Why Small Business Owners Should Switch to VoIP
Does your small business utilize landlines? Do you have more employees working remotely than ever before? Whatever stage your small business is in – you could benefit significantly from Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP. VoIP gives small businesses the freedom to answer calls wherever they are, using the internet. VoIP is the perfect solution for small businesses looking to grow their operations with increased flexibility and easy scalability.
There are numerous VoIP benefits for small businesses and companies of any size. Utilizing VoIP gives businesses the ability to stay connected wherever they are. If you move offices, you won’t have to worry about transferring landlines. Setting up new lines is simple, making it easy for your phone services to grow with your business.
Once you learn more about VoIP, it will be obvious why it’s such a good choice for small businesses. Here are just a few more reasons why you should consider switching your small business to VoIP:
- Increased mobility and flexibility for employees.
- Improved connectivity during web and audio conferencing.
- Easy to scale when your business grows.
- Straightforward integrations with Microsoft Teams, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and other programs.
- Text and SMS capabilities.
- Worldwide coverage possible.
- Improved reliability and responsiveness from traditional landlines.
- Low cost and unique features.
What is VoIP?
If you’ve never heard of VoIP, you might be wondering how it works. The concept is simple: voice data is digitized and sent over the internet. VoIP, or hosted phones, enable small businesses to make and receive calls over the internet, using various devices. Whether your company operates using laptops, tablets, smartphones, or a combination of devices, you will be able to stay connected with business VoIP.
The only thing your small business needs to use VoIP is an internet connection. Hosted phones use bandwidth only when needed, unlike traditional phones that use circuit switching. VoIP allows small businesses to send voice, video, and data over the internet. It offers a very affordable phone option that can keep your employees connected and mobile.
Why Make the Switch to VoIP?
Small business VoIP solutions are second to none. There are so many reasons to consider switching your business phones from traditional landlines to hosted phones. Listed below are a handful of VoIP benefits your company will enjoy when you make the transition.
Mobility and Flexibility
VoIP for small business offers mobility and flexibility that you can’t find with traditional landlines. Do your employees travel often? Are people working across different devices, whether at home or in the office? These are all reasons to make the switch to hosted phones. With VoIP, your employees can make and receive calls wherever they are – as long as there is an internet connection.
Staying connected has never been easier, with emerging technologies and the rise of remote working. Giving your employees the ability to be mobile and flexible thanks to VoIP will lead to increased productivity. As technology improves, so should your phone lines. Employees will be able to use a variety of devices with VoIP, from tablets to laptops to mobile phones.
Does your team utilize CRM, Outlook, or Microsoft Teams? Then you’re in luck. VoIP can easily integrate with these programs and more so that your team stays as productive as ever.
Business VoIP offers improved connectivity during web and audio conferencing. More small businesses than ever before are utilizing video calls to stay connected and productive, especially if employees are working from home. When you have VoIP, you don’t have to worry about spotty connections during these important work calls.
Grows With You
It can be an absolute headache to add lines with traditional landlines. Often your service provider will have to come out to your office or workspace and add the lines manually. This is such a hassle for businesses that need to get employees up and running right away.
One of the best small business VoIP benefits is the scalability hosted phones offer. It takes no time at all to set up a new line when you have a team member join. Whoever has access to the admin portal can add their line. It’s so straightforward and simple! Plus, you won’t have to buy a new hardwire or get stuck arranging your office to coordinate with phone plug-ins. If you ever move offices, your hosted phones can easily move with you.
Small businesses won’t believe how many amazing features they will have access to with hosted phones. From text and SMS capabilities to worldwide coverage, it’s easy to see why so many small businesses are making the switch to VoIP.
Here are a few of the features you can enjoy with VoIP for small business:
- Mobile management
- One-line sharing on multiple phones/devices
- Ring groups
- Voicemail to Email or Text
- Automated attendant
- Caller ID and call blocking, forwarding, waiting, and transferring
- Conference calling
- Contact Center/Call Center
- Fax to Email
- Hold music
- Web-based system administration
Traditional phones are not always reliable, especially after a storm or other event that causes power outages. It is often hard to contact your provider and get a clear answer about when your phones will return. With hosted phones, you don’t have to worry about that. All you need is a reliable internet connection to stay available.
Last but not least, cost always matters when it comes to small business budgeting. Choosing VoIP means lower costs than traditional phone lines. Most small businesses already have a reliable internet connection. Installing a hosted phone system doesn’t take much more, and adding lines is inexpensive. VoIP is a great deal for small businesses because it offers a low-cost option for phone and video calls.
Choosing VoIP for Your Small Business
Small business VoIP solutions offer companies a flexible hosted phone plan that can grow with your business. There are great VoIP benefits for small business operations, like easy integrations that boost employee productivity and features like hold music and an automated attendant. You won’t regret making the switch to VoIP.
Phone Systems For Small Business: Minneapolis Telecommunication
Integrated Communications strives to bring connectivity and optimization to phone systems for small business in Minneapolis and beyond. We serve the greater Twin Cities area, supplying the most capable local, long distance, conferencing and business phone systems in Minnesota. Our customer service reputation is unmatched, and with a 98 percent client retention rate, we will guarantee your satisfaction with our proven process. Read on to see how our free consulting services will improve your Minneapolis small business telecommunication issues.
Locally Focused – Nationally Recognized
When you partner with Integrated Communications, your small business receives over two decades of expertise in the communications industry. On top of that, you will be paired with a national network provider; relationships we have developed over several years so we can give our clients the most network options possible. Rest assured that when we take on a project, we will provide you with unbiased consulting to best serve your company’s interests.
We serve all cities and suburbs in the greater Minneapolis area, continuing our mission of working with small businesses and commercial entities alike. In Golden Valley, we serve small business telecommunications by positioning ourselves as the best source of local, long distance and conferencing business phone solutions.
Over the past 5 years, we have seen a shift from hardware-based phone platforms to software-based phone systems. While Integrated Communications still hosts both of these, the trend is continuing, making installation, service and upkeep much easier – while also saving you a lot of money. Whether or not you will need one platform or the other depends on your business’ wants and needs, but we guarantee that our recommendation will be finely attuned to meet both of these for you.
Phone Systems For Small Business Minneapolis
Integrated Communications prides itself on serving your small business with distinguished telecommunication services. Our phone systems for small business Minneapolis and in the encompassing Twin Cities Area will cure all the connectivity issues you are facing. Call us locally at (763) 201-8000 for a free consultation in optimization solutions today.
Three Reasons Why the Business Telephone is More Important Than Ever
More companies than ever are using VOIP (voice over internet protocol) or allowing employees to “bring your own device” and use smartphones on the job. With options like this at the disposal of an organization, is there a need for standard business phone systems any longer? Actually, a regular telephone line is still an important investment for most businesses. Consider these three reasons why having a business phone service is important for your organization.
Business Phone Systems Offer Quality – While smartphones and internet telephone options are convenient and often affordable, the audio quality does not compare to the quality of a standard business phone service. This is important if you use the phone to conduct business internationally–it can be very difficult to understand the other person talking if the line is not clear.
These Systems are Secure – When you are in a business that deals with confidential information, you want to protect the integrity of the data you share by phone. A quality business phone system is easier to secure and protect against wiretapping devices than a simple cellular phone.
A Business Phone Service Grows With You – Even if your company is on the small side right now, choosing a good system will allow you to expand it as the company grows. Right now you may only need a line or two, but these systems can be expanded to allow for dozens of lines across multiple locations.
These reasons are only the beginning. Having a “landline” phone for your business may not be one of the latest trends in technology, but it is an important way to make sure your company operates at the top of its game. Finding a company that can provide business phone systems, as well as a full-scale internet solution is a great option for the business owner who wants to save time, money and effort while he or she puts a company-wide communications plan together in or around Minneapolis or the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
Minneapolis Phone Systems: Calling All Businesses To Optimize Now
At Integrated Communications, we provide industry-leading phone system services throughout Minneapolis and the surrounding areas. We adapt strongly to emerging technology. We strive to bring you products that will outperform and outlast our competitors. If you’re considering updating your current business phone system or installing your first, we’re guessing you have some questions. Let us take it from here.
Integrated Communications has been offering Minneapolis phone systems, Internet services and conferencing solutions to local businesses for more than 20 years. A partnership with us means that you will receive not only those 20+ years of expertise, but also strong ties to local and national network providers. Our relationship with carriers and vendors has valuably progressed over the past two decades, allowing us to provide our clients throughout the greater Minneapolis area with an unbiased variety of network solutions for their business phone system needs.
Like we said, we adapt–strongly. Over the past half decade or so, Minneapolis phone systems have started moving from a traditional hardware-based platform, to a software-based system. Both traditional PBX platforms are hardware and software based, but emerging today are hosted platforms that make it easier to service, install and update. We offer both and will hook you up with the most appropriate system for you.
We tailor your phone system to your business’ needs and goals. By checking out your specific connectivity demands, how many employees you have and our product options, we’ll consult you on vendor choice, order your services, proactively coordinate installs and partner with you throughout the contract and its subsequent renewals.
Integrated Communications will provide you with the preeminent telecommunication services we have built a nearly-flawless reputation upon. Visit our areas served page to see the Twin Cities area locations we directly provide Internet, VoIP and phone system support to. Or, give us a call locally at (763) 201-8000 to for a free consultation in telecom solutions today.
How to Protect Your PBX System from Fraud
A private branch exchange (PBX) works by having a piece of hardware that acts as a switchboard, sorting, routing and connecting all the calls that use the system. It’s an enticing option because a corporation owns the PBX system, not a phone company, and can cut the cost of having to get a specific phone line for each user in the organization’s central office. But despite its simple and straightforward approach, PBX hasn’t ignited the public’s attention the way the telephone first did.
There are two basic kinds of telecom fraud: PBX fraud (DISA), and voicemail fraud. With the first one, PBX (direct inward system access), fraudsters sell the PBX lines to third-party operators who sell long-distance at a high profit. Because these calls look the same to the service or equipment providers, all an intruder has to do is use a system command to get a dial tone. Once they’ve done that, they make long-distance calls on behalf of those selling them for profit.
A really simple way to help prevent this is to use access codes in your PBX system. As businesses grow and acquire more people, requiring each employee to input an authorization code or smart password can drastically cut down on the amount of long-distance hacks that take place after business hours. You can also block long-distance calls to the Caribbean, one of the biggest hotspots where long-distance calling fraud occurs.
By far, the most common type of telecom fraud to take place is through a PBX system’s voicemail. But whereas an intruder committing PBX fraud would use a system command to place long-distance calls, here they would do so via voicemail. And once they get the dial tone, they’ve successfully commandeered your PBX system for their own profit and benefit.
Having a complex voicemail password, changing it on a regular basis, and using the maximum number of characters are three of the easiest ways to cut down on voicemail fraud happening to your PBX system. Another is to delete a mailbox when an employee leaves the company because the longer the mailbox is not attended to (and the password left unchanged), the easier it is to hack into it. You can also limit the voicemail to internal calling so third parties have a much more difficult time accessing your PBX system voicemail.
Although there’s no foolproof method of protecting your PBX system against fraud, you can make it just about impossible for third parties to intrude. And remember to always monitor and analyze activity because the more in tune you are with your PBX system, the less chance there is of fraud taking place.
For all of your business PBX and telecommunications needs, contact Integrated Communications today.
Homegrown Telecom: Business Internet MN
Near and far our toys and our cars are shipped and sold to us from out-of-State and out-of-Country. While this has been great for the consumer wishing to lower their overall spend, it isn’t great for the consumer who incurs problems and needs to get a hold of the manufacturer or have their issues solved in a timely fashion. Telecom, IT, and other technology facets, these days, seem to be no different; businesses big and small are working with carriers and vendors who are “housed” in another area.
Is this a problem?
Well, as these carriers grow and expand into uncharted territories, their appreciation and attentiveness for their clients depletes significantly. Calls being made by a client to their provider are being handled outside of the local sector and businesses are starting to experience extreme down-times as they wait for their connectivity issues and/or business needs to be handled – oftentimes incurring endless “on-hold” hours.
How can this be avoided?
Stay homegrown! Many businesses are beginning to turn back to their local providers and/or agents (such as business internet MN master-agent Integrated Communications) to handle their business’ services and voice and data needs. IT companies such as Velocity Tech Solutions are seeing the change and it’s becoming a huge factor for many local and multi-site businesses. Anne Tarantino of Velocity Tech Solutions (2013) notes, “Big businesses are competitive and are taking many local vendors out of the market; but, things are starting to shift back towards the use of local vendors as people realize the satisfaction, customer service, and timeliness with big businesses just isn’t there”.
If you are a business looking to ensure your needs are met and issues are being handled instantly, then you need to go homegrown. Integrated Communications has partnered with many local voice and data carriers, as well as phone and IT vendors to ensure your business has the proper resources just around the block. Call us at 763-443-7009 for questions regarding our homegrown style of business and the partners we love.
*Velocity Tech Solutions is a partner IT vendor of Integrated Communications – located out of Spring Lake Park, MN
A Business Phone System Memoir – Music on Hold
Hi, I’m your new business phone system. I’ve done my due-diligence by answering calls, recording important messages, forwarding my direct calls to your cell phone, and have even taken the time to show you who’s on another call! But, what about when you put me on hold; why is it so silent?
Studies have shown that 50% of callers hang up after 20 seconds of silence, and 90% of callers hang up after 40 seconds of silence. Most callers will assume silence for disconnection. Music on hold can help to reiterate your companies’ impeccable customer service, intrigue your clientele to stay and wait for you, as well as ensure no miscommunication has occurred in the process. Can you afford to lose a sale due to complete and utter silence?
According to Maratona Communications (a dedicated partner company), U.S. laws currently in tact protect copyright owners from unlawful use of their music; using music on hold requires permission from the owner of the copyrighted music. Amy Johnson (2013) states, “If you want to use copyrighted music, you must obtain permission from the owner. This includes playing CDs, MP3s and the radio. Currently, performance rights societies such as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC will sell blanket permission to use music titles in their catalog for MOH purpose, for an annual fee that is calculated by size of your business and the frequency of usage” (Maratona Communications). However, “side-stepping” these incredulous music licenses and fees is made easy with the customizable music oh hold Maratona Communications purchases directly from the composer – they are able to convert the music into any digital format to be integrated seamlessly with your current business phone system. Johnson (2013) continues, “Our writers can also record custom messages using our in-house voiceover talent, using your existing script or one we write for you. Many companies offer canned royalty free songs for you to choose from. At Maratona, we do have our standard music options, but we will also customize a song to meet your individual needs, making your on-hold music unique to your company” (Maratona Communications).
Call Integrated Communications today @ 763-201-8028 to set-up a live demo of Maratona Communications’ music on hold and the many customizable options offered for your business phone system!
Understanding Business Phone Systems #Training
Selecting a business phone system can be hard work – but, is that the hardest part? For many of our customers, ongoing training and/or initial comprehension of the product purchased seems to be an evaporating offering by business phone systems vendors and telecom carriers. The big WOW factor comes into play during the phone demo you and your executives sit through, but, once you’ve inked their papers it’s all very “thank you, come again”; it doesn’t have to be that way! In fact, at Integrated we partner with business phone systems providers who will ensure your company’s employees are well versed with the product purchased, as well as training a system administrator who may be put in charge of handling small changes with your new phone system.
If you are apprehensive about understanding your new business phone system, be sure to speak with your provider or telecom agent prior to purchase to guarantee they will offer you and your staff proper training. Check out our recommended business phone system provider if you are looking for a company that will be with you 100% of the way, guiding you through your new technology purchase.
Recommended for Excellent Phone System Training:
Company Name: Cutting Edge Communications
Business Phone Systems: AVAYA
Training Offered: SMB Market, Corporate Training – for end users and system administrators
Services Offered: Phone Systems, Structured Wiring, Programming, Training, Video Surveillance, Staging Preparation, Legacy Equipment Maintenance and Repair, Maintenance Plans, Firewall Security and VPN…
*A great provider should always offer your company a review of their product, a demo of their product, and training after implementation of their product – never settle for less.
Hacking – Your PBX Phone System at Risk
Hacking is a term we relate as a potential danger for our personal banking information, social media accounts, etc… Unfortunately, hacking goes beyond our individual assets and can affect the businesses we operate and utilize on a daily basis – no business is safe being hacked, including Billion dollar companies and banks (Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and even the Government is at a constant risk). If you are a business owner and/or IT administrator of any sorts, it is extremely imperative that you defend and secure your companies’ PBX phone system. We have all heard of the hackers that break-in through your voice mail due to poor password protection and give themselves international privileges on your company’s dime, but, what about the new age of VoIP phone systems hackers? Are you prepared to combat the new wave of one-click internet hackers out to get you for every penny you’ve got? Be prepared for both!
Here are a few tips from the experts we work with on securing your PBX phone system.
– Understand your provider.
According to Carl Wallin of Acticor Technologies (a phone vendor in the Twin Cities – check them out @ www.acticor.com), hacking has become a huge issue over the past few years – especially with the expansion of VOIP. One of their current customers’ phone system was hacked and as a result they were billed for over $8,000.00; unfortunately, the provider they were with at the time gave no lea-way or “grace”, so-to-speak, in that type of situation and the company was left to pay for the entire bill. Wallin suggests knowing what your provider’s protocols are in those particular situations: “speak with your voice provider ASAP regarding their preventative and quantitative measures for detecting and combating hackers. There are definitely providers I would not suggest for these exact reasons, and others that have developed and maintained software for these circumstances and are better equip to handle a disaster before it occurs, as well as prepared to tackle the aftermath of the hacking calamity if something were to transpire”. The Allworx system, provided by Acticor, addresses the issue of hacking and has impeccable software to protect against the lurking dangers of outside influences on your phone system.
– Understand the target.
Hackers do not generally target any of your “regular” phones – they target your 3rd party, generic extensions…your break room PBX, conference PBX, Android/I-phone applications, etc… Be sure to password protect ALL equipment used for your business, and speak with your providers about what they do for hacking detection and prevention. Default passwords just do NOT cut-it anymore. It’s time to move beyond the default password (you know – the 1234 or 0000) and create a sound password that is not easily detected or hacked by a computer.
– Understand Security Audits.
Regularly check and maintain security authorizations on your network and your PBX phone system. Be sure to remind your employees on a scheduled basis to implement a new password for both their phone (voice-mail) and their internet security check-points. Hospitals, as well as banks and other businesses requiring immense protection due to protocol and patient/customer privacy should be sure to place prompts on their employees’ system to activate a password change every few months.
Speak further with your telecom agent, phone provider, and vendor to make sure you and your company are protected from hackers and unwanted billing.