VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is quickly becoming the technology of choice for businesses that require a high-quality telephone system and excellent phone service. In fact, over half of all calls made nationally and internationally are made with the use of VoIP solutions. Business VoIP services deliver very similar features as traditional telephone lines, such as call waiting, voicemail, call forwarding, and more. There are several differences in the functionality of these two technologies that can make switching from analog to digital communication slightly more complicated, but in the long run this switch can prove to be beneficial to your company and its infrastructure. This article provides an overview of some of the challenges associated with switching from analog to business VoIP services.
IP security – Unlike traditional telecommunications networks, corporate VoIP services run behind a protected network, called a “VPN solution.” The VPN solution functions as a firewall, blocking some or all Internet access while allowing certain communication between servers and end users. As an added layer of security, the VPN solution encrypts data that is sent before transmission.
Free Phone System – One of the most popular features of corporate voip solutions is the free phone system. Most companies provide free calling minutes to all their customers. Unfortunately, this calling plan tends to be rather expensive, since it involves long-distance calls at very high rates. To minimize costs, it’s best to subscribe to a multiple-line plan that allows for unlimited numbers of free calls, or consider purchasing a single line plan that has a low-cost off-net option.
Switching Costs – Another major cost savings factor for businesses switching over to VOIP is in the cost of long-distance and international calling charges. Many Internet service providers charge very high rates for long distance and international calling plans. When a company utilizes a VPN solution, it becomes much easier to obtain a cost-efficient alternative to traditional telecom carriers. Because the VOIP technology doesn’t need to be deployed in every business location, there is no need to provide service at extra cost to all employees.
Low-Cost Off-Net – The low-cost off-net option is one of the main reasons businesses switch over to VOIP. In this scenario, all the employees in an organization have their own private VOIP calling account. Instead of paying a telecom service provider for a traditional connection, each employee’s VOIP calling account can offer its own distinct value to the organization. Since most VOIP calling plans are offered at a low-cost, this option is especially appealing for small organizations that may not see immediate profit growth due to current telecommunications expenses.
Flexibility – An important benefit to using a VOIP calling system is the flexibility associated with the application. Unlike traditional landline telephone systems, VOIP servers do not require any modifications to the internal network infrastructure. All employees are able to use the same equipment, which can include any number of handheld or wireless phones depending on the corporate plans’ features and availability. This feature eliminates the possibility of a single employee using a high-priced, state-of-the-art cell phone, and the entire organization’s network communications can be dialed into the VOIP server at the same time. Additionally, the cost savings of VOIP over traditional phone and cable connections allows a higher bandwidth capacity than traditional methods. As such, any changes to the internal network infrastructure can be easily accommodated.
Security – VOIP offers superior security to businesses because it does not require any additional hardware. In contrast to a mobile phone call, where sensitive data like voice, text, photos, videos, emails, internet usage information, and more are transmitted over public networks, VOIP is secured over the internet using secure socket layer (SSL). Any network administrator who encounters a VOIP phone number will know immediately whether or not the communication originated through the secure private connection. This is particularly useful for businesses that have employees that work in a variety of locations, or even if the VOIP equipment is attached to a company’s main computer network.
Business continuity – VOIP business phone solutions are designed to enhance and support existing business continuity plans. A number of features are offered to ensure that all employees can work productively regardless of where they are located. A hosted voip solution may include unified messaging, access to Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and other business applications, access to a private intranet, and so much more. If your company uses a VOIP solution, you may be able to enjoy all the benefits of VOIP without having to purchase or install additional hardware, maintain an expensive phone infrastructure, and incur additional expense for network connectivity and security.