Secure Wi-Fi Hotspot via Outsourcing

Allowing others to share your internal Wi-Fi connection may seem to be a cost-effective business solution, but it may also pose a serious threat to your business’s network security. Outsourcing your Wi-Fi is the best way to ensure that your network remains dedicated for business use while allowing clients to access a separate network for their own needs. Many businesses have seen the demand for free Wi-Fi at their establishments jump drastically, as more and more people feel the need to be online as often as possible for personal and business purposes. In response to this demand, one of the most common solutions is to allow clients and customers to use the business’s existing internal network. Some companies provide a password, while others simply leave the connection open to all. However, a better solution is to have an outsourced service or company provide the Wi-Fi hotspot you allow others to use for free. Why? One of the most important benefits is security. Companies trying to handle their own Wi-Fi hotspots – especially small businesses without in-house IT resources – are likely to make fundamental mistakes that leave their networks vulnerable and exposed to abuse and infiltration. Outsourced Wi-Fi providers are experts in giving you a secure system that protects your own network and by extension, your business. Another benefit of using an outsourced Wi-Fi hotspot provider is that you also have greater control over the network, allowing you to impose rules such as bandwidth and website limits. You can also determine whether you want to require the people who’ll be using the hotspot to log in with a password (which you provide), or simply enjoy an open connection. Another important point is the marketing that comes with the free Wi-Fi service – while you are providing your clients with a free internet connection, your primary goal is to promote your business. If you want to know more about outsourced Wi-Fi, feel free to contact us so we can discuss a custom blueprint for a Wi-Fi hotspot for your business.

Skype TV: Shaping Businesses of the Future

With Skype TV, you don’t have to stay glued to your desk staring into a small computer screen during conference calls. You can be seated comfortably on your sofa with a clear view of everyone on the call. And because the service is free, you don’t have to worry about rushing through your meeting to keep operation costs down. You get all of your work done at the pace that you set. Technology continues to evolve each day, and the internet especially has made life easier and more convenient. You can shop online, conduct research from any location, bank online, and even have meetings and conferences online. There’s no need to fly from one state or country to another for board meetings, and no need to pay for expensive telephone bills for conference calls. Downloadable internet programs allow you to meet as long as you want, and if both parties have downloaded the same program – it’s free. One such program is Skype. Skype is a software application that enables registered users to make voice calls and group chats over the internet, as well as use offline messaging, instant messaging, and chat history storage. Calls between Skype users are free, and calls to landline and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system. In January 2006, video conferencing between two users was introduced, and in 2010 Skype began offering free video conferencing with up to 5 people. Today, Skype has brought video conferencing a step further:  to your widescreen TV. The Skype-enabled TV was developed by David Dinka and his team as a result of interviews conducted worldwide asking respondents about their communication needs. The interviews uncovered a common desire to be able to speak to their colleagues, family, and friends from a more comfortable place than their desks, and they prefer to make video calls on a big screen. Together with its partners Panasonic and Samsung, Skype has developed the first generation of Skype-enabled TVs that allow you to call and receive video calls from anyone who has Skype. You can also video call users with Skype for Windows or Mac (version 5.0 and above) on their computers or laptops. How does it work? You’ll need a Skype-enabled TV (Sony and VIZIO will also offer models later this year) and a webcam developed specifically to work with your TV and Skype. These special webcams have built-in microphones that allow you to make calls from a distance without having to shout or move closer to the TV. Some Panasonic TVs will even allow you to make HD video calls. To maximize your video calls, it’s recommended that you have a 1Mbs symmetric broadband connection. For entrepreneurs with several offices around the country or even around the world, this will be especially useful, allowing them to link offices and have a full-time video connection for free. And with Skype TV, you won’t have to stay glued to your desk staring into the small screen of your computer during conference calls. You can be seated comfortably on your sofa with a clear view of everyone involved. And because the service is free, you won’t have to worry about rushing through meetings to keep operation costs down. You get your work done at the pace that you set. For more details about Skype TV, please visit the Skype website:  www.skype.com.

All About Softphone Technology for PABX

In business these days, there is a constant need to be in touch, and one convenient way is through softphones:  software programs that allow you to make calls through the internet. For business purposes, PABX softphones provide the convenience of softphones with greater security and privacy. Technology has always had a profound impact on the way we do business, especially these days with the constant need to stay in touch with bosses, clients, and co-workers. A breakdown in communication often means a dip in productivity – so you always need to have the best and most effective means of communication at your disposal. One of these means is softphones, which are basically software programs that allow you to make calls in much the same way as you do using a telephone or mobile device, except it’s through your internet connection. The most popular softphones include Skype, MagicJack, or Yahoo Messenger’s call feature. However, there are also softphone technologies that can utilize your PABX (private automatic branch exchange) network, which – while more limited in a general sense – are much better for businesses because of the security they offer. Softphones on PABX work better for business purposes because of the nature of the PABX networks themselves. The privacy and exclusivity for your business communications are maintained, and PABX softphones make communication convenient without compromising security. If you want to know more about softphone technology for your PABX network, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss a detailed service blueprint that will work for you.

Important Update: President Signs Red Flag Clarification Act into Law

Professional service providers such as attorneys, accountants, and doctors no longer fall within the definition of a creditor under the Red Flag Rule. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) so-called “Red Flag Rule,” which requires all businesses that are potential identity-theft targets to develop plans to spot red flags and prevent theft, received much criticism for being too broad. But now there’s some relief:  S. 3987, the Red Flag Clarification Act, which President Obama signed into law in December 2010. To recap, under the Red Flag Rule, the FTC had been interpreting “creditor” broadly by including organizations that defer payment for goods or services and bill clients later. This led to widespread concern that the Red Flag Rule would be applicable to entities not typically thought of as creditors, including law firms and health care providers. The Red Flag Clarification Act exempts such entities by revising the definition of creditor to exclude creditors “that advance funds on behalf of a person for expenses incidental to a service provided by the creditor to that person.” Essentially, the Red Flag Clarification Act limits the scope of the Red Flag Rule to creditors that regularly and in the ordinary course of business obtain or use consumer reports in connection with a credit transaction; furnish information to consumer reporting agencies in connection with a credit transaction; or advance funds to a person based on the person’s obligation to repay the funds. The legislation does include a provision that would allow other types of creditors to be subject to the Red Flag Rule if the agency with authority over the creditor (such as federal banking agencies) determines that the creditor has accounts that are subject to a reasonably foreseeable risk of identity theft.

Virtually Together in Your Own Private Network

Communicate and collaborate anywhere you are with your own private network. The world is flat. That is if you ask New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Friedman, who wrote a book of the same name describing just how the world got flatter and flatter thanks to a whole host of factors, one of which is technology. Technology — most notably computers, telecommunication devices, and the Internet — has allowed individuals and organizations to create, communicate, and collaborate like never before. One question that always pops up, however, is how to maintain privacy and security in this brave new world of greater transparency and connectedness. Until recently, the only way was through cumbersome and expensive means. Companies, especially large corporations, previously resorted to setting up their own infrastructure (think miles and miles of cable, satellite uplinks, or large line-of-sight communication links) or leasing infrastructure from telecommunication companies, just to be able to set up and maintain their own private and secure telecommunication networks that can span large distances. With the advent of the Internet, however, setting up private networks has become much cheaper and easier. Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, allow companies to create their own secure, private networks within the public network using technologies such as encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and the data within. The Internet is used only as the transport layer, radically reducing cost and time to set up because of its ubiquity, simplicity, and scalability. Examples of how a VPN can benefit your organization include the ability to: Allow your people to work anywhere at any time — as long as they have Internet access and VPN support. Link together your offices and employees anywhere in the world, securely and cost effectively. Extend your operations around the world — sell online, move goods across borders, recruit talent from anywhere! Can you think of other ways a VPN can help you and your organization? Let us know. Thinking of setting one up right away? Call us and find out how we can help.

You’re Seeing Them Everywhere – What Are QR Codes?

With more people connecting to the internet with smartphones, naturally internet marketing strategies must factor in this trend. QR codes are a simple and effective internet marketing strategy that can tap the great potential behind the growing use of smartphones. Smartphones are becoming more and more popular these days, as both hardware and software developers add features to phones and operating systems that make them much more appealing to potential buyers. And as smartphone technology continues to improve in terms of providing more connectivity to the user – not only through the mobile network but to the internet as well – it follows that your internet marketing strategies will need to incorporate the smartphone factor. One simple strategy that you can employ is using QR Codes, or Quick Response Codes, which are simple 2D barcodes that can be scanned using a smartphone. Numerous scanning applications are available to read these barcodes, and once read the code will redirect the user to any link you set up. QR Codes are also fairly easy to create, making them a great on-the-fly strategy if you want to market something quickly and easily. An additional strength of QR Code-driven marketing lies in the volume of people who use smartphones today – which gives you a large audience from the get go. For such a small piece of code, there are countless options for how you can use them to your advantage. If you are interested in learning more about using QR Codes, give us a call and we can come up with several strategies that can cater to your specific needs.