VoIP is a mature technology and businesses of all sizes are taking advantage of its benefits. In fact, hosted telephony has been around longer than you think. BT Centrex was an early example in the 1980s.
We understand there’s a lot to consider. If you are auditing your business telephony and considering making the move to hosted VoIP or VoIP connectivity, look before your leap. Here are 5 key considerations.
1. CHECK YOUR DATA CONNECTIVITY
Without good data connectivity, VoIP performance is hampered. Make sure to test your internet connection to determine you can have quality ADSL for voice traffic, or if your existing ADSL can handle voice traffic as upload speed is critical.
Upload speed is measured in megabytes per second (Mbps). This is the actual bandwidth that is available on your computer.
2. UNDERSTAND SERVICE AND NETWORK CONFIGURATIONS
Technology can be complicated or as simple as you want, and when it comes to VoIP, it’s easy to let the provider do what they think is best. To make sure they are making the best decisions for your service, here’s some points to investigate. Make sure the VoIP provider prioritises voice over data on a network not router level. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a SLA (service level agreement) for your Voice ADSL/EFM/FTTC/Ethernet, as normal ADSL doesn’t have any SLA. Be aware that any ADSL connection that carries on a single analogue line will require up to 2 weeks to settle to find the actual speed before you can run voice over it.
3. CHECK THE HOSTED TELEPHONE SYSTEM INFRASTRUCTURE
Choosing your hosted VoIP provider is just as important as making the choice to move to VoIP in the first place. Ask questions to make sure the provider you choose has infrastructure that is up to task. Ask where the hosted system resides, in which data center. Make sure the 2nd or the 3rd dataswitch is not in the same data center or in a different country. All of these factors impact the resilience and performance of the system.
4. CHECK THE SECURITY AROUND THE SERVICE
There are many VoIP providers who are now are offering VoIP without investing in the security of the service. Today, Toll Fraud is more prevalent and costing the UK more than Credit Card Fraud. Any good VoIP platform should be able to offer you Toll Fraud, which means they can pick up on high call volumes and shut the system down (your system). This can be done with a cap on call spend. As soon as spend hits that cap, no one will be able to make any calls. Most companies only alert you about the Fraud, which is too late, and you are liable for any excess call charges. Make sure the VoIP service provider you use has security measures in place to prevent Toll Fraud.
Also, if you have voicemail, make sure you use minimum 5 digit for your password and change the password on regular bases to avoid any hacking.
No two hosted VoIP providers are the same. Make sure the provider you choose can offer the service you require. Check out the responsiveness of their support. The last thing you want is to be held in a queue if your telephony is experiencing quality issues or worse, service outages.
The benefits of VoIP are vast. The technology is scalable, making it easy to expand as your business grows. It’s also easier to keep up to advancing technology as your investment in hardware is kept to a minimum. This of course reduces your capital costs. VoIP is also easy to implement, compared to traditional telephony. It’s also easier to maintain. A hosted solution means that your provider deals with it. There’s no need for you to worry about if your window server application will need to be refreshed for your hosted telephony. VoIP also ensures disaster recovery and should be at the core of any well-planned disaster recovery strategy.
The reality is that VoIP can represent a big opportunity for businesses, but it doesn’t necessarily suit all. If you need any more help making the decision to move to VoIP or choosing the right VoIP solution for you, contact us now for a no obligation discussion about VoIP. We are only a call away and we are happy to help.