What you need to know about VoIP Quality of Service

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become a popular communications solution for small- and medium-sized businesses. There are so many providers and services to choose from, but how do you pick the right one? One crucial factor you should look into is a vendor’s Quality of Service (QoS).

What is QoS?

VoIP providers and IT experts define QoS as the overall performance of a VoIP system or network. This performance is usually measured by looking at objective statistics like bandwidth usage, transmission delay, call jitter, error rates, etc. Subjective data, like what the end users think of the system’s performance, are also factored in.

Why does QoS vary among providers?

QoS does not only apply to VoIP, but also to traditional phone systems. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the quality of landline calls is near perfect. This is because all traditional phone network providers invest in physical networks and connections that offer high QoS. That means switching from one provider to another doesn’t affect the quality of the calls.
But investments in physical networks are expensive, and customers end up shouldering the costs. The high cost of maintaining the transmission network (phone lines, switches, etc.) is also why there are only a couple of phone providers in most areas. In other words, it’s just too costly for small companies to launch a traditional phone network system.
In comparison, VoIP systems are a lot cheaper to set up and maintain. This has led to a high number of VoIP providers. And because anyone with capital can set up their VoIP systems without having to adhere to a standard, the QoS amongst providers can vary drastically. To find the provider with the best QoS, ask them these three questions:

How much of the network infrastructure do you own?

Almost every VoIP provider will rely on public infrastructure in order to transmit data. The rule of thumb is, the bigger the company’s share in the infrastructure, the higher its QoS is. This is because the provider will have more control over the technology.
One of the best options is to look for facilities-based providers. These companies own almost all of the network that carries VoIP calls and can therefore offer better services and quality.

How much traffic will run over public internet?

Some of the most popular solutions like Vonage will use almost 100% public internet for their traffic. Other companies will use a mixture of public and private networks, often using public internet for more affordable packages and private internet for high-end users. If you often use VoIP for functions that require heavy bandwidth like conference calling, then you may need to sign up for more expensive packages so the QoS doesn’t drop.

What level of quality can you guarantee?

The best providers will be able to guarantee a QoS that is comparable, or even better, than traditional phone networks. This is especially important for businesses that are looking to switch to a full VoIP solution. Ask your prospective provider to run a few tests on your network and to give you a quality assurance. If the numbers are too low for your business needs, look for another provider.
Do you want to know more about how to pick the best VoIP provider and how VoIP can benefit your business? Get in touch with our experts today.

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The importance of Quality of Service in VoIP

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become the top communication system of choice of many small- to medium-sized businesses. While there are many vendors that offer different VoIP packages with their respective features, you should look into their Quality of Service (QoS) to know which one could meet your company’s needs. Here’s a quick overview of what QoS is and some important questions to ask potential providers.

What is QoS?

VoIP providers and IT experts define QoS as the overall performance of a VoIP system or network. This performance is usually measured by looking at objective statistics like bandwidth usage, transmission delay, call jitter, error rates, etc. Subjective data, like what the end users think of the system’s performance, are also factored in.

Why does QoS vary among providers?

QoS does not only apply to VoIP, but also to traditional phone systems. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the quality of landline calls is near perfect. This is because all traditional phone network providers invest in physical networks and connections that offer high QoS. That means switching from one provider to another doesn’t affect the quality of the calls.
But investments in physical networks are expensive, and customers end up shouldering the costs. The high cost of maintaining the transmission network (phone lines, switches, etc.) is also why there are only a couple of phone providers in most areas. In other words, it’s just too costly for small companies to launch a traditional phone network system.
In comparison, VoIP systems are a lot cheaper to set up and maintain. This has led to a high number of VoIP providers. And because anyone with capital can set up their VoIP systems without having to adhere to a standard, the QoS amongst providers can vary drastically. To find the provider with the best QoS, ask them these three questions:

How much of the network infrastructure do you own?

Almost every VoIP provider will rely on public infrastructure in order to transmit data. The rule of thumb is, the bigger the company’s share in the infrastructure, the higher its QoS is. This is because the provider will have more control over the technology.
One of the best options is to look for facilities-based providers. These companies own almost all of the network that carries VoIP calls and can therefore offer better services and quality.

How much traffic will run over public internet?

Some of the most popular solutions like Vonage will use almost 100% public internet for their traffic. Other companies will use a mixture of public and private networks, often using public internet for more affordable packages and private internet for high-end users. If you often use VoIP for functions that require heavy bandwidth like conference calling, then you may need to sign up for more expensive packages so the QoS doesn’t drop.

What level of quality can you guarantee?

The best providers will be able to guarantee a QoS that is comparable, or even better, than traditional phone networks. This is especially important for businesses that are looking to switch to a full VoIP solution. Ask your prospective provider to run a few tests on your network and to give you a quality assurance. If the numbers are too low for your business needs, look for another provider.
Do you want to know more about how to pick the best VoIP provider and how VoIP can benefit your business? Get in touch with our experts today.

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Why Quality of Service is crucial for VoIP

One of the most essential aspects of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems you should consider is Quality of Service, or QoS. To make sure your provider will deliver optimal service with minimal downtime, ask them these questions about their QoS.

What is QoS?

VoIP providers and IT experts define QoS as the overall performance of a VoIP system or network. This performance is usually measured by looking at objective statistics like bandwidth usage, transmission delay, call jitter, error rates, etc. Subjective data, like what the end users think of the system’s performance, are also factored in.

Why does QoS vary among providers?

QoS does not only apply to VoIP, but also to traditional phone systems. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the quality of landline calls is near perfect. This is because all traditional phone network providers invest in physical networks and connections that offer high QoS. That means switching from one provider to another doesn’t affect the quality of the calls.
But investments in physical networks are expensive, and customers end up shouldering the costs. The high cost of maintaining the transmission network (phone lines, switches, etc.) is also why there are only a couple of phone providers in most areas. In other words, it’s just too costly for small companies to launch a traditional phone network system.
In comparison, VoIP systems are a lot cheaper to set up and maintain. This has led to a high number of VoIP providers. And because anyone with capital can set up their VoIP systems without having to adhere to a standard, the QoS amongst providers can vary drastically. To find the provider with the best QoS, ask them these three questions:

How much of the network infrastructure do you own?

Almost every VoIP provider will rely on public infrastructure in order to transmit data. The rule of thumb is, the bigger the company’s share in the infrastructure, the higher its QoS is. This is because the provider will have more control over the technology.
One of the best options is to look for facilities-based providers. These companies own almost all of the network that carries VoIP calls and can therefore offer better services and quality.

How much traffic will run over public internet?

Some of the most popular solutions like Vonage will use almost 100% public internet for their traffic. Other companies will use a mixture of public and private networks, often using public internet for more affordable packages and private internet for high-end users. If you often use VoIP for functions that require heavy bandwidth like conference calling, then you may need to sign up for more expensive packages so the QoS doesn’t drop.

What level of quality can you guarantee?

The best providers will be able to guarantee a QoS that is comparable, or even better, than traditional phone networks. This is especially important for businesses that are looking to switch to a full VoIP solution. Ask your prospective provider to run a few tests on your network and to give you a quality assurance. If the numbers are too low for your business needs, look for another provider.
Do you want to know more about how to pick the best VoIP provider and how VoIP can benefit your business? Get in touch with our experts today.

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Step up your PowerPoint game with these pointers

Do your officemates groan whenever they have to sit through another PowerPoint presentation? Once it’s your turn, knock their socks off by using these easy-to-follow tips.

Start slideshows instantly

The audience doesn’t want to see the speaker’s cluttered desktop or unread emails as the PowerPoint presentation is being set up. Therefore, while waiting for everything to be ready, make sure the projector does not display anything — either have the operator cover it or display something else via the dual monitor function. Take this time to introduce yourself and do a short spiel about what you’re going to talk about. Then, once the slideshow is ready, cue the operator to uncover the projector or switch the dual monitor screens.

If you’re both the presenter and the projector operator, you can take steps so that your PowerPoint file instantly opens as a slideshow (i.e., it bypasses PowerPoint’s editing mode):

  1. Before presenting, save your file as a PowerPoint Show in the folder of your choice.
  2. When you’re about to present, open the folder and double click your file.

It’s that easy! Take note that this won’t work if you try to open the file via any of PowerPoint’s Open functions — you have to go to the file’s location and double click from there. And to end the show, just press the Esc key.

Say no to bullet points

Audiences hate it when presenters just read walls of text off of their slides. It’s supposed to be a presentation, not a tedious read-along. Some say that bulleted items that have no more than seven words each is good, but both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook agree that bulleted lists aren’t the ticket. A better way to create lists is to drop each item in one at a time, if possible, next to a big image that is the main focus of your presentation. Don’t forget to talk about each individual list item, but not with bullets.

Insert pictures from Flickr and OneNote

Jazz up presentations by including images or memes that’ll make the audience laugh instead of doze off. Head to the Insert tab and select Online Pictures — you’ll see Office.com Clip Art, Bing Image Search, Flickr, OneNote, and even Facebook. A vast pool of online images is now at your disposal. Alternatively, you can just take photos of yourself and use those to help drive your point home in an engaging and relatable way.

Pull back the focus with blackouts and whiteouts

Audience members tend to lose focus or drift away when presentations are longer than usual. If you suspect audience members are starting to lose focus, hit the B key for a complete blackout or the W key for a total whiteout. Then hit any key or click the mouse to return to the slides — this technique helps get the eyes back on you, where they belong.

Chart animation

The challenge doesn’t lie in inserting a chart into the presentation, but in making it interesting. Enter chart animation. After inserting the chart, click the Animations tab and activate the Animations pane. From there, click Add Animation. Pick an animated effect. Then, in the Animation Pane where you see the entry for the chart’s animation, right-click and select Effect Options.

This lets you customize sound and animation timing. But on the final tab — Chart Animation — be sure to change Group Chart from “As One Object” to “By Category.” This displays charts one element at a time as you click, with bars or slices of pie arriving one after the other, as if each was its own slide.

Extend music over multiple slides

To add music to your slide, go to the Insert tab, select Audio > Audio on My PC. Then, in File Explorer, find the music file you want to use and then select Insert. But why confine your favorite tunes to just one slide? Expand it over the duration of your presentation by clicking on the speaker icon that indicates the embedded audio. On the Playback tab, choose Play in Background to have the audio play across the next few slides or until the music stops.

Duplication

If you are constantly reusing the same element throughout your presentation, the good old Ctrl-C + Ctrl-V keyboard shortcut is fine, but Duplication is better. Hold Ctrl while you click and drag on the object to create an exact dupe; keep selecting and making dupes and they’ll all space themselves out evenly. You can even duplicate entire sets of slides: simply select one or more slides on the left navigation pane, select Insert > New Slide > Duplicate Selected Slides.

Animate, animate, animate

Any element of a PPT slide can be animated. Choose the element, go to the Animations tab, and at the right end of the Animations Gallery, click the down arrow to get “More.” You can choose from many options about how an element appears, gets emphasis, or disappears — but for animated motion, go to the fourth section. If you pick Custom Path, you can get the object to do just about any wild motions you want on the screen before it settles down.

Use animations to add flair to your presentations. Don’t overdo them — you don’t want your audience to get motion sickness.

PowerPoint slideshows don’t have to be complicated. In fact, if animations and music cramp your style, then don’t use them. At the end of the day, it’s you who’ll be carrying the presentation and discussion. The slideshow is just a visual aid that helps people understand your points and remember them better.

If you have any further questions regarding our tips or how to execute them, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We’re more than happy to answer all of your questions.

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Improve your PowerPoint skills with these tips

Office workers are far too familiar with slideshow presentations that are either more soporific than cough medicine or are horrible time sinks that make them miss their deadlines. To avoid becoming the next target of their ire and resentment — and perhaps become the presenter everyone actually enjoys — here are some tips on how to use Microsoft PowerPoint.

Start slideshows instantly

The audience doesn’t want to see the speaker’s cluttered desktop or unread emails as the PowerPoint presentation is being set up. Therefore, while waiting for everything to be ready, make sure the projector does not display anything — either have the operator cover it or display something else via the dual monitor function. Take this time to introduce yourself and do a short spiel about what you’re going to talk about. Then, once the slideshow is ready, cue the operator to uncover the projector or switch the dual monitor screens.

If you’re both the presenter and the projector operator, you can take steps so that your PowerPoint file instantly opens as a slideshow (i.e., it bypasses PowerPoint’s editing mode):

  1. Before presenting, save your file as a PowerPoint Show in the folder of your choice.
  2. When you’re about to present, open the folder and double click your file.

It’s that easy! Take note that this won’t work if you try to open the file via any of PowerPoint’s Open functions — you have to go to the file’s location and double click from there. And to end the show, just press the Esc key.

Say no to bullet points

Audiences hate it when presenters just read walls of text off of their slides. It’s supposed to be a presentation, not a tedious read-along. Some say that bulleted items that have no more than seven words each is good, but both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook agree that bulleted lists aren’t the ticket. A better way to create lists is to drop each item in one at a time, if possible, next to a big image that is the main focus of your presentation. Don’t forget to talk about each individual list item, but not with bullets.

Insert pictures from Flickr and OneNote

Jazz up presentations by including images or memes that’ll make the audience laugh instead of doze off. Head to the Insert tab and select Online Pictures — you’ll see Office.com Clip Art, Bing Image Search, Flickr, OneNote, and even Facebook. A vast pool of online images is now at your disposal. Alternatively, you can just take photos of yourself and use those to help drive your point home in an engaging and relatable way.

Pull back the focus with blackouts and whiteouts

Audience members tend to lose focus or drift away when presentations are longer than usual. If you suspect audience members are starting to lose focus, hit the B key for a complete blackout or the W key for a total whiteout. Then hit any key or click the mouse to return to the slides — this technique helps get the eyes back on you, where they belong.

Chart animation

The challenge doesn’t lie in inserting a chart into the presentation, but in making it interesting. Enter chart animation. After inserting the chart, click the Animations tab and activate the Animations pane. From there, click Add Animation. Pick an animated effect. Then, in the Animation Pane where you see the entry for the chart’s animation, right-click and select Effect Options.

This lets you customize sound and animation timing. But on the final tab — Chart Animation — be sure to change Group Chart from “As One Object” to “By Category.” This displays charts one element at a time as you click, with bars or slices of pie arriving one after the other, as if each was its own slide.

Extend music over multiple slides

To add music to your slide, go to the Insert tab, select Audio > Audio on My PC. Then, in File Explorer, find the music file you want to use and then select Insert. But why confine your favorite tunes to just one slide? Expand it over the duration of your presentation by clicking on the speaker icon that indicates the embedded audio. On the Playback tab, choose Play in Background to have the audio play across the next few slides or until the music stops.

Duplication

If you are constantly reusing the same element throughout your presentation, the good old Ctrl-C + Ctrl-V keyboard shortcut is fine, but Duplication is better. Hold Ctrl while you click and drag on the object to create an exact dupe; keep selecting and making dupes and they’ll all space themselves out evenly. You can even duplicate entire sets of slides: simply select one or more slides on the left navigation pane, select Insert > New Slide > Duplicate Selected Slides.

Animate, animate, animate

Any element of a PPT slide can be animated. Choose the element, go to the Animations tab, and at the right end of the Animations Gallery, click the down arrow to get “More.” You can choose from many options about how an element appears, gets emphasis, or disappears — but for animated motion, go to the fourth section. If you pick Custom Path, you can get the object to do just about any wild motions you want on the screen before it settles down.

Use animations to add flair to your presentations. Don’t overdo them — you don’t want your audience to get motion sickness.

PowerPoint slideshows don’t have to be complicated. In fact, if animations and music cramp your style, then don’t use them. At the end of the day, it’s you who’ll be carrying the presentation and discussion. The slideshow is just a visual aid that helps people understand your points and remember them better.

If you have any further questions regarding our tips or how to execute them, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We’re more than happy to answer all of your questions.

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Presenting using PowerPoint? Use these tips

Do you find it difficult to keep your audience’s attention whenever you do a PowerPoint presentation? You’re in luck because we have some of the best tricks of the trade to share with you.

Start slideshows instantly

The audience doesn’t want to see the speaker’s cluttered desktop or unread emails as the PowerPoint presentation is being set up. Therefore, while waiting for everything to be ready, make sure the projector does not display anything — either have the operator cover it or display something else via the dual monitor function. Take this time to introduce yourself and do a short spiel about what you’re going to talk about. Then, once the slideshow is ready, cue the operator to uncover the projector or switch the dual monitor screens.

If you’re both the presenter and the projector operator, you can take steps so that your PowerPoint file instantly opens as a slideshow (i.e., it bypasses PowerPoint’s editing mode):

  1. Before presenting, save your file as a PowerPoint Show in the folder of your choice.
  2. When you’re about to present, open the folder and double click your file.

It’s that easy! Take note that this won’t work if you try to open the file via any of PowerPoint’s Open functions — you have to go to the file’s location and double click from there. And to end the show, just press the Esc key.

Say no to bullet points

Audiences hate it when presenters just read walls of text off of their slides. It’s supposed to be a presentation, not a tedious read-along. Some say that bulleted items that have no more than seven words each is good, but both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook agree that bulleted lists aren’t the ticket. A better way to create lists is to drop each item in one at a time, if possible, next to a big image that is the main focus of your presentation. Don’t forget to talk about each individual list item, but not with bullets.

Insert pictures from Flickr and OneNote

Jazz up presentations by including images or memes that’ll make the audience laugh instead of doze off. Head to the Insert tab and select Online Pictures — you’ll see Office.com Clip Art, Bing Image Search, Flickr, OneNote, and even Facebook. A vast pool of online images is now at your disposal. Alternatively, you can just take photos of yourself and use those to help drive your point home in an engaging and relatable way.

Pull back the focus with blackouts and whiteouts

Audience members tend to lose focus or drift away when presentations are longer than usual. If you suspect audience members are starting to lose focus, hit the B key for a complete blackout or the W key for a total whiteout. Then hit any key or click the mouse to return to the slides — this technique helps get the eyes back on you, where they belong.

Chart animation

The challenge doesn’t lie in inserting a chart into the presentation, but in making it interesting. Enter chart animation. After inserting the chart, click the Animations tab and activate the Animations pane. From there, click Add Animation. Pick an animated effect. Then, in the Animation Pane where you see the entry for the chart’s animation, right-click and select Effect Options.

This lets you customize sound and animation timing. But on the final tab — Chart Animation — be sure to change Group Chart from “As One Object” to “By Category.” This displays charts one element at a time as you click, with bars or slices of pie arriving one after the other, as if each was its own slide.

Extend music over multiple slides

To add music to your slide, go to the Insert tab, select Audio > Audio on My PC. Then, in File Explorer, find the music file you want to use and then select Insert. But why confine your favorite tunes to just one slide? Expand it over the duration of your presentation by clicking on the speaker icon that indicates the embedded audio. On the Playback tab, choose Play in Background to have the audio play across the next few slides or until the music stops.

Duplication

If you are constantly reusing the same element throughout your presentation, the good old Ctrl-C + Ctrl-V keyboard shortcut is fine, but Duplication is better. Hold Ctrl while you click and drag on the object to create an exact dupe; keep selecting and making dupes and they’ll all space themselves out evenly. You can even duplicate entire sets of slides: simply select one or more slides on the left navigation pane, select Insert > New Slide > Duplicate Selected Slides.

Animate, animate, animate

Any element of a PPT slide can be animated. Choose the element, go to the Animations tab, and at the right end of the Animations Gallery, click the down arrow to get “More.” You can choose from many options about how an element appears, gets emphasis, or disappears — but for animated motion, go to the fourth section. If you pick Custom Path, you can get the object to do just about any wild motions you want on the screen before it settles down.

Use animations to add flair to your presentations. Don’t overdo them — you don’t want your audience to get motion sickness.

PowerPoint slideshows don’t have to be complicated. In fact, if animations and music cramp your style, then don’t use them. At the end of the day, it’s you who’ll be carrying the presentation and discussion. The slideshow is just a visual aid that helps people understand your points and remember them better.

If you have any further questions regarding our tips or how to execute them, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We’re more than happy to answer all of your questions.

Posted in General Articles A, Office | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Simple steps to protect data in the cloud

Small- and medium-sized businesses can’t afford a data breach. According to IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report, a single breach can cost organizations $3.86 million on average. Be proactive in making sure your data is safe in the cloud, so you don’t have to spend a huge amount mitigating a breach.

Know your cloud apps:

Get a comprehensive view of the specific threats that business apps pose. Ask questions like: Which ones render you more or less prone to a breach? Does an app encrypt data stored on the service? Does it separate your data from that of others to limit exposure when another tenant has a breach?

Migrate users to high-quality apps:

Cloud-switching costs are low, which means that you can always switch to another application that best suits your needs. Take the time to consult with your vendor before switching to another app to make sure the new app is secure and compatible with your systems. Now more than ever, you have choices.

Find out where your data is going:

Take a look at your data in the cloud. Review uploads, downloads, and data at rest in apps to determine whether you have potential personally identifiable information (PII), or whether you simply have unencrypted confidential data. If you do have PII stored in the cloud, you need to make sure there are additional layers of security measures in place such as encryption. This is to avoid violating compliance regulations and paying hefty fines.

Look at user activities:

It’s important to understand not only what apps you use but also how these apps use your data. Determine what apps employees are using to share content and whether such apps have a sharing functionality. Knowing who’s sharing what and with whom will help you understand what policies to best employ.

Mitigate risk through granular policy:

Start with your business-critical apps and enforce policies that matter to your organization in the context of a breach. For example, block the upload of information covered by certain privacy acts, block the download of PII from HR apps, or temporarily block access to vulnerable apps.


The key to preventing a data security breach in the cloud lies in careful attention to your cloud applications and user activity. Analyzing your apps and looking into user activities might be time-consuming, but minimizing cloud and data security breaches makes this task worthwhile. Looking to learn more about today’s security? Contact us and let us manage and minimize your risks.

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Secure your data in the cloud

Data breaches are a common occurrence in today’s business environment. While many businesses have turned to cloud applications for better productivity, scalability, and savings, some business owners worry that the cloud is more vulnerable to data breaches than an on-premises data center. The truth is that any computing environment is vulnerable if you don’t take steps to prevent a data security breach. Here are simple steps to protect your data in the cloud.

Know your cloud apps:

Get a comprehensive view of the specific threats that business apps pose. Ask questions like: Which ones render you more or less prone to a breach? Does an app encrypt data stored on the service? Does it separate your data from that of others to limit exposure when another tenant has a breach?

Migrate users to high-quality apps:

Cloud-switching costs are low, which means that you can always switch to another application that best suits your needs. Take the time to consult with your vendor before switching to another app to make sure the new app is secure and compatible with your systems. Now more than ever, you have choices.

Find out where your data is going:

Take a look at your data in the cloud. Review uploads, downloads, and data at rest in apps to determine whether you have potential personally identifiable information (PII), or whether you simply have unencrypted confidential data. If you do have PII stored in the cloud, you need to make sure there are additional layers of security measures in place such as encryption. This is to avoid violating compliance regulations and paying hefty fines.

Look at user activities:

It’s important to understand not only what apps you use but also how these apps use your data. Determine what apps employees are using to share content and whether such apps have a sharing functionality. Knowing who’s sharing what and with whom will help you understand what policies to best employ.

Mitigate risk through granular policy:

Start with your business-critical apps and enforce policies that matter to your organization in the context of a breach. For example, block the upload of information covered by certain privacy acts, block the download of PII from HR apps, or temporarily block access to vulnerable apps.


The key to preventing a data security breach in the cloud lies in careful attention to your cloud applications and user activity. Analyzing your apps and looking into user activities might be time-consuming, but minimizing cloud and data security breaches makes this task worthwhile. Looking to learn more about today’s security? Contact us and let us manage and minimize your risks.

Posted in General Articles B, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Protect your business data in the cloud

Despite its enhanced security features, cloud computing isn’t 100% safe from data breaches. A small- or medium-sized business still needs to be proactive in making sure their data is secure in the cloud. The following tips will help tighten cloud data security.

Know your cloud apps:

Get a comprehensive view of the specific threats that business apps pose. Ask questions like: Which ones render you more or less prone to a breach? Does an app encrypt data stored on the service? Does it separate your data from that of others to limit exposure when another tenant has a breach?

Migrate users to high-quality apps:

Cloud-switching costs are low, which means that you can always switch to another application that best suits your needs. Take the time to consult with your vendor before switching to another app to make sure the new app is secure and compatible with your systems. Now more than ever, you have choices.

Find out where your data is going:

Take a look at your data in the cloud. Review uploads, downloads, and data at rest in apps to determine whether you have potential personally identifiable information (PII), or whether you simply have unencrypted confidential data. If you do have PII stored in the cloud, you need to make sure there are additional layers of security measures in place such as encryption. This is to avoid violating compliance regulations and paying hefty fines.

Look at user activities:

It’s important to understand not only what apps you use but also how these apps use your data. Determine what apps employees are using to share content and whether such apps have a sharing functionality. Knowing who’s sharing what and with whom will help you understand what policies to best employ.

Mitigate risk through granular policy:

Start with your business-critical apps and enforce policies that matter to your organization in the context of a breach. For example, block the upload of information covered by certain privacy acts, block the download of PII from HR apps, or temporarily block access to vulnerable apps.


The key to preventing a data security breach in the cloud lies in careful attention to your cloud applications and user activity. Analyzing your apps and looking into user activities might be time-consuming, but minimizing cloud and data security breaches makes this task worthwhile. Looking to learn more about today’s security? Contact us and let us manage and minimize your risks.

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What You Need To Do Before Committing To A New VoIP System

There comes a time when every business needs to invest in a phone system: they’re buying a new phone system for their new location or they’re upgrading from an older system. Regardless of the reason, they’re ready to make the commitment. 

Your phone connects you to your customers, so you need it to be reliable. You want it to have a specific set of features (such as voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding, conferencing, recording, etc.) and you want your investment to be supported for years to come. The question you have is, “Where do I begin?” 

First and foremost, finding the right phone system can be a pain. Doing research online leaves you sifting through site after site as you look for answers only to find way too much information – and most of it isn’t worth your time. 

As a business, you’re about to drop serious money on a new phone system, so you want to know you’re getting what you pay for. Unfortunately, the phone system business is a competitive one, which means it’s hard to find websites, reviews and data that isn’t biased or skewed in some way. There are countless websites featuring deals that aren’t really deals, or websites hosting reviews sponsored by a phone service provider. This isn’t helpful. 

So, what is helpful? Here’s what you need to know.

Most phone systems are essentially the same. There may be a few features that vary from system to system, but most VoIP systems will all have the most important features demanded by businesses. Your best bet is to define your phone needs before you start searching for a system. Chances are it won’t take long to find what you’re looking for – if you ignore the clutter.

What you really want to find is a stellar service provider. You might get caught up in trying to find the best phone with the best features, but none of that matters if you don’t get good service to go along with it. You need someone who will be with you every step of the way, from setup and installation to configuration and the all-important support.

You need someone you can rely on. That way, if anything goes wrong or you have questions, you have someone you can call. The fact of the matter is that most people aren’t and never will be VoIP or phone system experts. Business owners have too much on their plates to learn – from scratch – about a new phone system. 

This leads to the questions you should be asking before you commit and buy a new system:

  • Who is setting up my new phone system?
  • Will they customize it for my specific needs?
  • How do I get help if my phone system stops working? 
  • Who do I call if I have additional questions?

As you vet potential vendors, get exact and direct answers. If they beat around the bush, that’s a red flag. They should be able to answer all of your questions in a language you understand. If they don’t answer your questions, or you aren’t happy with the answers, find a different vendor. 

There are many vendors who will send you a system and leave the rest up to you. If you know what you’re doing and have the time to set it up, it’s no big deal. But that isn’t most of us. And forget about support. If anything goes wrong, you’re on your own. 

The best thing you can do when searching for a new VoIP phone system is to find an honest, reputable, local phone system reseller that you can verify will do the following:

  • Set up the system.
  • Customize the system for your business’s specific needs.
  • Offer personalized and continuous support and training. 

In most cases, the answer lies with a dedicated and experienced IT services firm that knows technology. This is the kind of company that not only checks the boxes but can also ensure that your system works with your network without any hiccups.

The bottom is this: Do your research. Ask questions, get answers and be confident in your decision before handing over the credit card and signing on the dotted line. You’ll be much happier that you did!

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