VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol – What? How? Why?

VoIP NetshieldVoice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) also known as Internet Telephony, IP Telephony, Voice over broadband and Voice over Network; it is a technology that allows calls to be made over the internet or a computer network.

VoIP is not a brand new technology but it is gaining more popularity due to the general movement towards cloud technology, improvements in the speed and reliability of internet connectivity and the trend of workforce mobility.

How VoIP works

Traditional landline phones operate through a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and you can gain access to it through the telephone sockets. These networks use circuit switching – when a call is made, these circuits change within the exchange in order to connect the caller and the receiver.

Whereas, VoIP calls are made over the internet and use the method of packet switching – when making a call the data is broken up into data packets, transported across the network and reassembled when it reaches the receiver.

Why VoIP? The Benefits

With the vast improvements of internet connectivity and the decrease in prices since 10 years ago, VoIP is becoming a feasible option for businesses today.

To deploy a traditional telephone system a high capital outlay is needed because of the number of components required i.e. buying a phone system, business line rental, maintenance contracts, hardware costs and pay for software upgrades.

Whereas, VoIP systems compared to traditional telephone systems has minimal capital expense i.e. the purchase of IP enabled phones and internet connection. But, it is also simple to administer and user friendly because it uses the power of the cloud technology.

A VoIP system can provide businesses with an integration of both office and mobile devices, allowing employees to have an office phone that can ‘go anywhere’, making it ideal for those who work remotely and for companies that have hot desking. This flexibility can help increase efficiencies and productivity as users can easily manage and receive calls. It can also be scaled up and down when required, offering future proofing capabilities.

For more information on VoIP or advice whether to switch contact us today.

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Upgrading your Business Broadband? But which one?

Connectivity is becoming a necessity for organisations with many needing faster and more reliable service to ensure business continuity. For commercial broadband buyers there are many to choose from and each will have their advantages and disadvantages.

ADSL 2+

Popular choice, as it uses the same infrastructure as standard ADSL connections but, it can provide up to 3 times greater connection speeds. However, the actual speeds you’ll get depends on the distance between the premise and the exchange.

Fibre to the Premise (FTTP)

Is considered as one of the fastest options because it involves running a cable from a nearby exchange straight to your business premises. Installation costs are subject to survey, as the ISP need to assess how much digging will be involved to connect the premise to the exchange. It takes on average 3 months to install and it is not available everywhere.

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)

Similar to FTTP this is where a cable is running from a nearby cabinet to the premise and it is not available everywhere. It is considered to be a solution that is a cross between copper broadband and Ethernet First Mile.

Fibre on Demand

Also known as FTTP On Demand enable customers to access speeds up to 330Mbps by extending a fibre-optic broadband connection from the nearest cabinet to the premise.

Ethernet First Mile (EFM)

One of the lower-cost lease line options. Instead of using fibre, it uses existing copper lines to connect the business premise to the local exchange – making it more cost-efficient and faster to install. It is a contented service but, you will receive the same upload and download speeds unlike ADSL.

Microwave

Is a way of transmitting information by using electromagnetic waves and it is widely used for point-to-point communication. It has a small wavelength, with high frequency and the antennas are pointed directly at the receiving antenna. Due to the high frequency it has a large capacity to carry data but, this technology is limited when there are hills and mountains in the line of sight because the waves cannot pass through.

Leased Line – Ethernet

It is a private line that permanently connects two locations; either Internet Leased Line a connection between a service provider and a customer or a ‘Point-to-Point Leased Line’ which is a connection between two customer sites. It is an uncontended connection, offering the same upload and download speeds, making it a reliable and stable connection. Dedicated Ethernet leased lines also comes with a Service Level Agreement.

To help improve connections for businesses and support economic growth the UK Government is currently running a Connection Voucher scheme across the UK. The scheme offers ‘connection vouchers’ worth up to £3000 to help SMEs, Charities and Social Enterprises towards improving or upgrading their current broadband connectivity.

By upgrading broadband connections companies can benefit from improve reliability, increase productivity, enhanced communication with stakeholders and better service speeds. For more help on choosing your business broadband please feel free to contact Netshield today.

Malware – The Potential Horrific Consequences

In the Kaspersky Security Bulletin it suggests Corporations are increasingly falling victim to Cybercrime, a whopping 91% of those surveyed by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International  fell victim to a cyber-attack at least once in the last 12 months. The top causes included Viruses, Malware, Spam and Phishing – in 2013 alone Kaspersky Lab products detected almost 3 billion malware attacks on user computers!

Spam and Phishing is certainly not a new concept but, the emails sent are becoming more sophisticated, they are adopting an appearance of something that the recipient is familiar with – appear like it is from a delivery company, social media, stores etc.

Spam can just be a simple form of electronic junk but, it can also be malicious spam with the purpose of either make money, obtain sensitive information or spread malicious codes – like CyptoLocker, which surfaced in 2013, it would encrypt the victim’s data and sell it back to them for monetary gains. It is a Trojan Ransomware distributed through a series of phishing campaigns. The emails imitated well-known delivery companies and financial institution preying, on our trust of these companies and our curiosity to see what the attachment is about. It effected over 12,000 victims within one week and to this day there are still stories of CyptoLocker causing chaos and victims paying to obtain decryption keys for their own data.

The sophistication of spam, malware and phishing attacks is not just limited to emails being sent through a computer – but, in January it was found 750,000 spam emails were sent from compromised smart fridges!

However these fridges were not infected using traditional methods like a Trojan Horse but, most of them have been ‘simply left open, so existing software running on them can be used by attackers’ said a spokesperson for Proofpoint who made the discovery. It would be interesting to know, how many people have smart fridges and how many people would buy one?

The US retailer ‘Target’ would be one of the recent examples of how malware can cause horrific consequences. Target’s point-of-sale (POS) system was infected with malware, causing as many as ‘40 million credit and debit card details and 70 million customers’ personal details being stolen in a cyber-attack!

This POS malware attack has caused financial losses, decrease in brand reputation and consumer confidence. In a recent press release issued by Target due to the attacks they had to reviewed their forecasts, predicting a 2% – 6% decrease in sales for this quarter and whether it is directly related to the data breach or not, Target also stated there will be store closures in May.

Target’s incident shows being a victim can have an impact on profits, consumer confidence and brand reputation. A malware breach on this scale is not something that a company can recover from overnight and it can potentially have long-term implications but, only the coming months will reveal the true scale of the consequences for Target.

The consequences of being victims of spam, malware, viruses and phishing is never a good one. In general the motive is simple – cybercriminals want to obtain business data and make money! So, be vigilant and make sure your systems are protected.

To discuss methods of protection against malicious software contact us today.