Monthly Archives: February 2020

Streamline Customer Service with Unified Communications

More than ever, businesses are seeking new communications solutions. Instead of old methods, such as analog phone and private branch exchanges (PBX) and a separate computer network, companies are seeking the benefits of more streamlined, economical solutions. Read on to learn what Unified Communications–and its foundation, VoIP–can do for your business.

Unified Communications Provides Greater Efficiency

More and more businesses are moving into the future, using an Internet-based communications platform. According to research firm Gartner, adoption of Unified Communications (UC) is expected to grow to $167.1 billion by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 16.8%. The foundational technology, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), allows businesses to make telephone calls using a broadband Internet connection, sometimes right from the computer and sometimes with an adapter connected to their current equipment. Other modes of communication, such as chat and email, can be done over Internet connection also, eliminating the need for separate phone and computer networks. Other capabilities include going from chat to video conferencing, and integration with CRM. Employees then can be current on customer service, projects and confident of processes moving forward. 

Considerations Before UC Adoption

With all its benefits, Unified Communications can benefit your organization greatly. Not all solutions are equal, however, and it is wise for a company to evaluate its goals to determine what UC services will work best for them. How will this tool help streamline customer service? Which features are most important to have? How many employees does the business have? This last is a key consideration, for many vendors base their rate on the number of employees using the service per month. Some solutions offer  several different packages while others have low setup costs and can function across multiple devices. Many have services that are scalable, adjusting to times of more or less demand. Also consider customer support as service levels among vendors can also vary. Some vendors advertise high security with multiple layers of authentication and encryption, and availability during disasters and outages. Be sure to evaluate these features, considering carefully the best fit for your company. Be sure to inventory your current network, ensuring it can support unified communications.

Even with many factors to consider, Unified Communications might be just the solution for your business. To evaluate which range of services fits your needs, contact your trusted technology advisor today.

Training Your Employees to Help Avoid Cyberattacks

Commonly, employees are thought to be the “weak link” in combating cyberattacks. What if, with thorough training, your employees become your best resource in fighting attacks like phishing, ransomware and malware, and social engineering attacks? These threats can all lead to your network and data being compromised as well as your business losing revenue and your clients’ trust. Read on to learn more about common threats and how to train your employees to have a role in combating them.

Know the Threat Landscape

Threats to cybersecurity abound, and some of the most common are ransomware and malware, which can get to your network via phishing schemes and social engineering attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware in which files are encrypted and become unreadable, and can only be available again if the user pays money (a ransom) to get a key to get the files unlocked. Malware, in general, is malicious software designed to steal confidential information, insert a virus into the network, or both. Commonly, malware and ransomware enter a network via social engineering attacks such as phishing schemes. A bad actor pretends to be someone the victim knows, and tricks them into giving confidential data. For example, the attacker may pretend to be a fellow employee needing assistance that requires access to the network. Instead of trying to find and exploit weaknesses in the system itself, the criminal tries to find “weaknesses” in the victim–a desire to help others, for example. 

Train Employees to Recognize and Prevent Attacks

There are excellent online and in-person training programs to prevent cyber attacks. This training can be a good foundation in knowing more about the risks and how to prevent them. Training is not just a one-time endeavor; rather, it needs to be practiced consistently. Part of training should involve teaching employees how to recognize social engineering attacks, such as phishing. Clues to a phishing email can include misspellings and grammatical errors in the body of the email, along with urgent calls to action (even threats). One way to assess which employees might fall prey to a phishing scheme is to send a fake phishing email with a link in it, and discover who clicks on the link. 

Aside from recognizing attempts to get into a company’s network, there are other common-sense practices to stay safe. One is effective password management, encouraging formulation of strong passwords initially, and changing them regularly. Also, not sharing passwords with others is a basic rule of thumb. Furthermore, discouraging use of unsecured Wi-Fi (which might be used by employees working outside the office) helps keep your network safe.

To learn more about the existing and evolving threats and how to combat them, contact your trusted technology advisor today.