So you finally cracked the remote working thing, you have your routines down, and you’ve figured out your tools and how to use them. For evidence of the seismic shift from office to home-based working, look no further than online video conferencing and collaboration tools usage stats. To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of both free and paid daily meeting participants conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, they reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid. That’s a 20X growth in the space of 12 weeks. However, the remote workforce and its mighty army has quickly and resolutely found a vote of “no confidence” in these tools’ ability to provide any level of privacy and security.
Along with their success, Zoom has exposed their flaws in the most public manner, and the fallout has been equally seismic. Last week, Google sent an email to employees whose work laptops had the Zoom app installed that cited its “security vulnerabilities” and warned that the videoconferencing software on employee laptops would stop working starting this week. Last month, an investigation by Motherboard showed Zoom’s iPhone and iPad app sent data about users’ devices to Facebook, including people who did not have Facebook accounts. Zoom stopped sending the data to Facebook just a day later. Last week, the company said some video calls were “mistakenly” routed through servers in China when they shouldn’t have been. The offices of 27 attorneys general have also raised questions about the company. Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX also banned employees from using the technology citing “significant privacy and security concerns,” according to Reuters. And on Monday, New York City’s Department of Education urged schools to abandon Zoom and switch to a service from Microsoft. These headlines are causing more concern at a time when people really don’t need another thing to worry about.
The next generation of video conferencing & collaboration tools already hitting the market will pay far more attention to privacy and security issues. End-users are losing trust with companies who don’t prioritize the well-being of their customers. They are looking for other platforms that protect them from the very start and instill security best practices into their end user’s communication habits. Not only does the control plane (signaling) and media need to be encrypted (and not sent to China) but strict access controls need to be enforced to deliver on the promise of privacy and security.
SnapDial brings over 18 years of experience in the communications industry, so privacy and security are built into every product we offer. This is why so many customers trust our UC&C platform and Video Conferencing & Collaboration comes with strong identity and access controls you can count on.
Below is a small sample of our security features:
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
5 additional protections meeting Hosts may implement to fit their needs:
Limit access to only those who are in the meeting invite. Any person who used the meeting ID without being in the invite will be rejected.
Implement password protection. Even if with a meeting invite, attendees must enter a password before joining.
Lock and unlock the ability for new attendees to join at any point during the meeting.
Remove any participants from the meeting at any point. (Bad actors).
Disable any participant’s microphone, video, and/or screen share at any time during the meeting.
Hopefully, these next-generation tools will instill the confidence back into the users so they can focus on their work and not who else might be looking.
SnapDial offers cloud-based telephone systems for bookkeepers and accountants. Our solutions allow you to maintain control over your communications while having a local partner by your side. Getting started is easy since you don’t need additional equipment. Instead, our solutions are designed to work with your web infrastructure.
Customized Options for Accounting Professionals
SnapDial customizes cloud-based telephone solutions for our accountant clients. We analyze your firm to understand the needs and then create a system based on those needs. We create a customized system that will provide all the features you need for your company. When you choose SnapDial, you know you’re getting the best service possible.
Why Local Matters
When you choose cloud-based telephone systems, you have the option of selecting a local or national provider. There’s a clear benefit to choosing a local company. SnapDial’s team is nearby, ready to help if you have any issues. Whether you need someone to visit your office for training or have a technical problem on our side, we can provide you with the service you need quickly and efficiently.
Affordable Communications Options
As an accountant, you understand the value of a dollar. You want an affordable cloud-based phone system without sacrificing features, and that’s what you’ll get with SnapDial. Our cloud-based systems run on your existing internet connection. You don’t need expensive equipment to use the system, so you save on costs. At the same time, you have a wealth of features and can operate the phone system on VoIP desk phones and mobile devices.
Many of the features you get with SnapDial are free. Features like video integration, call monitoring, and auto-attendants make it easier to manage your office communications. We also provide paging, inbound call filters, voicemail to email, custom greetings, custom hold music, and so much more.
Freedom for Accountants
SnapDial also provides accounting firms with freedom. You can easily route your calls, sending them to the device of your choice, and you can add as many devices as you wish. Also, you don’t have to worry about your landline going down or expensive repairs.
Are you ready to upgrade your communications while saving money? Call SnapDial today to get a quote on a cloud-based telephone system for Accountants.
Landlines are going the way of dial-up internet service. Once, everyone had them, but now, they are few and far between, and eventually, they’ll be completely gone. Instead of using landlines, people are moving to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions. With VoIP, you make calls with the internet instead of through a landline. Getting the right amount of bandwidth is critical when using a VoIP service.
Gather Information Before Determining Bandwidth
Before you choose the bandwidth you need, you need to determine a few things. First, check your provider’s data upload and download speeds.
Second, consider the other services you use that consume bandwidth. How much of the bandwidth do these services use? Do these services constantly use bandwidth, or do you turn them off and on? Will you use the services when you’re on the phone?
Finally, check for Quality of Service settings. See if you can modify them to maximize your network’s performance when using a VoIP solution.
Are you confused about some of these steps? Let’s dig in a little deeper, so you’ll understand how to ensure you have enough bandwidth.
VoIP and Bandwidth — What You Need to Know
You need to consider how VoIP uses bandwidth. VoIP systems operate on codecs, which encode and decode audio data. For a single call, the codecs typically use 100 kilobits per second (kbps) to go up and down the phone line. If two people used the phone at the same time, the number would double and so forth.
Keep in mind that you use the internet in other ways, as well, so this bandwidth is on top of what you’re already using.
Test Your Bandwidth
Your internet service likely provides an “up to” value, meaning you might have “up to 100 Mbps.” That doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed those speeds.
Use a service like speedtest.net to test your bandwidth. This will show you how much bandwidth you actually have at any given time.
When you test your bandwidth, you will see an upload speed and a download speed. You need both when running a VoIP system, so check the lower number. Does it provide enough bandwidth for your VoIP and other services?
Also, understand that bandwidth speeds might go up and down during the day. Test it throughout the day to see if it’s stable or if it goes up and down.
How Much Do You Need?
Now that you know the bandwidth you have, it’s time to see how much you need. Remember, one call takes 100 kbps. If you have five people in your household, assume that everyone will get on the phone at the same time at some point. That means you need a minimum of 500 kbps of extra bandwidth to use for the VoIP. You should also provide a bit of a safety net just in case your bandwidth goes up and down throughout the day. Multiply your needs by five to provide a safety net.
Once you see how much bandwidth you’ll use for VoIP, make sure you have enough for your other services. The key is to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Quality of Service Optimization
You’ll also want to optimize your Quality of Service to ensure that you have high-quality VoIP calls. You can use a tool to stimulate phone calls, so you’ll see how your system works with the load.
Also, check your router’s settings. Depending on your router, you might be able to prioritize voice services. This prevents other applications from lowering the quality of the call.
Lastly, disable your router’s Application Layer Gateway function, SIP ALG, and Stateful Packet Inspection function, if applicable. Before you make these changes, though, it’s wise to speak with your network security expert to ensure that your network won’t be compromised.
Setting up a VoIP system is quite easy, but you do need to make sure you have enough bandwidth. Use this guide as a starting point, so you can begin to use VoIP.
SnapDial works with county governments to implement VoIP phone systems, so they can enjoy the benefits. While the benefits are plentiful, six stand out regarding county governments.
1. Significant Savings
All county governments have budgetary concerns, especially after the Great Recession. Budgets continue to decrease across the United States, and county governments are looking for ways to save money while providing the same great services their constituents expect. Fortunately, hosted VoIP phone systems allow county governments to save money while enjoying all the features they need in a system.
Hosted VoIP phone systems do not require additional equipment to set up or manage. Instead, SnapDial uses the existing data network to run these systems. Governments that implement these systems do not have to purchase or maintain equipment, and employees can make long-distance calls and use video features without incurring additional fees.
Also, the billing is fixed for these services. There are not any hidden fees or surprises, making it easy to manage the budget.
2. Makes It Easier to Work Remotely
County governments have opened the doors for remote workers. Many people work outside of the office, and it is hard to keep them in the loop using a standard phone system. Hosted VoIP systems work on desk phones and mobile devices, so your remote workers can make and receive calls, take part in video conferences, and more. They will do this with their own dedicated phone number that’s connected to the government account.
SnapDial’s hosted VoIP phone systems also allow remote workers to forward and transfer calls. For example, if a worker is on the way out the door and receives a call on the landline, he or she can quickly transfer it to a cell phone without having to call the person back.
3. Enhances Security and Privacy
Government communications must be secure and private, and that’s easy to accomplish with hosted VoIP phone systems. The information is protected and stored in carrier-grade data centers, and calls are encrypted. SnapDial is also staffed with security professionals who work around the clock to ensure each call is handled securely and remains private.
4. Improves Quality Control
Quality control is also critical for government bodies. SnapDial allows authorized administrators to monitor and record all incoming and outcoming calls for quality control purposes.
5. Stays Operational During Emergencies
Government employees need to stay in contact with disaster recovery teams and constituents during emergencies. Fortunately, hosted VoIP systems make this easier. Your equipment isn’t on-site, so you don’t have to worry about it getting destroyed during a disaster. SnapDial has access to multiple data centers, so we can keep your system running during an emergency. However, in cases when you don’t have internet access to operate your s system, we have automatic failover protection. You can use this service to route calls to mobile devices automatically.
6. Improves Engagement
Phone systems should improve engagement, but that doesn’t always happen. Standard systems force citizens to speak to several people before finding the employee they need. Some aren’t willing to go through the process and hang up before their questions are answered.
SnapDial’s hosted VoIP systems include interactive voice response menus, so callers can get routed to the desired person immediately. You can also create auto-attendant greetings that people hear when they call. These greetings can include everything from hours and location to weather advisories.
Hosted VoIP systems also improve response times for employees. SnapDial can set the system up to send voicemails as audio text files. Employees can quickly scan the messages and get back to the caller.
If you are part of the county government, you want the best for your constituents. That starts with getting a hosted VoIP phone system from SnapDial. Contact us to get a quote today.