Intermedia, “The Business Cloud” recently issued its 2015 Insider Risk Report. The report looked at the security habits of 2000+ office workers according to age, company role, industry and other groupings. According to Intermedia, “the findings fly in the face of conventional wisdom: The most tech savvy employees are the ones most likely to create risk.” Here are some key facts from the report:
- 97% of employees have access to some form of sensitive or confidential information and 93% admit to engaging in at least one form of poor data security.
- Surprisingly, of all the job roles surveyed, it was the people in IT who reported the poorest security habits, including 28% who admitted they had accessed systems belonging to previous employers after they left the company.
- 23% of Millennials (18-34), 12% of Gen X (35-54) and 5% of Boomers (55+) said they would take data from their companies if it would positively benefit them.
These findings were observed in both large and small organizations and seemed more pronounced among tech companies. Read the full report HERE.
What can you do? IT security is not just for IT. You can focus on eliminating correcting 5 risky behaviors which were identified as most common by Intermedia:
- Insecure Password Practices. Using the same password for business and personal applications, sharing passwords and storing passwords insecurely.
- Shared accounts
- Insecure file storage and transfer practices. This would include uploading company files to personal computers or personal cloud storage accounts without IT knowledge.
- The use of unauthorized “Shadow IT” such as Dropbox.
- Ex Employee Access. Ex-employees can represent a risk of malicious attacks, theft of corporate information or unauthorized access to information leading to data breaches and reputational damage.
See the Intermedia Report for additional information.
Whether you are an IT professional, a manager or small business owner, IT security is your responsibility. As a technology company Canyon Telecom assists its customer with the selection and deployment of technology to support their businesses.
Canyon Telecom knows Business Communications and Business Telecom in Phoenix AZ!
Customer service is an overused term these days. What organization doesn’t suggest they provide excellent customer service? But what does good customer service look like? To paraphrase former U. S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it”. Of course, Justice Stewart was referring to pornography, but it seems appropriate when discussing customer service as well. For me, what’s most important is how an organization treats you when there is no immediate benefit to them – a variation on judging someone based on their behavior when no one is looking.
To us at Canyon Telecom, we also know it when we see it. While we make mistakes in serving customers, our objective is to minimize those mistakes, admit them and correct them promptly, and do everything we can to exceed our customers’ expectations.
The owners of Canyon Telecom are both members of Rotary, the international service organization.
Our approach to business and to service, follows the tenets of the Rotary “Four Way Test of the Things We Think Say or Do”.
We find these guidelines to be an effective and simple guide to the way we do business.
First, is it the truth?
Second, is it fair to all concerned?
Third, does it build goodwill and better friendships?
And Fourth, is it beneficial to all concerned?
Surely a very simple set of guidelines, but then usually doing the right thing does not require elaborate manuals or rules. Let’s look at the Four Way Test in the context of business.
Truth: Integrity is the foundation of trust. Without integrity, it is impossible to build a relationship with customers. As simple as it is, we strive to treat all customers with respect, recognizing that we are here to fulfill their need and in the process we need to cover our costs and earn a return on our investment.
Fairness. Fairness these days seems to mean different things to different people. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Fair as “marked by impartiality and honesty”. We see fairness in business as making decisions and recommendations for customers and prospective customers which we believe to be in their best interest. The key to fairness is that you do what is right and appropriate for that customer, even if it does not maximize your short term profits.
Goodwill and Better Friendships. For a small business building “goodwill” is the essence of growing the business. Without goodwill there are no referrals and no references. The business of Canyon Telecom has been built by building “goodwill and better friendships” which have resulted in countless return sales and referrals. While we may not be “friends” with all our customers in the traditional sense, we treat them as we would treat friends by providing that little bit of unexpected “extra”, taking responsibility for problems – even if we didn’t cause them – and being polite and courteous even when someone else is having a stressful experience.
Beneficial to all concerned. This relates back to fairness. In any human interaction, whether business or personal, if the transaction or experience is lopsided someone will go way unhappy. Our objective at Canyon Telecom is to provide a quality product and service at a fair price. This doesn’t mean the lowest price it means the highest value. The most rewarding experience I have in my 20 years in this business is hearing that we managed to exceed a customer’s expectations to the point they are willing to recommend us to an acquaintance.
I will leave you with this thought: The next time you are on hold with an organization and the delay announcement (really, that’s what they are called) says “Your call is very important to us” ask yourself, if that was true why would you be on hold instead of talking to someone who can actually assist you? I ask myself that all the time.
Questions? Call our Fearless Leader, Mike, (602) 331-7224
We know Business Telecom and Business Communications in Phoenix, AZ! For years now the sages of technology have told us the desk phone is dead. Soon users would have an application on their computers or perhaps mobile phones would simply replace the desk phone for most workers. Well they were half right. The desk phone is not dead – in fact, evidence is emerging that suggests the desk phone is here to stay. But the desk phone now has company.
Today’s increasingly mobile workforce requires more freedom to access corporate technology and communicate wherever and whenever necessary and certainly the new generation of workers expects their technology to wore seamlessly across platforms. The challenge for corporate IT is downloading “Angry Birds” to your mobile phone presents no major hazard, but linking a variety of disparate devices, each with their own applications and internet access – and doing so while maintaining the integrity of a corporate network can be a daunting task.
Today’s users expect to be able to take their personal and business communications – active calls, instant messaging, short text messaging and presence – with them where ever they go. Today’s technology can allow for seamless movement from a mobile telephone, tablet or softphone to a desk phone and back, with the simple click of a button. And can do so in a way which is secure and maintains the integrity of the corporate network.
Technology, like most things in life, does not always follow a straight line path and almost never follows the predictions of the “experts”. But eventually the demands of end users will help shape technology into something that adds to productivity of workers and allows them to better serve customers NEC’s UNIVERGE 3C™ is a complete, software-based, unified communications and collaboration solution that redefines the way a business and individuals communicate. It provides the necessary agility for today’s dynamic work environment and enables total control over how, when and where you choose to be reached – truly empowering your workforce.
Mike Hosking is the owner of Canyon Telecom Inc in Phoenix, an NEC dealer.
Canyon Telecom knows business communications and business telecom in Phoenix, AZ! We are here to save you money and help your business systems run more efficiently.
Monthly telephone and internet billings are a significant expense. Unfortunately, because the services are usually under contract and the billings seem to be designed in such a way that only a telecom specialist can decipher them, they are often passed along for payment without a second thought. Here are four things you should avoid if you are to minimize the cost your monthly carrier services.
Don’t commit to a long term contract
Since the Green decision in the 1980’s court decision breaking up the “Bell” system, prices of telecom services including lines and long distance charges have been dropping. In the past 20 years the cost of a common digital telephone service has gone from over $2,200 a month to less than $400. In this environment, why would you want to commit to a long term fixed price contract? Complex business services are costly to deploy and it is appropriate for carriers to look to a term contract to recover those costs, but keeping the term of the contract short is in your best interest. You will often be quoted a 36 month contract. Ask if they have a shorter term. Often they do and the cost difference is not significant.
All of us are busy enough to with our day-to-day lives that reviewing the monthly telephone billing is not a priority. However a careful review when a contract renewal comes up can often generate significant savings, even if you remain with the current carrier. Products and services change rapidly and newer services are often better and more cost effective. We recently worked with two customers. One had a “cloud” based telephone service and the other had traditional telephones. In both cases, we were able to find enough savings in the carrier services to entirely pay for the cost of deploying badly needed new technology. The customer ended up with better service and saved money in the process. We can’t always produce these kind of results, but it is rare if we don’t identify significant savings.
Don’t ignore the “junk” fees when evaluating the cost of services
In consulting with a client about a recent billing for telephone lines and internet, the customer suggested to me they were paying only $15 a month per telephone line. Sure enough the charge for a “Flat rated business line” was only $15 a month. But after you added the “Office package” ($8), the E911 Tax, the Access Recovery Fee, Network Interface Fee, Federal Universal Services Fund, Telecommunications Fund for the Deaf, State and Local Taxes the cost was over $40 a line. On top of that there were long distance charges. While some of these fees are government imposed, so they don’t change from carrier to carrier, others are at the discretion of the carrier and any analysis must include careful consideration of all fees and charges when comparing options. In the case of this customer, deploying a different type of line saved them more than half the monthly bill AND improved their services.
Don’t assume you need all those lines
Most organizations install telephone lines based on an estimate of their needs. They may grow and add services but seldom pause to consider what they have and if it is still useful. A great example of this is when businesses moved from dial up internet to broadband. Organizations often had dozens of lines dedicated to dial up internet, yet when the conversion was made to broad band the telephone lines were ignored, costing the company $400-500 a year per line for something they were not using.
In recent years, the way we communicate with each other has changed and changed dramatically. Email, instant messaging, text messaging and the like now substitute for letters and telephone calls. Many organizations may find they have more telephone lines than they need. While $40 a month doesn’t seem like much but it is almost $500 a year and $1,500 over a typical 36 month telecommunications services contract, so it is worth considering. We often suggest to our customer to idle a line or two and see if anyone notices (business signals not being able to call out etc)
Finally, one “Do”. Do ask an expert to assist you in evaluating your network services bill. We offer a no cost no obligation review of your billing. You might be surprised at the pot of gold we find at the end of that rainbow.
If you have questions, give us a call, (602) 331-7200.
At Canyon Telecom, we know what it takes for successful business communications in Phoenix AZ and reliable business telecom in Phoenix, AZ!
Here are the top three way bad communications are hurting your business:
1. Putting your customers through a long and tortuous automated attendant
Most of us can relate to the automated attendant from hell. Who hasn’t called a doctor’s office, the cable company or government agency and been told to “listen carefully because our options have changed”? When I hear that I know it will likely be followed by “your call is very important to us”. Yes, so important that we have chosen to make you navigate a maze with endless options and THEN place you on hold for whatever time we think you will tolerate without hanging up. If your call was truly important to them they would give you the option of listening to the automated choices or speaking to a person. Most of the time the complexity of the automated attendant and the hold time is directly proportional to how much that organization has to compete for your business versus taking it for granted. For example, if you need to contact the city or the IRS you really have no other choice. They know it and it is reflected in how they handle your calls. If you must use an automated attendant, we recommend (1) you keep the list of options very short and make sure they are focused on customer needs and (2) always give people the ability to press “0” to reach a person right away. Only government agencies and very large corporations (are you listening telephone and cable company?) trap people in their systems.
2. Not returning calls promptly
There was a time when people made every effort to answer telephone calls. With the advent of voice mail in the last quarter century, many of those calls end up in voice mail. Calls during business hours should always be returned promptly and at least within a half business day. Failing to return calls promptly tells customers and others that your message was not important to them – – that you have better things to do. This is an area where treating others the way you would like to be treated is a good rule of thumb.
3. Emailing or texting when calling would be better
In this day and age we have so many methods of communications and sometimes personal interaction is lost or avoided. Because we have so many different ways to communicate we also have to think about the best way to communicate with others. There are times when a telephone call or face-to-face visit (yes people do still have conversations) is absolutely essential and preferable to other modes of conversation. For example, when customers are unhappy responding by email can exacerbate the situation, when the subject is complex it is often important to have a two way communication so the other party can ask questions and you can clarify on the spot to avoid confusion. Nothing says “I care” and “I’m interested” more than a personal contact. If you need to later confirm what is discussed follow up with an email – or in the case of an unhappy customer – a handwritten note.
Mike Hosking is the owner of Canyon Telecom Inc. Canyon Telecom provides customers with state of the art communication technology including telephone systems, voice mail and contact center and help them deploy it an effective way.
If you need our assistance, give us a call (602) 331-7200.
We excel in Business Telecom in Phoenix AZ! There are many offerings in today’s market for cloud services. “Moving to the cloud” means migrating some or all of your IT services (including voice) from your premises to a third party. There are many considerations when considering moving services into the cloud and this recent blogpost from Mark Pendleton of NEC addresses some of them.
In considering moving your voice services to the cloud, there are many factors you need to analyze, including security, cost and feature and function. Every organization has different needs and one solution does not fit everyone. In our business we offer both enterprise and small business cloud solutions for voice as well as premises equipment. They each have their place.
We ask you to approach claims about cloud services with some skepticism – it is easy to SAY something is less costly, but sometimes a careful analysis doesn’t bear this out. For example, this week I received a mailer from a local cloud voice provider who touted that their cloud solution had more features than a premises based solution and then went on to brag about all 40 features. Our smallest NEC premises based system has over 400 features and can be installed with telephone lines for a fraction of the cost of this providers offering. So the advice for the “buyer to beware” applies here as well.
There are many excellent voice solutions to choose from, but each must be carefully considered in the context of your needs – along with a careful cost analysis. The professionals at Canyon Telecom can help you make that assessment at no cost or obligation and voice applications are our specialty. If we can be of assistance contact us today, 602-331-7200.
Part 2 – WHAT DOES YOUR CLOUD SOLUTION REALLY COST?
In an earlier post we explored the need to truly understand who your cloud provider is and what happens if they are no longer around or you decide to make a change. In the second of this series we will look at the cost of cloud services and whether they live up to their claim of being a less expensive way of doing business. In looking at costs you need to consider total cost of ownership. This is defined as the cost of a particular solution over a period of time which is appropriate for your business.
For a traditional or “premises” based solution, you need to consider the cost of acquisition, installation and support, including ongoing licensing costs. For a cloud-based solution you need to look at the cost of installation, monthly payments and service and support. You should fully consider the cost of supporting a premises based system (space, cooling, updates and support). Consider your organization’s normal IT refresh cycle to determine the time frame you should be evaluating. Many cloud services tout converting capital expenditures into operating expenditures, and this may be a valid consideration for large public companies, but in my experience spending is spending and the key consideration is how much money you will spend to support a solution over a period of time. Sure, $50 a month per user doesn’t sound like much, but if you have 10 users, over a period of three years your outlay is $18,000! Once you can see the TCO, you can start to evaluate the intangibles such as access flexibility, support and other considerations and then you can make an appropriate cost benefit analysis.
Here are two illustrations.
Microsoft offers Office™ in a cloud version called Microsoft 365™. It also offers Office as an installed program. Let’s assume you have determined your lifecycle for MS Office is 36 months – in other words you would pay for an upgrade every 36 months.
Microsoft offers Office 365 Small Business Premium (cloud) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. For a five user package the cost is $150 a month. Over a period of 36 months the cost would be $5,400.
Office Professional 2013 includes essentially the same products, but is licensed and installed on a work station. A single license of this software is a one-time $400, or $2,000 for five users.
Of course you would need to weigh the advantages of having an “always current” system with the cloud version, as well as the convenience of being able to access your Office suite from wherever you have an internet connection. You would also need to consider that after 36 months you might need to license a newer version of the Office Suite. Every business has different needs and a careful analysis of all the costs versus all the benefits would be necessary to pick the right solution for you.
Hosted Telephones versus a Telephone System
Hosted telephones have been around for decades. Before the advent of VoIP, telephone companies offered a hosted service called “Centrex”, where the idea was to connect your individual telephones to a central, telephone company hosted PBX which would then provide access to various telephone system features and to telephone lines. Today there are a plethora of companies offering essentially the same service, but using VoIP technology and the internet to connect telephones to a “hosted” telephone system, instead of copper lines.
A quick word to the wise here. The quality of hosted telephone services varies widely and there is also a wide variation in quality of support. If you decide a hosted solution is best for you, be very cautious in selecting your provider.
To present a reasonable comparison we are going to use a reputable national company’s pricing and compare it to the cost of a similarly equipped premises based telephone system and lines. For this illustration we are assuming a system with 8 telephones and 4 lines, plus one fax line.
Monthly cost for 8 telephones, voice mail, automated attendant, directory listing and a fax line. First year – $435. Second and third years – $301. One time set up costs: $275. Total 36 month cost: $12,719, or $44.16 per station per month over the term of the contract. And this is for a product which has an advertised cost of $28 a month.
To determine the 36 month cost of a premises based telephone system, we calculated the equipment cost, including installation and a 36 month support and service plan, leased on a 36 month lease. To that we added the cost of telephone lines for a reputable carrier.
The total cost of this solution over 36 months was $6,336 for the system, service and support, and $4,140 for telephone lines. Total cost of ownership $10,476, or $36.38 per month per station.
You must carefully evaluate the total cost of ownership of whatever solution you are considering and then weigh the difference in cost against the benefits you perceive for each solution. Sorting through these choices can be tedious and technical so choose an advisor who is competent and who you can trust. At Canyon Telecom we offer both hosted and traditional voice solutions and we offer a no cost, no obligation evaluation of your options.
Next: How Secure is Your Data in the Cloud?
There has been much hype in recent years about the so called cloud. The cloud means different things to different people, but essentially the cloud is the relocation of storage, software function, processing or all of them, into servers and equipment which are in locations other than your local computer or server. There are public cloud services such as Gmail, Google Drive, Skype, iCloud and the like and many organizations provide semi private or private clouds or host their own cloud services – for their own use or for others to use in a data center or centers.
The promise is that cloud services are more secure, less costly because of economies of scale, more resilient to carrier and power outages and easier to access remotely than premises based services. Clearly there is the potential for cloud services to meet all of these promises, but that doesn’t mean all cloud services do or that cloud services are the right answer for everyone. This is the first part in a series to help you evaluate and select cloud services.
Part 1 – WHO ARE YOU DEALING WITH?
I am continually amazed that people will transfer the core of their business processes to a cloud service without knowing who they are dealing with. Some questions to consider-
Who is the cloud service? Are they financially strong? What happens to your data, phone numbers and capabilities if the provider no longer exists or fails to pay its bills? Do you retain ownership and if so, how long would it take you to access the data in a usable form or to port the telephone number to another service or carrier?
Where is the cloud service processing and storage? Is it in one site or multiple sites? If multiple sites, how is failover and backup handled?
Does the provider offer a service level agreement which is meaningful to you?
Does the cloud provider own its own data center or does it rent or lease space from another. What kind of security and backup does the provider offer?
In the event the provider ceases to support the product, are you able to have a back-up of the data or of the function so that you could easily transition to another service. Is there a charge for this and does it require you to take some affirmative action to maintain a current back up? Does the equipment you have installed on your premises (computers, routers, switches and telephones) migrate easily to a premises or cloud replacement or is it proprietary?
Next: Part 2 – WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST?
One of our most frequently asked questions is, “How to cancel a Message Notification Light on a NEC Phone System”. Here’s your answer in a short tutorial. If you have any other questions regarding your NEC Telephone System or your Business Communications, give us a call, 602-331-7200.
The technology powering your business’ communication network is changing faster than you realize – and we know how to integrate IT into your system. You will run faster and more efficiently with Canyon Telecom as your go-to telecom solutions provider.
By staying abreast of improvements and increased network capabilities, we are able to offer expert advice and meaningful solutions that will save you time and money. Whether it’s networking within a large office, synching mobile and land lines, integrating remote offices with mobile workers, outfitting your campus with the latest technology or linking retail outlets across the country, Canyon Telecom can make the connection.
We develop custom solutions that save time and money, expertly install top-tier NEC products and, above all, provide knowledgeable sales and support staff to keep your telecom system ahead of the curve and working for you.