We used to communicate using phone lines but that’s so 2016. Now everyone is talking about Voice over IP (VoIP). But is it worth the hype? Before we answer that question with a firm Yes, No, or Maybe, we should first look at what is VoIP, really.
What is Voice over IP (VoIP)?
VoIP is nothing more than having a voice conversation over a network connection instead of over an analog “line." It is taking a sound and translating it to bits and bytes and sending it over a network connection but the rest is almost exactly the same.
VoIP quality is terrible!
Due to the complexity of networking, protocols, and other factors, VoIP can fail you if not done right. The quality may be worse than what you are currently getting on the Alexander Graham Bell tech from 1850.
Price has been one of the most important reason to switch to VoIP as some companies have been able to save enormous amounts by switching. Unfortunately, if along the way, the quality of the solution was ignored, the results are mediocre at best.
VoIP works great if designed well. If you're considering VoIP, make sure you get the right partner involved; a partner who can look at the solution with you and make sure that your business doesn’t drop calls and ruin its reputation due to poor communication quality in the process of saving money on your phone bill.
Is it that much cheaper?
Yes! There are major differences in the price of VoIP versus conventional analog or even digital trunks (lines) because bits and bytes do not require old infrastructure to work. It eliminates the reliance on high-cost older systems with infrastructure that needs to be maintained. You're likely connected to the internet already and given a VoIP phone call doesn’t take up much bandwidth, the efficiency over conventional services is incredible.
Will my numbers change with VoIP?
Absolutely not, unless you pick the wrong partner or company to help you transition. Look out for those companies that try to get you new numbers because of commissions they get for signing up clients on new services. All carriers will release your numbers to the winning carrier if you fill out the paperwork correctly.
How do I get started?
The first step is to analyze your current setup, many times you can continue to use your existing phone system with VoIP although there may be some limitations. Most reputable providers will do an assessment for your business and show you the details transparently and will tell you what you can expect. If not, you may want to consider another vendor.
Time is the greatest money-making asset any individual can possess.
Ed Slott (Financial expert, author and public speaker)
Some obsessions are good for you, especially if you are a business owner—you should have a few of them. In my case, I love making my business and those of my clients as lean as possible.
I believe that being lean leads to lower overhead, which leads to a more competitive offer for our clients. If I'm not lean I have to charge for the waste somehow to stay in business or close my doors.
Waste is a major reason that businesses fall behind or even die an early death. Wasted inventory, wasted time, wasted conversations, wasted money, wasted effort,
WHAT A WASTE!
“Business today is all about doing things faster--making decisions faster, identifying trends faster, making mistakes faster, and getting products to market faster. However, you can't become a faster, more agile organization by just snapping your fingers and wishing it so.”
—Peter Economy (bestselling author and writer for Inc. Magazine)
This month at Makios, we’re talking about agility. The ability to be responsive and ready, to move and adapt with ease. If things are changing around you, which they almost always are, what can you do to stay on the ball, and do so efficiently?
Three actions you can take right now to create a business that is faster and more resilient, as well as a resource for assessing your current business agility--
Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.
Like the ones before it, the year 2017 comes to us fresh—with a blank page just waiting to be written. What goals are at the top of your list right now? How will you take your company to new heights over the next 12 months and control your own destiny this year, this month, this week—today?
Having a well-crafted roadmap can make a world of difference, if you know how to commit and execute it. And here at Makios, we truly believe that a when you apply that to your technology, you unlock amazing potential for not only your business, but your life.
What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world. — Simon Sinek
If you’re like most business owners, your optimistic New Year’s resolutions focus on improving beyond the status quo. Makios cheers you on in that ambition and we're here to help eliminate the pesky distractions that get in the way. As you peer into the crystal ball for clues to prepare yourself, here are three urgent tech priorities and trends to move to the front of your watch list in 2017.
You may have antivirus and you may have a firewall— you may be foolproof. But are you phish-proof?
If you live in El Paso, you probably heard the recent news that the city was scammed for $3.2 million by cybercriminals who tricked the city's staff into redirecting vendor payments into a fake account. Although internet controls were placed right away and law enforcement and FBI quickly began working the case, so far only $1.8 million has been recovered.
That left many people asking, how did cybercriminals break through a major city’s network security and data protection system? What do we need to change on our system so we won’t get hacked?
It’s that time again—your regular Password Health Check-up is due.
Now, before your eyes start to ‘roll and scroll’, skipping on to something you haven’t heard before, listen to this--
Last week’s massive cyberattack, which outsmarted some of the best and brightest and shut down major sites like Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter for hours, equaling losses in the millions?
Zombies, witches, werewolves, and grotesque monsters of every shape and size emerge from the shadows, hunting you down with ever-increasing speed and precision, their beady red eyes glowing. You try outrunning them—ducking, hiding, counter-attacks of all sorts, but no matter what you do, they adapt just as quickly, matching their tactics perfectly to thwart your every attempt.
We invoke this Halloween fear-fest (or fun-fest, depending on whether you’re the hunter or the hunted this October 31st) to raise an important point about some scary realities that unfortunately stalk us throughout the year, not just in October.
Makios is the leading partner when it comes to IP or "VoIP" telephony. We have been a huge fan of IP Office for many years and implemented systems for many clients successfully over the years. It is just one of those solutions that you set and forget, yet it continues to perform as it should, totally in line with the style we love.
As you may have heard, Avaya’s IP Office Release 10 has landed, bringing some great new features to improve a product that already stands apart from any other IP Business Communications system on the market today and has for a number of years.
If you invested in IP Office and want to get the most out of it, we suggest you get acquainted with an awesome company called Xima which was started by former Avaya employees who know the hardware inside and out.
Xima's software gives you incredibly accurate, thorough, cradle-to-grave reporting on every call that enters or leaves your phone system. That means full insight into the who, what, why and where of each call. It works by connecting directly into your phone system, logging every detail and then turning that information into powerful statistics and analysis reports you can actually use.
We are proud to be one of the newest Authorized Partners to Xima and so far we are loving the product.
Collecting information is only half the story and one of the things Chronicall prides itself on is its intuitive, user-friendly interface and reports, which means you don't need a call center manager background to use it. The Cradle to Grave reporting means that you can expand each and every call to view its ringing, talking, queue, hold, and transfer events, conference call information as well as the agents, hunt groups, and external parties involved at each step along the way. You can sort, search, filter, and rearrange the data or export it directly into a spreadsheet program for further analysis.
Not only is Xima compatible and fully tested on the IP Office platform, but Avaya decided that they bring significant value to the brand and made them a DevConnect partner, giving them the DevConnect Award in 2013. Today Xima's solutions are being used across the globe, with over 6000 installs in over 80 countries, in businesses ranging from small offices to large distributed contact centers.
When it comes to earning trust and recognition in your field—whatever that field may be—one of the most difficult and yet most valuable traits you can have is staying power.
As Makios looks ahead to our upcoming 10 year anniversary with a sense of gratitude and accomplishment, we also remind ourselves that the finish line is not yet set in this long-distance marathon. One of our long-time clients and friends, Gorman Moisture Protection, started their marathon just a little bit earlier than us (try 1946) and has their own anniversary coming up. Congratulations, from all of us here at Makios, on 70 years of staying power; may there be many more to come!
So it probably goes without saying that Gorman Moisture Protection has been around the block a few times since 1946 and knows a thing or two about long-term relationships. They've learned to choose their partners carefully and it was no different when it came to IT services.
“Our prior IT service seemed to like the mystic view of their work and we never had confidence in them. But Makios earned our confidence at every step, every year. They tell us the hard facts and we deal with them together without making us feel like Neanderthals.
Thanks to the Makios team, we are better organized in managing our technology and up to date, licensed, and secure. The relationship has been great. ”
–Patrick Gorman, President
More About Gorman Moisture Protection
Since 1946, Gorman Moisture Protection has worked tirelessly to establish themselves as one of the top recognized names in the region for moisture protection, repair and building restoration. They've garnered industry recognition and awards, including the National Heritage Award for their restoration work on the El Paso Federal Courthouse, as well as Inductee into the ASTM International Sealant Hall of Fame.
2115 E. Missouri Street
El Paso, TX 79903
Hackers no longer worry about getting caught because it's easy to remove any evidence that they were even there in the first place. They make a living at catching people and systems off guard through social engineering and other methods.
When we started our firm back in 2006 we didn’t know what to expect—where the journey would take us, who we would meet, or what the future would look like. All we knew is that we were motivated to help businesses improve their business and being part of that is something very exciting, let me tell you.
You’re sipping a latte at your favorite café, taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi to catch up on the news of the day and remember your favorite shopping site is having a 50% off sale that only lasts for the next two hours. It takes no time at all to load up your shopping cart and you are just about ready to checkout. Stop. Right. There. Forget about using your credit card or (heaven forbid) your debit card – you are on a network that has no security whatsoever so you are essentially handing over purchasing power on your dime to a cyber criminal.
You can try to beat the odds and read every message in detail but with so many distractions nowadays its very hard (mind you we tried and failed…). So instead of being brave, be safe.
We said it before, and we will say it again; Cyber Security is not an IT problem, it’s an EVERYONE problem. But problems are made to be solved, right? There are ways to keep your systems protected. One thing you should definitely do is always keep your systems up-to-date as well as run a current antivirus software on your PC.
Cyber security is on the rise, big time. So with all these threats, how can your business stay safe? We posted something the other day on Facebook that hit the nail on the head:
Cyber security is not an IT problem, it is an EVERYONE problem.
I get emails almost every week from people who try to trick me and some, I must say, are incredibly crafty. Email viruses had become a thing of the past, but guess what?! They are back in full effect.
Here is a scenario we all know:
A Nigerian relative of Prince So-And-So has a few million ready to transfer to your account. Are you unsure of the legitimacy of the message but curious? Don’t get tricked, phishing is real, and it is effective.
Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself before clicking or responding:
1. Is the offer too good to be true?
2. Are you expecting the message?
3. Is the sender someone you frequently interact with?
4. Are links in the message looking legit but pointing somewhere else?
All these things are simple common-sense questions we use to stay safer out on the great inter-webs. Sometimes it is best to just hit delete, if it is important they will likely call you.
Let’s take a minute to investigate the statement running a business, nowhere does it say stand-still business, stoppage business, or on-hold business. So why do so many businesses ignore up-time as such a critical element of their operation and business strategy?