What Are the Most Helpful VoIP Features for Small Businesses?

Just five or six years ago, VoIP was still considered a “different” type of business phone system—one that wasn’t the norm. The pandemic, however, changed that way of thinking. Firewell Technology Solutions believes that Internet-based phone systems aren’t simply the norm now—they’re mandatory for business continuity.

During the pandemic, VoIP and video conferencing have skyrocketed by over 210%. This is largely due to the move to remote work and hybrid offices. Sixty-seven percent of surveyed companies say switching to VoIP helps improve call handling.

So, no longer is the business phone system tied to a physical location. This enables fluid management of a business with staff spread out over many locations.

Additionally, VoIP significantly reduces costs for businesses. The technology is much cheaper to use than a traditional landline-based system. Calling plans are also often less expensive, and a company can add new numbers for very little cost.

VoIP has several helpful features for small businesses. But owners are busy and may not have time to have all of them enabled.

What are the best features to drive efficiency, productivity, and positive caller experience?

Here are some of the best features of cloud-based business phone systems to leverage.

Automated Attendant

In many small companies, the person answering the phone also has a lot of other duties. You can free up that person’s time and give the caller a better experience with an automated attendant.

An auto-attendant acts as a company directory. It will forward calls to the correct department or staff member for you. Record a pleasant greeting and ask the caller a few questions. Such as, “Press or say 1 for sales, 2 for technical support,” etc.

The caller gets the person they need without having to explain why they’re calling twice. Once to the person that answers the phone and once to the person they’re transferred to.

Find Me/Follow Me

What’s the most favorite user feature for VoIP? According to 77% of surveyed employees, it’s the Find Me/Follow Me feature. This includes the ability to use a virtual phone number that is accessible from all devices. Staff can also transfer calls from one device to another with ease.

Whether you are on a PC, in a conference room, or on your smartphone, you can get your calls. This feature reduces friction and allows people to give out a single phone number. Callers can then use that number to reach the person via mobile, home office, or onsite office.

Hold Music

Playing pleasant music while your callers are on hold might seem like a small thing. But it can have a big impact on customer satisfaction and lead generation activities.

We found some eye-opening statistics from a study on hold music versus silence. In the study, researchers kept people on hold for 1 minute. Results showed:

  • On hold in silence: Over 50% of the callers hung up
  • On hold with music: Only 13% of the callers hung up

Additionally, 45% of the silent group that did not hang up thought they were on hold for 3-5 minutes. They were on hold for just one minute. While on the music side, 56% of people thought they were on hold for less than one minute.

So, you can see the power of activating that one simple feature of your VoIP system. You may notice happier customers and fewer leads hanging up before they reach anyone.

Voicemail Transcription to Email

When you’re coming out of a meeting, going through a string of voicemails can be frustrating. You have to listen to each one to figure out the people to call back first.

Voicemail to email in VoIP services, provides recorded voicemails emailed to you. This also comes with a transcription of the message. You can quickly glance through the emails and scan the text to rank callbacks. No need to listen to every message first.

Ring Groups

Ring groups are an especially helpful feature if you have a small team. It allows a group of numbers to ring simultaneously until one person in the group picks up.

This means that another staff member may be able to assist a caller, rather than them needing to leave a message. Ring groups are great to set up for sales teams, accounting teams, and customer support teams.

Call Reporting

Another bonus of VoIP phone systems over analog is that you get real-time call reporting. What are your busiest times when you need more staff? Do you have a problem with calls not getting answered fast enough?

Your call reporting can give you insight into those things and more. Make sure you check out these reports and then automate the ones you like so you’ll see them regularly.

Local Support

This isn’t a system feature, but it’s important to have. If you sign up for VoIP from a company halfway around the world, you don’t have any local support when you need it.

Having someone that can come to your office is important. They can set up VoIP desk phones and help you optimize ring groups, mobile apps, and more. Your business phone system is one of the most important pieces of technology you have. Make sure you have the local support you need to keep it operating reliably. Firewell Technology Solutions proudly offers and supports VoIP services from the top brands in the market.

Looking for Local VoIP Solutions?

Get expert VoIP services and local support. We’ll integrate your cloud-based phone system with your entire technology environment. Contact Firewell Technology Solutions today for a free consultation.

 


Featured Image Credit

This Article, adapted, has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Making Your VoIP Network Bulletproof (Six Tips to Protect Your VoIP from Cyberattacks)

 

Hardly any phone call system in a business beats VoIP when it comes to efficiency and flexibility. However, it’s not immune to cyberattacks. Discover how you can secure your VoIP ASAP.

What kind of communication system are you using for your business?

I ask because many modern-day businesses have now switched to the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This technology allows employees to perform voice calls using only their internet connection.

We here at Firewell Technology Solutions believe VoIP is a wise choice considering that using VoIP comes with several benefits to a business. Among its benefits include lower operating costs, greater convenience than traditional services, increased accessibility, higher scalability, and the ability to multitask. VoIP also comes with advanced features for teams of all sizes. VoIP is completely portable, and VoIP offers superior voice quality.

However, VoIP systems also have limitations, with cyberattacks being their number one downside.

The good news is that it’s possible to protect a business’s VoIP system from hackers. And if you already implemented this in your business, it’s not too late to secure it.

Read on to discover the most common threats to your network and tips on preventing them.

The Need for VoIP Protection

All VoIP systems require a stable internet connection to function properly. Unfortunately, their reliability on the Internet makes them vulnerable to various security issues.

Some of the most frequent ones include:

Security Issue #1: Denial of Service

Denial of Service (DoS) is a common threat to VoIP systems comprising attacks designed to shut down a machine or network and make it inaccessible for use.

When this happens, legitimate users of VoIP technology may not be able to access their information systems and devices. And call centers can be affected by lower call quality, uptime, and latency.

Security Issue #2: War Dialling

War dialing is an attack that controls the company’s private branch exchange (PBX) and scans for other phone networks. This means hackers can dial numbers and connect to modems and other extensions.

Security Issue #3: Toll Fraud

Toll fraud is a threat that consists of making calls to outside lines from a company’s existing system.

For example, hackers will dial costly international numbers intending to rack up toll charges to your business.

Security Issue #4: Phishing

This is a common threat wherein attackers send fraudulent messages designed to trick victims into revealing sensitive information. Often, the unsuspecting victims would divulge information about passwords, internal IP networks, and similar data.

Security Issue #5: Malware

This is a threat where attackers install malicious software via email or phone. A file or code gets delivered over a network and has the goal of infecting, stealing, or exploring the information contained within a system.

After infecting the system with malware, VoIP hackers can enter your network and access critical business information.

Security Issue #6: Call Interception

The call interception attacker uses unsecured networks to intercept the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) traffic that serves to initiate, maintain, and terminate real-time voice and video sessions.

A victim of a call interception attack can be redirected to another line hosted by the hacker, for example.

6 Tips for Boosting VoIP Security

Given the variety of threats imposed by attackers on VoIP systems, it’s necessary to optimize your VoIP security ASAP.

Here are 6 valuable tips to get you started.

Tip #1: Set Up a Firewall 

Secure firewalls are necessary for all VoIP systems. It’s important to make your VoIP software and hardware firewalls scan information that goes in and out of the system and ensure it’s secure.

If spam or a threat comes your way, the firewall will identify and gain control over it, shielding your system from the attack.

Also, a good firewall will allow the data packets you send to travel unhindered.

Ultimately, well-configured firewalls provide the perfect balance between open availability and security.

Tip #2: Use Strong Passwords 

Your VoIP system is no different from any other software or platform you use for handling sensitive information. For this reason, it needs to be protected with strong and regularly updated passwords.

Aim for combinations of at least 12 characters, including numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and special symbols. And for ultimate protection, go for passwords consisting of a random character series.

It’s crucial to set a password as soon as you configure your VoIP system. Otherwise, you’re likely to forget about it later.

Also, remember that some VoIP phones come with pre-set passwords—often available publicly. That’s why you should change yours as soon as you get a chance.

Ideally, try to change your passwords every three months.

Tip #3: Restrict Calling

Many VoIP attacks happen due to toll fraud. So, if your business runs locally, there’s no need to have the international call option enabled. This allows you to be on the safe side and avoid paying expensive bills you weren’t even responsible for making.

You can let your VoIP service block 1-900 numbers to avoid toll fraud.

Tip #4: Encourage Your Team to Report Suspicious Behavior 

Many of the VoIP attacks arrive due to irresponsible behavior. To prevent this from happening, educate your team on how they can best do their job without affecting the system’s security.

For starters, they should know how to spot unusual network activity, handle passwords, and report suspicious behavior. They should also report ghost calls and missing voicemails whenever received. Staff also shouldn’t store voicemail for too long.

The reality is that sometimes, cybersecurity training during onboarding often isn’t enough. That’s why you should do periodical training to keep your VoIP safe at all times.

Tip #5: Deactivate Web Interface Use 

Ideally, you should deactivate the web interface used for your VoIP system.

Why?

Using phones on a desktop computer opens an area of weakness to attackers. It’s enough for a single phone user falling prey to leave the whole system exposed to an external party. All your data can be stolen in text format as a result.

So, unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to use the web interface, be sure to secure it very strictly.

Tip #6. Use a VPN for Remote Workers

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are great software that encrypts traffic regardless of your employee’s location.

You can set up such a network for your remote staff to prevent data leaks and breaches. The good news is that using this service won’t degrade the call quality.

(Re)Gaining Control Over Your VoIP Security

VoIP systems are a fantastic alternative to landlines, for they offer many more features and flexibility at a fraction of the cost. However, their reliability on the internet also makes them susceptible to cyberattacks.

If you have just set up a VoIP system for your company or are thinking of starting one, securing it should be your number one priority. Don’t risk falling prey to toll fraud, malware, phishing, and other attacks. Take some time to secure your business by following these tips from Firewell Technology Solutions.

And if you need more help to implement these changes or would like to further discuss securing your business’s VoIP system, reach out to us, and we can set up a 10-15-minute chat.

 


Featured Image Credit

This Article, adapted, has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.