VoIP Features on Legacy Systems

VoIP gets all the attention – but what about companies that purchased a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) phone system or are just not ready to take the leap to a full VoIP (Voice Over IP) solution? Are there still VoIP options available? Does ‘the cloud’ come into play?

A PBX is a private telephone network used within a company. The users of the PBX phone system share a number of outside lines for making external phone calls. The PBX also connects the internal telephones within a business as well as connects them to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

VoIP itself is merely a new way to transport calls…not the way calls are processed. And EarthLink Business has options available to see if your company can continue to operate using existing systems while still taking advantage of VoIP features…

EarthLink Business offers complete Line Side and PRI services, which we hand off to the customer as analog lines or TDM PRI, respectively, to the customer’s key system or PBX/IP PBX.   These EarthLink Complete Voice services transport calls and data across a VoIP network, allowing customers access to many of the same great features offered with EarthLink Complete Hosted Voice:

Network-based Unified Voicemail hosted in the network for access from any device.

Network-based Unified Fax for viewing inbound faxes on your computer, web-browser, or email from anywhere.

Auto Attendant provides a virtual receptionist and simulates a live operator. Auto Attendant directs callers to the correct department or employee. The main menu can be configured and personalized. Calls can be sent to a phone that is not on the system such as a cell phone.  This network option eliminates the need for an additional piece of equipment on site.

Call Router provides businesses with the ability to route calls from their main business number to alternative destinations. Features include automatically routing the main number to any 10 digit domestic phone number, send all calls to the main number to voicemail or set up a weekly call routing schedule based on: time of day, day of week, calling party and configure for holidays or special days in advance based on a calendar. Control of call router is through a secure administrative portal where customers can make updates and changes from any Internet connection 24/7/365.

Abbreviated Dialing enables customers to dial their other locations, on the same network, without having to dial the full 7-10 digit number, similar to extension dialing.  This is supported across all EarthLink Complete Voice products.

Site-to-site calling allows customers to call all of their locations without incurring domestic long distance charges.

Have questions or want to know more? Contact EarthLink Business and we’ll see how we can help!

Hosted Voice: EarthLink’s Retail Communication Solution

Hosted Voice by EarthLink Business is being applied to the retail vertical more and more. It is a great way to unify any company that has a few to many locations with minimal telephony needs. Since EarthLink has so many options for blended access, we can create a cost effective customized solution that is a good economic fit for any customer and any size retail presence.

EarthLink Business is one of the few providers that can provide COS (Class of Service) over a DSL connection. With this offering, retailers can enjoy a business class connection at an extremely competitive cost. In the past, retail owners would have no way of unifying their store locations because each store would be stuck with a separately-managed, low end communication solution. But with the EarthLink Business Hosted Voice product we can unify all of the stores and provide detailed call accountability through call logs…giving leadership personnel visibility into how their business is functioning. In turn, they are able to fill in the gaps, adjust their dealings appropriately, and increase productivity (which can ultimately increase their profitability). Contact an EarthLink resource today to find out how the EarthLink Hosted Voice product can change the way you do business!

SIP Trunking – Sharing is Caring

Submitted by Alyson Keenan

In today’s economy, everyone wants more for less.

That’s why smart businesses are looking for ways to operate more efficiently and to lower costs. And why so many are turning to SIP Trunking.

A SIP Trunking solution allows a business to send all voice traffic over its data network. This way, rather than having two networks to manage (voice and data), there is only a single network that requires less management and lowers costs. Some go further by consolidating their voice network to a single IP PBX that serves all business locations.

In having a single network to manage, companies are able to oversubscribe their network and get the most out of the resources they have to work with.

Multi-site companies that move to a SIP Trunking solution are able to utilize a capability called aggregate trunking. Aggregate trunking is the ability to provide voice services with a single call-control device or IP PBX to all locations that are on a single data network.

We’ll highlight several of the benefits of this solution.

Single IP PBX

In previous phone system deployments, a PBX call-control device would need to sit each customer location. The more locations a business had, the more PBX systems they needed to purchase and maintain. This could turn into a major expense. With SIP Trunking, customers can save by deploying a single IP-enabled PBX that provides voice services for all business locations.

Shared Resource

With aggregate trunking, businesses are able to use the available voice channels as a shared resource.  For example, if a company has locations across the country, their locations on the East Coast are able to utilize resources that the locations on the West Coast are not using due to the three-hour difference in business hours. With previous solutions, voice services were provided at the location level, so each location would have idle capacity that other locations were unable to leverage. Aggregate SIP Trunking saves you money by allowing you to purchase only the resources you need to share throughout the entire business.

Ease of Management

Ease of management is an important driver for many businesses when making decisions around technology. In previous voice system deployments, businesses were required to install and manage a PBX at each of their locations. This setup often required someone to have to go on-site when changes or troubleshooting were required.

In contrast, when deploying an aggregate trunking model, there is only one call-control center or IP PBX required. With aggregate trunking, you are able to manage all users across the business, regardless of their location, from a single host location. This allows for consistency across the organization and limits the number of elements in the network for troubleshooting. Needles to say, management is simplified.

Future-Proofing Your Business

When considering the transition to SIP Trunking, understanding the benefits your business will gain today is important. But so is looking to the future. SIP Trunking is a way to future-proof the technology your company relies on. Once you move to an IP-based system like SIP Trunking, you have more flexibility to layer new and additional technologies onto your network as your company grows or your needs change.

In addition to SIP Trunking, EarthLink Business offers a complete line of business voice solutions to help companies optimize their voice and data networks.

Click here for an EarthLink Business SIP Trunking PDF.

We rigorously test each IP PBX certified to work with EarthLink Business SIP Trunking solutions. For a full list of IP PBXs certified by EarthLink Business, please visit our SIP Trunking Customer Resource Center.

Secure Remote Access – EarthLink Business has you Covered!

Having secure remote access available to work-from-home employees is becoming increasingly important for modern companies. Many industries have made large investments in remote access services without realizing these investments come with a variety of inherent problems. Remote access threats are unique and if proper measures are not implemented significant threats to corporate information can exist.

The most common vulnerabilities with remote access technologies are poor identity validation and weak authentication. Most remote access tools simply rely on a traditional user ID and password. Unfortunately, when common ID’s and passwords are shared it leads to mass vulnerabilities. It is important for organizations to monitor remote access and be sure to use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication is a process where a person proves their identity with two of three methods: “something you know”, “something you have” or “something you are”. This could be attained by simply having users enter their username (“something you know”) and then enter a PIN that appears on a token (“something you have”).

Contracting malware is another major risk when permitting remote access. Allowing users to connect with unauthorized devices (i.e. Home PC) poses the risk of malicious software or malware spreading to your network. Viruses, Trojans and worms can piggyback the remote connection and gain access to the network. It is important that users with remote access have antivirus software installed on their devices and your remote access system verifies antivirus protection exists before allowing connectivity to your network.

Finally, make sure remote access privileges are monitored and disabled when they are no longer needed. In other words, don’t let a former employee retain access. To many times disgruntled former employees raise havoc on networks because management and administrators delay revoking access to corporate resources.

Verizon’s 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report indicates that remote access services were involved in 88% of all hacking breaches in 2011 and of all the reported incidents involving malware in 2011, compromised remote access resulted in infections 95% of the time. So if you are thinking about making remote access an important part of your business, and you transmit sensitive information, it may be worthwhile to contact your EarthLink representative today to learn more about our managed Secure Remote Access service.