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VoIP, SIP and Other Common Acronyms Explained

September 18, 2017
Here are the most common acronyms we use on this site – in simple terms:   The IT world is littered with acronyms and tech talk and while on this site we endeavor to eliminate the geeky IT talk as much as possible, sometimes it’s unavoidable. VoIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol VoIP describes the process of using the internet to make and receive calls instead of traditional copper telephone lines.  The main benefit of using the internet instead of copper is that its a lot cheaper and adds more functionality to your phone system. VoIP Phone System  – is the term used to describe the ‘brains’ of the phone system (usually a physical box with inputs and outputs) VoIP Phone – describes the physical desk phone that you make calls on. If you would like to better understand VoIP please see our VoIP page or download our Guide To Picking The Right VoIP Phone System For Your Business. SIP – Session Initiation Protocol  SIP is a signaling protocol, widely used for setting up, connecting and disconnecting communication sessions, typically voice or video calls over the Internet. SIP Trunk –  A SIP Trunk provides the same service you get from a traditional analog phone line. The difference is, instead of being a physical wire, a SIP Trunk is a “virtual” phone line which is provided by a SIP trunk provider (They use your data circuit (T1, Cable Modem, DSL, Ethernet over Copper, etc) to connect your phone system back to their network. Softphone Describes a software phone (smart app) which allows you to use VoIP on your mobile phone to make and receive calls. Read more in our “What is a Softphone?” blog post here. This list is ever expanding, are there any acronyms you would recommend we add to this list?

Ransomware, Are You Ready For An Attack?

August 31, 2017
  Ransomware, the anatomy of an attack.   Ransomware, is everywhere. Even after the infamous file-encrypting ransomware called CryptoLocker was defeated by law enforcement (which knocked out its infrastructure), it still came back, almost immediately and its close cousin CryptoWall are now stronger than ever. The thing is, many types of ransomware and fake-antivirus schemes have been around for years. The cybercriminals behind these attacks use social engineering to trick computer users into paying them to avoid fines from police for supposed crimes, or to clean up “viruses” on their computers that don’t actually exist. You have probably encountered at least one “Your computer has been infected please contact us immediately!” phony warning message in your lifetime. The difference between these methods and CryptoLocker and CryptoWall attacks is that they don’t bother with that sort of trickery. If you are attacked by a cybercriminal using CryptoLocker or CryptoWall then you will be told upfront that all your files have been encrypted and unless you pay for the encryption key held by the attackers, they will destroy the private encryption key and release, delete, or lock all your information making it impossible to ever recover your files. How it works A ransomware attack goes through five stages from the time it installs on your computer to the appearance of the ransom warning on your screen. Here is an info-graphic from Sophos explaining the stages of an attack, with tips on staying safe. Ransomware protection, prevention, and mitigation If you suspect you’ve been compromised by ransomware, you can remove the malware using antivirus or anti malware software. Sadly, there’s not much you can do to get your files back except to pay the ransom – the encryption is too strong to crack. We don’t think paying the ransom is the best idea because there’s no guarantee the criminals won’t up the ante, or that they’ll actually follow through on their promise to send you the keys to decrypt your files. And paying the ransom also supports a cybercriminal enterprise that will ensnare more victims. Recently, a sheriff’s office in Tennessee paid a ransom to CryptoWall cybercrooks, and other police departments and public sector organizations have done the same. Really, the best defense is a proactive one: always back up all your files, use anti-malware and anti-spam protections and work with an IT company to protect your important data. Learn more about our Data Backup and Disaster Recovery here, or chat to one of our IT experts if you need help immediately.

What is a Softphone?

August 29, 2017
Great news, you no longer need to remain tethered to your desk phone to benefit from all the great features of your VoIP phone system. With a softphone, now you can access VoIP from anywhere, anytime. With VoIP rapidly gaining popularity in New Zealand the term softphone is being thrown around more and more casually. Yet despite its casual use, many people still find the concept confusing and often ask us to explain it. Softphones are incredibly useful and an essential tool for the modern workplace so getting a better understanding of them is a good idea. If you are unsure what a softphone is, how it works or what the real benefits are, keep reading, below we break down the most common questions we get asked and our answers. What is a softphone? A softphone is essentially an application that lets you make calls over the internet from a computer or other smart device. As the name would imply, ‘soft’ refers to the fact that it is a piece of software which you download onto your computer or smart device. Through the software (app) you will be able to dial phone numbers and carry out other phone related functions using your touchscreen, mouse, keypad or keyboard. Conversations usually take place through an inbuilt microphone or a headset and computer speakers. Skype, iChat, and GoogleTalk are all examples of consumer grade softphone (apps). We recommend that businesses use the same company that provides their VoIP phone system, good examples are 3CX with their 3CX Mobile App and Yeastar with the Linkus App. These are business grade apps and will allow you to fully harness the features of your VoIP system within a corporate environment. Is a VoIP softphone right for my business? The softphone is portable – it travels with your laptop, or smart device. It is designed to be intuitive to use and most resemble an actual phone handset. There are usually options to import contacts, place calls on hold, and many of the other business class features you’d expect. This makes softphones a great choice for VoIP beginners, remote workers, call center employees, startup businesses and frequent travelers. softphones would also be an ideal choice if your company employs remote agents, or has a primarily mobile workforce. What are the features of a VoIP Softphone? From a business perspective, it is important to note that most softphones offer the same features that your VoIP phone system offers, including: -Call forwarding -Call conferencing -Hold capabilities -Call transferring -Voicemail -Greeting capabilities -Text, IM, and video capabilities -Echo cancellation to improve sound quality -Contact list/address book How do I use it with my existing VoIP phone system? In most business examples a softphone used in conjunction with VoIP ( Voice over Internet Protocol). VoIP uses the internet instead of traditional fixed line services (copper cable) to make calls. For more information about VoIP, check out this page. To use a softphone with your existing VoIP phone system there are three requirements:

Why Your Business Needs VoIP – 4 Reasons

August 28, 2017
Firstly, what is VoIP exactly? Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a type of technology that allows its users to make calls using the Internet rather than traditional fixed-line services (copper telephone lines). So, if you are using a VoIP telephone system, you are essentially using the Internet to make phone calls instead of a telephone line. Because VoIP is a method of making calls and not a physical object the fact that the term VoIP is often used to describe many different things can become quite confusing. For simplicity, we use the following terminology: Converted or Upgraded VoIP System: This refers to the process of taking ‘older’ style business phone systems and converting or upgrading them to use the internet to make calls (VoIP) instead of traditional fixed-line services (copper telephone lines). Modern VoIP Phone System: This refers to the more modern business phone systems which have been purpose-designed to use the internet to make calls. When we refer to a VoIP Phone System, we are referring to a Modern VoIP system not a converted or upgraded one. VoIP Desk Phones: These are modern purpose-built desk phones which allow you to harness most of the great features VoIP allows such as, call forwarding, auto-attendant and video conferencing. Analog or Digital Phones: These desk phones were not traditionally designed to use VoIP, they were designed to use traditional fixed-line services, therefore, while their operating system can be converted or upgraded to use VoIP they lack the built-in functionality to make all the features of VoIP, such as those listed above, work correctly. It has become clear that VoIP is rapidly gaining popularity in the business and even residential sector so the question arises… What are the real advantages and why are so many people choosing a VoIP for their business? Well, it turns out that choosing to use the internet to make calls (VoIP) turns out to be a very astute businesses decision. It can save your business a lot of money, make your life more convenient, increase employee productivity and give employees the tools they need for a modern, efficient workplace. Another significant business consideration for choosing VoIP is its future-proofing capabilities. It is important to be aware that currently throughout New Zealand fibre is being rolled out as the preferred standard cable for connectivity. Because of this preference we are seeing the traditional fixed-line (copper services) fast declining with some new developments choosing to only install fibre with no copper connectivity being made available. This means that in the near future it is quite likely that a time will come where copper services are ‘turned off’ or made redundant. The last thing you want is for your business to be left behind with redundant systems. The future is already here and you need to take proactive steps if you want to stay ahead of your competition. While VoIP offers many incredible advantages, we have also started to notice that some sales people have been making very exaggerated claims

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