Is VoIP really important for SMEs?
To VoIP or not to VoIP, that is the question… assuming that you know what VoIP is and why your SME might want to make use of it, of course!
The chances are, you will be at least vaguely familiar with this concept even if you don’t instantly recognise the acronym. VoIP stands for Voiceover Internet Protocol, which in basic terms is just a phone service over the internet. So, as long as you have a good connection, anyone can get a phone service online.
This option is becoming more and more popular – usually as an addition to your landline and mobile channels. It’s typically cheaper and has a great breadth of functionality – including remote access – although it is still developing as a technology and cannot yet replicate all the services offered by more established channels.
Should we be using VoIP?
Well, lots of companies are – and they’re seeing real benefits. The global cloud telephony services market is growing fast as firms move away from conventional to IP networks, with many citing maximum return on investment as well as greater control abilities afforded by cloud telephony services as their reasons.
As we mentioned, this technology is still evolving. But VoIP is expected to become the most cost-efficient substitute to conventional systems, as the expense of installing and operating multiple lines decreases.
Affordability is also being driven by competition in the sector, with many companies vying to offer services as keenly-priced as possible – though money is not the only factor you’ll want to consider if you are looking into different providers. A new cloud phone system will impact every aspect of your business operations for years to come so finding the right partner to deliver this is crucial.
Whoever you choose must show that they understand your old system – and how best to make changes with minimum business disruption. They should also have the expertise to devise a bespoke plan and ensure the shiny, new technology will really make a difference for your business.
Such careful consideration for old and new will give your VoIP system the best chance of interacting smoothly with the existing telecoms infrastructure.
The billing options offered and levels of training – especially at the outset – plus technical support on offer, are also important points to establish. Will knowledgeable technicians be there when you need them, 24/7? You need to know.
So what are the risks?
Before you leap into VoIP, or even seriously think about finding a supplier, we need to give you the health warning.
As with anything involving the internet, there are security threats at large with VoIP. While low in cost and growing in convenience, such systems have heightened risks which are easily overlooked in companies’ cyber security strategies.
Because VoIP allows businesses to operate via a unified IT infrastructure – in much the same way as other IP-based communications, including email – it can be exploited by hackers looking for financial gain, or to damage a business in some way.
Encryption is the magic word when it comes to protecting your sensitive data. Experts agree that this is best way to make things way more difficult for cyber criminals, ideally to the extent that they cannot find your VoIP system at all, let alone listen in. Reputable providers will be able to offer you assistance in this area, and help you with related cyber-securitymatters too.
If you’re not considering VoIP just yet, the chances are you will. And finding the right people to make this happen smoothly, effectively, and above all – securely – will be the secret to your success.
Want to talk to Q2Q about VoIP and your business? Get in touch with us today!