got in August, maybe you should try and text me instead.

Visual Voicemail – Untangling a Web of Messages
January 15th, 2015

SpiderwebSometimes we are on another line, out of the office, or just plain have to send a particular caller to voicemail, it happens. Heck, even Gwen Stefani has been walking into spiderwebs, so leave a message and she’ll call you back. What, then, are you to do if you didn’t have time to take a call but need to quickly check and see what the message was about? Visual Voicemail is the quick way to do just that.

Visual Voicemail refers to both voice-to-text transcription of voice messages to be delivered to you via text or email, and it also refers to archiving voicemail into more easily managed interfaces. Both are, of course, great improvements over the tape-recorded messages of yesteryear, though.

Today, there are a host of ways that you can get even more out of your voicemail by making it easier to collect, scan, and listen to your messages. Two apps in particular that are worth checking out are briefly reviewed below-

HulloMail – Get your voicemails converted into audio files to be delivered to your email or access them from the HulloMail web portal, dictate messages from your phone or the same web access, and even designate personal greetings for each of your contacts along with a lot more. This app is great for two reasons, first being that the basic version (which is still rather robust) is free. The second reason is that there is a business subscription that gets you access to additional options (including the voice transcription of voicemails themselves) plus unlimited cloud-based storage.

Google Voice – This service from the online giant is really compelling for folks who don’t mind turning their contact lists over to the mothership. The fact that Google offers voice to text transcription free of charge has been enough for many people to stick with the reliable service. However, in spite of the intelligent and progressively accurate voice recognition software that Google Voice uses, this author must suffer a terrible case of mush mouth because transcriptions of my messages are nothing short of hilarious.

In addition to going with a third-party app, there are options for visual voicemail available through most major mobile service providers, too. T-Mobile and Sprint have basic services similar to what is available with the free version of HulloMail as part of their basic array of features. Verizon offers actual transcription for a $2.99/month premium and you can get similar service from AT&T, but only on their Android phones. Of course, there is also a variety of ways to get voicemail messages through VoIP service, too, which are included as part of VirtualPBX’s award-winning Office Plan.

For more on modern voicemail features, you may want to check out the following reads:

Protect ya Neck, The VirtualPBX Security Serial – Ephemeral Messaging
January 9th, 2015

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, sometimes it’s best to let other people make the mistakes for you.

Snooping in the computer

Just to recap, Sony is still hurting from the hack(s) but scored a win with their release of The Interview, which grossed a solid $31 million in on-demand views since releasing on Christmas Day. Take that, hackers. Oh yeah, and just to remind people that crime doesn’t pay, although the US government denied any involvement, there was a DDoS attack on North Korea’s network that crippled it with laughable, though albeit not terribly surprising, ease. It seems as though we don’t take too kindly to being bullied about what we can and cannot watch over here, doesn’t it?

Never to let an opportunity slip, however, a crop of entrepreneurs have been riding the wave of corporate security failures and all of the attention surrounding them. Enter, the birth of impermanent business messaging or, as I like to call it, SnapChat for adults. Ephemeral messaging, as it’s more commonly know, has been around for a while but, with the exception of every parent’s worst nightmare application, the $10 billion giant SnapChat, it hasn’t been as commonly used outside of the non-tween population.

Start SnapChatting Your Spreadsheet
Well, share your spreadsheet with the confidence that it will be secure, at least. There are now a host of ephemeral messaging applications that businesses can use to recall, delete, edit, and even set an automatic Mission Impossible-esque self destruction. Seriously, that last part is pretty awesome no matter how you slice it.

Some of these have been around for longer than you think already, but they each have a certain appeal to them. Here are a few of the better-known options-

No-Nonsense Security
For some business communications, there is nothing more important than total reassurance that the data will be secure throughout the transmission. Wickr makes a strong case for itself with its heavy-duty focus on security and privacy. Though it has begun integrating a host of more playful features common in similar apps, that is just to soften in hardcore edges. Wickr’s real identity has always been in Secret Agent encryption and Illuminati caliber client anonymity. Wickr prides itself on corporate transparency, uses military grade encryption (seriously, these guys are legit), and has a no-nonsense privacy policy that isn’t trying to put one over on you. In a nutshell, they don’t use your info nor will they sell it. Ever. And they never will.

Set It And Forget It
Before I get you too hyped up on this program, I have to let you know that you can’t exactly have it yet. Pluto Mail is totally capitalizing on the velvet rope theory. Ah, the return of the Google invite strategy for a beta and, yes, this one is working. The app connects directly to whatever email program you’re using and comes with automatable preferences for email expiration, plus it has the ability to track email openings and edit or recall email at any time. I believe this program will appeal most to those folks who want to be able to just set their preferences and be done with it.

For the Social Crowd
Strings is decidedly less of a business tool, and more of a tool . This app is based off of the concept that not all messages are created equal, or to put it more accurately, not all messages are as mortifying should they get out into the wrong hands. By keeping that in mind, this app is unique in that each message is something that you can control from start to finish, similar to On Second Thought that gives you a window to recall individual text messages. Recipients of a Strings message have to ask permission to download the content, are sanctioned for attempting a screen shot (seriously, three strikes and you’re booted from the app entirely!), and they can have the message removed from them at the discretion of the sender. There are some other features but this app seems to be in the same vein as quirky uses of ephemerals like Designated Dialer that will disable your messaging for a period following a bit too much revelry. Speaking of debauchery and phones, Drunk Dial NO! can disable certain numbers so you don’t reach out in an compromised state. No comment.

Chances are good that the rapidly increasing adoption of ephemeral messaging is nowhere near slowing down just yet. I’d suggest that we probably aren’t that far away from seeing these technologies becoming standard features of native messaging services like Gmail (no word yet on the new Inbox app from Google) and iMessage, either. However, remember that no matter how elaborate your encryption, no matter how impenetrable your firewall, each system is only as strong as its passwords. Make sure to keep your company’s investments in information security valuable by taking measures to keep your passwords effective. Don’t be the, “password123,” guy. That’s going to be tough to live down.

If you have any questions or concerns about how your VirtualPBX system is protected or you’ve made such an incredibly powerful password that now you seem to have forgotten it (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), don’t hesitate to give our award-winning Customer Support team a call and see how we can help.

Good luck out there.

Protect ya Neck, The VirtualPBX Security Serial – Sony Hack Redux
December 5th, 2014

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, sometimes it’s best to let other people make the mistakes for you.

Threats are Everywhere Online

Sony Suffers Self-Inflicted Wound

With 1.2 million downloads of the box-office hit, Fury, and millions more of the not-yet-released Annie, Still Alice, Mr. Turner, and To Write Love on her Arms also circulating online, this whole, “on-demand,” thing is really taking off, isn’t it? Too soon? If you haven’t heard by now, Sony was the latest corporation to be the victim of a cyber attack early last week, and the total damages are still piling up. This is not the first time that hackers have attacked the media giant, but in light of some documents from the company’s internal servers, it’s beginning to seem like maybe Sony hadn’t quite learned its lesson the first time.

Doesn’t this Sound Familiar?

Yes, it should. A little history first. In April of 2011, Sony claimed that the hacktivist group, Anonymous, breached their security and accessed sensitive client information. Anonymous denied responsibility for the attacks but what remained irrefutable is that the billing information for 77 million online customers and personal profiles including billing information of another 24.6 million Playstation users had all been compromised.

That was terrible for Sony’s users, and it didn’t get much better for their executives who were publically admonished for their handling of the breach. Declining to attend the Congressional Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade hearing that followed this attack only drew the ire of chairwoman Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) who called the company’s handling of the situation, “half-hearted and half-baked,” and said, ”these stunning thefts… shake the confidence of everyone who types in a credit card number and hits enter.” The subcommittee, and the country at large, adjourned with a consensus that companies like Sony have to do more to protect the security of their customers.

Second Time’s the Charm?

Not quite. Fast-forward to last week and Sony have seemingly found themselves in the same situation. This time, however, the root cause of their problems isn’t something far flung like a coordinated series of probing attacks from a hostile group or a reprisal from an angry communist state that, thankfully, you and I will not likely ever have to fend off. What makes this recent attack so frightening is how it is exactly the type of situation that you and I are likely to be targeted with. Spoiler alert, you’ve heard this about a million times- your password security is entirely too weak.

Close to Home

Lets try to forget for a second how a multi-billion company like Sony can let public admonishment, embarrassment over such elementary lapses in security, and over 100 million angry and potentially exposed customers all roll off its back and not result in more stringent security protocol. I know it’s hard, but just try. Provided you can overlook all of that outside pressure, though, the problems that got them into this mess should look fairly familiar.

Most businesses and home enterprises don’t have the massive resources that Sony has so we may not be as familiar with the complex strategies that are required to breach a system of that size. We all, however, should be able to see the error of taping the key to your safety deposit box onto said box. Someone should tell Sony that. Sony kept its plaintext password lists in folders cleverly titled with red herrings like, “Password,” and, “Master_Password_Sheet,” in the same folders where they kept comprehensive corporate credit card numbers and other sensitive information. This is tantamount to investing in a top-of-the-line floor safe for valuable jewelry and then tacking the combination onto a post-it note for easy reference.

So how can I benefit from this?

For starters, change any password you have that is the name of your pet, partner, child, or hometown. If your password is, “password,” forget anything I’ve said, you’re good. There are also plenty of password generators and password managers (for the more trusting folks) out there for you to use. I like the random generators but think the password managers is a little too egg-in-one-baskety for my liking.

If nothing else, this can at least make us all feel less foolish to know that some of the boneheaded mistakes we may have made are also committed by people who get paid specifically for their information security expertise. I might add that they are being paid well, according to the Sony salary information that was also leaked, coincidentally.

Once you take the team of security experts, the executives’ promises for reform, and the potential to lose billions from leaked marketing and syndication plans out of the equation, the core of how this all happened is a legitimate threat no matter what the stakes are. Regularly check your system’s security, create strong passwords, and rely on more secure communication methods like faxing whenever you need to send or receive sensitive documents. We aren’t perfect, but by creating better habits with our online behaviors we can improve our online security and reduce our chances of falling victim to similar violations as Sony has. Good luck out there.

Techno Jargon – Nobody Actually Buys Widgets
November 26th, 2014

Jargon Even Looks WeirdAh yes, the mighty widget. The widget has been an integral part of committee meeting proposals and cocktail napkin doodles alike. Widgets as surrogates for actual products are necessary to navigate business school scenarios of cost benefit analysis, supply chain management, and inventory management, too. But when mythical product placeholders and obscure industry terminology begin to leave the classroom and boardroom, people tend to get confused. And if there is one thing that seems to be universally true in business, it’s that assailing your prospects with technobabble is rarely rewarded with buying questions.

Nobody Likes to Feel Talked Down To

A recent study of over 4,000 people by Daniel Harris from Software Advice, an online software selection service, found compelling arguments against overusing jargon in sales and marketing communications, especially in emerging or unfamiliar technologies. The study chose to use VoIP as a key area to focus on due to the hosted phone service industry’s tendency to overuse unfamiliar, overly technical language.

Jargon that is unfamiliar to an audience makes them feel uninformed, and in a business setting, that can be a pretty exposed feeling. Not terribly surprising, though fairly conclusive, was the fact that when people don’t understand the terminology used to describe something, they are measurably disinclined to make a purchase. What makes this revelation more interesting, though, is that this phenomenon seems to apply to technologies that the participant was already familiar with, but had been presented in an unfamiliar way. Using email as a topic, researchers saw a significant difference in reported familiarity based on the terminology they used to pose their questions.

Know When You’ve Transitioned From Familiar to Far Out

Have you ever sent an email?Respondents were confused when asked if they had ever sent an email using obscure, technical language

Another point that this study brings up is relevant to a recent Federal Communications Commission report that cited that, while VoIP subscription has steadily grown for residential use, the adoption rate for business has not reflected similar increases. In light of what we know about jargon and how it impacts buying decisions, the fact that residential phone systems need fewer lines and features than a business begins to make sense. When a residential hosted phone subscriber is shopping for what is comparatively a simple service, VoIP providers are able to keep the terminology simple and direct. A problem arises, though, for the business owner who is blind sighted with the technical explanations for extension routing, advanced queues, and business failover. If the business owner has even a basic understanding of VoIP technology’s benefits beforehand, when confronted with technobabble, he or she is still likely to continue suffering through an expensive and antagonistic relationship with their traditional copper phone line provider rather than trudge through the new terminology.

Focus on Benefits, Not on Features

Would you switch to SIP Trunking?Respondents who were already familiar with the technology were less inclined to save money on a VoIP system when the question used too much jargon

One set of results from the study that highlights this fact was when researchers posed questions about saving money on a VoIP phone system. Regardless of the current level of knowledge about hosted phone service technology the respondent had, their answers were severely impacted when the questions were more technical in nature.

“Even when respondents understood that SIP trunking would somehow save them money on their phone bills, they were still far less likely to consider the service when we employed a technical rather than a functional definition.” Harris added in his synopsis.

Many conclusions can be drawn from a study, but the accuracy with which this one seems to capture what we’ve all already known is pretty remarkable. People don’t go online shopping for a new SIP (session initiation protocol) or DNIS (dialed number identification service). All they want is a telephone service that gives them the features they need at a price that works for their budget. VirtualPBX can offer businesses of any size just that. Widgets included at no extra charge.

Your Business Twin – Be in Two Places at Once
November 24th, 2014

Is There Enough Time?Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be in two places at once? If you have children or run a business (which can be strikingly similar) then you probably have considered it plenty of times. For those of you with both the title of parent and employer, perhaps two places at once still isn’t enough!

Even when things are going smoothly, it can often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete everything that requires your attention. There are a host of services out there to help keep you organized, and we even outlined a few ways people can use technology to work around their schedules recently., All of these tactics help get us through the day-to-day grind., but what happens when the train leaves the tracks and you can’t share your attention anymore?

If your company has a Business Continuity Plan you’re probably perfectly aware of what happens next, because you’ve invested the time to plan for any contingency. What may not be included in that plan, however, is where exactly your energy will be required to help your organization get out of a jam quickly, safely, and without losing any of the momentum that it has worked so hard to build up.

But if you’re there, who’s answering your phone?

PBX Parachute is your doppelgänger, your twin, your surrogate for all of the business calls you would normally be handling while you’re off saving the day. The award-winning automatic business telephone failover system can let you stay focused on the critical tasks of navigating a disaster or disruption in service by-

  • Duplicating your on-site phone system, keeping extensions and voicemail lines active
  • Forwarding each extensions calls to up to four different devices
  • Speaking for you, literally, by launching a pre-recorded emergency hotline for your employees

We have all tried to juggle too many things at once, sometimes it works out and sometimes things fall to the ground. Don’t take that chance during a period of emergency when your company needs you the most. PBX Parachute can’t duplicate you so you can be in two places at once, but it can allow you to be in the one place that really matters in an emergency, which is the next best thing.

Get in touch with one of the expert VirtualPBX business consultants today to see how you can multiply yourself in an emergency.

DNIS – The Carpool Lane for Phone Calls
November 21st, 2014

Ever wonder what it would be like if you could bypass the seemingly endless list of extensions on most telephone systems and get directed right to exactly the person you need to speak with? So do your customers. With an advanced Direct Number Identification System, or DNIS, your callers are treated to a much sleeker and quicker on-hold experience. VirtualPBX has a full library of toll-free, local, and international numbers for you to choose from to generate dedicated phone numbers for anything from a promotion or product line to an exclusive VIP line that, when dialed, automatically reaches the members of your team who are ready for those specific callers. Plus, using DNIS numbers also sorts through otherwise unorganized call data so that your team can learn and grow to create stronger, more profitably customer experiences using a litany of call reports and data. All of this while keeping you free to pay attention to the things that really matter. Check out this handy infographic to get a better understanding, and get in touch with one of our DNIS experts if your business could benefit from an improved call-waiting experience.

DNIS Explained

Pennywise and Pound Foolish
November 18th, 2014

Stacks of CashYou may have heard this one before. It makes sense, though, we shouldn’t sacrifice our long-term opportunities at the expense of saving a few extra bucks here or there on things that we ultimately need to invest in.

Sometimes doing this means shelling-out for that killer software or computer that is outside of your typical onboarding package to make sure your new hire can help elevate your game. Or, maybe you’re just starting out and you are putting some of your salary dollars right back into your business. No matter what the case may be, the simple fact is that there will always be expenses that will come back as revenue even if it’s not as soon as we may prefer. Sometimes, though, our investments are immediately calculable.

Just like switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle will result in immediately realized gains at the gas pump, and retrofitting facilities with water-saving devices or LED lighting will positively impact utility bills, there will always be opportunities to gain from an appropriate amount of prudent investment.

Enlisting the service of an off-site telephone failover system like PBX Parachute allows you to mirror your existing system as we discussed recently. What you may not have known, however, is how you can realize gains from employing PBX Parachute even without a system failure or emergency.

There comes a point for every business where you can no longer divert valuable time and energy into certain tasks, and so finding economical ways to outsource them becomes paramount. Kara Taylor, VP of IS at Qualstar Credit Union in Redmond, Washington, was in such a position when her company of about 100 employees enlisted PBX Parachute to cover their nearly 100,000 inbound calls a month. Her savings were immediately realized. “The solution allowed us to greatly reduce our communications disaster recovery time from potentially hours to less than minutes and in so doing, virtually removed IS from managing another system in a recovery situation.”

You can read the entire case study from Qualstar and learn more about PBX Parachute from one of our experts in San Jose, but one thing you can’t do, however, is let your Information Security team off of the hook without PBX Parachute.

This is a Test, This is Only a Test
November 11th, 2014

RCA Indian Head Test PatternShould this have been a real emergency we probably wouldn’t be sitting around chatting, would we? We all recognize this phrase, and for some of us, it may not represent much more than a slight nuisance during our favorite TV or radio programs. The truth is that these periodic tests of the Emergency Alert System (formerly the Emergency Broadcast System) are designed to maintain a nationwide communications network should there ever be the need for delivering critical messages on a massive scale. While that’s a rather bleak notion, it’s also emblematic of something that is equally critical for businesses to consider implementing.

In a recent blog, we stressed the importance of designing, testing, and adopting a Business Continuity Plan and many of our subscribers have since begun that process. That’s a fantastic way to keep your doors open for business during an emergency. Furthermore, it prevents customers and prospects from guessing whether or not you are available or, worse yet, moving on to a competitor. It’s great that you can set your business up for success under any circumstance, but what about the wellbeing of your employees? How do you address their needs if their safety is in question? PBX Parachute can provide access to messages for your workforce in addition to keeping the lines of communication open to the public.

With a few very simple steps, you can prerecord any type of general emergency instructions for your employees and program them to be available on a special hotline as soon as the automatic failover system springs into action. That hotline number can be shared with your employees beforehand but it becomes available when the failover system is activated, thus eliminating the possibility for false alarms. And seeing as how PBX Parachute replicates your primary phone system and can also forward calls to extensions, your employees can both access the emergency hotline and get their inbound calls from a remote location away from any danger. Furthermore, from the convenience of your vConsole, you can also record situation-specific instructions and update the message in real time, making sure your team always has the most important and time-critical information right when they need it.

You’ve put too much into developing your team to put them in harm’s way. Get in touch with our business continuity experts to see how PBX Parachute can help you protect your most important investment- your employees. PBX Parachute helps you do that, test pattern not required.