Hardware security has a poor cyber security reputation. Frequently customers and service providers often do not implement appropriate safeguards. Businesses and consumers typically do not change the default passwords nor update the pre-installed software. Hardware security is too easy to ignore.
Best Practice Guidelines
The following guidelines should be verified by the customer when hardware devices are purchased and/or services are subscribed to by the customer.
Most hardware devices ( routers, switches , firewalls , modems , telephone system units , IP end points of all kinds etc ) are being sold with universal default usernames and passwords. The customer should ensure the installer changes the password before use.
Software resident in internet-connected devices should be securely updateable. Updates should not impact on the functioning of the device and be delivered in a timely manner.
Store credentials and sensitive data securely
Any credentials should be securely stored within hardware services and devices. Hard-coded credentials are not recommended in hardware device software.
Limit exposure to cyber attack
Security-sensitive data should be encrypted when communicating, including any remote management and control. All keys should be securely managed.
Hardware device software changes should be verified. When a change is detected, the device should alert operators to the issue.
Deliver resilient operation
Hardware services should continue operating functional when there is a loss of network connectivity. They should recover cleanly when power is restored. Hardware devices should return to a network operation in an acceptable , usable state and in an orderly fashion.
Usage and measurement data should be monitored for security anomalies.
Data ownership and deletion
Who owns the collected data? Hardware devices may change ownership and may be recycled or disposed of. Mechanisms should be in place so that businesses remain in control and remove data from services, devices, and applications.
Easy device installation and maintenance
Hardware device installation and maintenance should require few steps and follow security best practices.
A survey of 1,000+ decision makers across eight European countries by a major VoIP provider reveals business attitudes to public, private and hybrid adoption of cloud communications
81% of European companies are adopting cloud communications to gain innovative capabilities
84% of European respondents say the cost of cloud migration is the key factor in calculating ROI
62% of European businesses prefer to rely on a cloud and unified communications specialist
The survey comes against the backdrop of rapid growth in the cloud communications sector, whether public, private or hybrid. The latest forecasts estimate the compound annual growth rate of the cloud-based unified communications sector to be 14% up to 2023 in Western Europe.
Innovation at the heart of cloud migration
In an increasingly connected world, companies need to transform and adopt the latest communications and collaboration technology innovations to remain attractive and competitive. Reflecting this, 81% of European companies rated access to innovative features not available with traditional telephony solutions as their main motivation for migrating to a cloud model.
As cloud technology delivers faster and easier access to key productivity tools, companies now view certain functionality as indispensable in effective cloud communications solutions. Unified communication features, including presence, secure instant messaging, and voice and video calls, are top of their “must-have” list with nearly nine in 10 (89%) European companies surveyed considering them essential. Advanced collaboration functions, such as audio and video conferencing and seamless content sharing follow with 41% of companies citing them as essential.
Here at Phoenix Link we focus on bespoking the cloud telephony solution features to suit each of our business clients individually and thereby providing the most business benefit
Migration costs are critical for measuring Return on Investment
The costs of migrating existing telephony architecture to the cloud are deemed to be the most important for businesses, compared with other costs such as change management expenses, and equipment and maintenance. Around 84% of European companies reported migration costs as the primary factor to consider when it comes to Return on Investment. The performance improvements businesses can expect from the cloud are deemed heavily dependent on the quality of underlying IT systems , for example internet access speed and quality.
At Phoenix link we aim to minimise the migration costs , where possible spreading them over a period of time. We take great care when looking at the internet access available and if it isn’t sufficient we wont recommend cloud telephony to the client.
Businesses are looking for cloud expertise
According to the research, 62% of European businesses report a need for experienced advisors to help them migrate to the cloud in a manner that makes the most sense for their organization. Cloud deployments are considered a critical part of business’ long-term communications strategies, and companies are investing in expertise to guarantee future success.
Phoenix Link has the experience and knowledge to offer structured , bespoke advice to prospective and existing clients when considering the move to cloud telephony
The survey was conducted in eight European countries: Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Switzerland.
A total of 1,003 company executives, representing all business verticals, gave their opinion about their perception of cloud communications and their motivation to migrate from an on-site traditional model to a model integrating the cloud.
If you use the Horizon or CallSwitch mobile apps on your Apple smartphone and are on the EE mobile network you may experience problems with connecting calls whilst using a mobile data ( as opposed to a wireless Wi-Fi ) connection.
The reason for this is that EE have changed their mobile data to work with IPv6 by default (as opposed to IPv4) and some changes within IOS 12 ( in particular ) are stopping the Horizon and CallSwitch mobile apps working correctly
The work around potentially is to set the mobile network APN to IPv4 by default but we have yet to find a way to do this on an Apple device.
Phoenix Link Announces Partnership with PromptVoice
Phoenix Link is proud to announce that it is working alongside PromptVoice, the leading telephony voice prompt company. Phoenix Link has provided professional cloud based telecom solutions to businesses in the South East since 2002. Their portfolio includes outstanding VoIP hosted cloud telephone systems, fast internet access and networking, audio and web conferencing and inbound numbers.
PromptVoice specialises in providing telephony companies with professional, high-quality voice prompts and on-hold messaging and is trusted by some of the biggest telephony brands in the UK — including O2, Vodafone, and British Telecom (BT).
PromptVoice believes that high-calibre voice prompts are a crucial component of telephony systems that seek to reflect positively on a company’s brand. As Anthony Buxton, CEO of PromptVoice, puts it: “A telephony service provider selling their solution without professional prompt recordings is like a car manufacturer selling their cars without paint…technically brilliant, but a disappointing first impression.”
“Our partnership with Phoenix Link is evidence of the need for telephony service providers to offer a full range of voice prompts in an increasingly demanding market.”
The build-up to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) was huge, with business inboxes from Land’s End to John O’Groats flooded with re-consent forms. Conferences and information sessions were attended, but even today businesses are unsure of their responsibilities.
Despite it being early days, there are clearly some elements of the GDPR which have been over-hyped …….
In the months leading up to May 2018, inboxes were inundated with emails asking customers and clients to provide their consent for ongoing marketing communications. It turns out that none of this was strictly necessary.
Toni Vitale, the head of regulation, data and information at the law firm Winckworth Sherwood, comments that many of those requests were “needless paperwork”.
“Businesses are not required to automatically ‘repaper’ or refresh all existing 1998 Act consents in preparation for the GDPR,” Vitale said. “The first question to ask is: which of the six legal grounds under the GDPR should you rely on to process personal data? Consent is only one ground. The others are contract, legal obligation, vital interests, public interest and legitimate interests.
“Even if you are relying on consent, that still does not mean you have to ask for consent again. Recital 171 of the GDPR makes clear you can continue to rely on any existing consent that was given in line with the GDPR requirements, and there’s no need to seek fresh consent. Just make sure that your consent met the GDPR standard and that consents are properly documented.”
So for the telecommunication service provider industry contract , vital interests , legal obligation and legitimate interests all come into play when dealing with existing and prospective clients.
Being cynical, the only thing sending out re-consent forms achieved was to give an opportunity for clients who had previously been happy to receive marketing information the opportunity to decline consent.
The fear of external hackers causing data breaches
Although according to data from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), four out of five data breaches are caused by internal negligence or a lack of adequate safeguarding policies and procedures ; the instances of external hacks ( e.g. British Airways September 2018 or the 2017 Malware attack on the NHS ) are he ones that grab headlines . Take the case of Morrison’s Supermarket, which last year was ordered to pay compensation to thousands of employees after the payroll details of 100,000 employees were leaked online. The cause of the leak? A disgruntled employee.
The statistics given by the ICO confirm that businesses need to focus their attention on securing internal systems, as well as ensuring GDPR compliance and directing their IT teams accordingly.
So what ?
GDPR absolutely SHOULD be taken seriously. However, as long as you completed your IT mapping so you know where all the personal data you hold is kept, have updated third-party data processing contracts, and send marketing materials ONLY to those who have a ‘legitimate interest’ in what you are providing, your organisation can carry on as normal.
No Decision = No Need. Make your life easier by selling to people that already realise they have a pressing need. Re-purpose your marketing to find people with their hands up. Just make sure you identify what there is need is and don’t just try and sell them what you have. Demonstrations are a great way of making potential clients realise they have a need.
Hosted or Cloud telephony is a version of VoIP ( Voice over Internet Protocol ) , or put simply telephone calls over an internet connection.
Hosted or cloud telephony utilises business grade telephone system hardware that resides in a data centre with business grade internet access ,rather than at your business premises , and connects to the telephone handsets in your office over an internet connection ; for example your business broadband.
The benefit of this over traditional IP handsets ( or indeed digital or analogue handsets ) connected to an “on premise” telephone system ( perhaps a Panasonic , Toshiba , Avaya , Samsung or similar ) is that the hosted telephone system hardware doesn’t “care” where the handsets are located as long as they have a suitable internet connection . So suddenly you are not geographically limited by your business telephone system ; you can locate your telephone handsets anywhere …. and you can move them at will …. just so long as the telephone handset has internet access.
You also benefit from not having to upgrade firmware or licences on your telephone system ( as it gets older ) as this is generally included as part of your handset feature subscription fee and even very small companies can enjoy the telephone system feature benefits that would have previously been too expensive to deploy … such as call queuing , auto attendant , voicemail to email , call logging , call recording and the like .
Most telephone calls are often included within the telephone handset feature subscription charge therefore making the cost of hosted or cloud telephony very predictable.
Well in the end the answer has to be yes VoIP will eventually take over from traditional analogue and digital telephone lines as the trunk access for calls. So if the time is right for your business a move to VoIP is a good thing.
Today all businesses are data hungry. Be it to better understand their customers, streamline their operations or improve decision-making. Its predicted that 50% of businesses will adopt a cloud strategy for their data in 2018. Businesses are gathering, storing and relying on data more than ever before, so finding ways to control the cost and to achieve greater ﬂexibility are becoming more of a priority for them. As a trusted supplier we aim to be ensuring our clients are keeping up-to-date with emerging IT trends and providing best-in-class data service packages, allowing customers to access their data whenever they need it.