How Many Ways Can You Communicate Remotely with a VOIP Phone System? – Part 2

VOIP, communications, remote, phones, technology, systems

With the features of VOIP phones, no communications task is impossible.

Welcome back for part two of our discussion on the different ways you can communicate remotely with a VoIP System in your office.

Customer Chat

VOIP platforms can even connect you with customers through the correct implementation. Provide live chat customer support through your VOIP phone platform because the VOIP platform is a feature-complete for all necessary business communications. Your VOIP platform can be plugged into mobile apps, website widgets, and your own company software to help customers connect when they need assistance through API’s.

Presence Video Chat

The VOIP system goes above and beyond voice communication by also hosting a comprehensive platform for video calls as well. Known as “presence”, your team can appear in a meeting in any combination of ways. Video chat, or video conferencing, is essential for bringing teams together when they cannot share an office in-person. Video chat is responsible for creating a sense of shared workflow while teams are remote.  Whether it’s one person tele-attending an office meeting or an entire team all video-chatting to each other, VOIP can provide.

One on One

One-on-One presence calls allow two people to share a video conversation as if there were sitting across a desk from each other.  This is the most popular way to conduct a face-to-face meeting without sharing the same room. Many people connecting through video chat for the first time will start with one-on-one calls. Or you can even cut it down to one person on video and the other talking video-free or just text chatting.

Video Conference and Team Meetings

The far opposite is video conferencing in which everyone is somewhere distant, projecting their presence into a virtual conference room. This can be used for formal meetings with business partners as well as casual collaboration sessions between team members. Video chats are essential for remote team collaboration and can help to simulate a shared office environment.

Async Office Phones

Lastly, VOIP has covered a few extra bases where there was a communication need but no old-fashioned PBX standard. Mainly, how voice translates to text in an asynchronous fashion. Voicemail and recorded calls are the most difficult to handle forms of business communication. This is because the data must be listened to before it can be properly recorded, acted upon, or stored as useful data. Fortunately, VOIP is the bridge that can quickly transform audio recordings into useable digital transcripts.

Voicemail to Email

Checking your voicemail is a thing of the past, unless you want to. VOIP features can transcribe voicemail into emails so checking your voicemail is as quick and simple as skimming a few short paragraphs. You and your team will never have to waste time listening to voicemails again.

Recorded Calls and Call Transcripts

You can also record calls voluntarily as they are happening, providing a way to keep records, dictate notes, and protect employees in tricky situations. These recordings, like the voicemail, can then be converted into transcripts for textual records as well.

What all can VOIP do for your business? There are so many things you can achieve with cloud-based business communications and VOIP platforms are built to cover them all. With a comprehensive communication platform that goes beyond the classic business phone system, we hope to cover every base you have. And if there’s a form of communication that’s been missed, you can bet the highly compatible integration will take care of it.

The possibilities are endless when bringing VOIP communications to your business. Contact us today to find out more about the many capabilities of VOIP platforms and how to build your VOIP structure for the best possible performance within your current workflow and business plan. You can even expand your capabilities by exploring mobile workforce, remote commuting, and extremely flexible network scaling. We look forward to hearing from your team.

How Many Ways Can You Communicate Remotely with a VOIP Phone System? – Part 1

VOIP, communications, remote, phones, technology, systems

VOIP phone systems can expand your communications capacity.

One of the biggest questions a business should ask when investing in a VOIP phone system is just how many features are included. It’s true that of the many virtual business phone systems available, there is a wide variance of feature availability. Some VOIP platforms function solely as “soft-phones” or software phone systems. Which is great, but limited. Here at SystemsNet, we proudly implement a VOIP phone system which is a lot more than just soft-phones.

VOIP for business is implemented as a fully capable corporate phone platform with features that cover enough ground that you can save on additional software if you know what you’re about to get in the package. A VOIP platform package includes options for text, video, and asynchronous communication in addition to all the bells & whistles and management platform tools for traditional business phones. We’re diving deeper to show you just how many ways your business can communicate with a VOIP system.

Full Office Phone Functionality

Starting at the start, you have a full range of business phone features which are, quite frankly, way too many to list. Call hunting, hold music, virtual switchboarding… the list goes on. So instead, we’ll focus on the different ways VOIP is designed to be put to use by businesses in various configurations. Let’s examine a few of the most common ways that businesses use VOIP to the greatest possible benefit.

Local Office and Virtual-Local Office Phones

When you need phones on desks, no matter where those desks are, A VOIP platform is prepared. Extensions, departments, teams, and call routing are all standard aspects of a business PBX phone system, and so VOIP platforms have you covered. Specialized VOIP handsets or headsets connected to desktop workstations are both options, depending on how your team is trained and prefer to work.

Not only can your VOIP system support any desk anywhere, you can also share the same virtual-internal phone network and arrange for local numbers to appeal to local customers.

Call Centers

Run a call center? Manage a call center inside an otherwise standard office phone system? VOIP can do that. Call hunting, switchboarding, smooth transfers, and automated phone assistants are well within the SystemsNet feature set. VOIP can produce as many numbers and extensions that your call-center needs. In fact, VOIP platforms allow you to unify call centers across multiple locations using the same virtual phone network.

Hotel Management

Hotel management poses an entirely different use of business phones, requiring special protocols for room phones. You also need a separate solution for staff phones and the ability to ring specific areas of the hotel like the kitchen or laundry. VOIP has accounted for hotel phone needs and the features are ready. There are several VOIP platforms or packages designed specifically for your hotel needs, both to provide for guests and staff communication.

Remote Work and Telework

Telecommuting and remote work has recently skyrocketed. If your business needs a phone solution that works for the whole team while keeping you connected as if you were in the same office, VOIP is ideal for this solution. A business VOIP network can keep your entire workforce connected even when everyone is working from home.

Text Live Chat

Of course, VOIP is a cloud communication platform, not just a phone system. That includes text with a comprehensive live chat platform able to connect to both with internal accounts and with customers. VOIP platforms specialize in providing for a company’s universal communication needs. In order to allow your team to communicate flexibly through voice, video, and text, live chat is a must.

Internal Chat

Internal live chat is essential for modern business productivity. Teams collaborate and connect through live chat whether they are across the office or across the country. Live chat rooms remove the barrier or distance and make it possible even for a busy call center of employees to hold private conversations. Live chat is also incredibly convenient when voice is not an option, when headsets are acting up, or when calling just isn’t ideal.

Join us next time for part two where we’ll talk about some more ways to communicate remotely with a VoIP phone system. Contact us today to find out more about switching to VoIP system from SystemsNet!

 

Types of Backup and Storage Plans

3D Rendering Data Storage Archive Backup and Storage Plans concept

What are my backup options for my business?

At this point in the digital transformation, most businesses are aware that computer and data backups are essential. The ability to restore your information and your infrastructure is a safety precaution that it would be foolish not to have prepared. If a hacker ransomwares your network, a good backup can make it possible to simply wipe and restore instead of fretting about lost files. If a natural disaster takes out your office building, the right backups can allow you to completely set up shop somewhere new.

But not all backups are equal. Backups built and managed by a hands-on IT team are likely going to have a few more useful traits and features than a default backup system set-and-forgotten out of the box. Let’s take a closer look at the differences you might see in your backups and improvements that can be made to any business backup system.

Local vs Cloud Backups

The first important backup decision to make is where to store them. Backups are compressed, but they are still huge files that contain copies of entire databases, networks, and operating systems. Backups stored locally are more accessible, you don’t even need outside internet access to copy, open, and restore from local backups. Local backups are faster and more convenient in the office, but they are also more vulnerable.

If the server banks containing your local backups are damaged or disrupted, your backups could be lost. Fire, flood, sabotage, and self-spreading malware all put your local backups at risk.

Cloud backups are absolutely safe. Cloud server storage is not just remote from your location, it’s also distributed so that copies of your backups are stored in storage repositories all over the world. You will always be able to access your backups, and your backups will be safe from all but the most insidious server-host attacks. You can even download your backups from the cloud to restore a computer in an entirely remote location.

But cloud backups must be downloaded every time you make a restoration and uploaded to the cloud every time a new backup is taken, which can be a real pinch with limited or metered bandwidth.

Automated vs Manual Backups

The next question is how you handle your regular backups. Backups must be made periodically so that the data is up-to-date if you need to restore your systems from a backup. But when and how do you take those new backups? Manual backups are those taken by a person enacting the backup process. They may be entering a series of commands or even hand-copying data from one server to another.

Automated backups are when a program runs itself to make copies of all the necessary data and then stores those copies where they can be found if a recovery is needed. Automated backups take up far less time, but much be managed. If an automated backup malfunctions or if the process is flawed, it might create useless backups while creating a false sense of security.

Data vs Infrastructure Backups

Now consider the size and complexity of your backups. There are many different ways to take backups based on how you expect to enact recoveries and restorations. Some businesses only bother to backup one server of data or just one database because everything else they need or use is a SaaS program or cloud service that doesn’t need to be backed up. Data backups are those that only include data that will be reloaded into a fresh identical server.

On the other hand, some businesses intentionally backup the entire infrastructure for each workstation, server, and network. With a more comprehensive backup, you can create an identical work environment beyond your most important data. Infrastructure backups make for faster recoveries and far less new installation setup for workstations that are wiped and recovered.

What types of backups and recovery plans will work best for your business? It all depends on how much downtime you can afford and how much risk your data may be facing. If you’d like to consult on managed IT backup and recovery services for your business, contact us today!

How Small Businesses Can Outsource All Your IT Needs

Small business owner on the phone with outsourced IT company with questions holding a tablet

Are you spending too much time in IT and not enough time on your other business needs?

The business world has changed significantly in the last twenty years, especially when it comes to your business IT management. Never has it been more expensive to keep an in-house IT expert, or more accessible to outsource. With unemployment at an all-time low and demand for technical skills at an all-time high, startups and small businesses don’t stand a chance in the hiring frenzy for IT technicians of any kind. Salaries and benefits packages are on the rise and competition is fierce even among tech giants who could once have hired anyone they pleased.

IT Outsourcing for Small Businesses

So how does a small business stay cutting-edge and tech-savvy (or just keep your website and office computers functional) in this environment? It’s easy, you outsource! The thing about the current tech-industry environment is that the technicians know they’re in high demand and like any healthy market, that demand is being met!

There are now many types of outsourceable IT services available to serve small-business needs at small-business prices. As long as you’re willing to share. And hey, you don’t need full-time IT anyway. Just someone to help keep your website afloat and fix the computers when they get mischievous.

Full-Service Website Hosting & Maintenance

The best place to start is with your website. Every business needs a website, and you certainly don’t need an in-house developer to get one, then host and maintain it with all the necessary considerations. All you need is a full-service web hosting provider. Start by hiring a web developer contractor to build you an awesome website that can be managed with standard controls, ensuring that it has all the necessary security measures and features and is not made in WordPress, which is hacker-bait.

Next, host that website with a reputable hosting service like Azure, AWS, or Digital Ocean who also provide managed security hosting and website maintenance packages. Website IT solved until you decide to hire another temporary web-dev for an update.

On-Site Computer Repair Services

You don’t need an IT employee for your on-site office equipment support either. In most small businesses, the computers need direct physical servicing once in a blue moon. If you are leasing or renting your equipment, the leasing company often has a repair service available who will help you keep your computer, tablets, printers, and such in good condition in addition to installation and setup. Most cities also feature more than a few on-site computer repair services who would be glad to count you as their occasional clients.

So if a computer starts doing something you don’t understand and needs direct support, a local repair service can help over the phone or send a technician right over to fix it. So that’s in-house device IT covered as well.

Managed IT Service Provider(MSP) & Cybersecurity Team

Finally, there’s your network setup and business data security to consider. Your company’s network security is critical to everyday functions from managing inventory to keeping customer information safe from hackers. And you don’t need an in-house IT employee to take care of that either. There’s already an entire industry of service IT known as MSP for Managed Service Providers. Yes, the name is vague, but it’s definitely IT.

MSPs specialize in network, server, and software stack IT services from installation to ongoing maintenance and upgrades. And, of course, they’re prepared to take care of all your cybersecurity needs for these aspects of your business tech as well. With your cybersecurity and network management covered, that’s all your business’ IT needs neatly outsourced without a single recruiting competition for a high-priced in-house IT staff member.

Whether you’re a new startup trying to protect your cash flow or a practical small business looking to keep up-to-date on today’s complex IT business demands, there’s no need to join the War for Talent for in-house IT. Not when there are such convenient and reasonably priced outsourcing options made precisely for your small business needs. If you are putting together your outsourced IT stack for services as you need them, when you need them, contact us today! Our MSP team would be proud to help your small business manage your IT expertly from your software stack to your network security.