General Telephony

Introducing the All New Dash!

All New Dash for BusinessThis is a big day. Almost two decades of experience, mountains of customer feedback, dozens of seasoned telephony experts, UI/UX designers, usage analysis, countless hours of work, testing, and a small ocean of coffee went into making today a reality. Today we are proud to introduce you to Dash, our fastest, cleanest, and easiest to use business phone solution ever.

No Engineering Degree Required

The powerful Dash platform is unique in many ways, none more noticeable than in the modern, sleek design and intuitive navigation that sets it apart from existing VoIP interfaces. By learning from how people interact with their personal communications platforms, we were able to introduce a much-needed simplicity to the way businesses set-up their telephone systems.

Everything You Need, Nothing You Don’t

The all-new Dash is more agile than ever, but still packs a mean punch. By focusing on the key features that provide a real performance benefit for most companies, Dash has been able to remarkably reduce the lag that more lumbering, antiquated systems suffer from. However, just because Dash caters to the bell curve doesn’t mean that you can’t power your growing business to anywhere it needs to go. With new integrations, intelligent Ring Groups, the popular Auto Attendant and so much more, Dash has the firepower it takes to rocket your company forward.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. Start now by familiarizing yourself with the gorgeous new interface and robust feature set of Dash by comparing business VoIP plans. If you still want to learn more, you can also arrange for a private tour through the world of hosted telecom with one of our Unified Communications Experts. No matter how you choose to discover Dash, we’re sure that you’ll never look at your old telephone system the same way again!

Fall In Love With VoIP

Valentine's Day Fall In Love With VoIPLet’s just get a couple of things out of the way right now. First, guys if you don’t know, Valentine’s Day is one week after the Super Bowl. Use the big game as a reminder and don’t forget it, trust me on this one. Second, as much as you are going to enjoy the way VirtualPBX can improve your work life, it will do nothing for your love life. To be clear, gifting VoIP to your significant other will probably hurt things at home, but I’m not about to discourage you from trying. Judgment-free zone.

Now that we covered those two items, we’re ready to hop into what will surely be the best decision you ever made; the day you decided to make it official and commit to VoIP for your business!

  • Trust is the Foundation – With operational downtime reduced to nearly non-existent times, VirtualPBX is the business partner you can trust.
  • Willing to Grow – Because all of the features on VirtualPBX VoIP plans are hosted in the cloud, there is no resistance to change when it’s time to grow your system.
  • Anticipates Your NeedsFollow Me Calling assures that even if you have unexpected travels, your telephone system can bring your office with you.
  • There For You When You Need It – With award-winning Support located right here in sunny California, you know that VirtualPBX is in it for the long haul.

No matter what you’re looking for in a business partner, VirtualPBX has the flexibility, the willingness, and the character of one you can trust. We’re a family here at VirtualPBX and we treat each one of our customers just as they were one of us. At the pillar of our core values is the immutable commitment to doing the right thing, so if you think we’re taking this “partner” analogy a bit far, I can assure you that we couldn’t possibly take it far enough.

To remind you one more time before we close, enjoy the game this weekend, but please remember to pre-order some flowers or something. Also, while you’re at it, set-aside a couple of minutes to explore what else (besides a fulfilling and reliable partner, of course) VirtualPBX’s hosted telephone service can offer your business this Valentine’s Day.

Super Bowl Hangover

Super Bowl L makes work from home a need for businessI know, the big game hasn’t even been played yet, what am I talking about a hangover for? Because here in the Bay Area the Super Bowl actually seemed to begin about three weeks ago. Everything from skyscraper-sized sponsor spots to a crop of concerts, tapings, and events has driven much of already congested veins of traffic on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose to a decisive, grinding halt. Granted that for an area of sports fans as ravenous as the Bay Area, this is a fine problem to have, while the myriad sideshows of the Super Bowl rage on, the impact that they have on the day-to-day of the bustling local economy is significant. That’s why, even now well in advance of kickoff, Super Bowl L is already beginning to feel like a party that we’ve stayed too long at.

Employee Benefits

If there’s one thing that business in San Francisco is known for, it’s for being progressive. From the notoriously casual work attire to the much reported-on perks and lifestyle integrations like dog-friendliness and ping-pong, startup culture is hallmarked by as much leisure as venture capital. So it’s no surprise when the first reports of Super Bowl work hours and office schedules began to surface. Even the older, stuffier industries in the Financial District of San Francisco have taken to loosening the reins and allowing for flexible work-from-home (WFH) options to employees who need to traverse the seemingly endless expanse of road closures and security checkpoints leading into Super Bowl City.

Tools for Everyone

Sure, you’ll say, these fancy venture-backed upstarts have all the tools available to them in the world, of course they are working from home. They probably all have home offices and computers bought for them by their boss, King Midas! No, that’s not exactly the case. In fact, more of the companies in the Bay Area are switching to lower cost, hosted communications systems each day. While the cost of their office space may suggest otherwise, most of the companies here are in dire need of cutting costs just like anywhere, and they’ve found that the reliability and flexibility of hosted telephone systems have proven to be an indispensable part of their communications strategy. It’s these unified communications strategies that allow for the flexibility to react to environmental conditions that impact employees. Conditions like say, about 1,000,000 people flooding into streets that were built for a fraction of that and are already burdened well beyond their capacity. This is totally a hypothetical, but for instance, if that happened it would probably warrant a late arrival at the least.

Getting Started

You don’t have to pull up stakes and head west to get in on this sweet WFH action. You don’t even need to need to be worried about the single biggest annual sporting event on the planet clogging-up your streets to try and get a Get Out of Jail Free card. All you need to do is make the switch to a hosted telephone platform for your own business. By doing that you’ll empower yourself and your employees to work quickly and efficiently from anywhere on the planet that they can find a data or internet connection. Plus, because WFH has been proven to boost engagement and employee satisfaction, switching to VoIP now may also be the best thing you’ve done for you business in a while.

No matter where you (or we) may find ourselves working from over the next several days, however, we’re always available for any of your questions or concerns right here in sunny California. So sign up for a personal tour of our cloud communications, follow us on Twitter, or simply read more to learn how the future of advanced communications for your business isn’t as out-of-reach as you may think. And go Broncos.

Protect ya Neck – Texts, Drugs, & Encryption Trolls

Texts Drugs EncryptionIn this series of blogs we 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.

Videos covering the recapture of international drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán are sensational to say the least. What video hasn’t captured, however, was the intricate web of deception, misdirection, and subterfuge that the Justice Department says would have been rendered ineffective if large tech companies would be willing to work with them in creating backdoors in the same encryption designed to protect consumers. Add to the situation an Academy Award-winning actor and guest reporter for Rolling Stone and his attempts to conceal a secret interview and, needless to say, this is going to cover some serious ground.

The Notorious C-H-A-P-O

The rabbit hole that you could tumble down when beginning an online search for information on Guzmán is deep and seemingly endless. In the interest of brevity, you can rest assured that Guzmán’s empire was large enough for him to hit Forbes’ Most Powerful People list three years in a row in addition to being only the second person since a certain Alfonse Capone to be the city of Chicago’s Public Enemy Number One. Oh yeah, that dubious distinction persists in spite of Guzmán never actually having ever set foot in Chicago. What does all this mean? It means that Guzmán is a bad dude, with world’s-richest-caliber deep pockets, and that there were huge international agencies working overtime to stop and catch him. So how then did Sean Penn get to sit down with him for Rolling Stone Magazine?

Let Investigators Handle Investigative Reporting

Let’s get it straight, I love Sean Penn as an actor and believe that he could make any on-screen depiction of a spy or undercover journalist come alive in a convincing and compelling fashion. However, any person who describes himself as, “the single most technologically illiterate man left standing,” is probably not going to successfully cover his tracks while navigating an elaborate web of coded messages, burner phones, and encrypted emails. Plus, I’m no expert but come on, he’s Sean Penn, and someone might recognize him. To take it back to where we began, Penn and Rolling Stone got their interview and (gasp) the DEA and Mexican Authorities got Guzmán. What isn’t immediately evident is how this whole process affects the privacy of the everyday communications of us non-billionaire drug kingpins or Hollywood actors.

The Government Squeeze

SurveillanceThe bad news is that we live in a world where terror attacks are planned and executed using many of the same tools that working folks are familiar with. The good news is that we have truly massive networks of surveillance monitoring suspicious activity to try and hunt these people down before they can act. And the not-yet-clear-how-it-will-fall news is that there’s another battle being waged over the creators of that technology and the government agencies that are tasked with tracking down the bad guys over who gets the keys to the car. Members of the Justice Department, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and representatives from the biggest technology companies in the world including Apple CEO Tim Cook are in Silicon Valley discussing encryption. Specifically being debated is how secure is too secured for how we share our data?

Obviously, the government wants to be able to listen in on what’s going on in the world. Heck, if it weren’t for those pesky Fourth Amendment rights of ours, we wouldn’t even need the controversial USA PATRIOT Act to argue over the rights versus safety debate, but we do and the argument is spilling off of the phone and into the computer at these talks. The government wants for tech leaders to create back doors to all of the modern encryption methods being used by everyone from banks to students and, yes, even to those on the other side of the law. This is all basically a way to have encryption methods be, by design, less encrypted. Sure it would make it easier to snoop on people who have been identified as threats, but it would also make data security inherently less secure for the rest of us. A sticky wicket indeed.

PICNIC

For anyone in IT or Customer Support, this is an oldie but a goodie and it stands for “Problem In Chair, Not In Computer,” and is also an interesting argument against softening encryption standards. Additionally, the tech companies aren’t alone in their defense of their technology with former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden actually arguing against the creation of back doors to our data. The point Hayden makes is simple monitoring is not what being an intelligence agency is all about. Our clandestine services have available to them all manner of advanced tools and techniques to combat narco-terrorism like Guzmán’s, and therefore they aren’t hamstrung to relying on only sift through digital communications alone. What are some of those advanced techniques, you ask? Some of them aren’t as impressive as you may expect from the sweet ejector seat-equipped Aston Martin of James Bond, unfortunately, but suffice to say mostly it involves the single consistently imperfect aspect of data encryption- the people using it. In Guzmán’s case, relying on an actor to handle the sensitive information in how to contact and meet with his organization (much less having him cross the border undetected) wasn’t a good first step.

How Does This Affect Me?

Just like we have warned about plenty of times before, the majority of threats that we face as daily users of technology are crimes of opportunity, meaning that if we don’t make ourselves easy targets, the criminals tend to move on to easier prey. The first thing I would recommend to protect yourself from any third party or governments listening in on your conversations is to not be a terrorist or drug lord, after that step things get a lot easier. The next thing to focus on, and it’s ridiculous how frequently we need to mention this, is maintain proper password protection protocols at all time. We have some easy to follow password best practices to go by but start off by thinking about passwords as phrases, not single words, never use pet or family names, and don’t reuse them for multiple accounts. And if you ever use “password” as your password, I really hope you’re also running a terror cell because you’ll be pretty easy to catch. All kidding aside, please take care of yourselves and each other out there. With just a little bit of effort you can protect your information from folks who would want to do you harm (or violate your privacy!), so do yourself the favor and put these best practices to good use.

Stay safe out there and remember to Protect ya Neck!

The Future is Here – CES 2016 & Routers for Business

Futuristic Routers For BusinessDo you remember images of concept cars from the Atomic Age? The vision of the future back then was filled with spaceship styling and Jetson’s amenities. What’s truly incredible about expositions where science is heading or could take us is that often times the result is something so fantastic it’s difficult to even wrap our heads around. The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show is much like the futuristic auto shows of the 50’s and 60’s, but it’s safe to say the style of things to come has changed significantly.

Astro Couldn’t Chase These Cars

Long gone are the days of bubble cabs and exaggerated fins, today it’s all about low profile speed. What remains a big part of CES 2016 is that, like most trade shows, it highlights the biggest, brawniest, and most intelligent advancements in virtually every area of our lives and businesses. Unfortunately, many of the products that are displayed at this and other expos are still unattainable for many people due to cost, availability, or production challenges. But not all of them.

Netgear Nighthawk

No, that’s not the password to get into some awesome after-hours nightclub, it’s the name of one of the most advanced family of routers in the world and it just introduced it’s newest addition at CES 2016. Being heralded as the one router that could eliminate lag from your browsing and streaming experience, the new Netgear Nighthawk X4S 6200 is one of the gems of CES 2016 so far. If that weren’t enough, the new 6200 retains the aggressive, evocative styling of the Nighthawk family is known for. While these new models are also subject to the hit-and-miss availability that plagues most shiny new “it” products, the good thing is that we’ve included Nighhawk routers in our recommended routers for business listings and came prepared to handle the boost in popularity they now enjoy. I’d love to be cliché and say that we’ve been into the Nighthawk router since way before it was cool, but it has always been cool.

If you’re ready to rocket your company’s network into a whole new level of speed, you can begin right now. Start by making sure you have the right routers for business, review your bandwidth performance, and to totally optimize your cloud-based business tools a complete Network Health Check is the best investment to make in ensuring that you’re getting everything you can out of your connection. Still have questions? Schedule a completely personalized and always free guided tour through the world of network optimization and take the first step towards slapping some fins and a bubble cab onto your own business.

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